Meet Jillian Wright, the woman behind a smoothie-inspired facial mask bar in New York that has Manhattan-ites swooning. She believes in healing our skin, one superfood at a time.
Our NYC correspondent Jessica Burdon spoke with Jillian about her lavish digs in the Upper East Side and got her taking about teenage rebellion, the inspiration behind her business, salvation for our winter-weary skin, and face mask ingredients you can find in your fridge.
Jillian wasn't one of those little girls who was into make up parties and sleep-overs. She loved drama, skateboarding, purple tipped hair and music like the Clash, Sid Vicious, and the Cure. Going to a high school for the Fine Arts and using a palette knife was the closest she came to the skills of applying face masks.
After college, while Jillian continued her rebellion in Manoa, hiking and riding horses in pineapple fields, she started dreaming of having her own business and achieving the freedom to build a family.
Her passion for skincare came from seeing a face as a canvas that can be altered in both its color and texture. “I love the partnership I form with someone that allows me to see their transformation. It's very personal, emotional to see someone's confidence and self-esteem rise because of their commitment and my guidance with their skin.”
When Jillian isn’t playing chef for her two children and two step-children, she is cooking up miracles in her Upper East Side Mask Bar, where you’ll find converts from all walks of Manhattan life. The face-masks use an array of clay bases that draw toxins and impurities from pores. They also contain seaweed that is firming and nutrient rich, and an assortment of super antioxidants like acerola cherry, rose hip, blue berry, mangosteen, resveratrol, and activated charcoal, which is great for acne-prone skin and the hot ingredient for 2015.
Her favorite ingredients for repairing our winter worn skin are some of the real edible basics, like oatmeal, Manuka honey, kale, and acerola cherry, mixed with white clay.
She’s seen a transformation in the skincare industry over her fourteen years of immersion. The biggest difference, she says, is consumers are now well educated. “They read and research and know their ingredients. It’s keeping the skincare industry on their toes, which is a good thing.”
One of the greatest consumer concerns is toxins; from their presence in our food, air, and clothes, to what we put on our skin, which is in fact our largest organ. To cater for that, and building on a love of juicing, Jillian uses only organic produce in her skin care products, to ensure no pesticides are absorbed into our skin. Some ingredients are so basic and natural that you find them your own fridges or larders, like these tips:
Smoothie Skin: 7 pantry staples to try on your face
1. Manuka Honey is an amazing humectant that helps to draw moisture to the skin.
2. Pulverized Oatmeal is an excellent desensitizer, soothing and calming
3. Pure organic cocoa powder is high in antioxidants
4. Organic yogurt (not Vegan) is excellent for softening the skin.
5. Hazelnut oil is great for facial massage and can be mixed with your favorite essential oil.
6. Avocados can be smashed up, mixed with your cocoa powder, yogurt and oatmeal for an at home facial mask that is hydrating, soothing, nourishing and softening.
7. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is both purifying and cleansing.
For those who can’t get to her Manhattan Mask Bar, she has her own streamlined range of beauty products available here.
While there are a lot of "hero" products in the line, Jillian says for a winter miracle, she would suggest starting with the Complexion Perfection Skin Brightening Booster Powder which is pure L-Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C), acai berry and cranberry. It's a powder, so you can mix it with your serum or moisturizer. The Premium Reserve Night Cream is also super luxurious and hydrating and has age fighting ingredients like Kombuchka, oil- soluble vitamin C and Resveratrol.
Jillian has been kind enough to offer Beauticate members a discount on products in her skincare range, to see you all into a new skin year. Use the code Beauticate20. Available on non-sale items only.
Words by Jessica Burdon.