Former beauty columnist for The New York Times, Bee Shapiro, saw a huge gap in the market where high-quality natural fragrances should have been. As it goes for so many women, after the birth of her first child, Shapiro started eliminating unnecessary chemicals from her home and personal care routine. Her focus on clean living eventually led her to create Ellis Brooklyn, a stunning line of clean perfumes that measure up to their most luxe — and most toxic — counterparts.
We’ve waited a long time for non-toxic perfumes to step up to our standards in terms of scent, design and chemical-free formulations and finally the industry is flooded with them. We fell hard for the brand after being sent samples and enjoying all three of the bottles sent: Myth, Rrose and West.
All three scents have the elegance and charm of the department store fragrances we — and our mothers — grew up with, without nasty ingredients, like parabens and phthalates. Some wellness lovers prefer single oils like patchouli or scents that border on the medicinal — these are not that. Ellis Brooklyn’s bottles are the solution for the girl who can barely stand giving up her designer scent in lieu of a clean option. Meet the woman behind the scents…
If I only have 5 minutes to get ready, I...
Am not going to walk out of the house without my eyebrows on. I dream of having Lily Collins eyebrows but in reality I look like those runway models that bleached their brows — only I didn’t.
Beauty obsession of the moment:
I’m in love with our new WEST fragrance. It’s a gorgeous blood orange citrus up top that becomes more aromatic with basil, ginger and oakmoss as the scent develops. And citrus scents are so uplifting and optimistic. After a freezing New York winter, I need a little zest in my life!
Does chocolate count? I like to think that super dark chocolate— my favorite is Raw Chocolate Love which uses raw cacao and has very low sugar — has so many antioxidants that it’s beautifying!
Drinking straight aloe vera juice. It tastes disgusting but I swear it calms down any breakouts and generally makes my skin better.
Can't travel without:
My Cuyana leather zip pouch, which was designed by the makeup artist Daniel Martin and zips nearly all the way around. Of course, it’s what in the bag that counts too. I stuff it to the gills with beauty products. I am that person sitting next to you on the plane that puts on serum mid-flight and uses a face roller and then puts on a sheet mask before landing.
Best beauty tip I learned backstage:
A transparent, no-shimmer dewy look is the most natural way to sculpt your face. Backstage, makeup artists would often use Aquaphor or Weleda Skinfood or even MAC clear Lipglass, and they’d apply as you would a highlighter: on tops of cheekbones, down the nose but never all the way to the tip, on the cupid’s bow and on the brow bones. But there are some really great makeup options now that you can use in real life. The Chanel Baume Essential in Transparent is so good! It has zero shimmer — just believable dewiness.
For an ultra-glamorous effect:
Use a bold lipstick. I was never a lipstick person and then somewhere around 36 or 37, I realized my face needed that color pick-me-up. Also, if your lipstick is super bold then no one is looking at your undereye circles from lack of sleep.
Lip product I always rely on:
I am the queen of lip balm. Name a lip balm and I probably have it. The Oribe Balmessence is currently one of my faves. It’s just the right amount of everything and I find it’s not one of those addictive lip balms where you’re suddenly reapplying ten times a day.
Beauty tool I can't live without:
My Tweezerman slanted tweezers. I actually bought a travel Tweezerman set — one has a slanted tip and the other one has a pointed tip. They’ve stayed sharp for years.
Weirdest beauty habit:
Flipping my head upside down. David Mallett, who is this amazing Paris-based hair stylist, told me once that flipping your head upside down and massaging your roots with your fingers is the best way to refresh your style without adding more product. It totally works. If you run into me at 4pm, I’ll likely be upside down with my fingers in my hair.
Always in my evening clutch:
Keys, credit card, lip balm, lipstick, eyeliner and eyebrow pencil. The eyebrow pencil is a newer addition. One evening I was out at a big event and I accidentally ran into this super tall guy in the check-in area and I managed to wipe off just one brow on his tux. Never again! I now religiously tote my eyebrow pencil around. I have an eyebrow pencil in every bag.
In the shower I keep:
My variety of body scrubs. I am very into the idea of body exfoliators but I still haven’t found one that I am loyal to.
Once a month, I...
Think I should really, truly get into the habit of meditating but it still hasn’t happened for me yet.
After a long night or rough weekend:
I chug coconut water and tell people to leave me alone. Kidding! I have two little kids so they are always in my face even if I’ve slept two hours. I do try to hydrate, but more likely I make a giant pot of Earl Grey tea, slap on some eye cream, put on more makeup than usual and try to survive the day.
The product that changed my skin:
I was hesitant to join the cult of Biologique Recherche, as I generally favor very clean skincare products, but Melanie Simon over at ZIIP beauty turned me on to the P50 PIGM and it’s a game changer. I have hyperpigmentation from my two pregnancies and this actually helped! Melanie also had a pro tip on how to apply: She recommends using gauze and wetting it first with water before adding the product so it’s a tiny bit diluted. Also the PIGM version doesn’t have phenol in it like the original P50 1970. It actually has a relatively clean ingredients list.
My go-to smoothie:
My husband buys this super crunchy shake powder called Ultimate Meal that is basically things like wild harvested nettle, and sprouted and freeze-dried broccoli, quinoa and amaranth. I mix that with a scoop of Welleco protein powder for kids. It tastes like yummy chocolate. Then I blend that with frozen blueberries and cherries and half a banana and it’s literally a meal-dessert in a cup.