We’re always curious about the daily beauty, hair, and skincare routines of the effortlessly made-up women we know. From concealer to coconut oil, "About A Face" is our insider glimpse into the makeup bags and medicine cabinets of our everyday muses.
This week, we're peeking into the beauty routine of Cara Piazza, a Brooklyn-based natural dye guru, textile designer, and just all-around creative genius whose take on using natural ingredients to fuel her design process overlaps into her overall philosophy on beauty and health. We caught up with Cara about her go-to "panacea beauty product," the perfumes she finds at Bangladeshi spice markets, and how she manages to get ready for the day in under 15 minutes.
Photos by Francisco Marin
Photos by Francisco Marin
What's your beauty 'philosophy' — your overall approach to getting ready for everyday?
Less is more! It takes me about 15 minutes max to get ready and that includes brushing my teeth and putting on my mascara. If I’m feeling a little dangerous I’ll throw on some red lipstick but that’s as far as I’ll go.
Can you walk us through your morning routine, please?
I wake up at around 7 am everyday, wash my face, brush my teeth, the usual. Then I move on to moisturizing, for which I mainly just use pure coconut oil. This can get a little greasy so I stay unclothed for about five minutes. Then I brush out the knots in my hair and add a little Moroccan oil, I put on some mineral fusion concealer, and this amazing natural mascara I get from Blades Natural Beauty called Couleur Caramel Mascara. I add a little pencil to my eyebrows and then I get dressed. Last, I dab on some night musk essential oil for perfume.
What's your nighttime routine?
At night I take off my make up off with coconut oil (I literally use it for everything, cooking included). Then I hop in the shower, and exfoliate with my best friend Elsa’s amazing coffee scrub. She makes all these wonderful natural bath goodies that I’m addicted to. I use Dr.Bronner's for everything else, hair-washing included. After my shower I use toner on my face, usually Thayers lemon witch hazel. Then I moisturize with Aesop men’s after-shave Moroccan Neroli serum. It sounds crazy but it’s really a phenomenal product for your face. About three times a week I also use their antioxidant serum. I sleep with Jessa and my apothecary eye pillow under my real pillow to soak in all the lavender goodness before bed.
Do you have any secret-weapon products or tricks you've picked up on?
Coconut oil. But I think I might have said that already…it’s literally a panacea beauty product. That and apple cider vinegar, which makes a great toner if you can get past the vinegar scent!
How do ingredients and quality play into this — curious about how you see the overlap between your work and your approach to beauty and skincare.
I think ingredients are the most important part. Since I’ve started natural dyeing I’ve also been really interested in living a much less toxic and chemical-free lifestyle. I used to suffer from eczema around my eyes, and since I’ve been using mainly natural beauty products, it has completely cleared. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and you should be extremely wary of the chemicals you subject it to. That’s part of the brilliance of natural dyeing: feeling the benefits of wearing something soothing and naturally dyed can be very therapeutic.
What about health and food — is there anything you religiously consume or avoid?
I come from an Italian family that definitely believes more is more, but I like to follow the 80 / 20 percent rule of eating a healthy organic lifestyle [most of the time]...but enjoying that slice of NYC pizza every now and again is good for the soul.
What about scent — what's your signature?
I love musky, oaky sandalwood smells. I used to wear Narcisso Rodgriguez Her, but have moved onto wearing this little Night Musk essential oil I get at my favorite Bangladeshi spice market.
Do you have any beauty/style icons?
My mama. She really is such an elegant woman. I’m much more hippie and fluid in my dressing but that woman can really accessorize. I definitely got my love of adorning myself in amulet jewelry from her.
Can you share any embarrassing beauty phases from your past?
When I first moved to London in the heat of the club kid era, I most definitely did not adhere to as many natural beauty principles as I do today. I had a bit of an Amy Winehouse liquid eyeliner/acrylic nail vibe and laddered tights thing going. I’m happy to say that that phase was extremely short lived.
See more of Cara's work on her website and check out our studio visit with her on the UO blog