Artist Petra Börner On The Beauty Of Our Flaws

If you've had the chance to see the new Shen store in person, chances are you've stopped to admire the gorgeous, colorful murals that adorn the walls. Those masterpieces are the work of the talented artist Petra Börner, and are the perfect representation of modern femininity and positivity that Jess was looking to infuse into our new home.

During her time creating those pieces, we got to know Petra and her unique take on beauty. We spent time talking about her super-natural approach to her skin, swapped stories about our favorite products and our shared love of all things Heretic Parfums, and chatted about how we perceive beauty both in art and the real world.

It was these conversations that led us to ask Petra to be our subject for this week's The Regimen, and share her unique perspective on the topic of beauty. Keep reading to learn about her low-maintenance routine, the pampering ritual she enjoys with her daughter, and why she thinks we need to get rid of the word "flawless." And, check out Petra's Instagram to see more of her beautiful artwork!
Petra Borner
Name: Petra Börner
Profession: Artist
Skin type: Combination
Hair type: Blonde and wavy

Duration of beauty routine: Fifteen to 20 minutes or so.

Walk us through your daily beauty routine:
In the morning, I “wash” my face by splashing it with cold water and in the evening I sponge clean with Bioderma Sensibo H2O Micellar to make my skin feel energized and clear. Then I apply a few drops to create a thin layer of the Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops. This moisturizes and gives a sheen that I like — it has a golden, silky thing going on that’s nice in the morning. In the evening I use the Skin Design London Volume Serum to promote collagen production and smooth my skin.

For the daytime, I follow the serum with Pai Love & Haight Hydrating Moisturizer to further moisturize as I have very sensitive and quite dry skin in places. I like how it smells and it leaves my skin feeling settled and ready for the day. 

In the evening I apply a Lernberger Stafsing Night Cream and Irene Forte Almond Eye Cream Age-Defying, too. Haoma Lip Balm is a new thing I like to use as it feels good to add some extra nourishment to my lips.

Sometimes I do a homemade mask for fun pampering and relaxation. This might involve a crushed or sliced cucumber or warm oats. I like doing this with my daughter; having some fun and relaxing together. I haven’t been very good at encouraging this kind of self care so I’m trying to be more mindful of that now as she’s growing into a teen. It’s so sweet and brings us together. I feel that the whole experience and ritual of self care, taking the time to acknowledge my body, is more important than the products used.

As for makeup, I don’t like much of it really and I dislike when my face looks “done” — I prefer to leave it natural if I can. I’ve always had combination skin — it was actually bad with spots when I was younger, which made me feel very down. I’m still prone to spots, so I’m cautious about products generally and only the calming types seem to work out best. Saying that, I might apply some foundation sparingly on sensitive or areas that are red. 

I love wearing lipstick (Kosas, Yves St. Laurent, or Bobbi Brown are some faves) and sometimes I add some brow gel or RMS Mascara, but that’s not a regular part of my routine.

For hair, I’m just a brush-and-go person. I wash it every other night or less often if I can get away with it to save my hair and being less wasteful with water. Sometimes I do hair treatments and I should do that much more consistently to get happier hair, I know.

I finish off my day routine with a mist of the Heretic Dirty Fig Parfum or Dirty Jasmine, depending on my mood. 

One thing I don’t love about the beauty industry is that I do find the waste of beauty packaging overwhelming. I keep trying to find refill solutions for hair care and body care products, but am always told that the brands just don’t do that. 
Petra Borner Studio

What is your philosophy on beauty? 
Beauty to me is something that ‘sits’ with ease, is grounded with confidence. It’s not just a visual phenomena, but really embodies a person entirely. Beauty can be quiet or intense, but flawless isn’t my idea of beauty. I’m drawn to irregularities and as for beauty in art I’m drawn to the shifts or breaks in the tempo or movement, brush strokes interrupted or contrasted. Beauty feels natural, something that’s lived, enjoyed and mastered every day, like the confidence of one’s handwriting.

What is the best beauty advice you've ever been given, and by whom?
My friend, creative director and designer Tove Johansson, always gives great advice about health and the balance of life. I can’t say that she’s given me advice on beauty in particular, but she always share positive, specific and sound advice — that is beautiful to me.

What are your three must-have products and why? 
I have used Bioderma Sensibo H20 Micellar for many years because I find it calms and moisturizes my sensitive skin. All the Heretic perfumes smell divine but Dirty Lemon, and Dirty Fig are my favorites. I love that they are created with all natural ingredients, so it feels very safe to wear them. I like that the scents don’t feel too overwhelming and integrate well in a personal way. And Kosas lipstick — I love the colors and their sustainable thinking. It’s a win win all around!

Do you have any special tips or techniques for how you apply a product to get the best results? 
I like to apply makeup and moisturizers with my fingers rather than sponges because the touch of skin on skin feels nice and relaxing, even if it’s my own hands! I also prefer to wash my hair at night and then sleep on it when it’s still damp. That’s how I think it gets more of a vavoom look.

What's the biggest beauty mistake you've ever made?
Oh, I’ve made plenty of these as I believe in trying and testing new things. I’ve dyed my hair in most colors, had it at most lengths — including no hair at all save for henna-red sideburns. That was an intense look that got a few comments!
Petra Borner Artist

What do you love most about your job?
I love my job and feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to work on my art each day. It’s never the same, often challenging but simultaneously puts me at ease. It takes up most of my mind and can sometimes make it hard for me to focus when with others or doing other things. But it’s something I’ve always dreamt of doing and I feel that I have no choice but to proceed.

What inspires you when you create your art?
It’s an urge that comes from deep inside and it’s a quest for something ‘other', I think. I have not yet found out what that might be, so I keep searching. Working with clients is an inspiration on a different level and this brings interesting injections and novel paths to discover.

What was your inspiration for the murals in the Shen store and how did you ultimately bring those to life?
It was important to me to define an ease and alignment between my personal work and the Shen profile. The key was to create work with a particular fresh and spring-like expression to celebrate this new phase for Jess with the new branding. I explored less angular strokes accompanied by a vibrant palette, aiming to paint a feminine and balanced, yet eye-catching look for Shen moving forward. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of creating this gentle series of work.

I hope that the artwork will be eye-catching to both new and returning customers and that the freshness of the colors will bring your mind to fragrant, spring-like scents and help to evoke and create a spring-like buzz! I imagine it as a good luck charm which will add positive energy and prosperity to the renewed space.

How do you think art and beauty intersect?
Beauty for me is found in art where there is a break of pace I think. My eyes are drawn to the irregular and I enjoy that space where, there’s a shift in tempo, not entirely fluid or even. I believe I find beauty in bold lines, confident marks and defined compositions.

But perhaps this is not called beauty, but interesting and arresting? It must be created naturally, I fear this can’t be manipulated. The trying too hard scares true beauty. But maybe it is within the moment or interaction between a viewer and a piece of work, that beauty erupts (or not) as it is so clearly a very personal appreciation.

Photos by Rebecca Reid and Annika Lundvall.

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"Beauty is self care. And self care makes us feel beautiful."

-Athena Calderone