Cesta Collective Co-Founder Erin Ryder On Skinimalism & How To Wear Real Clothes Again

When you hear people talk about low-maintenance beauty routines, what most likely comes to mind is a bare bones soap-and-water affair with very few frills. But, minimalist doesn't have to mean neglect — something Cesta Collective co-founder Erin Ryder knows all too well. While she spends no more than 10 minutes on her beauty regimen each day, she makes the most of that time with multi-tasking, maximally effective products that do more with less. 

Erin — a former fashion creative director who has worked for brands like Rebecca Taylor, Theory, and Helmut Lang — is well-versed in beauty brands as she as in fashion. She has an eye for those lines that work best for her routine and skin type, and doesn't compromise or stray too far once she finds something she loves.

Here, we asked Erin to walk us through her pared-down pampering routine and talk about all things fashion — including how the heck we put on real clothes after a year and a half of wearing nothing but elastic waistbands. Read on to learn her wise ways and maybe find a few skinimalist products of your own.

Erin RyderName: Erin Ryder

Profession: Co-Founder / Wearer of Many Hats at Cesta Collective

Skin type: Combination / acne prone 

Hair type: Wavy-ish & many different textures all on one head. 

Duration of beauty routine: Depends on the day! Lately, no more than 10 minutes, unless I'm masking. 

Walk us through your daily beauty routine: 
I start every single day with an iced matcha with almond milk and a sprinkle of Moon Juice Collagen Protect to help ease into the day ahead. I typically shower each morning, after finishing my matcha and answering urgent emails. I have a lot of hair, so I don't wash it more than a few times a week. When I do, I use Oribe Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo and Conditioner and then apply Oribe Gold Lust Hair Oil to my wet hair upon getting out of the shower — I always let my hair air dry, I never use heat on it. I then lotion up (I’ve been loving Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Anti-Aging Body Cream lately) + use a retinoid on my décolletage.

I wash my face with Dr. Barbara Sturm Foam Cleanser (morning and night), then apply Goop All-In-One Super Nutrient Face Oil and in the morning, layer on Sturm’s The Good C Vitamin C Serum. At night, I sub the vitamin V for a retinol cream. I finish with Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, no matter the season, and Elta MD UV Daily SPF 40 on days I am leaving my house. 

I don’t wear much makeup these days, if at all. But, when I do, I like to keep it light — usually just Kosas Air Brow Tinted Volumizing Treatment Gel and Kosas Big Clean Volumizing Mascara and whatever lip balm I am currently coveting. I'll use Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick and Lit Up Highlighter Stick if I am feeling fancy (or tired and need to look otherwise). 
Erin Ryder Cesta Bags
What is your philosophy on beauty? 
Keep it natural, keep it clean. 

What is your best beauty advice?  
Drink tons of water and don't forget sunscreen! 

What is the best beauty advice you've ever been given?
My mom always instilled in me that inner beauty is far more important than outer beauty — that you cannot be beautiful on the outside, if you are not beautiful on the inside. So, start from within.  A good moisturizer helps, too. 

What are your 3 must-have products and why?
Dr. Barbara Sturm FoamCleanser, Goop All-In-One Super Nutrient Face Oil and Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream — the only routine that’s kept my skin clear and glowing throughout the pandemic! I was breaking out a lot at the start and surprisingly, switching to a milder cleanser than I had been using made all the difference. 

Do you have any special tips or techniques for how you apply a product to get the best results? 
I really love my new-ish gua sha stone. I received one from a friend for my birthday this year — it has become such a lovely ritual that I look forward to every day. Total game changer. 

What's the biggest beauty mistake you've ever made? 
Plucking my eyebrows wayyy too thin in high school. I am still trying to get them to grow back 20 years later… Why!?! 
Erin and Courtney
What do you love most about your job?
I love so many things about my “job” — though it feels weird calling it just a job, as it is really so much more than that. My co-founder, Courtney Fasciano, and I founded Cesta to be a catalyst for change in the fashion industry and to make a difference in the lives of other women. I love knowing we are doing exactly what we set out to do just 3 years ago — we are providing consistent, incoming generating opportunities for 1,400 women in rural Rwanda & we are running our business as sustainably as possible. We practice what we preach and that is really fulfilling. Plus, even on the hardest of days (of which there are many as a business owner), Courtney and I somehow manage to have tons of fun and laugh more than is ever appropriate. It's the best. 

Now that we're getting ready to emerge back into the world and hopefully start wearing real clothes again, what are your tips for people on how to dress up again?
I, personally, have finally hit a wall on sweats. It took about 15 months, but I finally got there. I am excited to get back into the world and, more importantly, to have a reason to put on something other than sweats again.

I think the optimism in the air is translating to dress as well. I am loving our Rainbow collection at the moment — a super happy pop of color that brightens up any outfit. Especially for the true NY’er in me, who always defaults to black clothing. Our bags bring me so much joy. My advice — find things that do the same for you and support brands that make you feel good about your purchase. Like Cesta Collective (shameless plug!). 

How have have your priorities changes since the pandemic? 
2019 truly feels like another lifetime ago. I’d like to think the pandemic and the past year put life in perspective for most and made us re-evaluate what matters — how and where we spend our time, and with whom, how we spend our money, what's truly important, etc. I hope this value only continues to increase vs. fade as time ticks on. 

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

-Athena Calderone