It's hard to believe that as little as five years ago, the term "clean beauty" wasn't that common. Sure, we all had heard of organic and natural, but the concept of clean was still something that hadn't yet reached the ubiquitousness that it enjoys today. Enter Lola Gusman, aka The Hermes Hippie, a beauty influencer on a mission to educate consumers on why clean beauty so special and how making your routine more focused on safe, effective, ethical products can be beneficial to both your skin and the planet.
In addition to being super knowledgeable about all things clean, Lola is also a devoted Shen customer and has become great friends with Jess. The two spend their time together talking about quality clean beauty brands and swapping skin-care secrets.
We sat down with Lola for this week's The Regimen to do a deep dive into clean beauty and what a lot of people get wrong about it (no, it doesn't mean "chemical free" and she really wishes people would stop demonizing proven-safe synthetic ingredients), as well as her favorite clean beauty products and her best skin-care advice. Keep reading to learn more about why we love this down-to-earth beauty expert.
Name: Lola Gusman
Profession: Corporate attorney by day, beauty influencer by... also day.
Skin type: Normal, aging
Hair type: Fine, thin, forever short
Duration of beauty routine: My skin-care routine is anywhere from a couple of minutes (if I'm using a single-step product like a retinol) and up to 30 minutes if I'm masking.
Walk us through your daily beauty routine:
My skin regimen has changed pretty dramatically during the pandemic. Since I no longer leave the house on a daily basis, I'm not always motivated to apply products until later in the day when my skin starts feeling dry — and even then I might just use a hydrating mist or slather on a bit of hydrating serum. A huge part of my day is a moment of calm when I first get up. I need to curl up in my chair with a mug of cold brew and get myself mentally prepared for the day.
Even when I do make an effort, my morning routine tends to be quite a bit simpler than the evening one. I will either splash my face with water or use a gentle cleanser like the Augustinus Bader The Cream Cleansing Gel, followed by a hydrating mist, a serum, an oil and, if I know I'll be outside for a long stretch, SPF. I love using vitamin C serums in my daytime routine, because they don't just stimulate collagen and help brighten the skin, but also provide antioxidant protection. The Mara Sea Vitamin C Serum is lovely and, since it's an oil serum, it allows me to skip a step if I'm feeling lazy.
Nighttime is when I bring out the big guns. I am a cleanser fanatic, so depending on how my skin is feeling and whether I'd been wearing makeup or SPF, I might use a micellar water (I adore the one from Furtuna Skin, because it both cleanses and treats the skin and feels absolutely lovely), a gentle cleanser like the one from Bader, a mild scrub from Reflekt, or a lush balm (Haoma's Nourishing Cleansing Balm has the most incredible texture and I love that it rinses off). I then layer on mists, hydrating serums, oils and seal it all in with a rich cream, a balm, or even a sleeping mask. The one exception to this multi-step routine is my retinol nights: I don't like to dilute my retinol, so I forego all other products on those designated nights and use my retinol products on their own.
I don't wear makeup during the day even when we aren't living our lives indoors, so evenings out are my occasion to really play with makeup. I'm not a big fan of foundation and prefer to spot conceal and focus on glowing skin. I love a glowy oil under makeup — Cosmic Glow by Supernal, Advanced Multi-Perfecting Red Oil Serum from Venn and Furtuna's Biphase Moisturizing Oil are big favorites. I layer them over Environ's Frown Serum — aka a facelift in a bottle. I love a bold eye and have a very age-inappropriate love for glitter, so I often end up reaching for Roen palettes because they are easy to use and gorgeously shimmery.
What is your philosophy on beauty?
I believe in listening to your skin. There are too many people giving one-size-fits-all prescriptions, but our skins and circumstances are special and unique. My own skin changes dramatically depending on weather, my hormones, habits (hello, lack of sleep!) and a host of other factors. Sometimes I need a multi-step routine and sometimes I crave extreme simplicity. Do what makes you and your skin happy. Though I do have one hard and fast rule: Washing your face at night is absolutely non-negotiable!
What is your best beauty advice?
Wash your face, wear SPF, don't smoke and maybe don't get beauty advice from TikTok.
What is the best beauty advice you've ever been given?
It's not so much advice as a beauty philosophy, but my mother has always hated foundation and loves a dewy moisturizer. Even back when everyone was launching a mattifying product, she would return creams that weren't greasy enough. I am a proud greaseball because of her and I think my skin is all the better for it.
What are your three must-have products?
Supernal Cosmic Glow Oil (looks amazing, smells amazing, gives the best glow), Nécessaire The Deodorant (the only natural deodorant that works for me unfailingly), and Furtuna Due Alberi Biphase Oil (love how the bi-phase formula allows me to skip a serum and still get the hydration I need and it's wonderfully light).
Do you have any special tips or techniques for how you apply a product to get the best results?
My favorite makeup tip is not to be afraid to use fingers. In fact, a lot of the clean makeup products work better when applied that way — the warmth of the fingers helps the product melt into the skin. Also, it's easy and feels like finger painting — because makeup should be fun!
What's the biggest beauty mistake you've ever made?
Not using SPF when I was younger, overdoing it with products, and not following my intuition. Every time I felt uneasy about using a product, I ended up having a bad reaction.
What do you love most about your job?
I sort of have two jobs (not counting being a mom). When it comes to being an attorney, I love problem solving and I kind of love negotiations. When it comes to my beauty influencer gig — that's really where my passion lies. I love writing, I love making videos, I love photographing products (even though I'm a rank amateur) and I absolutely love interacting with my community. It brings me endless joy.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about clean beauty?
It's not just marketing (because all of beauty is heavily dependent on marketing — it's not exclusive to clean beauty), it's not just a fad (although it can certainly feel like it), and it doesn't mean that conventional beauty is "toxic" or "dangerous." Clean beauty means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but it should be about quality, ethics and passion — not fear.
How do you suggest to people that they make the change in their routine from conventional products to clean beauty?
Honestly, at this point I think clean beauty sells itself. I wouldn't ever push someone to change their routine, however, I know that my own skin has improved dramatically and became much healthier and more resilient since I made the switch ten years ago. All I can do is share my own experience and allow people to make the choices that feel right for them.