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Interview

Detox Your Mind, Body and Soul with Soapwalla

BWB speaks with Rachel Winard, founder of Soapwalla, to see how she detoxes in NYC.

Good morning, Brooklyn! The piercing cold of New York’s winter hit my face like a brick as I hopped off the F train and made my way to the Soapwalla studio to see where all the magic happens. After entering the building, making a few turns, and climbing a couple flights of stairs, I caught a whiff of a myriad of essential oils–rose, citrus, lavender–and I knew I was in the right place.

Upon initial impression, you’d think you were walking into an artist’s studio–and you’d be right. The building, established in the mid 1800s, used to belong to a photographer. Decades later, as Soapwalla celebrates its 9th birthday, the photographer’s dark room is now open and pours light into Soapwalla’s localized production operation–a rewarding process of turning beautiful essential oils into safe and effective products for everyone. Even with retailers in over 30 different countries, Soapwalla maintains its homegrown philosophy by making and packaging everything by hand in this very studio. We spoke with founder Rachel Winard to see how she maintains a detoxed lifestyle while being a boss in the clean beauty game. The cold was absolutely worth it.

What is your detox routine during the week? 

I have three things I do during the week that help me feel as healthy and refreshed as possible:

(1) I box 2-3 times a week, (2) I practice yoga 3-4 times a week, and (3) I take a hot bath for to relax myself and my muscles. I fill the bath with Soapwalla’s  Indulgent Bath Soaking Salts  (this time of year, I focus on the  Detox  and  Recover salts), light a bunch of candles, and make a little spa in my bathroom. I LOVE IT.

How do you create a clean environment for yourself at work?

We are lucky at work to play with beautiful ingredients like essential oils, herbs, spices, and cold-pressed oils every day. The scent in the Soapwalla studio is intoxicating and I love spending time there. It’s my second home :)  A few other ways I’ve made the space feel more open and inviting is by purchasing really lovely light bulbs so that the light is clear and bright to work in, but not blinding or harsh. Also, we have about 12 plants around the space that bring green and life into the studio, as well as naturally purifying the air!

What are your go-to detox spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn?

I like to practice yoga at a few places in my neighborhood (BYP  and  Prema, especially).  I also love to walk outdoors alongside the waterfront in Red Hook and in Prospect Park. A walk in nature (even in a crazy city like NYC) immediately makes me feel calmer. Lastly–this is in NJ and not technically NYC–I love the  Korean Spa in Palisades Park  for a day of saunas, steaming, and eating delicious Korean food!

As you have now become an expert in this industry yourself, what clean beauty brands are you faithful to and would recommend to BWB’s readers?

There are so many gorgeous clean skincare brands that are doing wonderful work. For makeup, I recommend W3LL People and Vapour. For haircare, I love Josh Rosebrook and John Masters.  For non-beauty, I love Coyuchi for bedding and bath products; they make luxurious, high quality products that will last you for years.

What advice do you have for our readers to navigate the world of clean beauty (i.e. How can we be more knowledgable/intentional when shopping for beauty products?)? 

This is a fantastic question! First, find companies that you trust. Second, check in with non-profit consumer protection organizations such as  Made Safe.  Third, don’t hesitate to ask questions! If there’s an ingredient in a product you’re unsure about, ask the sales person or write an email to the company. They should be able to describe the ingredient (and if they can’t, that’s helpful information as well…).

What’s next in store for Soapwalla? 

I’m so excited! We’ve been working on three facial cleansers that will release next year: a super gentle milky cleanser for sensitive skin, a lightly sudsing gel cleanser for more active and acne-prone skin, and a powdered cleanser that is infinitely customizable and can be added to either of the liquid cleansers for a more exfoliating experience. They should hit the market late spring 2019.   Also, in preparation for our 10th birthday in December 2019, we’re getting a new look – we’ll have beautiful new branding to share with you all next year!

Alicia Zhang

Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.

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