As we enter week 3 of social distancing in the UK people are rallying together more than ever to support each other and show our gratitude to the NHS. We sat down (digitally may we add!) with ebo founder Kirstie Garrett to learn about what tools she has put in place to help her get through these moments and how her unique brand (which is geared towards the idea of pairing back and simple step approaches) could maybe help us all... Click here to shop the range.
First of all, how do you take your tea?
Ha! I have not had caffeine for 20 years. I drink hot water and lemon in the morning, then move to Pukka. The 3 Mint seems to be doing the trick at the moment!
Tell us a little bit about your background, who you are and what you represent
My mother's maiden name was Flowers and my first business was making mouldy smelling flower waters in jam jars in the garden that I would then force on family! I gained my Aromatherapy Diploma 30 years ago and began making products for Hollywood A-listers, professional athletes, stressed-out mums and busy professionals.
This was such a success, I went on to co-found the natural skincare range 'Balance Me', launching in Topshop’s Oxford Circus and then John Lewis stores across the UK. I was working 18 hour days, every day. Paying people to do my garden, walk my dogs, clean my house. Surviving on take away food. So I made a change. I sold most of my shares, keeping a small percentage as a pension fund.
I took time out to recover from that burn out and I went back to basics, formulating for myself, friends and clients, free from scaling external commercial pressures and I went on to create my best products with ebo. My personal choice is to steer away from putting artificial chemicals on my skin or back into the environment, and I know a growing number of people feel the same way.
What has been your release over the last few weeks and what tips would you give to those struggling to find a balance?
I am isolating with my two dogs literally on a cliff edge in South West France. We are around two weeks ahead of the UK on lockdown. I would say you get into the swing of things after two weeks and then it gets easier. Music has been a great release for me (I can play it as loud as I like and sing to the ocean and no one hears!).
In terms of balance, I believe structure is important, especially keeping your sleep patterns in check. I rise at the same time Monday to Friday (keeping weekends more casual) and I use the ebo trio of rollerballs religiously to create different moods.
On waking I use Immunity to inhale and set my positive mind intentions for the day. When I start my office work I apply Clarity to help me stay focused. And finally I use Serenity when it's time to relax and let my mind switch off. I also change the lighting to complement my routines, so bright lights for office time and low candle light in the evening.
Which people are keeping you motivated on social media and why?
Early on in lockdown I was really inspired by Chris Martin joining with the WHO and @glblctzn to create the #togetherathome movement, bringing live streaming interactive request concerts from their home to yours.
This made it clear to me that I needed to change the purpose of @ebobeauty and switch our focus to being helpful, sharing a wide range of links to free resources such as music concerts, recipes and tutorials. Of course I keep a focus on 360 degree wellbeing, because ebo was never just skin deep. One of the great things about being a small independent brand is that we are nimble and responsive and we changed overnight on social to become a positive resource for people.
What is your go-to reading material right now to keep your spirits lifted?
I like to rest my eyes at night time and find listening to books on Audible is just brilliant for helping my mind switch off. This may sound weird, but I'm going to be honest... (rather than recommend an 'on brand' wellbeing book!), I am listening to "The Volunteer" by Jack Fairweather. It's the true story of a resistance hero who infiltrated Aushwitz. Humankind has survived more harrowing times than what we are currently experiencing. It helps me keep a fighting spirit and know that this time will end and we will all take lessons from it.
If you could sum up briefly how you are getting through this stay-at-home period, what would you say?
Get up, wash your face, have a stretch and breathe. Thank your body and mind for being strong this day and don't look too far ahead. Take it day by day.
What inspired you to set up ebo?
I felt there was still a gap in the market for a really honest, natural, eco skincare brand that was authentic, well priced and generously sized for everyday use – and not losing sight of the vision to work with the amazing physiology of the skin that we are born with. I am focused on our footprint at each stage of production and distribution and the effect that ebo can have on individuals, their lifestyle choices and their impact on the planet as they pass through.
Tell us a little bit about what makes ebo different to other skincare brands?
Ebo focuses on seasonal skin health and we produce products that are formulated to deliver the specific vitamins, nutrients and fatty acids that skin requires through the changing seasons. So we produce facial oils with different ingredients for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter to help your skin adapt to the changing external elements that we all experience, but that we also have no power over... the weather!
I have always found that our body systems respond very quickly when we strip everything back to be in sync with nature. The most widely relatable example of this is diet; we all naturally crave different foods through the year. It is not a conscious decision, but a built in survival mechanism. Our bodies tell us what we need, when we need it - more heating spices and warm foods in winter versus salads in Summer for example.
I went back to nature and set about formulating seasonal skincare solutions taking intelligent plant ingredients that would naturally work with our own body systems to keep skin in balance through the seasons whilst battling changing external (weather) changes. That does make it sound really simple doesn't it! Often the best solutions are. I think as humans we have managed to over-complicate areas of living and skincare is definitely one of them.
Why is it important to change your skin routine with the seasons?
I noticed regular, annual, skin patterns recurring in my own skin health and speaking to clients and friends realized this was in fact a problem for everyone. Heat, redness and blocked pores (from using SPF in the Summer. Problems with irritation, due to spending more time indoors in Winter. And in Autumn (maybe the hardest transitional period) real problems with hydration, dry itchy patches. ebo is all about developing daily routines that are easy to stick with, so that you see visible results in your skin health.
What do you feel are the most essential parts of a skincare routine and why?
I think having a daily routine is the most essential thing. One that can be quick, but give instantly visible results (as this is a great inspiration to keep up good skincare practices). Our brand mantra is: routine, repetition, reward. Consistency will give you results. ebo is all about efficient, fuss free products that give real results with consistent use. We keep the routines simple in the hope people can stick to it.
What other self-care routines do you practice at home?
One of the reasons I love facial oils is that they encourage some easy facial massage in daily application. Just a two minute daily face massage when applying your oil will bring oxygenated blood to the surface, improve tone and drainage and will visibly lift and plump your skin, diminishing the appearance of lines very quickly. Face oil is applied to clean, dry skin in the morning and at night. Warm 5 drops of oil between your palms and massage in upward circular strokes to your face, neck and decolletage breathing in its grounding scent.
Otherwise, my dogs encourage me to take regular breaks and I am fairly self-disciplined when it comes to yoga practice and drinking a good amount of water to stay hydrated. I am also avoiding alcohol during lockdown as emotions are already elevated!