I desperately wish that Ayla Beauty existed when I was a teen. Battling chronically oily skin (that damn T-zone!) and what seemed like unending breakouts, I’d dream about the day when I’d finally find the right combination of products that would magically transform my clotted complexion into clear, supermodel-like skin.
Sadly, my teenage-self never quite got it right. And even now, in my late-twenties, I’m sort of a mess when it comes to picking the perfect products for my skin type. So when I found out about Ayla Beauty, the results-focused beauty retailer and studio that offers personal guidance on effective and non-toxic skincare regimens, I was so pumped.
Ayla’s founder, Dara Kennedy, is an expert at all things non-toxic beauty. She’s curated all of Ayla’s offerings from the best non-toxic suppliers around the world, and she leads the team in creating custom skincare kits for Ayla’s clients.
“A product that works for your friend, or your sister, or your mom, might not work for you. We take a more personal approach because skin changes all the time—it’s the largest organ in our bodies, and it reveals everything that’s going on in our lives,” says Kennedy. That’s why she works one-on-one with clients to find the perfect set of products for their skin—and she’s committed to results.
As expected, “it takes a little back and forth,” says Kennedy. “But when we nail down the perfect skincare products for a client, it’s life-changing.” Really effective, beautifully sourced non-toxic beauty treatments are less rare than they used to be, but Kennedy created her boutique to make it easier to shop for organic beauty offerings. “My background is in beauty product development and marketing, so I always thought I’d make products. But there are so many products out there, and I realized what we could really use is a place that could help us sort through all of it.”
Kennedy made all of our dreams come true and gave us the perfect skin prescription for every skin type—but head to Ayla Beauty for a personalized box of skin care goodies (and free samples that are specially chosen for you!).
These are the 20- to 30-something women who work hard and play harder. They’re the ones who religiously attend the 5am Soulcycle class, hustle to make it to the office for an 8am call, work through lunch and get a salad delivered by Postmates, and hit happy hour pretty late to meet up with friends.
“This used to be me!” Kennedy laughed. For this group, who’s too busy to deal with an involved routine, she recommends the Parisian line BioRecept. “They’re very flexible, and you can kind of cocktail the products together.” Kennedy loves the cleanser, and combining the Néobio elixir and Total Life Eclat serum is her go-to for “brides-to-be that need to clear up congested skin” in time for the big day.
Twenty to forty-year-old women who’ve grown up (or spent a lot of time) in the sun. You can find them hiking, surfing, or biking pretty much every day. They probably don’t wear as much sunscreen as they should, but consider their laugh lines as proof of a life well-lived.
“This group wants fuss-free beauty,” says Kennedy. She recommends Ursa Major’s Fantastic Face Wash (see, we told you it was good!) because it strips the grime off of skin without drying out pores. And a good SPF is important. “BANXBlock was developed by a plastic surgeon and is the official sunscreen of LA County lifeguards. It doesn’t feel greasy and doesn’t come off in the water, but provides complete protection. It’s also great under makeup.”
As for a product that can help repair skin from sun damage, look for anything with antioxidants. “We sell this chocolate that’s laced with an antioxidant called astaxanthin, an algae-derived antioxidant that’s 6000 times more powerful than vitamin C that provides a type of internal sunscreen support.” It’s kind of a no-brainer to add to your beauty routine, because it’s chocolate!
These are the mamas in the 30 to 50 age range that successfully juggle being a boss at work and being a mom at home. They’re worried about aging but don’t have all the time in the world for an intensive beauty routine.
While Kennedy normally likes to pair a few different products from different brands, for “a lot of women that fall into this category, Luzern works wonderfully. I’ve been using its products myself since 2002.” The Swiss products work across skin types, and they were one of the first companies to stand for clean, green beauty products. Kennedy recommends applying its mist to help hydrate skin before applying serums and lotions, the anti-aging sunscreen, and the luxurious Force de Vie Creme Luxe night cream.
Whether they’re traveling for work or pleasure—usually a bit of both—these women are never in the same city long enough to shake off the jet lag. They’re concerned with skincare, but at the same time don’t want to lug a bunch of products with them everywhere they go.
“One of the things that I swear by when I travel is called Les Fleurs de Bach. Their botanical remedies are head and shoulders above all others. They make them all in France using organic wildflowers and infuse them in the sun. The jetlag elixir works!” says Kennedy. She recognizes that for those who are traveling, carrying around multiple products can be a hassle. The mystical Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum is all-in-one, “which is nice for travel. Wash your face, put this one, that’s it.” And constant exposure to high altitudes sucks the moisture out of the skin cells (even if you’re using a mist and a facial oil). “You need some sort of barrier to protect and lock in moisture. This cocoon creme is from Sweden, where they have very harsh winters. I use this on every flight with a little hyaluronic acid serum.”
Women who try to live a balanced, healthy life. Maybe they’ve already ditched a lot of toxic beauty products, but can’t seem to give up her favorite drugstore mascara and deodorant. She’s interested in finding green beauty products that work really well—and can help with anti-aging, brightening, and moisture.
For someone who’s already embraced the non-toxic beauty trend and isn’t intimidated by crafting their own beauty routine, Kennedy recommends the Marie Veronique line. “It’s made in Berkeley and has a kind of crunchy vibe. But she packs some hard-hitting ingredients in there!” The line has an incredible C+E+Ferulic Serum that Kennedy suggests wearing during the day to brighten skin, but the real showstopper is the retinol serum.
“It’s a 7 percent retinol serum, so it really works. People come back to us after using and say, I’ve been able to stop wearing makeup now thanks to this product.” Try it at night under the evening facial oil.