Photography by Erin Turner
By Shelley Hill Young
About six years ago when Jessica Morse was trying to get pregnant, her naturopathic doctor suggested that in addition to eating organic foods, Jessica needed to reduce the use of chemicals in other parts of her life, including in her personal products. At the time, the self-professed product junkie didn’t find a lot of resources about how to eliminate chemicals from her beauty routine, so she started doing her own research.
“I talked about it all the time, and my friends were like, ‘You need to document this,’ so Jessica started the Bare Beauty blog.
Soon after she launched the blog, her former co-worker Laura Pelzer went to the grand opening of tenoverten nontoxic nail salon in New York and came back telling Jessica how much she would love it. The two decided they should open a nontoxic nail salon in Charleston, but their schedules never synced up.
“We never let go of the idea,” Jessica says.
And then about two years ago, the two started working on what would become The Water Room, which opened in The Cigar Factory in January. The salon is named after a large glassed-in area in the center of the salon, which is intended to show transparency of the cleaning and preparation of all the products used.
“We have nothing to hide,” Jessica says. “You see the action and the ritual of it.”
We recently stopped by The Water Room to ask Jessica about her skin care routine and what she recommends to women who want to make the switch to more organic, natural skin care products.
Jessica suggests switching out the following skin care products for more clean, nontoxic versions first:
1. Body lotion: This is the first product Jessica suggests that you switch out because you use it to cover your entire body, you don’t remove it, and it’s absorbed into your skin. Jessica avoids body lotions that contain parabens, which may disrupt hormones; silicones, which may not break down easily; and propylene glycol, which could cause skin irritations. She also avoids synthetic fragrances and color. Her favorite organic brand? Grown Alchemist.
2. Deodorant: Deodorant is tricky because it’s so personal and your body usually needs time to adjust, Jessica says. She advises against making this switch during the summer. Conventional deodorants often contain antiperspirants, usually aluminum salts, which block the sweat glands and can be carcinogenic. Favorite natural deodorants to try include Schmidt’s and Vapour Organic AER Next-level deodorant.
3. Body washes: Jessica says many conventional body washes contain the same harsh cleansers found in industrial-grade cleaning products. She avoids sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, which can disrupt hormones and irritate your skin.
4. Shampoo and conditioner: Swapping out hair products is important because hair is so porous, Jessica says. She likes Rahua Amazon Beauty shampoos and conditioners, which can be found at Aillea.
5. Toothpaste: Conventional toothpastes can contain artificial flavors, harsh abrasives and chemical foaming agents. Jessica likes Davids Premium Natural Toothpaste, which does not have sulfates or fluoride.
6. Lip balm: We often lick our lips and ingest lip products when we eat and drink. Many lip products contain petroleum, parabens, and artificial colors and flavors. Jessica likes Burt’s Bees and Kari Gran Lip Whip, which she sells at The Water Room.
Jessica’s secrets for moms who want to look bright and awake and not tired:
1. Clove + Hallow concealer: “It has good staying power.”
2. RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer and RMS Beauty’s Living Luminizer Powder: Apply it to the inner corner of your eyes, along your brow bones and in the center of your eyelid to diffuse light. Also use it on your cheekbones. “It’s dewy, not frosty.”
3. Use a brow pencil or powder to define your eyebrows. “Focusing on your eyebrows frames the face and draws the viewer’s eye up so they are not focusing on any undereye circles. Defining your eyes creates the appearance of bone structure. Jessica recommends Ecobrow Defining Brow Wax.
4. Also use a blush and bronzer. Jessica recommends Kosas Color & Light in Longitude Zero and Lily Lolo Honolulu bronzer.
Don’t forget the sunscreen
Jessica recommends Suntegrity’s Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer. “It’s a great double-duty product. You can wear it alone or under your makeup,” she says. Suntegrity also makes a great self-tanner, Jessica says. Look for sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
The Water Room is offering a curated selection of True Botanical products as a pop-up shop from the San Francisco-based skin care line as well as a limited-edition True Botanicals manicure or pedicure.