Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ayla Beauty: radiance inside and out

Glowing guest and darling skincare consultant, Nora Decemberle, at the Ayla Beauty store opening party.

This small shop in Pacific Heights was once a carriage house and is next door
to San Francisco's Healing Arts Building.

A couple of months ago, I was at the hairdresser's flipping through C Magazine, and saw this blurb about Ayla Beauty and was intrigued by the description of customized skincare consultation and hard-to-find beauty products without harmful ingredients. On the website, the link for "Get A Kit" immediately caught my eye. For $20, including shipping, I filled out a detailed questionnaire about my concerns and goals for skincare and I was sent six samples handpicked for me. Fun! Even though the experience was online, it felt very personal. A couple of days after I submitted the questionnaire, I received this email:

Hi Lesa, 

I'm excited to be your Ayla guide. Contact me whenever you need product recommendations or advice about skincare in general -- I'd be delighted to help.

Here's a list of the items you'll find inside your package, which shipped today. 

Elave Age Delay Cleanser: An anti-aging, exfoliating cleanser containing glycolic acid that gently rejuvenates dull, clogged, or dehydrated skin

Sentara Plump Effect Bio-Relaxing Serum: A deeply hydrating but completely non-greasy serum that plumps up wrinkles with a combination of seaweed, ginseng, and hyaluronic acid

S5 Restore Cream: A fast-absorbing, cushy cream that’s clinically proven to increase skin’s moisture content, reduce wrinkles, and drive away dullness

VOYA Me TimeA seaweed-infused lotion for Balanced to Dry skin that plumps and firms as it provides antioxidant protection and boosts radiance

Suntegrity BB cream SPF 30: Our favorite BB cream, this one combines moisturizing, anti-aging, priming, and skin perfecting benefits in one product along with some of the best sun protection you can get.

You'll also receive a card with tips for testing new products as well as a suggested AM/PM regimen. Some of our samples are hand-filled (we want to provide the perfect product matches for you, even if we don't have ready-made samples available). Because they're only labeled with the product names, you may want to refer to our website for any additional usage instructions -- you'll find all of that information on each product page I've linked to in this email.

For a dose of extra exfoliation you can leave the age delay cleanser on for 2-3 minutes and gently rub off with a damp muslin or washcloth. I chose two moisturizers for you as I thought you might like to compare. You can alternate between the two of them at night. The BB Cream should give you enough moisture during the day but if you feel a little dry, of course feel free to add a dab of either moisturizer to the cream.  

Finally — I'm a big believer in caring for skin from the inside out as well. Here are some tips that might be helpful for you:
1. Taking omega-3 supplements can help keep your skin balanced and radiant, and it will help with age-related inflammation, too (which can be linked to acne). My favorite brand is Nordic Naturals, which is sold online and at Whole Foods.
2. We love nutritionist Ian Marber's straightforward approach and unique recipes. You might enjoy reading our interview with him on anti-aging nutrition.
3. Dr. Jeannette Graf also did an interesting series of interviews with us on boosting radiance in skin from the inside out. You can read them here and here.

I hope you find something in your kit that you love! Please feel free to contact me anytime with questions. Otherwise, I'll follow up with you in a bit to see how things are going.

Then a couple days later my samples arrived, nicely packaged in a drawstring muslin bag.

Oops, I realize this photo has a mix of my original samples, plus a few I got at the opening party.
 But you get the idea!

With this detailed card from Nora:

Then I was emailed an invite for "Champagne, chocolate, raffles and radiance" at the opening party for the Ayla store. Of course I had to go - champagne, chocolate and beauty products!?!!- a few of my favorite things, plus I wanted to meet the owner Dara Kennedy and my beauty buddy Nora. I already felt like I knew them. When I arrived at 1825 Bush Street, I walked past the tiny building tucked in the side of the Healing Arts Building, but once I found it, I entered a hubbub of happy vibrant women.

Kerry Wall was the beautiful representative of The Organic Pharmacy. Started by a homeopathic pharmacist in the UK, the cosmetic line only uses the best carefully chosen pure ingredients. Kerry gave me a little makeover and I course I had to buy a few things. I couldn't resist their makeup line "Organic Glam". It's not an oxymoron in their hands.

Dara is on the far right answering the many questions and making recommendations. 

Dara with happy clients. 

Many products to sample!

The Organic Glam products I purchased that I've been enjoying everyday since. 


  1. Thank you, Lesa. It's a little too late for me for an anti-aging regime but I am always on the lookout for good beauty products. And I love to support women who are adventurous enough to start a small business. Will check out the website this minute.

  2. Wow, I'm impressed by their caring, personal touch as they market their products. You want to be part of their tribe! I will check them out, too.