Emma Graves has professional training in skin care with Estee Lauder (Origins Division), but it was the times she spent with her aunts mixing herbs into beauty and health potions as a young girl that established her personal approach to skin care.
Graves, the self-proclaimed "Pimple Whisperer," takes a holistic approach to skin care that takes the entire body into consideration. After her formal skincare training at Atelier Esthetique, Graves became a licensed skin care specialist in New York and worked under Ling Chan, a deep pore cleanse expert who was known for his star-studded clientele. She eventually went on to get her herbalist certification.
Now, Graves has created her her own line of skincare products, called Between You & the Moon. Containing all natural ingredients like essential oils, herbs and spices, the products are designed to work with the skin and body's natural systems. Graves works with her clients to help them understand their skin in order to make it more radiant and beautiful, and shares some of her philosophy here.
Q. What is your personal philosophy about skin care?
A. I believe in holistic skin care. This implies that the skin is not "separate" from the rest of the body and that whatever you do to your skin effects the rest of your body. This can also be taken in the reverse: whatever is going on in your body shows up in your skin. I also believe that the body wants to (and is able to) heal itself and that the best thing that we can do for beautiful, healthy skin is to support it in doing so.
Q. Why do you choose to practice holistic skin care?
A. When I first started my practice as an herbalist, I saw that many of my clients would take notice when they were able to see physical changes in their appearance. I could tell them that certain things they were doing may be disturbing their hormone balance or causing other imbalances, but they would get discouraged or forget about the task at hand (out of sight, out of mind) if they were only working on some invisible "body system" or a hidden organ. With skin care, they are able to see improvements immediately (we have a short, 28-day skin cycle) – and feel encouraged to keep going with the program. I am not necessarily saying that I am using vanity to keep my clients on track with their health goals, I am just saying that it's easier to keep going when the results are right there in the mirror!
Q. What are some of the most common skin care mistakes you see in clients? What do you recommend for them?
A. The most common mistakes I see usually involve using too many products or too harsh products. They use a strong cleanser to strip the skin of its natural oils, add an astringent to dry it out further and then try to replace the lost oils with artificial oils and chemicals. I recommend that they use natural products that help the skin to stay in balance. I recommend that they only use one product with "active" ingredients at a time. And, of course, I recommend that they work with a professional to find a healthy regimen that suits their needs.
Q. How are your products different from those a woman might buy at the drugstore?
A. The number one thing that sets my products apart from typical drugstore products is that the base products of my entire line (Sow Your Wild Oats, Hydrosols, and Nourish & Replenish Oil) do not contain any chemical preservatives. They are pure grains, waters or oils. They naturally smell wholesome and fresh. Between You & The Moon products are made in small batches with a focus on intention.
Q. What are some of your go-to holistic solutions for acne?
A. As a holistic practitioner, my first order of business is to figure out where the problems are coming from. This usually involves a time where my client is not using any active ingredients so that we can figure out how the skin behaves naturally. This usually gives me some indication to where the imbalance lies and how we can address it. Sometimes, just removing the problem products (replaced simply with Sow Your Wild Oats & Nourish & Replenish Oil to restore balance quicker) can clear the skin up all by itself.
Q. Is there ever a time chemicals are necessary for acne?
A. Though there are chemicals that have been tested and shown to be beneficial to acne in various studies, I do believe that inflammation and pimples can be taken care of without chemicals. It takes diligence on the part of both parties – both the client and the practitioner need patience – but I have seen severe breakout and skin problems clear up completely with natural means.
Q. What would you recommend for someone who has severe cystic acne?
A. I would recommend that they work with someone who will help them determine where the cysts are coming from in order to figure out how to combat them. In the meantime, I can suggest that they utilize the "Frozen Grape Trick." Keep a few purple grapes in your freezer. When you feel a papule rising from below the surface, cut one grape in half and hold the inside of it onto the affected area for about 20 minutes at a time.
Q. What are the best natural ingredients for preventing wrinkles or minimizing their appearance?
A. The most natural ingredient would be a sturdy and large hat to protect you from sun damage. (I have my issues with chemical sunscreens, but that is a large topic I will leave for another time.) If the damage is already done, look for products that include rose hip and carrot seed oil. The vitamins and antioxidants in these two "seed" oils work wonders in nourishing weathered skin.
Q. Why should a woman choose holistic skin care?
A. A woman would choose holistic skin care because she cares about her overall health and well-being along with the desire to look her best.