Shannon Mann | alchemist
This product junkie discovered her best skin, not in a magazine, but in a lush jungle on the Big Island of Hawaii.
"I grew up wishing I could be a ‘naturally pretty’ girl. I wouldn’t leave the house without wearing foundation. I was alone a lot when I moved to the Big Island, so I decided to quit using all products for a month in order to have a baseline for pinpointing the causes of my skin problems. My deeply rooted insecurity put up a fight, but logic won and I took the leap. In two weeks my skin balanced itself out with just water. It was surreal to wake up and look in the mirror at clear skin after over a decade of acne. I still remember how naked my face felt in public the first time I went out without makeup. This single experience changed the way I perceive beauty. Shock turned to anger as I accepted that the products I loved were causing the problems, not me, and that natural beauty was not about aesthetics at all. I had wasted years feeling insecure, wearing a full mask of makeup every day, always trying to ‘fix’ myself underneath. Turns out that confidence is what we need, and we have great skin by nature. We just need to stop being sold on junk, to let our faces and our selves breathe.
After that experience, my focus turned to aging with health + confidence. I was committed to never use anything toxic or synthetic again. A desire for a no impact life, a newfound love of cooking, and countless hours of research had me creating clean skin care formulas in my kitchen using pure renewable plants. I fell in love with simple things like roses for soft skin, who's scent I could love for a lifetime. I learned from herbalists about which local plants were best for keeping skin moisturized and rejuvenated, and for repairing scars and sun damage. I freed myself from seeking happiness via an endless stream of new products promising results from the latest ingredient discovery. I didn’t need that anymore, I had roses. Maintaining youthfulness as we age is as complex as picking a flower.
After ten years, I still use the same formulas. I can't tell you the last time I bought foundation. When friends and acquaintances who tried my creations kept returning for more, I knew I had something that worked for everyone. Humans are simply meant to enjoy these plants on our skin."
Cass Cleave | PHOTOGRAPHER
In her own form of alchemy, Cass captures the beauty she sees in nature + people by creating authentic relevant photo content and branding.
A believer in making life what you will, Cass is most often found behind the camera or in the water surfing.