Meet Caroline of Cocoruto…she may just be your new best friend this winter!
Winter is nearly upon us. The leaves have all but dropped, the weather has cooled, and like clockwork my skin has gone completely haywire. Dry? Oily? It seems my face cannot make up its mind, instead opting for a combination of the two for the foreseeable future. If you’re suffering from the same pre-winter skin dilemma as myself, lucky for us there are people like Caroline Hall in this world. Based in New Bedford Massachusetts, Caroline spends her days in her sunny kitchen-side workspace crafting up all natural skin savers and home goods for her line Cocoruto. Borne from her desire to find all-natural remedies for her own sensitive skin and that of her daughter’s, Cocoruto is Caroline’s solution for the lack of gentle, toxin-free products available on the market. Learn more about Caroline and Cocoruto below and, if you’re already feeling the drying winds of winter or have simply been blessed with sensitive skin yourself, today Caroline is sharing three cold weather skincare DIYs to ease the season’s harshest effects.
Thank you so much for chatting with me, Caroline! Could you introduce yourself and tell our readers a bit more about your skincare line, Cocoruto?
Cocoruto is a small collection of 100% natural facial and body care products that are made of only the most essential, healing, plant-based ingredients. All of the products are extremely gentle and formulated to benefit all skin types. I have very sensitive skin, and I used to struggle to find products that worked for me. I strive to keep the line very minimal and pure, whether it be in product selection, ingredients or branding. I’m personally overwhelmed by too many options, so you won’t find multiple variations of the same product. I select only gentle, non-irritating essential oils for their healing benefits and therapeutic properties. When I want to wear a scent I will use it separately from my skincare routine. I’ve been working on some natural perfumes, too, and those will be showing up in the line next year.
Cocoruto Home is born from my love for design and natural elements. Beeswax candles are a great way to help purify indoor air. When burned they release negative ions that bind to toxins in the air. My dad Fletcher makes the wood candle holders for me, and my brother Ben makes the ceramic candle holders.
How did you discover the world of natural beauty and what was the impetus for starting your own line?
My skin has always been a challenge, I have sensitive skin that tends to get very dry and is irritated by changes in temperature, especially heat. It took me years to realize that I cannot wash my face in a hot shower. It wasn’t until I started using oils on my face that I began to see a big improvement. I have been cleansing with oils for the last few years, and that has made my skin so much brighter, softer and more hydrated.
I started using natural skincare products when I was pregnant with my first daughter 7 years ago. After examining diet and nutrition, I believe that skincare is one of the first places many new mamas look to help reduce exposure to toxins. It’s so difficult and confusing to navigate the world of health and wellness when you are pregnant.
I began making my own products right after my second daughter was born. I wasn’t happy with the natural products we were using, as none were gentle enough for her super sensitive skin. I started researching herbs and plant-based ingredients and made many versions of a moisturizer. My goal was to make a product that would be gentle enough for babies’ skin, and also a perfect moisturizer for adults, both men and women. This evolved into the Body Butter, which in a way is the backbone of the brand.
What’s the best way to approach using your products – do you recommend a step-by-step routine or using the products in a specific order?
The 3 facial products are the Mask, Toner and Serum. Designed to be used in that order. They are formulated for all skin types and are very gentle. The Mask can be used as an exfoliating cleanser or as a mask. It is gentle enough for daily use, as rhassoul clay is not drying like some other clays. I use it twice a week as a mask, and sometimes as a night cleanser. I am always amazed at how soft my face feels after using it! After cleansing, the Toner is great for balancing pH and prepares skin to absorb a moisturizer. The toner is made of lavender and neroli hydrosols, and contains no alcohol. Hydrosols are produced by steam-distilling plant materials, and contain all of the beneficial properties of the plants. The Serum is a perfect moisturizer on its own or can also be used before applying face cream. It is made primarily of argan oil, which contains tons of antioxidants and vitamins and is incredibly softening. I will be introducing an oil cleanser and a face cream to the line soon, so stay tuned!
Do you have a favorite product from the line? What makes this an essential for you?
I think I would have to say the Serum. I use it every morning and night and, even though the essential oils are added only for their incredible properties, it has a gorgeous scent! It really absorbs beautifully when applied to damp skin.
But it’s a close call, considering how much I use the Body Butter. Both of my daughters use the Body Butter after baths, and love applying it themselves.
These two products have been some of my best sellers, as well.
Does your own skincare routine change from season to season?
During the warm weather I use the serum as a stand alone moisturizer but, in the colder months, I always apply a face cream at night. Last year, I was using the body butter on my face, but the new face cream I am working on will be available soon.
Autumn and winter weather is known to be incredibly harsh on skin — especially where you’re based in coastal Massachusetts — what’s the best way to combat dry, cold weather skin?
I am not a fan of winter in New England. One of the most effective ways to deal with the cold weather is to keep hydrated and eat lots of vegetables. In the summer it’s so much easier to access fresh local veggies. We had a CSA this past season with an amazing local organic farm. Eating in season creates such a strong connection to food, and knowing the farmers is a huge bonus. I find that it just means more meal planning in the winter months. We cook lots of soups, and try to make bone broth frequently, which has many benefits for skin. Externally, it’s important to avoid stripping your skin’s natural oils, which can lead to skin issues. For me, it caused excessive dryness, which would lead me to sometimes break out. But for other skin types, it may cause more oil production, also potentially leading to breakouts. Using a gentle cleanser, like the Mask or a cleansing oil will help to balance oil production and your skin will be much happier for it.
Could you share a bit about the tutorials below – what makes them perfect for this time of year?
Changing seasons means change in routines and possibly diet and will likely have an effect on skin. Herbal facial steams are perfect to use as part of a quick mini-facial to help clear out your pores and encourage circulation. Since I have sensitive skin, I don’t steam for very long and I don’t completely cover my head with the towel. The steam can be intense, so I take breaks frequently.
The oats, honey and cinnamon mask is also a great way to help cleanse pores and soften skin. These are ingredients that most of us already have in our kitchen, and somehow together they are like magic. Like all of the ingredients I use in the line, they are also very gentle. Raw honey is amazing as a cleanser or a mask all by itself. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, acts as a humectant, and contains lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You really can’t go wrong with using raw honey as part of your regular skincare routine!
Your products are so beautiful – from the packaging, to the experience of using them, to the gorgeous results – what do you think the key is for feeling beautiful in your own skin?
I think number one is treating your body with respect and making time for yourself. Easier said than done, for some of us. I feel so much better physically and emotionally when I am eating real foods and doing yoga. Time is not easy to come by as a mother, so it takes some figuring out but it’s so worth it!
Thank you so much Caroline! Scroll on for the tutorials…
Floral Facial Steam
1/4 cup dried lavender
1/4 cup dried chamomile
1/4 cup dried calendula
100% cotton cloth, large enough to cover your face
During a time of year when your skin is often congested and dry, a facial steam can be a beautiful way of allowing your skin the breath and moisture it craves while drawing out impurities and toxins. While you can use pure hot water, the addition of dried herbs and flowers increases nourishment and soothes tired, stressed out skin.
1. Scoop dried herbs and flowers into the mixing bowl. For this steam, Caroline used calendula, lavender and chamomile flowers — all available online or at many natural foods stores.
2. Heat a few cups of water in a kettle over the stove top until boiling. Carefully pour boiling water over the herbs and flowers until the bowl is nearly full.
Let sit for a couple of minutes to allow the flowers to release their beneficial properties, but not long enough for the water to cool. Place your clean face over the bowl and cover your entire head with the towel. To avoid scalding your skin, it’s best to start further away and slowly get closer to where you’re skin is hot but comfortable — about 10-12″ over the bowl is close enough, especially for sensitive skin.
For sensitive skin, a 5-minute steam is enough. Caroline loosely drapes the towel over her head, as it’s too much heat for her skin if the steam has no escape. Be sure to also take frequent breaks for air.
Allow the steam to wash over your face for several minutes. During this time your pores will slowly open, soaking up hydration, softening the stratum corneum (outer layer of dead skin cells that often clog pores), increasing circulation and flushing out toxins.
After about 5 to 7 minutes, use a washcloth to gently exfoliate skin or move on to the cleansing method below.
Raw Honey Cleanse
1 – 2 tsp local raw honey
100% cotton face cloth
After you’ve gently exfoliated your face post-steam, apply 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw honey to your face and massage gently into skin using your fingertips, being sure to avoid the eye area. Dampen the cotton face cloth with warm water, wring out, and lay the cloth over your face to heat the honey and lock in moisture. Leave on your face for at least a minute, up to 15 minutes. Rinse your face with warm water and pat dry. Apply moisturizer or oil as you usually would.
Honey, Oat and Cinnamon Mask
2 tsp oat flour (or grind up rolled oats in a clean coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp honey
Mix the oats and cinnamon in a small dish and add honey to form a paste. This will result in a fairly thick consistency so, if you want it thinner, add more honey or a little water to thin out. Leave on for 5-10 min. When you rinse it off, the oats will act as a gentle exfoliant, making your skin feel super soft and hydrated.
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