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Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — is one of the most thoroughly educated founder-formulators we know; he has not only a pharmacy degree, but also a PhD in Natural Product Formulation. As one beauty editor put it, "What Pedro doesn't know about natural product formulation isn't worth knowing." Here, Pedro shares quick strategies for winter skincare, including what we think of as his "super-moisturizing product sandwich."

Firmness and elasticity seem to be top of mind for many of us these days, and for good reason: even those who are aging proudly would admit that saggy skin is not a particularly welcome sight. For more on this topic, we interviewed Dr. Macrene Alexiades — the revered dermatologist with three Harvard degrees and one of the most enviable CVs in her field. She graciously provided her insights when she visited our San Francisco studio in November 2018, and we’ve been slathering on the 37Actives ever since.

What you do to feed and protect your body’s cells as they produce energy — how you feed and protect those cells’ mitochondria, to be exact — can have a profound effect on the energy and overall health of your whole body. This invites a proactive approach to health, not the reactive “problem-solution” approach that we are so used to taking. And this is why we think everyone in the health and wellness world is going to be talking about mitochondria next. (Mitochondria: it’s the new microbiome.)

It also led us to think, “What does this mean for skincare?” Serendipitously, when we were talking recently with the brilliant chemist Marie Veronique about what's new in skincare, she mentioned, “It’s all about the mitochondria.” Dara’s ears perked up at the m word, and she and Marie decided that they had to dig into this topic for Ayla straight away. Because if we can take a proactive approach to our health and energy levels at the cellular level, and ultimately feel better, shouldn’t we do that with skincare, and ultimately look better?

Many of us struggle with dry complexions, especially during the cooler winter months. So who better to ask for tips than our friends at MyHavtorn, who sail through the long Swedish winter with both great aplomb and great skin? Here, Robin and Ingrid (the photogenic duo behind the brand) share their top tips for great winter skin from both outside in and inside out.

Kosas put together a couple of helpful shade-finding tools to steer you towards the best Tinted Face Oil shade for your complexion. We hope you find it helpful! If you're still at a loss, free to email help@aylabeauty.com with a photo of yourself against a white background or call us — we'd be happy to help.

We've been hunting for an excellent exfoliating foot cream since Ayla launched in 2011...actually, Dara's been on the lookout for one since 2006. Want to find out why she's been so fixated on this search? Learn more about that, and the beautiful product that MyHavtorn created for us as a result, here.

We like à la minute DIY face masks: they're a lot of fun. But as founder and formulator Dr. Pedro Català of TWELVE Beauty puts it, “Natural product formulation is a science, not an experiment.” So who better to ask for a perspective on the DIY craze than one of our favorite formulators? Click here for Pedro’s guest blog post on the subject, which includes a list of ingredients to use with caution.

Facial gua sha uses a small, smooth stone tool that is pressed against the skin to gently massage facial fascia, muscles, and skin while stimulating specific energy points. The beautiful rainbow fluorite facial gua sha tool we carry at Ayla is as foolproof as they come and not only easy to use, but also quite versatile. In this tutorial, our Guide and esthetician, Beth, explains the shape of our tool and what each side can be used for. 

Gua sha is a traditional healing technique from China that involves a small, smooth stone board that is pressed against the skin to gently massage facial fascia, muscles, and skin while stimulating specific energy points. This encourages healthy circulation, releases muscular tension, and promotes lymphatic drainage for a more lifted, less puffy look and brighter, healthier looking skin. In this tutorial, Beth demonstrates a simple facial gua sha routine that you can perform on yourself at home. 

In these mini bonus tutorials, our Guide and esthetician, Beth, will show you how to use your gua sha tool to work on puffiness under the eyes and fine lines around the mouth — two areas of concern that we hear about frequently.

Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — is one of the most thoroughly educated founder-formulators we know; he has not only a pharmacy degree, but also a PhD in Natural Product Formulation. As one beauty editor put it, "What Pedro doesn't know about natural product formulation isn't worth knowing." One of the standouts in his across-the-board stellar line is his Brightening Serum, so we asked him to tell us how he made it so marvelously good.

To us, leading nutrition consultant Ian Marber represents a voice of reason in the world of nutrition, a realm that can be confusingly contradictory. And, in these times of “is this seriously happening right now?,” that voice of reason is particularly refreshing. So during his visit to our SF studio this summer, we invited Ian to help us reset with a few pieces of advice that everyone can follow — and a peek into what he actually eats on a daily basis.


Marie-Veronique Nadeau is something of a folk hero in the natural / non-toxic / green beauty world. We were delighted to interview Marie about her marvelous Probiotic+Exfoliation Mask, its benefits beyond stimulating cell turnover, and how we can all be thinking about exfoliation differently. Read on to learn more about Exfoliation 2.0.

Ellis Brooklyn was created by Bee Shapiro, a chic Williamsburg mom who happens to be a style columnist for The New York Times. These sophisticated, multilayered scents, developed in collaboration with the perfumer behind Byredo, take non-toxic fragrance to a new level. Bee did a little Fragrance 101 for us that we loved, so we asked her to give us some guidance on scent layering, too. Here’s a bite-sized Fragrance 102 on the best ways to blend.

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum has been called many things: "Unicorn Tears," "Liquid Gold," "The Face Oil to End All Face Oils," and most recently from Glamour, "The Best Natural Beauty Product of All Time." Why is it so beloved? We got the scoop from founder April Gargiulo on the specific elements of the Vintner's Daughter formula that deliver this cult favorite's addictive results.

Want to learn more about the beautiful lipsticks from Kosås — from a makeup artist's perspective? At Ayla's San Francisco studio, makeup artist Melissa McMillan demonstrates the use of these wearable, weightless, last-all-day lipstick colors.

Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — is one of the most thoroughly educated founder-formulators we know; he has not only a pharmacy degree, but also a PhD in Natural Product Formulation. As one beauty editor put it, "What Pedro doesn't know about natural product formulation isn't worth knowing." In this interview with Pedro, we focus on moisturizers: what are the biggest myths about moisturizing, and how do the TWELVE moisturizers work together? 

May Lindstrom is often referred to as a "Skin Chef," and one of the things we love about her collection of products is how well they work when mixed together. These products aren't skin type specific because you can combine them to suit your skin and address concerns like acne, dullness, and sensitivity as they arise. Cool, right? But where does one start? We asked May to lead us through her favorite product combinations by skin concern. We hope you love these fun skincare recipes as much as we do. 

K+M Extravirgin Chocolate was created by three superstars—Michelin-starred chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon, and Ad Hoc fame; Armando Manni, creator of the same organic extra-virgin olive oil used in Chef Keller’s restaurants; and Chi Bui, pedigreed pastry chef, chocolatier, and pioneer in “bean-to-bar” chocolates. They spent the last five years fastidiously perfecting their chocolate together, so you can imagine how exquisite this chocolate might be and why we had to have it. What’s truly remarkable, though, is how healthy it is, too. Read on for the remarkable story behind K+M as told to us by head chocolatier Chi Bui.

Want to learn how to use the beautiful Color & Light duos from Kosås? At Ayla's San Francisco studio, makeup artist Melissa McMillan demonstrates the use of these powder and cream based makeup palettes featuring wearable, blendable blush, bronzer, and highlighter colors. 

Two of our favorite skin gurus, Kristina Holey & Marie Veronique, recently visited the Ayla studio together to share some of their wisdom. In this two and half minute video, they discuss perioral and periorbital dermatitis: what it looks like, common triggers, and suggested approaches.

Two of our favorite skin gurus, Kristina Holey & Marie Veronique, recently visited the Ayla studio together to share some of their wisdom. In this quick little video, they discuss product layering: when it can be helpful to layer serums in your skincare routine, and how they suggest approaching the layering process.

Katharine Phillips L’Heureux started Kahina after a trip to Morocco, where she first learned about argan oil; since then, she has developed a full line of products inspired by her many subsequent trips to this beautiful country. In our minds, nothing gives a full-body scrubdown like Kahina's Beldi Soap and Kessa Mitt, which were inspired by Katharine's trips to Moroccan hammams. We asked her to tell us more about these intriguing places that leave you with baby-soft skin.

Posture and movement guru Elizabeth Larkam has been studying and teaching Pilates for over 30 years, building an impressive resume that includes the development of protocols with organizations ranging from Saint Francis Memorial Hospital to Cirque du Soleil, the creation of multiple DVDs and a book, and workshops around the world as a Pilates Master Teacher. We felt there was no better person to go to for an exercise to alleviate tech neck, align the spine, and remind us of the importance of good posture.

We opened our virtual doors on Valentine’s Day 2011 with a name that most people aren’t quite sure how to pronounce. Ayla, pronounced ā-lah, is an old Irish name that means “bearer of light.” The reason why we chose an Irish name for our business is one of our founder's own models of brighter beauty; learn more about her here.

Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — is one of the most thoroughly educated founder-formulators we know; he has not only a pharmacy degree, but also a PhD in Natural Product Formulation. As one beauty editor put it, "What Pedro doesn't know about natural product formulation isn't worth knowing." We tend to agree, so we asked him to enlighten us on the toning step of skincare, one that many of us have questions about. As always, he's got answers.

There’s been a lot of buzz around Kosås (example: massive New York Times Magazine feature), and rightly so. These are among the most weightless, modern, beautifully wearable color cosmetics around, boasting enviable performance and perfectly flattering shades along with green-beauty-approved formulas. Read on to learn how founder Sheena Yaitanes — a fine artist with a chemistry background — creates her colors. She’ll also share her secrets for picking and applying the best ones for you.

Given the frosty temperatures of January 2018, we thought we’d update our introduction to facial oils to help you through these and similarly frigid times in the future (or any sympathy pains your dry skin may seem to be exhibiting). This guide answers three key questions: Who should use oils, how do you choose the best one for your skin, and — the new and important addition — how should you use it? 

Kosas put together a brilliant chart to help you figure out which lipstick and Color & Light palettes (Creme or Pressed) might work best for you. We hope you find it helpful! Feel free to call us if you're torn between shades.

A couple of months ago, when we first met Pedro Català — founder and formulator of TWELVE Beauty — we asked him which product he was most proud of. His answer? “That’s a difficult choice to make, but it has to be the Purifying Cleansing Beauty Cream. I have tried so many different products on the market; some of them are exceptional, but I have never experienced anything like this cleanser.” We agree, so it made sense that our next interview with Pedro should focus on this first step in the TWELVE skincare regimen. Read on to find out what makes it so exceptional.

One of the key products in our founder's skincare routine was whipped up specifically for her sensitive complexion by Marie Veronique herself. “Dara’s Oil” was packaged in hand-labeled bottles that Marie tucked into our inventory shipments from her Berkeley lab from time to time, which Dara would unwrap with a squeal of delight. Now you can use it, too! Learn more about the story behind it — and what's not in it — here.

We adore MyHavtorn and their products, which are fresher, purer, and packed with more sea buckthorn than any others we've tried — so you and your skin enjoy the benefits of this "miracle berry" to the hilt. We get particularly excited when it's harvest time at MyHavtorn and we can get the inside scoop on the year's production. Join us for a peek into the 2017 harvest at the MyHavtorn farm in Bollebygd, Sweden.

We’re always very excited to introduce a new brand to you — even more so when it’s a brand that we’re introducing to the US for the first time; has considerable pent-up demand; and has a founder who’s also the formulator, because then we can ask all kinds of questions. TWELVE Beauty, our latest import from Spain, checks every one of those boxes. Beauty editors have asserted, “What Pedro doesn’t know about natural skincare isn’t worth knowing,” and after Pedro flew in from Valencia for a day to give our team an in-depth training on his products, we could see why. Read on to learn more about Pedro and TWELVE.

We've posted a number of tips from Macrene Alexiades, the New York-based dermatologist with a BA, MD, and PhD from Harvard. Why? Well, she's brilliant, and she has a unique scientific and clinical background that makes her a master at identifying and evaluating the effect of active molecules on aging skin. Recently, she pointed out to us that improper cleansing methods and products can cause unnecessary harm to skin: she often sees her patients over wash, over scrub, and over dry their faces in that single skincare step. Read on so that you don't make the same mistakes.

Debra Jaliman, MD enlightened us already on the what, why, and how-to-fix-it basics of inflammation. Then we asked, “What about diet and other lifestyle factors – do those make a difference where inflammation is concerned?” Dr. Jaliman’s answer was an enthusiastic “Yes!” Read on to learn which foods and other lifestyle factors can exacerbate inflammation. If redness, sensitivity, or acne is getting under your skin, you’ll want this exclusive info. Spoiler alert: Red wine is on the list. Tragic, we know. You can still have a little.

Inika's Certified Organic BB Cream & Liquid Foundation both come in 6 shades; Inika's Baked Mineral Foundation comes in 8 shades. How do you choose the right one? We've got you covered. 

Ellis Brooklyn was created by Bee Shapiro, a chic Williamsburg mom who happens to be a style columnist for The New York Times. These sophisticated, multilayered scents, developed in collaboration with the perfumer behind Byredo, take non-toxic fragrance to a new level. When we wanted to get a little Fragrance 101, Bee was the first resource we thought of. Here’s some guidance to help you find the perfect scent, along with an inside peek at her scent creation process and what we can expect to see next.

We asked Michele Scott-Lynch, the founder of Bouclème, to answer the most frequently asked questions of our biggest Bouclème fans. Here, she covers secrets to getting more volume at the crown; making curls last all day; and refreshing curls the day after washing. 

Pranayama is the yogic exercise of controlling the breath. There are many different pranayama techniques that can be practiced with different goals in mind (calming the mind, cooling the body, building heat in the body, etc.), but overall, breath control can have a profound and positive effect on stress. One of my favorite techniques, Viloma Pranayama, is a simple exercise that can be done at bedtime to achieve a sense of calm and balance.

There have been some rumblings over the past year about the effects of HEV light — the type emitted from smartphones, computers, and tablets — on skin. While we tried to swat those worries away (don’t we have enough skin woes to worry about?), they niggled at the back of our minds, so we called Elizabeth Hale, MD, renowned dermatologist, sun protection expert, and Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation,to get the full scoop. 

We’re delighted to be the first and only San Francisco retailer for May Lindstrom, the much-swooned-over line of gourmand skin treats. May relies upon her training as a chef, her careful study of skin-healing ingredients, and her own love of indulgent rituals to handcraft gorgeous and transformative skincare products. These remarkable, luxurious formulas make skincare not only results-oriented, but also truly pleasurable. Read on to learn the story behind this unique line of products.

Ahhh, Vitamin C: in a world filled with overhyped “miracle” ingredients with scant supporting data, its benefits are well understood and documented. We carry four different Vitamin C serums, but choosing between them isn’t straightforward: you can’t work off percentages alone, since they each feature a different form of Vitamin C. Here’s a brief breakdown to help you pick the right one for you.

We hate to behave like that annoying frenemy who always seems to be finding something more you could be doing, but it’s true: just using sunscreen isn’t enough. You should also get a skin cancer screening every year, according to Elizabeth Hale, MD, celebrated dermatologist and Vice President of the Skin Cancer Foundation. Check out our brief Q&A with her about skin cancer screening ; she also includes a tidbit about how plankton can help save your skin. 

We are beside ourselves with excitement Reverie’s MARE Mediterranean Sea Mist, which in our view is the best salt spray out there. It’s multi-tasking, foolproof, smells amazing, and even comes in an adorable travel size – which you’ll need, because you’ll fall so deeply in love with this texturizing, chic-hair-making marvel that you’ll never want to be without it. We spoke with MARE’s thoughtful and lovely creator, hair stylist Garrett Markenson, about the story behind it and his top styling tips. 

Olio E Osso is a small, Portland-based company that makes beautifully simple and versatile skincare and makeup products. Their Balm is their hero product, and we can see why: everyone, from celebrities to pro athletes to beauty junkies, wants to collect them all. Olio E Osso’s founder, Paola LaMorticella, has been the go-to makeup artist and stylist for top athletes for the past 25 years. Here, she shares application tips for the balms along with various secrets about her fascinating life.

Katharine Phillips L’Heureux started Kahina after a trip to Morocco, where she learned that argan oil, rich in vitamin E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, has great calming, hydrating, anti-aging effects. We’ve been fans of Kahina since its beginning, when facialist Julia March first told us of their organic argan oil (which we think is the very best on the market). Kahina’s story is a rich one, and we love the team behind these beautiful products, so we asked Katharine to share more of their story — and some of the secrets behind their new products — with you.

Laura Rudoe, the UK-based founder of S5 Skincare, has been focused on addressing skin stress and inflammation since the brand’s inception — and her interest in the effect of inflammation on the body has only deepened over time, prompting her to become a certified naturopathic nutritional advisor on the side. We asked her for her top anti-inflammatory lifestyle tips since, as she puts it, it’s all tied together: “The understanding of inflammation and its impact on our health, inside and out, is transforming our understanding of skin and its requirements.”

We fell completely and hopelessly in love with the delicate, health-boosting sea buckthorn leaf tea that our friends at MyHavtorn make from the sea buckthorn trees on their Swedish farm. So we asked them if we could buy all of it. Happily, they agreed, and this was how our first Ayla product collaboration — Happy Tea — came to be. Read on to learn more about the mind-blowingly care filled process behind the creation of this wonder tea.

Marie Veronique is one of our most beloved brands; Kristina Holey is one of the most celebrated facialists in the country. Anything they do together is bound to be extraordinary. When we heard they were collaborating on a set of skincare serums that would address skin barrier malfunction — key to solving issues like perioral dermatitis, rosacea, and adult acne, as well as generally sensitive, unbalanced skin — we immediately thought, “Oooooh!” and started pestering them for more info. Read on for interesting tidbits and key tips to getting the most out of these wonder-formulas.

Tiffany Lester, MD is an internal medicine physician with top-notch training in integrative medicine, medical acupuncture, and functional medicine. She also has a particular passion for sleep — she’s the creator of The Unconscious Workout, an online bootcamp for better sleep. We asked her for a few tips on getting a better night’s sleep to share with our Ayla tribe.

Luzern Labs has been one of our founder's favorite skincare brands since 2003, and it's beloved by our team and customers at Ayla. If you've tried their products before, you already know why: these clean, efficacious, small-batch, cold-processed formulas speak for themselves. Luzern has a unique story that isn't frequently told, so we asked Jen Herbert-Coste, one of its founders, to tell us just what makes these products so spectacular.

Can you believe it’s already time for the holiday madness to begin? To make shopping easier, we've put together our top 8 gift picks for 2016. What we're really proud of is the fact that these items are not just great gifts; they're great products, period. Because, to us, a sign of a great gift is that you secretly wish someone could get one for you, too.

Uma produces its 100% organic oils and essential oils on its centuries-old family farm in India, blending them according to Ayurvedic principles that have been passed down through generations of royal physicians. This brand has serious credentials. The result: purity, safety, and efficacy beyond compare. Read about their fascinating story in our interview with Uma’s founder, the lovely Shrankhla Holocek.

Bradley Crane is not just one of San Francisco's best stylists. He’s also a truly excellent teacher who understands how to break techniques down for real people dealing with real life situations: time-crunched mornings and San Francisco fog, for starters. Here, Bradley shares his secrets for dealing with the unlikely but unfortunately well-acquainted duo of limp roots and frizzy ends.

There's just something about Ursa Major's healthy, gently-priced, and active-lifestyle-minded products from Vermont that we love. It could be that their refreshingly light but nourishing formulas are, as they describe them, “wildly effective.”  It could be that they’ve received accolades from such luminaries as Gwyneth Paltrow and such publications as Vogue and Esquire. Or it could be that they’re just great, in a humble, unassuming sort of way. So what's the story behind this cool brand? Read on for the inside scoop from Emily Doyle, one of its founders.

We are always delighted to host Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, one of the most well-respected dermatologists in the country, at our San Francisco studio; each time, we learn volumes about the latest developments in skincare. During a recent visit, this self-admitted "chemical-phobe" shared her list of top cosmetic ingredients to avoid. Read on for her list of no-nos.

It’s officially fall, which means that it’s go time — in general, and particularly where skincare routines are concerned. After a freewheeling summer (“Why, yes, I would like to sit by the pool with a margarita and probably not enough sunscreen”), skin can start to look a little, well, weathered. So we asked our favorite New York facialist, Julia March, to help us gracefully nudge our skin into a radiant and healthy autumn.


As you may or may not know, we adore MyHavtorn and their products, which are fresher, purer, and packed with more sea buckthorn than any others we've tried — so you and your skin enjoy the benefits of this "miracle berry" to the hilt. Want to know more about these berries and how they're grown? Join us for a closer look at the MyHavtorn farm in Sweden.

We caught up with leading nutrition consultant (and founder of The Food Doctor) Ian Marber to find out what supplements we should all be taking.  While Ian generally suggests delving into the world of supplements with a nutritionist’s help — which we agree with wholeheartedly — there are a few things he recommends for general health, especially if you’re 40+. Read on to find out what they are.

If we had to pick one single reason for our love of hairstylist Garrett Markenson’s Reverie product line, it would be this: it actually inspires you to love your hair. These flexible, foolproof products invite experimentation and what we think of as "hair empowerment." Read on to learn more about Garrett's philosophy.

Marie-Veronique Nadeau has developed a well-deserved reputation in natural and non-toxic beauty circles as something of an acne-fighting wizard. We were delighted to interview Marie about her Treatment line of skincare products, her new book about acne causes and solutions, and her unique approach to natural acne treatment in general. Read on to learn more.

We love answering customer questions, and we’ve answered a lot of them over the past five years. So we thought we’d sprinkle a few of your most frequently asked ones — and our answers, of course — here and there into our blog. One of your most popular questions: How do I layer skincare products?

Marie-Veronique Nadeau and her eponymous skincare line have been on our radar for some time. But it wasn’t until someone described her as a “mad scientist with a heart of gold” that we really sat up and paid attention to this wonderful little brand from Berkeley. (Is there anything more intriguing than all of those things put together?) Check out our entertaining and informative interview with Marie herself.

Clogged pores and blackheads plague most of us at least some of the time. So we asked Julia March, master facialist who has tended to the complexions of such clear-skinned beauties as Linda Evangelista, Liv Tyler, and various Evas (Herzigova and Mendes), to help us figure out how to put an end to clogged-pore aggravation — once and for all.

When you’re already on the lookout for lines and wrinkles, acne can seem like an added insult – whether your struggle with the spots is a constant battle or a monthly skirmish. Why does acne still hang around when you’re well beyond the angst-ridden teen years? And what’s the best way to deal with it? We spoke with renowned dermatologist and adult acne expert Debra Jaliman, MD to find out.

M Picaut recently introduced a new product, Hydra Miracle Serum, which has quickly become one of our favorites. Read on to find out how Mette came up with the idea and hear how she uses it to help her skin transition from the cold Swedish winter to long, warm summer days.

Sunscreen: we all know we should wear it. We also know that slathering thick goop on our skin and facing the world with ghostly pallor is not terribly enticing. Sigh. So is it really necessary? (Yes. And don’t worry: we carry a fantastic collection of featherweight mineral sunscreens that will blend invisibly into your skin.)
To understand what we need to know about sunscreen and clear up a few frequently asked questions, we spoke to Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a leading expert in the field of dermatology with a particular passion for sun protection. She's a devoted runner, and she's the Vice President of The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Our go-to dermatologist, where hair health is concerned, is the nationally recognized hair loss expert Diane Berson, MD. We get many questions about how to handle hair loss for women, so we figured she'd be the perfect person to break it down for us. Here, Dr. Berson describes the most common types of hair loss as well as their causes, and she outlines the best available treatments that actually work for each type of hair loss.

We share many clients with Kristina, and it’s amazing to see how much change her treatments can effect. We describe her often as a “skincare detective” — she’s often the first to identify what’s going on with her clients' bodies as a result of what she sees in their skin. We asked her for some universal tips to help us get our skin, and our bodies, in good shape for spring.

It’s no secret that we're fans of sea buckthorn. We’ve delved into the benefits of the "miracle berry" before, but we neglected to tell you about the magic of the sea buckthorn leaves — a key ingredient in MyHavtorn’s Essence. We got the full scoop from Robin, MyHavtorn’s founder.

We asked our favorite San Francisco makeup artist, Melissa McMillan, to share some quick tips to freshen up your look for spring. She also shares some great suggestions about refreshing your makeup after work or at the end of a long day — whether it's spring, summer, fall, or winter — so that you can go straight out to dinner or cocktails and prompt everyone to wonder if you took a side trip to a spa beforehand.

We didn’t know much about Bach flower essences before we stumbled upon Les Fleurs de Bach during a recent trip to Paris, but now that we do, we just have to tell you about them.

We were delighted to host Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, one of the most well-respected dermatologists in the country, at our San Francisco studio for a conversation about all aspects of skincare. In this text interview, she shares her take on the process of changing skincare products: whether or not you should switch up your anti-aging treatments, and whether or not your skin needs to "get used to" new products.

We were delighted to host Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, one of the most well-respected dermatologists in the country, for a conversation about all aspects of skincare. In this video interview, she shares key information about hyperpigmentation: the most common types, how to treat them, and ingredients to avoid (like hydroquinone).

April Gargiulo, the founder of Vintner’s Daughter, splits her time between San Francisco and Napa, so we see her pretty often. And on every occasion, she’s glowing and full of energy despite her crazy life as a business owner and mom of two. Naturally, we’re envious and had to get her secrets.

M Picaut is one of the best selling skincare brands in Sweden. Sea buckthorn lovers, take note: this beautiful line of non-toxic products combines it, and other great botanical extracts, with a heaping scoop of peptides for serious anti-aging power. Would you expect anything less of a brand created by a former model with extensive training in both nursing and Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Our go-to dermatologist, where hair health is concerned, is the nationally recognized hair loss expert Diane Berson, MD. Given her extensive experience treating hair and scalp disorders, we figured she'd be the best resource for those of us who want to avoid problems, too. So we approached her with a question that we figured most of you would have: "What are your top tips for keeping our hair and scalps healthy?" Read on for her clear, simple, and myth-busting answers.

Our 2015 holiday gift guide is here! We've included a couple of tried-and-true gift items along with a few very exciting new things that we adore. We hope you — and anyone you might be shopping for — might love them, too. Oh, and it all ships for free.

Professional makeup artist Melissa McMillan has spent over 5,000 hours putting color cosmetics on other women’s faces. During that time, she’s learned that for most of us, speed and ease are key — so she’s outlined a non-toxic makeup routine that works for virtually everyone and can be completed in 10 minutes or less.

While washing your hair, do you sometimes stop and wonder if so much of it should be going down the drain? We do. So we asked Diane Berson, MD, a leading dermatologist and national hair loss expert, for advice. (Like the photo? Dr. Berson loves swimming, boating, waterskiing, paddleboarding, and kayaking — all of which can be harsh on the hair. She puts conditioner under her bathing cap when she swims and wears a hat when she can. She protects her hair as well as her skin with sun protection.)

Shampoo: It seems like it should be the simplest step in hair care, yet contradictory advice about it seems to be coming out of everyone's ears. To clear things up, we approached Josh Rosebrook, celebrity hair stylist and creator of the ultra-pure, super-hard-working Josh Rosebrook line of hair care products. He has spent 17 years working on tresses and observing just what shampoo can do (or not do) to benefit both hair and scalp.

For many of us, fall is the time of year when we decide that we need to get it together in general. Everyone’s back from vacation, back to work, back to school, and it’s go time. It also tends to be go time for skincare regimens. Because as heavenly as it feels to bask in the summer sun, it’s not particularly kind to your skin — and that tends to start showing come September. So we asked star facialist Julia March for her top fall skincare tips.


Bouclème was the very first haircare brand we decided to bring to Ayla. We chose it because curly hair is gorgeous, and it’s especially challenging to care for — so we decided curlies should be the first in line to get hair products that pass our “non-toxic but really works” test. It’s the best line of curl care products we’ve ever seen, and it’s one of the most exciting new hair care brands out there, period.

It can take a good amount of experimentation to get curly hair care just right. We asked Michele Scott-Lynch, the founder of Bouclème, for a curly hair care primer — including guidelines for different types of curls. Our objective? To ensure the experimentation process with Bouclème is shorter, easier, and generates results that are as gorgeous as possible. Check out her tips for nighttime curl care and ways to refresh curls on the second and third day after washing, too.

We’ve heard a lot of buzz lately about hyperpigmentation. While marketers may be behind some of this chatter (Really? Another thing we should worry about?), hyperpigmentation is a real problem for many people. To get an unbiased expert perspective on what it is and how it can be prevented and treated, we spoke to Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a leading expert in the field of dermatology. Liz has a particular passion for sun protection and all the benefits it offers – including the prevention of hyperpigmentation.

Did you know that Bottega Organica, the Italian company that’s devoted to breakthrough science and organic products, has two farms? It’s true. In addition to their pristine farm in Liguria, they have an equally gorgeous and pesticide-free farm in upstate New York. Yeah, we wish we could collect organic farm oases like that, too. So we asked for photos and details so that we could live vicariously through them.

Not long ago, we received a tip from an unerringly chic, oft-photographed friend who has sent some of the best under-the-radar, soon-to-hit-the-big-time brands our way: “Check out this line of magical lotions. Made in Brooklyn by my friend Bee...you know, the one who writes for The New York Times.” Naturally, we snapped to attention.

Oftentimes, we’ll be careful about what we eat—seeking out natural and organic products and avoiding those with lots of preservatives or artificial ingredients—and assume that the products we put on our skin are safe. But a significant amount of what you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream, and some ingredients can have an unpredictable or negative impact on your health. So at Ayla, we avoid most controversial ingredients because we either know they’re bad for you or suspect they might be.

We were delighted to host Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, one of the most well-respected dermatologists in the country, for a conversation about all aspects of skincare. In this video interview, she shares her top acne tips, including key external causes, considerations when choosing anti-acne skincare products and prescription treatments, and how to prevent acne scars.

Red, irritated skin can be a mystery. Is it rosacea? Eczema? Are you simply a delicate flower? (Nothing wrong with that, unless you’ve ambushed your face with seven different exfoliating products.) To understand the difference between common redness-related skin conditions, we went to Elizabeth K. Hale, M.D., a leading expert in the field of dermatology who sees patients with red, irritated skin every day.

Many of our lovely customers come to us for help with skin care challenges related to perimenopause and menopause: Estrogen levels that fall while androgens stay constant can lead to a variety of unwelcome changes, ranging from acne that’s reminiscent of the teen years to wrinkles that seem to have settled in overnight. We thought a guide to some of the most common menopause-related skin changes, and the best solutions, was long overdue. We approached top dermatologist Jeannette Graf, MD, for expert advice on the topic.

We learned about this hyaluronic acid-infused skincare brand from our super-chic, uber-cool friend, Elizabeth Jeffer (the founder of the fantastic Roztayger, which we like to think of as the Ayla of handbags). Every time she goes to Fashion Week in Paris to find the next season’s best accessories, she makes a special trip to the revered CityPharma to stock up on BioRecept, a tip that was whispered to her by Paris fashion insiders who can’t get enough of the stuff. 

According to Ian Marber, diet has a significant impact on your skin. In fact, says the top nutritionist from the UK, changes to your diet are often required to improve a given skin condition over the long term. This is particularly true where acne is concerned. Read on for specific tips from this leading nutrition consultant (and the founder of The Food Doctor) to improve acne and clogged pores from the inside out.

We’ve heard a lot about inflammation lately, but it seems like a broad and somewhat murky topic. Since it’s mentioned as a cause of everything from acne to Alzheimer’s, it’s clearly something we should know about. So what is it, exactly? And what do we need to know about it to keep our skin in the best shape possible? We spoke with the lovely and brilliant dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD to find out.

Facials are a little mysterious to a lot of us. Do we need them? Why? How often? To get some answers, we went to Julia March, natural skin care genius. We’re not the only ones who love her: according to Allure and New York Magazine, she’s one of the best facialists around, and as a result, it’s insanely tough to get an appointment with her.

Why is it that so many men can get away with simply washing their face with soap (if they wash it at all) while women often have multiple-step skincare regimens to keep their complexions looking young and vibrant? Well, as interesting as it would be to do so, we won’t delve into the cultural expectations that drive these differences in behavior. But we can tell you that men’s skin differs from women’s skin in a few ways that help them weather the aging process more easily. 

At Ayla, we value healthy, whole food as much as we do non-toxic and natural beauty products. But we do recognize — all too well — the siren song of chocolate truffles and other indulgences. So we were excited to learn that one of our devoted customers, the lovely Pooja Mottl, has written a book all about kicking cravings and cleaning up your diet. The 3-Day Reset , which has been praised by such luminaries as Whole Foods founder John Mackey and Clean author Alejandro Junger, helps you “reset” the way you understand and experience whole food — in just three days. And as an added bonus, you'll probably start to see your skin glow. Oh, and PS: her book includes a recipe for truffles.

We were delighted to be selected as the first online retailer in the US (and one of the few retailers, period) to carry MyHavtorn's sea buckthorn-infused organic skin care products. Why are we such ardent fans of MyHavtorn? Let us count the ways.

We love the thoroughly holistic approach that The Organic Pharmacy takes towards skincare. When we wanted to offer our customers an organic detox kit for great skin, Margo Marrone and her team were the first people we asked for help — and the exclusive selection of products and tips they put together for us is one of our best selling kits. Below, Margo shares some answers to our customers’ frequently asked questions about detoxifying.

We got these great facial self-massage tips from Lisa Trost, a wonderful SF massage therapist whose unique specialties are Neurokinetic Therapy, a technique that uses gentle muscle testing to unravel muscular imbalances, and Oncology Massage. Read on for her quick techniques — and an explanation of why these natural facial treatments work so well.