Here’s What We Learned During a Full-Day Beauty Retreat

12 hours of DIY product concoctions, rituals, and wisdom. #Goals.  

#FacemaskFriday. #SelfcareSunday #ManiMonday. Sure, there are plenty of Instagram-designated days for beauty moments, but when was the last time you dedicated a full day to pampering yourself and testing out new beauty traditions? Earlier this month, we did exactly that with our friends behind Around the World Beauty (ATW Beauty) at its Journey to Beauty seminar in NYC.

Led by celeb makeup artist Stephanie Flor, ATW Beauty is a community of beauty lovers interested in the cultural relevance of today’s products and rituals. A tribe of over twenty women gathered at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, a picturesque plant-based nutrition and beauty oasis on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, to join the company’s inspiring mission to “keep beauty heritage alive.” Here, five takeaways from our day with ATW Beauty.   


Coconut oil in a tube is a thing!

After sipping herbal tea, courtesy of the brilliant team at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, and an early morning mediation led by Flor, we started the insightful workshop with a lesson in plant medicine by junior herbalist Daniela Reul. In an enlightening game of show-and-tell, Reul introduced us to some of the most powerful plant-based beauty products The Alchemist’s Kitchen has to offer. She passed around gems like Isa’s Restoratives Elixir II ($40), a serum that’s said to allow your skin to absorb more oxygen than usual, and Anima Mundi Herbals Turmeric-Heirloom: Single Origin ($16), a turmeric supplement that soothes skin inflammation. Yet our favorite product of the day goes to the Conscious Coconut Coconut Oil ($16.50). By now, coconut oil has become a staple in our beauty routine but the tubs that we’ve been stocking up on can make that last drop of oil hard to reach. Conscious Coconut’s tubular design allows for easy access, and the cool blue packaging looks beautiful on our vanity.


Photo: Karina Munoz

Photo: Karina Munoz

Out of eyeliner? Create your own!

Using age-old recipes and techniques, Flor had us get hands-on for the afternoon workshops in which we created flower crowns and applied Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick ($17), a product infused with ingredients sourced from the Amazon. In one activity, she taught us to create the blackest eyeliner with a recipe that simply called for string, ghee (or clarified butter), and a metal spoon. First, we covered the string with a teaspoon of ghee. Next, we lit one end of string on fire using a lighter, and held the spoon over the fire until all of the string burned down. Finally, we allowed the spoon to cool and had a friend dip a liner brush into the black kohl that appeared on the spoon to create some of the sultriest cat-eyes we’d ever seen. Photos that Flor has captured along her travels were passed around the room as we experimented with our own looks. And for those skeptical of applying the homemade liner, Flor kept Clinique High Impact Custom Black Kajal ($17) on hand as an alternative.


Don’t leave beauty advice just to the pros.

In addition to Flor and Reul’s tips and tricks, fellow ATW Beauty tribe members contributed some equally fascinating points to the conversation. Take one woman’s advice on creating a DIY eye cream using that ghee we mentioned above, for example. According to her, you can gently dab the ghee under your lower lids for a firming effect! Give it a try with Ancient Organics Ghee ($38).


Photo: Karina Munoz

Photo: Karina Munoz

There are messages in the flowers around us.

Throughout the day, ATW Beauty staffers would occasionally spritz aura mists by Lotus Wei, allowing light scents of floral essences like magnolia and orchid to waft about the room. At night, Lotus Wei offered complimentary flower readings where, much like an oracle, a brand rep unveiled guests’ personality types according to the flower that most caught their eye. (Editor’s Note: We were drawn to the bird of paradise flower, which represents an overflow of creative ideas and difficulty committing to one project at a time. Sounds about right.)


Beauty is far more than skin deep.

The jam-packed day concluded with a panel on global beauty moderated by our very own founder, Lyndsay Green. The culturally diverse panelists included Nyakio founder Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, celeb makeup artist and founder of Afghan Hands Matin Maulawizada, chief brand officer at The Alchemist’s Kitchen Stephanie Wang, and ATW Beauty founder Flor. Each pro proved that while cosmetics, skincare, and haircare are often used to enhance a woman’s aesthetics, true beauty begins within—and is often rooted in cultural ideals that have been passed down for generations.


Photo: Karina Munoz

Photo: Karina Munoz

But the biggest takeaway of all is that we owe it to ourselves to dedicate a full day to a holistic beauty regimen more often. (And that if we ever need to learn how to recreate an age-old beauty ritual—ATW Beauty is sure to have the hack!)