Jessica Iclisoy, California Baby
When choosing personal care products, we’re always on the lookout for brands that share Parachute’s commitment to safe and responsible manufacturing. Synthetics, chemicals and bleaching agents not only harm our bodies, but they also damage our bedding and bath towels. That’s how we discovered California Baby.
What began as one new mom’s quest for a safe baby shampoo has grown into a beloved collection of more than 80 pediatrician and dermatologist-recommended hair and skincare products for babies, kids and adults with sensitive skin. California Baby’s mission is to create only the safest naturally-based products to soothe and nourish one baby, one kid, one family at a time. Here Jessica Iclisoy, Founder and President of California Baby, shares her nightly rituals and ways to unwind.
For families that may be unfamiliar with your brand, what are your top recommended products for babies, for kids and for adults to start?
Begin with our super start product: Calendula Cream. It works for the whole family. If Baby has a rash, it works. If Mom has red or dry skin, it works. If Dad needs a soothing aftershave, it works. I never go anywhere without a tube. We grow our own organic calendula flowers at our farm in Santa Barbara County and do our own extraction, so we are getting the best that nature has to offer.
Are you a morning or night person?
Definitely a morning person. I have been known to be in bed by 6:30-7:00pm and up by 5:00am.
Bedside tables can reveal a lot about a person. What’s on yours?
I recently bought new bedside tables with large drawers and shelves for books and magazines, so my side tables look very clean and organized…just don’t look in the drawers! To make sure I drink enough water, I keep a large carafe by the bed, containing filtered watered with a pinch of Himalayan salt to boost the mineral content. I like to keep an inspiring book on view; right now I’m loving “Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan.” I also have a beautiful lamp by Christopher Spritzmiller, and I keep a note pad and pencil for random thoughts and ideas.
Walk us through your nighttime skincare routine.
I’m always testing new product formulations, oil actives and essential oil blends, so my nighttime product routine changes based on what I’m testing. Right now, I’m big into facial massage — and that includes washing my face. I’ve noticed that we all tend to rush through our skincare cleansing and moisture application, tugging and pulling our skin into submission. I try to be super gentle with my skin and use soft circular motions working to stimulate circulation and improve muscle tone. Cleansing always includes exfoliation, and I use our California Kids #superclear Face Wash. It includes willow bark – a natural salicylate. By lightly exfoliating, I’m prepping my skin to more readily accept the cream or oil I use next. If I have a zit or redness, I apply tea tree or lavender oil directly with a cotton swab before moisturizing.
As a super busy entrepreneur running a major company, how do you manage stress and decompress before bed?
I’m very good at turning off all electronics at a certain time and do not keep them on my bedside — they go into another room completely. I do not have a TV in my bedroom either. I designed my bedroom for comfort and sleep – not work. I love reading and look forward to hopping into bed with a book, magazine or newspaper. This slows me down and allows me to sink into bed for a good night’s sleep.
What’s your favorite midnight snack?
Do supplements count? If so, Wobenzym is my midnight snack. It is an enzyme formula that helps reduce inflammation in the body. It has to be taken on an empty stomach, so I seize the opportunity and take it if I wake up in the middle of the night.
You use pure essential oils in your products. Which ones are helpful for relaxing and sleeping better at night?
Depending on the day I’ve had, I either reach for lavender or chamomile. If I’m a bit grumpy, chamomile does the trick. If I’m tired and just need some help relaxing and falling asleep, lavender works every time.
What are the most important ingredients to look for – or to avoid – in baby skincare products?
This is such a complicated question – and it shouldn’t be! But the state of skincare, especially natural skincare, has become so convoluted now that new players have entered the market to make a buck. Many are diluting the meaning of natural, which was something California Baby worked 20 years to educate and promote. Unfortunately, today’s consumer needs to do homework.
Number one on my avoid list is synthetic fragrance, which can contain up to 1,000 chemicals. Companies that use synthetic fragrance do not disclose all those ingredients; they just get nebulously lumped together. My best advice is to evaluate the company, their practices and their transparency. Do they make their own product? This is key because companies that do not make their own products do not have the same level of control. California Baby makes all of our own products. We are control freaks – in a good way!
We’ve read that baths are a daily ritual for you. What are 3 tips for making the bathroom a more relaxing and inviting space?
I always keep essential oils on hand to scent the bath water, and I love the way they make the whole bathroom smell like a spa. I also love bath salts; I especially love Dead Sea Salts and Epsom Salts, which help to soften the skin. Lastly, keep a stack of fresh Towels on hand and on display. Beautiful, clean new towels add a touch of luxury.
Tell us about the Personal Care Products Safety Act you’ve been advocating. Why is it important and how will it change the way consumers shop for personal care products?
Right now, consumers don’t have any protection when it comes to cosmetics (shampoos and lotions are considered cosmetics) so no one is regulating whether an ingredient is safe. That is scary. There isn’t even a law that requires employees to wash their hands before making a product in this industry. We need to have basic manufacturing practices and ingredient safety in place. Most consumers assume there are protections in place, but unfortunately, this isn’t currently the case in the United States for personal care and cosmetics. A Safety Act will give consumers a measure of confidence that the products they are buying have passed a basic safety protocol.
We’re all about taking baby steps to accomplish a major change, and overhauling all personal care products at once can seem overwhelming. If someone is going to start with one change in his or her daily routine, what should it be?
Simplify your home cleaning and personal care regimen. Cut way back on all the products you use – most of the time your hand soap can double as your dishwashing soap or your body wash can be used to wash your clothes. By limiting your exposure to different ingredients( read: The chemicals in the air and on your body), you’re doing yourself a big favor. Try to use just a few items, and make the products you use do double duty.
Any secrets on getting children to sleep?
A warm bubble bath and a gentle massage really do the trick, helping both parents and kids slow down and reconnect. I think it’s important that families take the time to go through this ritual and develop habits that will last a lifetime. Sprinkling lavender drops on the sheets also helps signal to our limbic system that it’s bedtime.