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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

"My beauty uniform"

Erica Chidi is a Los Angeles-based doula, chef and founder of The Mama Circle, a modern resource for new and expectant parents that helps women navigate their journey into motherhood. We're big admirers of her Instagram, so we were thrilled when she agreed to share her beauty uniform. Here are her secrets, from buttery coffee to a genius shower trick...
How did you first become interested in your line of work?
I've always wanted to work with women and the body, so when I found out about doula work it seemed like the perfect thing. Growing up with a father as a doctor and a mother as a nurse, I was always exposed to the art of caring for others. I trained with a midwife in San Francisco and then started working with women around four years ago. At The Mama Circle, we nurture women into motherhood and help new parents feel confident. I love it.
What is your daily beauty routine?
My skin is quite sensitive and needs a lot of moisture so, for my body, I use Mustela Stelatopia Cream Cleanser in the shower. In the evening, I follow up with Mustela Moisturizing Cream.

For my face, I've used Bobbi Brown’s line for years and swear by it—it's lightweight, basically fragrance-free and super moisturizing. I start by washing my face with Extra Balm Rinse, followed by a quick spray of Hydrating Face Tonic and finish off with a pump of Extra Repair Serum and a dab of Hydrating Face Cream. When I exfoliate, I use a Clarisonic.
Is there one product that has been a complete game-changer?
Yes, a beeswax salve called Earth Tu Face’s Skin Stick! This tube of goodness ended my addiction to petroleum-based lip balms. You can use it everywhere on your body, and it’s great for dry patches. It’s completely natural, incredibly moisturizing and has a subtle, herbaceous scent that I just love.

Do you have a signature scent?
For years, my signature scent has been Tom Ford Oud Wood. Every time I smell it, I’m transported right back to the first night I met my fiancé Jordy. I was covered in Oud Wood—basically drenched. It was still new, I loved it so much and used it with abandon. He remembers it, too. Our first date was at Flour + Water in San Francisco; it was one of those whirlwind, cinematic nights. I like to think our first date was the beginning of our lives together, because we never stopped dating after that and we’re getting married in a few months. I prefer masculine scents. If I’m not wearing Oud Wood, I’ll have on Hope Gillerman’s Jaw Clenching Remedy. It’s an essential oil blend of lavender, palmarosa, vetiver, German chamomile and patchouli. It’s totally addictive and helps me stay relaxed and balanced all day. I get so many inquiries about what I’m wearing when I have it on.
What makeup do you wear?
I use Bobbi Brown BB Cream in Deep. It provides great coverage and has SPF 30. If I’m going out for dinner or an event, I’ll throw on some eyeliner—I really like Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Liner—and a dark lip. NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Volga is my jam. I pretty much always try to fill in my brows with Laura Mercier Brow Definer.

What do you do to style and care for your hair?
I started locking (aka dreadlocking, but I think the term "locking" has less cultural baggage) my hair about a year and a half ago. Initially I didn’t know how to care for my hair; it was frustrating and a serious learning curve. Currently, I use Davines Purifying Shampoo and Well Being Conditioner as my weekly go-to’s, and then Paul Mitchell Shampoo Two when I want to eradicate product build up. Scalp health and moisture balance are really important in lock maintenance. To seal in moisture, I use a combination of black castor oil and emu oil on my scalp and hair, since both are great for dryness and sensitivity. In the hot summer months, I make a spray of filtered water and aloe vera liquid. I usually carry it in my bag with me and use it as an on-the-go moisturizer for my hair and face.
When's one time that you felt really beautiful?
When my fiancé proposed to me. He proposed while we were in Palm Springs and completely caught me by surprise. I had no makeup on and I was wearing a black smock dress—but in that moment I just felt grounded and beautiful. It was one of the happiest days of my life!

Do you have any regrettable beauty moments/trends you tried?
Wigs. When I was transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair, I reached a point where I just couldn’t deal with the difference in my hair texture, so I bought an afro-style wig to cover it up. I wore it for a day—it was super itchy and I kept having daymares about it flying off my head.

What did your mother—or aunts or grandmothers—teach you about beauty?
When I was younger, my mother always told me that I looked beautiful with my hair up, and that I shouldn’t hide behind my hair. At the time, I didn’t really understand it, but looking back I think she was encouraging me to be open and confident in my life.

What is your stance on bath vs. shower?
I’m all about a really long bath, but to save time, I shower during the week and I love to tie a bouquet of eucalyptus leaves to my shower curtain rod. As the steam builds, eucalyptus vapors fill the bathroom and it gives me an aromatherapy boost.

Do you have any beauty pet peeves?
Yes! I won’t use anything with glitter or microbeads in it. I also have a terrible aversion to anything with a synthetic strawberry scent.
Do you eat or drink anything that you feel contributes to your overall beauty routine?
I take a large dose of chlorella and chlorophyll every day which apparently helps to move heavy metals and toxins out of the body and promotes optimum body functioning. I noticed a big improvement in my skin when I started taking them a few years ago.

I’m also a big fan of “oiling your insides," or loading the body with essential fats. Eating good fats has so many benefits and I think healthy glowing skin is one of them. So I take Omega 3-6-9 daily and have become really obsessed with making buttery coffee. I just brew up some French press coffee and mix it with a teaspoon of organic coconut oil and organic grass-fed ghee. I pop the coffee and oils into a blender for a couple of seconds and drink. I always feel great for hours after that! I also try to drink a good amount of water everyday.

As a doula and lactation counselor, do you have any tips for pregnant and nursing women?
The skin is the largest organ of our body and absorbs most products into the bloodstream—some in as little as 60 seconds. So being mindful and selective about what we put on it is so important, especially when you’re pregnant. I know it can be hard to cut out certain makeup and skincare staples, but consider swapping out your baseline products, like body lotion or foundation for something with organic and naturally-derived ingredients. For nursing women, it’s important to keep in mind that breast tissue extends into the armpit, so consider selecting a deodorant without chemicals and preservatives. Soapwalla and Lavanila make wonderful chemical-free deodorant creams that don't skimp on performance.

Last but certainly not least: Do you have an overall beauty philosophy?
Yes, don’t be afraid to show the world who you are. Find your groove but allow others to inspire you. Also try to tell others what you find beautiful about them.

Thank you so much, Erica!

P.S. Three more beauty uniforms...

(Photos provided by Erica Chidi; graphic design element at top by Rachel Ball; interview by Caroline Donofrio)

73 comments:

Amy @ The American-Made Guide to Life said...

What a great read. Eucalyptus leaves, aversions to glitter, and her proposal story (without makeup). Love. Thanks for posting.

The American-Made Guide to Life

michellejoelle said...

This is such a fun series! It's surprising how much you can learn about a person from what seem like such simple choices. Erica has such great style!

Catherine Masi said...

Such a beautiful woman! Thank you for sharing... though I imagine Erica would be appalled to know that I still clutch onto my childhood fixation of strawberry Bubblicious bubble gum (and strawberry lipbalm... I know! Awful... but sooo good!)

Erin said...

I'm so in love with this lady! She's gorgeous and glowing -- thank you for bringing her into my day!

Julie said...

I love this series! It's always painful to try and figure out which products to use without testing them out, and Amazon reviews can be ridiculous. It's nice to hear recommendations from people who it looks like products are working for. And a product to get me away from lip balm!!!! Praise Jesus!!!!

kashmala tariq said...

she is so cute
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StephNav said...

I love the eucalyptus leaves tip! She's beautiful!

Laura said...

Great interview--if Caroline being on the team means time for more posts like this, then yay!!

Vivian de la Torre said...

Oh, Erica....#WCW-worthy all the day, am I right? She's all about confidence in lieau of product overload (as other of these Beauty Uniforms have been, actually!) and I love that.

nicole said...

This is my favorite of this series so far! Fantastic tips. And I love her philosophy on beauty. Thank you for this! xo

Erin W. said...

Love her style! The aloe vera + filtered water to carry around with you for face and hair is such a good idea!

carly jane said...

I really admire Erica's company. I think it's really special to have a place where pregnant women, moms and babes can connect the way she provides. She seems so caring and warm. I wish I was closer so I could attend her classes.

Brooke Williams said...

I love her!! The eucalyptus leaves trick is genius and I'm going to try it as soon as I can get my hands on some. As a fellow My Beauty Uniform alumna, I am honored to be in such incredible company. Keep these profiles coming! xox

Kendriana said...

Joanna this is really fab, I've been reading this blog for years and I love the changes you're making.

Excellent story, beautiful woman/couple...as always, Cup Of Jo inspires.

K

medium.com/@kendrianabrenay

Hannah said...

This beauty uniform series is definitely one of my favorite Cup of Jo features to date--Love 'em! Thanks for sharing, ladies!
-Hannah
potentialhydrogen.blogspot.com

Emikos Werid Unexplained thoughts said...

I simply love this read!!!! what a cute family and shes amazing!!! love it to death!!!!

Heather Gray said...

I love love love these "beautiful uniform" posts and the amazing women who you're highlighting. Thank you for sharing these inspiring souls. xo

Joanna Goddard said...

carly jane, me too. it seems like such a warm community. she even has a garden series, which sounds so amazing.

Joanna Goddard said...

i agree about the eucalyptus leaves—so simple but it would start your day off in such a beautiful way.

simone antoniazzi said...

Erica sounds like an amazing woman....love that she shared the "wig" story!!

stickgirljam.com said...

Just followed her Instagram and discovered H. Gillerman Organics Jaw Clenching Remedy...good gosh do I need that! And, definitely will be trying to make the switch to natural deodorant...did not even know that about breast tissue and I'm nursing! ahh!

Thanks for sharing and inspiring beauty!

P.S. That photo of her and her fiance is EVERYTHING. So, so good. Congrats to the happy couple!

adrianna said...

What a lovely woman. I love her emphasis on truly natural self care, and that she trained in SF. The supportive mama movement is big here.

Christina said...

she has such great style. i love her clothing.

Maddy said...

Love this interview! Such a great look into someone else's life and routine. And the eucalyptus suggestion sounds so lovely.

(from madeleine | blogs)

Renae said...

She is lovely - any way you can get info on where she gets her shoes? They look comfy! Also - your beauty uniforms have references to "filling in eyebrows" would love a how to tutorial on that - I try, but must go overboard as they look like something my toddler drew in. Thanks!

Sara said...

ohh thank you for this, Johanna. such a beautiful and inspiring woman. also i LOVE the way she styles her hair, and i'm putting eucalyptus in my bathroom today!

Sporadic Habits said...

One of my favorite series. And these women are so f'in cool.

Anitra Sweet said...

I learn so much from this blog! I swear I should be paying you something! ha ha!

Lou Lou B said...

I adore this series, all of these women seems to be great beauty role models... easy, effortless, beauty. Just radiant! Makes me miss my best buddy, she is a glowing soul, as well.

Becca said...

Can we get some clarification on the eucalyptus situation - fresh or dried? inside the shower curtain or outside? Thanks, lovely read as always!

tara said...

Oh wow, I loved this!! I loved her tip about the skin and wearing organic lotions and deodorant. I always forget that one...

Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts said...

Erica sounds very cool. I wanted to ask why she uses Bobbi Brown products instead of something natural, like everything else she uses?

Giselle said...

beautiful and super helpful. loved, loved this beauty uniform post!

kvanskiver said...

wow this was so great and I loved looking Erica up and learning more about her business. I wish we had something like that in Pittsburgh.

MollColl said...

Erica is beautiful and I love her recommendation to breastfeeding women. I switched to a natural deodorent when I became pregnant about 5 years ago and have not looked back.

Rachael said...

Love this. Hadn't heard of Erica before, but I will definitely check out her Instagram feed. Can't get enough of women who take a holistic approach to health and beauty...such an inspiration!

Amanda said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS!! Thank you!

Kate said...

I LOVE these posts. They're my favorite series on any blog out there! Keep 'em coming!

MaeMae said...

I think these are my favorite posts. Is this lady beautiful or what!

oni said...

yes!!!!!

dramamama said...

She's awesome. Love this series.

Karen said...

I love this series!

Katie said...

That was a really beautiful read - perfect as I sit here in a little patch of winter sunshine drinking my morning coffee. Thanks Joanna, and thanks Erica xxx

Alexa said...

Loving this series—please keep 'em coming! Her idea about tying dried eucalyptus in the shower is fantastic. I really admire her outlook in general!

Stephanie said...

Love this! Thank you for introducing us to her, she sounds amazing!

Jill Gulbranson said...

I love this series! What an inspiring and lovely woman.

mlp said...

Loved this so much. Thank you both.

ophelieknits.com said...

Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous post and a beautiful person. Erica is healthy, confident, grounded, and basically my new hero.

Ana said...

OMG! Your blog is so great! I'm totally in love with it. Maybe you want to check out this great page when I found a lot of awesome tips: http://www.thefashionistyle.com/

Joanna Goddard said...

mollcoll, does the natural deodorant you use work well? i'm always curious because i tried a salt stick one time (that alex swears by) and it didn't work for me...

Joanna Goddard said...

thanks for all these sweet comments! i'm sure erica will be so touched :)

savannah. said...

I think this is the best series ever on Cup of Jo, and maybe in the world! These women are beautiful for their insides. Thank you so much for thinking of it!

Erica Chidi said...

Hi Everyone!

I'm deeply touched by all of the love. Thank you for every kind word. It means the world.

Just to clarify, the eucalyptus is best fresh, but it still works quite well when it's dried. You can tie it with some twine to the side of your shower curtain, so it doesn't get too wet.

XOXO

Kim said...

In ten years when I move back to LA and have kids I'll definitely try to look you up, Erica, to be my doula!

downtowndownshift said...

Isn't it funny how often your natural instincts take over and know what's best! When I was pregnant and breastfeeding I had a huge aversion to anything 'unnatural'. I started making my own deodorant and haven't looked back. I love that products like virgin coconut oil are good enough to eat AND work wonders on your skin. Beauty from inside is the best kind- if you feel great you look great :)

Poornimma Rajeev said...

great for sharing.interesting tips about Eucalyptus leaves.cute baby

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Poornimma Rajeev said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nikki B said...

Erica, do you have any recommendations for cheaper organic lotion? I am lotion obsessed and really took to heart what you said. I currently love aveno face lotion but I'm open for anything!!

abroadathome said...

I can't wait to try the eucalyptus leaves trick! And I should definitely start taking a fish oil supplement--I just don't eat enough fish. I love this series!

sciroli said...

Eucalyptus leaves in the shower! What a great idea! And I'm now intrigued by this buttery coffee. Great post! x

cat said...

This is a great series and a beautiful profile! Though this focuses on beauty routines, I still felt Erica is represented fully and wholly. I especially love that this profile represents a different and sometimes forgotten occupation - doulas are so highly valuable to new parents.

angie k said...

One word about this woman: gorgeous!

Meadow said...

I have reacted BADLY to natural products... especially deodorant. You lost me at the end when she got a bit preachy about switching to natural products when pregnant. People typically have more reactions to natural products than tried and tested synthetics. To each their own... but I think that this trend of 'natural is better' is dangerous. Natural products also typically lack good preservative systems... leading to bacterial growth which can cause a lot more problems than most people would realize.

Tiffany Troutman said...

SHE IS GORGEOUS!!

MCM said...

such a great post! love her perspective!

Sofia Merrill said...

I really loved this post, she is beautiful & seems to have such a positive, simplistic outlook on beauty that I just admire.

Rebecca said...

I love this! Buttery coffee sounds amazing and I don't even drink coffee. The doula work sounds awesome, too! Beautiful.

Jill Hinton said...

I loooooved this post! Seriously. I'm so happy to read about a woman making conscious choices to avoid putting toxins on and in her body... and yet still showing just how beautiful you can be without all of that! Thank you so much, Joanna and Erica!

P.S. I love butter in my coffee, but never heard of coconut oil instead. Drank it today and I LOVE it! Thanks for the tip :)

Casey said...

I'm happy to see a woman of color featured in a blog post, it makes a nice change. Especially with beauty stuff-transitioning out of relaxers and learning to appreciate my hair are things I really relate too.

Erica, hearing about your routine motivates me to work on caring for my body inside and out.

ohnomyboots said...

My favorite beauty uniform subject thus far. Love her natural bent.

Cahgunjam pordjo said...

very beauty

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Arielle Cohen said...

I need to know all about where she got those jeans and those yellow pants!

m e l i g r o s a said...

whatta beautiful person inside out! :)
will *have* to try the eucalyptus shower curtain tip!

”Also try to tell others what you find beautiful about them…” gaaaah yes, we need more of this out of us, out of us all. <3

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