Put down your Shiseido sun sticks, girls. We know the pro surfers use it. We know it makes your skin look flawless. But chemical sunscreens like that also contain octinoxate, a chemical that has been linked to coral bleaching, not to mention all sorts of toxic effects on your body such as endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity.
Enter Aryeta Gashi, a beautiful lady slider we met surfing Malibu’s iconic First Point. Aryeta is an aesthetician and skincare consultant. Born in Albania, she grew up in Turkey and moved to New York City to study fashion design at Parsons. She moved to California ten years ago to surf, and transitioned out of fashion into the beauty industry — specifically, eco beauty. She was the perfect person to ask: How do you green your sunscreen?
JDV: Did you have a day where you literally threw out all the old products?
ARYETA: I didn’t use that much makeup anyway, but yeah, I threw everything out. When I worked at Evolue, it was great to see all these eco brands, but it was also depressing to know what’s going on behind the cosmetics industry, and to realize how much poison is in [conventional] products. For instance, if you use waterproof mascara, there's tar in it. I was like, “What? Really? I never knew.” I would learn: Don’t use this, don’t use that. Everyone uses Chanel, it looks good — but it’s poison. Never go to the makeup counter with your kid. They shouldn’t inhale that.
JDV: Everything that you’re wearing on your face now, is it organic?
JDV: You literally look like you’re glowing.
ARYETA: Because all of her products have coconut oil, so it lights up your skin. Thank god my skin is not that bad, but I surf you know. My boss at Evolue was like, “Aryeta, you cannot be surfing this much, you’re a skin care consultant.” And I was like, “Excuse me? I moved here to surf [laughs].” I was just so tan. And it’s not good to be tan because it’s a sign of aging and everybody at our events had white porcelain faces, and I was dark, and everyone would ask, “Are you from Brazil?” And I’m like, “No, I surf.”
AREYTA'S PICKS. Top row L to R: RMS Beauty Wipes, Happy As Larry Organic Tinted Sunscreen, Aloe After Sun Organic Lotion Bar in Pineapple & Lillikoi, Freedom aluminum-free deodorant. Middle row L to R: Patyka Intensive Moisturizing Mask, Kauai Orchid perfume essential oil, RMS Beauty Oil, Patyka Huile Absolue Skin Booster Serum, Patyka Radiant Eye Contour, Beauty Fix Balm by Beauty Chef. Bottom row: Patyka Smoothing Revitalizing Toner.
JDV: What sunscreens should we avoid?
ARYETA: Anything in CVS or Rite Aid. Go to Whole Foods just to be safe. Or go to online boutiques such as Detox Market. They also have two locations in Los Angeles. There is also Credo Beauty. It’s like a clean Sephora, basically.
JDV: Most people think that just because it’s in CVS, it’s okay. But it’s not, it’s so bad for them. And it’s bad for the oceans.
ARYETA: Oh yeah, bad for everything.
JDV: For the face, we love Avasol sun sticks, because it’s all made of organic ingredients you can read, in 100% biodegradable packaging. What do you use?
ARYETA: I use Happy as Larry organic sunscreen.
JDV: For body sunscreens, do you have a recommendation?
ARYETA: Suntegrity has a body sunscreen that I like. I’m in the shade mostly. Because I’m so lazy to put it all over. I prefer shade. I always have my SPF umbrella. When I am in the sun, I would rather have the sun on my skin, for the vitamin D and A.
JDV: And they say twenty minutes a day without sunscreen is okay.
ARYETA: And if you don’t go in the middle of the day, it’s okay. Like the afternoon or the morning. It’s good for your health.
JDV: How do you hydrate the skin after surfing?
ARYETA: Basically your body loses hydration while you’re in the sun, so you want to get it by eating any foods that have lot of water, like cucumber, celery, and watermelon. Watermelon in particular helps you with UV protection and has a lot of vitamin C, which is great for your skin. I remember my mom would cut the watermelon, and instead of throwing out the rind, she would massage her face with it. And I would ask her what she was doing, and she said, “This is great vitamin C for your face.” Try it. It feels so good in the summer to have that cold watermelon on your skin. You gotta try it, you’ll get addicted. Better than your serum, and it exfoliates. Same thing with lemons too. Once you squeeze the lemon, dip your fingers into the lemon, and it softens the skin. And after that if you put moisturizer on, it will penetrate easily.
I also like avocado as a moisturizing mask. Smash the avocado like you’re making guacamole, and put it on your face. Keep it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Then remove it, you’ll see a difference.
[Photo: Jason Hsu]
JDV: Why is vitamin C good for you after surfing?
ARYETA: Because it’s brightening. So it’s good for discoloration. And it exfoliates at the same time, takes out the dead skin. So the vitamin C literally smoothens your skin.
JDV: Do you ever use honey too?
ARYETA: Honey is good too. It’s so healing especially if you have sensitive skin. I would do honey with sugar as an exfoliating mask. But you have to find a really fine sugar. Some people can be very sensitive to the scrub if the sugar is not fine enough.
JDV: For sunburns, what do you recommend?
ARYETA: I use the Organic Aloe After Sun Bar in Pineapple and Lillikoi, by Sarah’s Sweet Scrubs. If you get a sunburn, apply it to your sunburn. It’s so good. After surfing in Hawaii’s intense sun, my lips got blistered. I put this on overnight on my lips, two nights in a row, and it healed.
JDV: It smells so good, I want to eat it. And I guess the lesson is that whatever it’s made of, ought to be something you can eat.
ARYETA: Yes, the skin is the largest organ of your body. You put anything on, and in twenty seconds, it’s going to penetrate. It’s going to be in your bloodstream before you ingest it.
JDV: You were telling me how surfers need to “build up” their skin. Can you explain what you mean?
ARYETA: I personally think that if you’re a surfer — you don’t even have to be a surfer, say you’re outdoors all the time — you should take care of your skin and try to make it stronger to survive the elements. So I don’t recommend very deep peelings, very deep exfoliants. You don’t want to make your skin so thin. You want to exfoliate to take off the dead skin, but you don’t want to go so deep that it makes your skin very fine and sensitive, so that when you go back out in the sun, your skin is very vulnerable. So no acidic, harsh products, and no microdermabrasion.
JDV: What kind of exfoliants do you use? Do they contain plastic microbeads?
ARYETA: No, I use a scrub from Patyka. Their scrub contains a very fine bamboo powder. The main three ingredients are shea butter, avocado oil, and jojoba oil. The avocado is anti-aging, the shea butter is nourishing. And the jojoba oil is for penetration, so it lets all the good stuff penetrate while the fine beads of bamboo exfoliate the skin.
JDV: Tell us your skincare routine after you surf.
ARYETA: First, wipe sunscreen off with RMS wipes. Then I do the Patyka scrub. After that, I put on the Patyka hydration mask, leave on 15-20 minutes. (Or do a homemade avocado mask). Then put on toner and eye cream. After a mask, no moisturizer. But if you don’t do a mask, then put on moisturizer.