Beauty Insider: Master Esthetician Denise Cartwright

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Denise Cartwright is a master esthetician and founder of CRUDE Personal Care. Crude is based around oil cleansing and has a solid following of women who credit the brand for transforming their skin. All of Crude’s products contain no sulphates, parabens, artificial colours or fragrances, and toxic chemicals. They're also non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t clog your pores), pH balanced, and microbiome friendly. That’s quite a tall order. Her products have been featured in Allure, InStyle and Refinery 29. Read Denise’s beauty and fitness rituals: 

Tell us a bit about your skincare routine
My skincare routine is completely soap-free and plant-based. I do an oil-cleanse using EVERYTHING Oil and PULL Microfiber Cloth morning and night, and use DETOX Mask to polish my skin when it starts getting dull or congested (about twice a week). At night I use BLOOM Regenerative Facial Oil to brighten and regenerate my skin, accelerating healing as I sleep. I use WASH (my new suds-free body cleanser that’s debuting next month) in the shower instead of soap to clean my skin without disrupting its natural ecosystems. 

What do you do for your hair?
My hair care products are also soap- and detergent-free! I use Hairstory products exclusively: New Wash, which is a shampoo/conditioner in one, and Dressed Up, a polishing balm for my super-blunt bob. 

What about fitness? Do you only do yoga? How many times a week? What type of yoga?Ashtanga is probably my favorite style of yoga, I love that it’s the same sequence every time and always a challenge. I also love Forrest Yoga for strength and Yin Yoga for flexibility. Right now I’m on a barre kick, so I do that for my workout 3-5 times a week in addition to 1-2 yoga classes at home with the Cody app.

What are the best yoga studios in the US that are worth visiting?
My favourite yoga studio ever is Yoga to the People. It’s in a few major cities, but I was introduced to it via the New York City studio back in 2012. YTTP is a donation-based studio, which made it incredibly accessible for me at a time when I didn’t have much extra cash flow and desperately needed the mind/body healing benefits that yoga offers. It was at there that I started taking yoga seriously, and it changed my life in a huge way. I actually moved back to Salt Lake City to pursue a yoga teacher training, and it was during that training that CRUDE Personal Care was created in my kitchen. My role as CEO has made it difficult to pursue yoga teaching, but one day I’d love to open a donation-based yoga studio in Salt Lake City. 

What is your diet like?
I’ve been vegetarian for eight years, and generally try to follow Michael Pollen’s rule of thumb: “Eat (real) food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Do you pop any supplements? If so which ones and why?
I drink a vitamin-rich protein smoothie every day after barre, and use MyFitnessPal app to help me track my nutrients so I can get as many of them as possible from whole foods.

What are the three habits we must have to get great skin?
1. Stop using anything that suds on your skin. Soap and detergents strip your skin’s natural moisture barrier, destroying its healthy, immune-boosting bacteria. 

2. Try oil-cleansing. Oil provides the deepest possible cleanse with the least amount of disruption to the skin. I helped more clients clear their acne in six months using oil-cleansing than I did in six years working in spas as a master esthetician! 

3. Lay off the exfoliants. Exfoliants work by ‘wounding’ the skin, which triggers an inflammatory response to speed up cell renewal, sending fresh new skin cells to replace the old ones. This creates a temporary improvement in the appearance of the skin, but the inflammation comes at a cost. Chronic inflammation (through use of soaps, scrubs, peels, harsh toners, alcohols, and acids) leads to inflammatory diseases like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and many others. The truth is, we don’t know the long-term effects of these massively invasive exfoliation treatments, and most of them are not founded in legitimate science. Your skin exfoliates itself; you don’t need to do much. I use my DETOX Mask to polish my skin without scrubbing or inflaming it. 

How do you find mental peace?
Lately I’ve really been into Tara Brach’s meditation podcast. Her lectures are so profound and beautiful, and her guided meditations are my favourite to listen to. Podcasts in general have been a wonderful tool for my mental health. 

How much water do you drink? 
I don’t count, but I’m usually sipping on water throughout the day. I love adding herbs, berries, lemon, etc.

What were your biggest beauty learnings during your years as a master aesthetician? 
My most important skincare insights actually came after I left the world of esthetics. As a Master esthetician, I focused on stripping oil from the skin, killing bacteria, and aggressive exfoliation. Since experimenting with oil-cleansing and creating CRUDE, I see that most modern skincare techniques are actually counterproductive for real, long-term, holistic skin health.