Jessica Richards is the brains and beauty behind Shen Beauty — which just opened a gorgeous new location in Brooklyn. We stopped by the day before opening to chat all things beauty with Jessica and scope out the goods ;)
What’s your morning beauty routine?
Wow, this varies from day to day and season to season including if i am testing new products, but i would say I have a pretty standard routine i always go back to and no matter what I incorporate.
For cleansing in the morning, I swap between Dr. Sturm Enzyme Cleanser and Irene Forte Lavender and Rosemary Foaming Cleanser. I love the enzyme exfoliant because it’s gentle, can be used just a couple times a week, doesn’t over strip the skin but leaves you feeling clean. The foaming rosemary cleanser is a great way to get the dirt off but leave my skin supple and soft.
I then always use a hydrating serum for my chronically dry/dehydrated skin like the Bynacht glass serum, composed of 8 strains of hyaluronic acid. Followed by a serum more targeted to how my skin is behaving. Lately, I have “maskne” so been using the Skin Design London acne serum as a spot treatment over the mouth and chin area, followed by a light face oil from Costa Brazil and then a moisturizer — I am addicted to the Irene Forte Hibiscus night cream, its thicker to layer, hydrates and protects, smells amazing and doesn’t leave a weird residue. And then always, always, always, my trusted Elta md UV Clear. Afterwards, a little Westman Atelier Foundation in II blended into the skin and then some mascara and i’m out the door. I never need to fuss about my brows because I get them done by the incredible Josh Bueller (@hashtagiwokeuplikethis) and not a lot of makeup since I indulge in so much skincare.
What products do you keep in your purse to use throughout the day?
What is your evening beauty routine?
This is where I really take my time since I am always in a rush in the morning and where I really love to test products since that is technically my job. I always do a double cleanse which consists of an actual wellness moment. Bath time first though! I fill a bath and use the Olverum bath oil, it is honestly one of my most favorite things I have ever launched and still so undiscovered. When in the bath I wash my face with any cleanser that is around like one from above, followed by using the Irene forte rose body oil. It smells amazing, isn’t greasy and doesn’t leave you feeling that “old lady rose” from yesteryear. Then I cleanse my face again with something gentle and creamy, like Skin Design London face bath, or Haoma Face Cleansing balm – one of the most amazing texture I have ever experienced. Then it’s on to my serums! At night I love the Environ C-quence serum. I am currently on step 3 – it’s a buffered retinol so it doesn’t make you have the terrible dry, red, broken out skin. I also use a few drops of the Pai Rosehip Oil which is a product I’ll never live without. Then a vitamin C: right now it’s the Bynacht Vitamin C and then I use a super thick cream, loving the Doctor Rogers Restore Face Cream, but I also still am in love with May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon. Then it is bed to log some hours of beauty sleep.
What is your definition of beauty?
My definition has changed a lot in the last 10 years but I still revert back to the perfect skin and feeling comfortable with what you have, just enhancing that natural look. I am definitely not a fan of the painted dragon look. Everyone is the same at the end of the day we all just look a little different so I say work with what you have and just enhance it to show off your true self rather than camouflage it. If we’re being totally honest here, what truly makes your skin glow the next day other than a facial is a great night out with friends filled laughter or sex :)
When do you feel most beautiful?
In all honesty, I am like every other woman: I never feel truly beautiful. I strive to feel confident and admit that the older I become, the more comfortable i feel. I am so glad I’m not 20 again! The time I feel most beautiful though is laying around with my two boys watching movies during a snowstorm. It doesn’t matter if I haven’t brushed my teeth or showered, it’s a moment in time where they bring out the best in me.
Can you tell us a bit about the history of opening up Shen Beauty and what you want everyone to feel and experience when they are in the store?
The history of opening Shen is a long one! I opened 10 years ago, prior to even Instagram launching! I had no idea what i was doing and thought it would be easy — little did i know. I chose the wrong business partner so had to make the decision quite quickly to end that relationship and take over the future of the business. Then it was on to having kids while running a business, which of course was also not easy (and still isn’t to this day!) and then it was figuring out all the nuances that go with it. I remember the first time I got a sales tax bill i was like what do you mean i owe thousands of dollars?! That was a learning lesson right there. Over the years i can’t say it has gotten any easier, as the larger you get and the more growth you experience, the more team members you need to support to run the business, and the more you have to allow other people to do things for you. It cannot just be yourself, simply because you know it will be done right. I’m a perfectionist so letting go is incredibly hard. For me, bank loans are like reading Mandarin and construction is like living in China, both of which made me feel very out of my element for the last year. Know your limits and build your team so they can support you with those things that might not be your expertise.
After ten years at the original Shen location, I am thrilled to debut the next chapter and what I can “the big girl store.” I have been incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a loyal, diverse community in Brooklyn. I have met clients who have become dear friends. Introduced brands to people whose lives have literally been changed because of their miraculous formulas and transformative nature. When people walk in the new Shen, impeccably designed and executed by Mythology, I want people to feel a simultaneous sense of calm and excitement. A place where they walk out feeling empowered by the product knowledge they absorbed and eager to rush home and try their new beauty finds. I hope Shen is a place of inclusivity and happiness, a place where they want to come by just to say hi and share their ups and downs. It is the most exquisite new store and even though we are bigger and more modern than the last space, the energy of what I created a decade ago – that feeling of true community synonymous with Brooklyn – is as fierce as ever.