The Fashion Writer With The Herbalist You Need To Meet

The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss’ lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

“Hi! I’m India Gladstone. I’m 28 and I’m a proud Londoner. I’m a fashion writer, specializing in menswear—basically I try to get your boyfriend to dress a bit better. It’s fun! It’s also my passion and something I’ve been doing for the last seven years since I graduated from London College of Fashion. I love what I do, and I’m lucky enough to have grown up in a really creative household of six kids who were allowed to pursue whatever we wanted to. I was quite a late bloomer when it came to experimenting with beauty and makeup, and I’ve never been one to really try and test makeup trends, either. I have, however, made it my mission to use plants, herbs, and natural products by means of healing the body and the skin. I like to think that I’m not a full-blown hippie, but my mother brought us up to follow an almost totally homeopathic way of living and I’ve followed firmly in those footsteps, too.

I was born with eczema all over my body, and it’s been almost a constant battle ever since. Back then, we lived in an incredibly remote part of Scotland, but my parents still did all they could to find the best Chinese doctor around. Treatments from this doctor cured me for the better part of 20 years. However, about seven years ago, I started to get flare ups again—along with acne, too. It’s been a battle. And it’s taken a lot of persistence and a lot of tears. Some of my favorite foods have had to go. But I think I’m finally in a place where I understand what my skin and body need to look and feel their best.

With such sensitive skin, acids and retinols are a total no-go for me. I’ve learned that the hard way—we’re talking what feels like burning skin within about 20 seconds of application. I also recently discovered that I can’t use any type of oil on my skin, which sucks because man, they smell good. I’ve tried everything that promises to reduce acne, to reduce scarring, to reduce eczema, sensitivities, and all of the rest. My approach these days is much more low key. I use cleansers from Ren’s Evercalm range—I alternate between their Gentle Cleansing Gel and Gentle Cleansing Milk. I’m a huge fan of floral waters—chamomile and rose have been total Godsends for me, especially working in an office where the heating is at full pelt the majority of the time. Fresh, pure aloe vera straight from the plant has probably made the biggest difference to my skin. And then I use a serum that my amazing herbalist makes for me. If you’re London-based, she’s called Victoria Chown and she’s amazing. She also makes me concoctions that have hugely helped with persistent hormonal issues.

There’s a UK-based brand called Evolve Beauty that makes the best organic exfoliator that doubles up as a mask, and once a week I’ll put on the ClearCalm 3 Clarity Restoring Mask by Ren, too. It’s amazing. It really gets everything out. I also only cleanse and take off masks with a muslin cloth. I own probably 20 and chuck it in the wash after every use. Also, I’m a firm fan of the LED mask, which I try and use for 20 minutes every day. I look crazy but it works, so whatever.

Unless I’m working on a shoot or interviewing someone, my day-to-day makeup is pretty low key. I recently got rid of a lot of my products and am now a proud owner of a purely natural and non-toxic makeup routine. Most days, I use RMS “Un” Cover-up in 11 and their Living Luminizer highlighter. ILIA’s Multi-Stick in At Last on my cheeks is the perfect blush. Then I do a few slicks of RMS Volumizing Mascara, too. For nights out or special occasions, I’ll mix a bit of ILIA’s True Skin Serum Foundation in Tavarua with Tata Harper’s Illuminating Moisturizer (this stuff is expensive, so I use it sparingly) and a pump of my serum from Victoria. Then I’ll do a bit of a smoky eye with a combination of RMS Eye Polish in Myth and their Swift Shadow in Tempting Touch. Throughout the day I’ll spritz chamomile water all over my face to keep my skin fresh and under control—my God, it feels nice.

I’m lucky that my fiancé is almost as into skincare as I am, and he genuinely has the best skin out of anyone I know. He’s not high maintenance, but he’s figured out which products work for him and damn, do they work. Our apartment is packed full of Aesop and Byredo products, and our biggest monthly extravagance has to be Diptyque candles—Baies is our current favorite. It’s a good interest to share ;)”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author