Bee Shapiro’s been covering the beauty industry as a New York Times columnist for over a decade, so perhaps it was no surprise when she had an idea to bring a beauty brand to market -- but this one felt different. In 2015, as she was a new mom cleaning up her beauty routine, she realized the fragrance market was still full of possibilities when it came to cleaning up its ingredients. Ellis Brooklyn (named for her daughter, Ellis) was born. The fragrance and body care line features sophisticated, multilayered scents crafted with care in small batches. The eau de parfums are phthalates-free, paraben-free, PETA certified vegan and cruelty-free, sustainably sourced, eco-friendly...and utterly luxurious. Check out more from Bee in her book, "Skin Deep: Women on Skin Care, Makeup, and Looking Their Best," a compilation of her best-read columns.
Tell us about your bedtime routine…
I’m that person who goes to bed too late because I’m naturally a night owl but I have two littles ones and they wake up so, so early. Usually, the nighttime is my quiet time for myself. I might catch up on the day’s news, text and DM with friends, change into pajamas and watch a silly Netflix show with a cup of herbal tea (I love the Bengal Spice one from Celestial Seasonings). Then I’ll do my skincare routine. I love the Seiso J Beauty cleansing foam. I prefer layering a couple serums with great actives and going for a more basic cream. Currently I like the Sisley Hydra Global serum and the Emerage Skin Re-Fit Face. Every other day I’ll do a vitamin C serum—I see visual results with the Obagi Professional C-Serum 15%. Then every week, I’ll do the Glo Pro before my serums. The Glo Pro stings a bit, I swear I see a more lifted look the next day. For creams, I love Avene’s line—they have a bunch of good ones that are super gentle like the Tolerance Extreme Cream.
Favorite midnight snack?
Yasso frozen yogurt bars! I’m currently into Mint Chocolate Chip but I’d honestly take any of them.
When you can’t sleep, you…
Take this Melatonin and CBD gummy by Highline Wellness. Sometimes, I’ll also listen to a Tara Brach led meditation.
How often do you hit snooze in the morning?
At least 3 times!
Bedside tables reveal a lot about a person...what’s on yours?
My Kindle, currently also a non-fiction book about Northern Ireland called “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” and a book of poetry, Mary Oliver’s latest “Devotions,” and always a fresh glass of water. I also have a journal and a pen where I keep all my notes from sessions with my life coach.
We love a brand that takes care of Mother Earth, tell us more about Ellis Brooklyn’s approach to clean and sustainable scents…
I grew up in the Seattle area and we didn’t have a lot growing up. Going outside and being in nature was this wonderful escape, so clean formulations and sustainability is personal. We approach things from both inside the bottle and the outside packaging. For the ingredients of the juice (fragrance world lingo for the actual perfume), we always work with our perfume houses on sustainable sourcing and also holding them accountable by asking for sustainability report cards after. We also have an extensive no-no list of ingredients we won’t use that we’re constantly updating. For the packaging we use FSC-certified paper stock and only glass for the main body. We try to use as little plastic as possible—mostly only for the spray pumps.
What is the one Ellis Brooklyn product you always have with you?
I always have our MYTH eau de parfum with me. It’s usually a travel spray in my purse but I’ve been known to pack the 50ml in my backpack if I’m going away for longer.
Do you change your scent with the season, by mood or do you stick with one favorite year-round?
I do! I generally layer with MYTH as my base. So for example, in winter I often will layer MYTH with our ISO GAMMA SUPER which is this magical, allergen-free cedarwood-ambergris note. When I want to brighten up my mood, because given the current state of affairs I always am up for a good mood lifter, I go for a citrus like our WEST eau de parfum, which is this sunny blood orange and oakmoss scent inspired by 1970s California.
Our olfactory system and our memories are so closely linked, what is one of your favorite scent-triggered memories from throughout your life?
My first scent memory is still so crystal clear in my mind. We had moved from Taiwan to the Seattle area when I was about three and a half and we went to Mount Rainier on a family outing—it was my first time smelling snow and it was this eye-opening, otherworldly, fresh, clean, cold scent.
Love at first sight or love at first sniff?
Ha, I love this question! I think scent attraction is way more lusty. You know sometimes you meet someone and you just can’t get enough of their physicality and scent? That’s heady, wonderful, intimate stuff.