For our latest Brand of the Week, let us introduce you to another one of our favourite skincare brands, skyn ICELAND. Treat yourself to a fresh, glowing complexion with seven of the brand’s hero products, available throughout the week. All of the products are free of parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, chemical sulfates, and phthalates. Celebrity fans of the brand include Selena Gomez, Sarah Hyland, Lucy Hale, Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn and Kristen Bell, among others. You can discover the full skyn ICELAND range at Marks & Spencer.

Don’t forget to check back each day to see what’s new!

In celebration of skyn ICELAND’s takeover, we spoke to brand founder Sarah Kugelman, who shares her story on creating the brand, how detrimental stress can be for the skin and how her range replaces what stress has depleted to calm, restore and balance the complexion.

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sarah - skyn founder

Q
Tell us the story behind the brand, why Iceland?
A
I went to Iceland on vacation with my sister while I was developing the brand and was truly overwhelmed by the natural beauty of Iceland and inspired by the clean, fresh, raw natural lifestyle there. Everyone there has amazing skin and so I started researching why and learning more about the climate/the environment. I discovered that the waters are very special there. Over time, as the ice melts and gradually runs down the mountains, it filters through inert layers of lava rock and trickles into the ground picking up minerals from the volcanic bedrock. It then flows into naturally occurring underground reservoirs. Iceland Water has some of the lowest total dissolved solids due to the natural filtration process that occurs when glacial water filters through Iceland's porous volcanic bedrock (and it contains 6 essential minerals so it's incredible for balancing and hydrating skin.) We import it and it’s in every single one of our products.

From there I learned about many of the amazing medicinal herbs and botanicals in Iceland and the arctic region, which have incredible potency (due to the climate) and multi-tasking benefits that address the various symptoms of stressed skin as well.

Q
We know stress can affect our skin and body health, but how serious can it be?
A
It can be very serious. I was working such long hours, traveling every week, not eating healthy/regular meals and sleeping only 5hrs/a night. My immune system became completely worn down and I had the typical Adrenal Fatigue symptoms. I kept going until my body physically shut down and couldn’t go any further. My immune system was no longer working properly so I was catching illnesses that typically my body would have been able to fight off. I had to take a three month leave of absence from my job and move home with my parents as I couldn’t even take care of myself - It was definitely a low point in my life. I ended up quitting my job and moved to California - a place that is known for healthy living and where the weather is warm all year round. I made a conscious decision to make a life change and SLOW DOWN; I stopped working long hours, I stopped traveling every week for business, I started eating a high protein, organic diet, I started doing Bikram yoga, etc…I got healthy!

I think it’s almost a badge of honor to be busy and running from place to place, on your phone every minute, involved in a lot of different things; multitasking. It’s as if success is linked to being busy? I think we are all on this crazy treadmill that is just supported by our culture and almost rewarded by our culture. Then on the other side, people feel like massages, yoga retreats, acupuncture etc are luxuries and not necessities. We have to change this thinking.

Q
What is your secret to work-life balance?
A
I really try to break the stress cycle and not get in the habit of saying ‘oh, in three weeks when it slows down, I will go get a massage’. I used to do that and I would crash before things slowed down! Now I exercise almost daily, that is a huge stress buster for me. I get 7-8 hours of sleep on weekdays and 9+ hours a night on the weekend. Exhaustion multiplies the effects of stress. I also do regular appointments with my wellness ‘team’ including my kinesiologist, acupuncturist, massage therapist and esthetician. This can really help keep stress at bay. Then on an ongoing basis I drink high levels of water and coconut water and I eat a diet high in vegetables/fruits/protein and low in white sugar and refined carbs. I try to get daily sources of magnesium, Vit B complex, antioxidants and Omega EFA’s.

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Q
Top tips for managing stress?
A
I think de-stressing comes down to having a tool kit of options…for different times, different situations, different moments. I think a beauty routine is part of the tool kit; we can make the inside feel better by taking care of the outside and improving our emotional state by improving our skin. We can literally become healthier and look healthier by de-stressing our skin - It is an important part of the de-stressing process.
Q
What does a 'day-in-the-life' look like for you?
A
I wake up, wash my face first thing and drink water! I help get my daughter ready for school, usually by doing her hair (!) and then I make some time for self care; I shower and have a little bit of DIY spa time (eye gels, mask, body oil, hair treatment), something fast that also helps me feel good and transitions me from sleep to wakefulness. I have Ezekiel bread and fresh berries (although I just bought a Nutri-Bullet and am excited about starting to make my own smoothies in the morning) and then either jump on the subway or in an uber and get calls and emails done on the way to work. Sometimes I exercise in the morning – I’ll take an 8:15am Happy Hour class at AKT in Motion – but mostly I work out in the evenings. Then my workday is typically filled with lots of meetings, I have weekly update meetings with all of my internal staff as well as meet with our external partners on a regular basis. This involves going over sales figures, brainstorming for new product launches, etc. I often have to eat lunch on the go or while on a phone call – there’s only so many hours in the day! I do try and catch up with friends over lunch every now and then though to get a break from the hustle! Then I’m usually running out the door at the end of the day to catch workout class or meet my daughter at home.
Q
Wellness is a buzz word in the industry, what does it mean to you?
A
For me it means feeling good and being healthy – having energy, feeling refreshed in the morning, not feeling bloated or sluggish, having clear skin, not getting sick often, being free of pain.
Q
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A
Getting to do something I love and feel passionate about every day. I also love to make people look and feel better….I like to say that I give women their pretty back!
Q
What is your signature scent?
A
I often go through phases but now I am loving a Diana Vreeland scent I discovered at Colette in Paris called Extravagance Russe. It’s smoky and sexy.
Q
Quote to live by?
A
The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before.
Q
Top 3 skincare tips?
A
Get enough sleep, stay out of the sun and wash/moisturize your face before bed! (4th and 5th would be regular exercise and no ‘white foods’)!
Q
What is your go to Skyn Iceland product?
A
I can’t go a day without Pure Cloud Cream. It is not only a great hydrator and soother for my skin and great under makeup but it literally makes me happy. The texture and grapefruit scent give me a burst of joy in the morning and make me feel good about starting the day.

ADD SKYN ICELAND TO YOUR NEXT BOX HERE.

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