Devotees to the natural skincare movement might occasionally waver when it comes to finding efficacious products, but in the recently revamped skincare line Monastery, its esthetician/founder Athena Hewett can be trusted to know what really works.
After a decade of studying and caring for people’s skin, Athena opened her own skincare studio in San Francisco, where she began pioneering her unique skincare method that combines oil cleansing and water-free moisturizing with alcohol and salt-free skincare. Her experience with different skin types lead her to develop her own line of products, which collectively draw from her Greek heritage – in particular the power of aromatherapy and traditional natural remedies.
In creating Monastery, Athena drew from her memories of her grandmother, living in the Greek Cyclades, who would press her own oil from the family grove and mix in herbs such as sage, chamomile and rosemary, to create tonics that she would use to detox and soothe her skin. Monastery similarly embraces this appreciation for whole, natural ingredients. Inspired by the diversity of ingredients and wild harvests around the world, Monastery’s ingredients include sage from the Greek archipelago, sandalwood nut oil from Australia and rose from India.
Athena’s knowledge has enabled her to create highly potent, yet usable products. Her rose cleansing oil, already a cult favourite, combines rose and hazelnut oils for an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect and has been known to quell a multitude of skin imperfections. Similarly, her rose glycolic peel, featuring 10% glycolic acid gleaned from papaya and sugarcane, gently corrects pigmentation and fine lines while combatting acne, works together with rose oil and rosewater to soothe any irritation that might come about in the process.
Another highlight is Monastery’s replenishing Gold botanical oil serum, which counts on sandalwood nut oil, a medicinal anti-inflammatory oil. Combined with the highly anti-inflammatory raspberry seed oil, jasmine oil which inhibits bacteria and frangipani oil that detoxifies congested skin, this power-packed serum is like a multi-vitamin for the skin.
Athena has not only used each ingredient in its purest form and highest quality, but has also incorporated essential oils that are known for their non-irritating properties. The products are each made in small batches at her studio, blended by Athena herself, just as she would for each of her clients who come in for treatments. The final proof is delivered in the fact that Monastery is comprised of just seven products, which cater to all skintypes, especially sensitive skin. It’s truly efficacy at its best.
Words: Pei-Ru Keh
Photography: Samuel Bradley (portraits), Geoffrey Knott (still life)