Launching a social and wellness club right before a pandemic and then pivoting it into a thriving a digital community during an unprecedented time in history is no easy feat. And yet that’s exactly what entrepreneur Naj Austin has done.
When Ethel’s Club opened in November 2020, it was the first social club established to serve people of color. But when the pandemic hit New York, Austin made the difficult (and incredibly forward thinking) decision to pivot the club into a digital platform. Members wouldn’t be able to see each other in-person but they could still connect for workshops, yoga sessions, and browse the rotating online shop to pick from one of the ethically sourced, featured products.
Austin, who serves as the CEO of Ethel’s Club, has made it her mission to make sure people of color have access to a community through which they can nurture and thrive, even through the darkest times. And she’s able to do the work by prioritizing her self-care.
When it comes to Austin’s skin philosophy, she’s 100% a minimalist. “Skincare routines and products always seemed very daunting to me,” she says. “There were so many options, and you’d have to read all the reviews, like, it always felt like a big list. So I just optimized so that I could just sort of stick to the routine that I have. My approach is definitely less is more.”
For the latest Drop the Routine, Austin breaks down how she keeps her combination skin calm and moisturized before she gets to work.
My AM Cleanser
In the morning, I’m using the Krave Matcha Hemp Cleanser. I like it because it makes me feel really squeaky clean, which is how I like to feel in the morning you know, like I just got out of the shower. It just feels like everything is good. I usually don’t double cleanse and it’s usually just one cleanse in the AM.
My PM Cleanser
In the PM, I use the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser. My room gets pretty dry at night– well, I guess it’s dry all the time– and because I’m sleeping here for eight hours, I felt like my skin was starting to get really dry as well. Since I started using this cleanser, I’ve noticed that my skin is literally less ashy and gray, and it just feels better. So I use that one at night before I do the rest of my evening skincare routine.
I’m really obsessed with the tone and texture of my skin, but more so the tone. If I’m oily, whatever, but if I have a spot, I’m like stressed out. I use the OLEHENRIKSEN Glow 2OH Dark Spot Toner, typically at night. I don’t use this in the morning, just because I don’t want anything too strong on my face.
After I’ve washed my face in the morning, I’ll then apply a serum. I just finished the Cocokind Vitamin C Serum. I really liked that, but last Christmas I asked for Hyper Skin’s Hyper Clear Brightening Serum which I’m currently using. In the evening, I’ll put on Topicals Faded Gel, and it’s literally almost out. I used to have a lot of hyperpigmentation from past breakouts. I was like, oh, maybe I should work on fixing this and that kind of kicked off my interest in skincare.
My AM Moisturizer
Because I have this new product, I’ll apply the serum to a clean face and then follow up with a thick moisturizer. The one I’m using right now is Selfmade’s Secure Attachment Comfort Serum. It’s really thick and it smells really good, like grapefruit.
MY PM Moisturizer
If I’m feeling like I’m still really dry after I’ve applied the Faded Gel, I’ll either use the Glossier Mango Balm Dotcom, just on top, because I know I can get really dry at night in the apartment or the Topicals Like Butter. And that’s it.
To finish up my face, I’ll add a touch of The Beet Shield by Krave, which always makes my skin all smooth and it feels great. It’s one of my favorite products and I actually need to order more.
This isn’t a beauty product per se but I take Rae Wellness Pre+ Probiotic Capsules in the morning too, because gut health is just as important as skin care.