Our love affair with L.A. based natural skincare brand Roots Rose Radish has come a long way. It seems like only yesterday we were Currently Coveting their products. When we reviewed their Honey Pecan Rose Cleanser, it was love at first scrub. And now we’ve had the honor of interviewing founder and RRR mastermind Christian Toscano about the brand’s inception, her favorite tunes, and RRR’s upcoming releases… Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about your background! Were you always interested in skincare?
I am trained in Clinical Western Herbalism. Herbalism is the process of extracting medicine or active constituents directly from plants to use in healing. This is different than homeopathy, which is a lactose sugar pellets with a very minute amount of plant medicine, if not any. I apprenticed under the Director of Holistic Medicine at a community health care clinic learning clinical skills, which includes diagnostics and formulation. Every culture has a history of herbalists and have their own ways of dealing with health and disease.
In India there is Ayurvedic medicine. In China there is Traditional Chinese Medicine. In ancient China it was illegal to preform an autopsy. So the Chinese devised diagnostic techniques which rely mainly on observation. For the trained person, these diagnostic techniques are extremely accurate. I like to draw from these techniques and use them in my diagnosic approach to healing. A Western Herbalist works mainly with plants that grow in the Western hemisphere. I do occasionally import herbs with unparalleled medicinal action from other hemispheres. However I like to focus on the medicine that grows in our direct environment for two reasons; one, it is how our ancestors always nourished and healed themselves and two, it is how we connect to our environment and to ourselves. Nature has designed itself to have medicine growing in all habitable areas. Skin care is not as superficial as it may seem. How we nourish ourselves and the products we use directly effects our heath. I founded RRR on the basis of designing truly all natural skin care with an emphasis on the medicinal constituents of the plants so that you actually get results!
What was the impetus for founding Roots Rose Radish?
I wanted to formulate a line solely using the medicinal properties of plants so people could see the strength and beauty that they can achieve. Frustrated with products that promised results but didn’t deliver, I formulated all the products with an emphasis on the medicinal action of the plants. When you smell a product that contains for example Blue Chamomile, it should smell strongly of Blue Chamomile. This way you know you are getting a potent dose and not just paying for packaging and marketing. The line is simple and straight forward. I don’t have multiple cleansers, lotions etc. Except for the face cream I have, our cells can get addicted to moisture (which is why you shouldn’t use lip balm every day, your lips will become dependent on it) and it is important to cycle between two creams for the different seasons. I think we are over sold on way too many products when really our skin regiment can be much simpler. I was frustrated by touted all natural & organic products that still contained mystery ingredients. Did you know that when “fragrance” is a listed ingredient they don’t have to say what is in it? Lots of time these are synthetic chemically derived ingredients even if the product is “natural”! I use the same formulation techniques as an Herbalist to create a skin care formula, always focusing on packing them full of medicinal properties in each dose or “use”.
If you were to describe your skincare philosophy in three words, what would they be?
Nourish with medicinal ingredients.
Outside of your own products, what does your beauty and skincare routine look like?
I keep things pretty simple and indulge in moderation. I don’t believe people should pay for water or alcohol in products as those ingredients only dilute and cheapen any medicinal qualities there are. I am a firm believer in drinking lots of pure clean water to keep the cells hydrated. This helps to balance and promote moisture from the inside out. Alcohol in products strips your skin’s natural oils and depletes the body. Products can only do so much, it is also important to balance it all out with the age old wisdoms of: eat well, rest, and exercise. I also drink lots of herbal tea! My favorite tea blend for supporting the female reproductive cycle and tone the nervous system is equal parts oat straw, nettles, raspberry leaf, lemon balm, and tulsi. I drink this constantly.
What tunes are you usually playing while you work?
Lately it has been all my girls: Etta James, Dina Washington and early Aretha Franklin. I adore her album “Young Gifted and Black” and will listen to that on repeat as we pour the perfumes.
What would you tell someone who was unconvinced about the efficacy of natural treatments or skincare?
The efficacy of herbal treatments is always something that I run into. I am deeply invested in the efficacy of herbal products and know that if people love the results they see from our natural skin care they are will be more likely to try an herbal therapy for their wellness. My mission is to spread and support the practice of Herbalism. However since this is an unregulated field, products differ greatly from each other. It is important to know your source, how they were trained and what their mission is. Generally, large companies are not interested in the integrity of the product and only want to mass market quickly using buzz words. Also, our products nourish and tonify. They are formulated with the idea of building on your wellness through using pure quality ingredients with no fillers.
What’s coming up in the future for Roots Rose Radish?
We are about to launch our new oil collection! Here is what you can look forward to:
Rosemary & Pine Hair Oil
Citrus Face Oil Cleanser (with Grapefruit, Tangerine and Lemon oils)
Rose Face Oil (with Demascena Rose oil) It’s pure indulgent pampering!