We’ve got two requirements for skincare products. First, they have to be good for our skin (which, duh!) Two, they have to look good sitting on our bathroom counter. Enter: Monastery.
The chic packaging, all-natural ingredients, and wonderful aromas have landed this collection a coveted spot in our daily lineup. The line has only been available publically for a year, but esthetician Athena Hewett has been using her oils and balms with clients for five years at Athena Ellen Skincare and Apothocary. When first opening her salon, she found signing with a skincare line was cost-prohibitive – and didn’t give her complete control of the ingredients she used on clients. So Athena decided to make her own. She says, “I know what I would want out of a line so I just went to Rainbow Grocery (a San Francisco co-op) and bought a bunch of oils. Every facial I’ve done here has been done with this line.”
Developing Monastery through her work as an esthetician gave Athena lots of direct customer insights. “When you are doing a facial on someone, you really want that feedback of ‘oh, that was amazing,’” she says. “A lot of people who are mixing don’t have that feedback of five or six people a day. When I didn’t get the oohs and aahs, I would go home and try it again.”
Over 500 variations have been tested and only the most popular final versions have been brought into the Monastery line. Equally impressive, all Monastery products are still made by Athena, with assistance from her husband.
Athena points to her own skincare struggles as a teenager a major factor in her career choice, but also says, “I was born into skincare in a sense. My grandmother had olive orchards in Greece so we would press olive oil from olives when I was a kid. My grandmother always rubbed olive oil all over her body.” Athena took the lessons her grandmother taught her in her childhood and made them her calling.