Photo Credit: Clary Collection
Just take a scroll through the Clary Collection Instagram feed, and you’ll see that the two Nashville-based beauties who founded it, Jen Auerbach and Adriel Denae (aka Ade), share the most real parts of being soulful mamas, business owners and women. They’re passionate about their families and communities, and they are both quite open to the struggle of balancing all these things. And, they’re open about the fact that it’s not always a walk in the park for women and mamas.
Friends and both mothers, together Jen and Ade created the entire line of Clary Collection skin care products to be useful for the entire family. The products are made in small batches and are hand blended and 100% organic. They’re free from chemicals and combine traditional methods of slowly infused, cold-pressed oils and botanical steam distillations. And the sleek packaging with its simple black logo might just be our bathroom counter’s new favorite jewelry (yeah, it’s that gorgeous).
We caught up with Jen and Adriel to find out more about their gorgeous, plant-powered skin care products, as well as how they as women and mamas have learned to tune into their bodies with life transitions and where each of them are now on their own journeys to better self-care…
WAS THERE ONE PRODUCT THAT WAS YOUR FIRST, THAT STARTED IT ALL WITH CLARY COLLECTION?
Jen: Our original product was the all-purpose balm. We were inspired by Adriel’s son Rhodes suffering from terrible diaper rash. Once we saw the effects of the balm, we knew many more products could be achieved with the herbal recipes we were formulating.
Ade: And even though the balm was the first thing we focused on, we quickly realized that the oil we infused to make the balm was incredibly healing in its own rite. I started using both formulas on my son’s troublesome skin and we saw dramatic results. So often I think of the Oil Infusion as a surprise teacher and start of a real awakening for me. Now, every single Clary product begins as an oil infusion, meaning we slowly steep real flowers and herbs in oil before straining and continuing with our recipes. The real power of Clary lies in the transference of plant life to body, using as little processing as possible.
HOW DID YOU BOTH START TO TUNE INTO YOUR BODIES MORE, AND IN DIFFERENT WAYS, AFTER YOU BECAME MAMAS?
Jen: Clary was born out of wanting to protect ourselves and our babies from the many harmful chemicals disguised out there today. The transition into motherhood is without a doubt one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I’ve ever experienced, and still experience every day being a mother. I found after birth I listened to my body more, mainly because my baby needed me to. To give him the best of me I had to do the best by me. I constantly find myself more in tune to who this body of mine is, and trying to prevent it from falling apart. Since becoming a mother I am my “better self”: I eat better (only because I have multiple mouths to feed), I exercise more to make up for the little sleep I get.
Ade: At first, I cared more about the well being of my body because it was nurturing my child. I wanted him to have the benefit of a clean space to grow in. But after he was born and the challenge of caring for him really kicked into gear, I entered a phase of putting myself absolutely last when it came to who and what I was caring for. I suffered a lot because of this, so I eventually had to learn to develop better habits and rituals of self-care. It’s been a process for me. Now that he’s three, I’m finally finding some relative balance again and new strength in realizing that it’s possible to care for myself and others in a cohesive way. For me, it means letting go of a notion of perfection and practicing radical acceptance instead. And doing my best to act from a place of love and with healthy boundaries.
“TOO LITTLE TIME FOR TAKING CARE OF MYSELF” IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST COMPLAINTS FROM MAMAS. WHAT ARE EACH OF YOUR BEST TIPS FOR KEEPING A BALANCE BETWEEN MOTHERHOOD AND TAKING TIME DAILY FOR A SELF-CARE PRACTICE?
Jen: I went to an event last night where I listened to a panel of three very wise women, and we all agreed there is no such thing as balance! We all do what we can to the best of our ability. Some days I feel like a complete failure, others I feel like I won gold in the Olympics. In order to stay committed to self-care, I like to pre-plan some “me” time at the beginning of the week. That way I can’t pull out, because I won’t miss a Pilates class that I’ve already signed up (and paid) for! Recently I have had “phone off” time. A few months ago my two and a half year old told me “Mommy, phone off” and it made me feel terrible. Terrible that in today’s society we lose touch with real-time and life in a 2×4 plastic object. So phone off and family time is key to me. Oh, and also locking yourself in the bathroom to answer emails is a helpful tip!
Ade: Ha! I agree. There is no such thing as “keeping balance” because that would mean perfection and it’s just not possible. I try to go back to the ideas of love and acceptance instead. We have to love and accept ourselves exactly as we are and exactly where we are and then choose to adjust when we feel we need to. But the adjustment has to come from a place of compassion or else we will just torture ourselves and wobble right back out of the balance we are seeking. Life is a miracle, every day and every breath. My great longing is to live in the moment with gratitude, not spending my energy wishing to be more or better. Of course, this is my battle every day and it never seems to end!
WHAT DO EACH OF YOUR OWN DAILY SELF-CARE ROUTINES AND PRACTICES LOOK LIKE?
Jen: I always used to feel too busy. Finding the time to take proper care of yourself can be hard. But if you don’t, it won’t be long before you’re battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone. And I say this from experience. Every morning when I wake up and before I go to bed, I tell my family I love them. It’s these simple, intimate moments that can so easily be forgotten after a crazy day. My friend recommended a really good book to me and I scoffed and said, “The chance to read would be a fine thing.” She said, “So why don’t you? Go and read, a chapter a day. Everyone has time for that.” She was right.
Ade: I keep a picture of myself as a little girl on my bathroom counter, and I like to place little treasures next to it, like stones and seashells and flowers. In the morning, I take a little rosemary oil and rub it between my hands, breathe it in, look at myself as a little girl and look at myself in the mirror, and I mentally accept everything I see and feel. I tell the little girl in the picture that she is wonderful and worthy of all my love and I tell myself now that I am capable and worthy of love. This little ritual has totally changed my life! I drink lemon water every morning, pretty much first thing. It’s less of a habit now and more of an obsession. When I travel, I pack lemons in my suitcase! I play my piano or my guitar every day. Sometimes, I only get five minutes and sometimes my kid screams at me the whole time, but music is therapy for me and everything in my reality is brighter when I make time for it. I also really enjoy doing yoga and after a couple years of being out of practice, I’m finally back into a nice rhythm with it and it feels really good.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR BEAUTY ROUTINES, HAVE THOSE CHANGED SINCE YOU’VE BECOME MAMAS?
Jen: Most definitely, before children and before Clary my insight to safe beauty was in no way as informed as it is now. Now I spend far more time paying attention to what I’m using and the ingredients in a product. Label reading went from being a hobby to a full-time job.
Ade: Everything has gotten simpler, and I’m so glad! I don’t wear makeup most days and have grown to love the way my face looks without it, which is cool. I oil cleanse with our Clary oil and have cut soap out of my daily routine. That has dramatically changed the skin on my face and neck. Over all, my beauty routine has gotten clean and simple. I use a local clean makeup brand called Au Natural when I do want a little color and our Clary products and that’s about it.
MOTHERHOOD IS FOR SURE A LIFE TRANSITION THAT CAN CAUSE OVERWHELM AND ANXIETY. WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS FOR KEEPING A HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE AND STAYING CALM AS A MOM?
Jen: Staying calm? Ha! I am British, there is no such thing. Valium? Kidding. Being a mom certainly challenges you physically and emotionally. There are body changes, hormone changes and major life changes. Wherever your life path has been, and wherever you are headed, you must always remember that you are strong. You are beautiful. You are powerful. You are a mother. A spouse and a sister, a friend, an aunt, a human. And incredible human. Times may have changed, but you will find your new normal and will write your story of motherhood. Give yourself patience and the ability to embrace change and let go of “perfect,” because this journey is yours and no one else’s. Social media isn’t a platform you should ever compare or judge yourself against, ever. And I know I have been guilty of it personally.
Ade: I tell myself to breathe. I mean, really breathe. I practice an ancient breath called Ujjayi when I feel anxious or stressed. I try to return to the present with my breath and remember that the only life I am really living is the one in the present moment. I look for my tribe and try to make time to circle our wagons together. I’m working on letting go of relationships that are toxic. I’ve really been trying to understand the concept of co-dependency and how it affects my life. I’ve been seeking inter-dependency instead and learning to trust those who are trustworthy. I’d suggest finding whatever works for you and valuing yourself enough to invest time into that thing: meditation, movement, art, throwing darts, who cares. Just love yourself enough to follow your bliss. This is my personal challenge and work every day.
WHAT ABOUT ANY MINDFULNESS TIPS FOR OTHER MAMAS OUT THERE? HOW DO YOU BOTH BALANCE BEING A MINDFUL, PRESENT MAMA WITH THE STRESSORS OF LIFE AND RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
Jen: Scheduling is key for me to be able to run my home and business successfully. Taking weekends off is important. Doing emails during my son’s nap time and not attempting them as he’s hanging off my leg, demanding to watch Backyardigans. I am a list freak, I used to have lists for lists. I read a great article which suggested that when you wake up, you write your top three jobs (instead of my usual 300), and once they are complete, write another three. It’s so simple, and I’ve found it to be so effective. My 10-year-old often reminds me of the time I went for a walk in the snow in my yard wearing only Uggs and a robe to be left alone! So now, when I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I tell my kids and husband that mommy is giving herself a timeout, and maybe I just go to my room for a power break. If you glare at them all correctly as you walk up the stairs, they will leave you alone and gladly let you go.
Ade: Haha, I love you Jen. I don’t really feel like I should be giving mindfulness tips when I feel like I am so in the trenches with my own journey. But I guess I’d just go back to the idea of acceptance and breath. And, finding what works for you. Right now, it’s almost 5:30pm, I have a mountain of uncompleted work from my day, seven emails just arrived as I’m answering this question, my mom guilt is kicking in because I haven’t seen my son since this morning and I need a plan for dinner. My anxiety is rising like a wave. So I’m taking some big breaths, drinking a glass of water and putting a smile on my face while I type, and I’m remembering to be grateful for the opportunity to run a business with my dear friend, that my mom is with my son, that there’s enough food in the fridge for me to throw something together and that I’m alive and breathing. All miracles really. There, I feel better. Still a shit ton to do, but I’m also laughing now, so everything is ok.
WHAT ABOUT EACH OF YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS FROM THE CLARY COLLECTION, AND WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO USE THEM?
Jen: Since releasing the balm, we have had so much feedback about where this balm has ended up! Makeup primer, tattoo healing, eczema and psoriasis sufferers, sunburn, chapped lips and diaper rash. I am allergic to the majority of lipsticks so the balm will always be my favorite for lips.
Ade: I’d say our bath and body oil and balm tie for my favorites. I use both every day and my whole family uses them. I use the oil after showers when my skin is still damp and it keeps me hydrated like nothing else I’ve ever tried. I also add a few pumps to a pitcher of warm water and pour over my son at the end of his baths. I use the balm for everything: lips, under eyes, hands, scratches, etc.
ANY OTHER HEALTHY LIVING ESSENTIALS YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Jen: My two treats to myself are indulging in the sauna over at Pure Sweat Float, and working my core over at The Pilates Garage. I can’t live without listening to music, my back roller, drinking tea and burning my palo santo sticks.
Ade: Lemons, my rosemary oil and this fennel toothpaste that I picked up in a drugstore in Scotland and now can’t live without.