Photography By Sasha Israel
“THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF EATING WELL AND WAYS OF APPROACHING FOOD AND WELLNESS,” the founders of CAP Beauty explain in the window seat of their jewel box organic beauty store in the West Village. “And what we’ve both learned throughout our lives is, skin issues start from the inside.” Cindy DiPrima and Kerrilynn Pamer were veterans of the fashion industry with a passion for wellness when they joined forces to open CAP Beauty on West 10th Street in the same space that housed Pamer’s cult boutique Castor & Pollux. Offering the latest in organic and all-natural beauty products, as well as holistic and alternative nutritional supplements, CAP Beauty is also an organic spa specializing in European-style facials utilizing massage and natural oils to give the skin a natural glow and put the products on the shelves to work. “Our motto is ‘beauty is wellness and wellness is beauty,’ the founders tell us over cups of the Cap Beauty Elixir, a tea-like tonic of Sun Potion supplements and coconut oil served in vintage Dior cups and saucers. The space itself exudes beauty, glowing in blush and brushed gold tones with spectacular arrangements of fresh flowers in every corner–a testament to DiPrima’s career as a prop stylist. (They tell us beneath the floorboards lay rose quartz crystals and behind the walls Chinese proverbs and blessings.) Humming with delight we continued to talk with the women of CAP beauty to learn more about preserving beauty from the inside out.
How did you two meet?
We met working at Martha Stewart Living. We weren’t super close then, but we kind of kept track of each other. Then we went on a friend date and drank a lot of wine. We always bonded over our shared interest in things like style and fashion and design and wellness. We could toggle back and forth over things like Dries Van Noten, a recipe, or a self-help book.
Tell us about your outlook on wellness.
Our motto is ‘beauty is wellness and wellness is beauty’. We have never identified as ‘beauty girls.’ We’re not girls who always knew the trendy shade of lipstick. We definitely came at this from a place of interest in taking good care of ourselves from the inside out.
And you both have such natural, glow-y skin, not painted-on with makeup.
We’re more interested in looking great without makeup. We would love to know how to do our makeup a little better, but we feel that they can’t really exist separate from each other. You can put on red lipstick and have a fun night out. But ultimately when you carry that beauty with you throughout the day, its how you feel about yourself as a whole. Our customers have even reinforced this through our Instagram, where beauty and fashion overlap. This is about the luxury of taking care of yourself. It’s one that goes hand in hand with having great friends and having a great place to come home to, good relationships and strong friendships. All of this stuff supports beauty as well as looking and feeling good.
The space has a lot of skincare products, but you also have supplements that nourish you from within.
We started with only a couple of Sun Potion products and then we found The Beauty Chef. Our best selling product is the Glow Inner Beauty Powder. People have seen results right away, they need a second one to keep at their boyfriend’s house. It’s well-loved, really effective and easy-to-use. The idea is taking in fermented foods. This is like eating sauerkraut but it’s a lot more convenient. It’s not as easy to eat a big bowl of fresh sauerkraut every morning.
How would you describe your principles on diet and nutrition?
There’s so many different ways of eating well and ways of approaching food and wellness. As a company, we don’t adhere really strictly to, ‘we have to be vegan’ or ‘we have to be paleo’. We do think you have to eat well. We both lean more toward vegetarianism than veganism. Neither of us are absolute anything. Kerrilynn has a pretty serious Celiac diagnosis and so she’s incredibly sensitive to gluten. That’s helped shed light on the idea that a lot of skin issues start on the inside. What you put on is important but if you have Celiac and it’s undiagnosed, there’s nothing on our shelves that’s going to help your skin if you’re not addressing that. While we’re not doctors and we’re not dietitians, we do encourage people when they have those kinds of conditions to look into everything they’re doing.
When a client comes in for a facial and says, “I’m experiencing breakouts,” do you ask nutrition questions?
We have a beauty intake form. It goes over your cycle, your diet, your nutrition, your sleep, your stress, your home life, everything. We’re also very open-minded about anything you do that makes you feel good in life. I’m drinking an espresso right now at 4:30 in the afternoon. We don’t sell nail polish if it’s not natural, but we get our nails painted. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit in a healthy lifestyle. We encourage people to find what feels best for them and what feels healthy for them. We can look at your skin and tell you what we think is happening, but listen to what your body is saying. For years when Kerrilynn had terrible acne and didn’t know she had Celiac, her body was trying to tell her something constantly. She just didn’t know how to interpret it. Now we’ve become hyper-aware.
How were you diagnosed?
Kerrilynn: I went to the doctor for my yearly physical seven years ago. He did blood work and he called me and said, “Woah…how are you walking around? Do you feel like shit all the time?” And I was like “Yeah, I do!” He said, “You’re not retaining anything. Your body’s not absorbing anything. No nutrients.” So then I did the whole two-week-on, two-week-off elimination diet, and then an endoscopy. I didn’t eat a ton of gluten, because I would eat so much of it that I would gain weight. I could eat five plates of pasta and still be hungry, because I wasn’t taking in the nutritional value. I’d be with my husband and he’d be like “Dude, you’re still eating?” I’d be like, “Yeah, I’m still hungry!” I wasn’t getting anything. So I thought, this is going to be amazing, I’m going to be able to eat the foods that I don’t ever eat. After two weeks of eating all the gluten I wanted, I had gained twelve pounds. I could barely stand, I was so inflamed. It made me want to cry getting out of bed in the morning because my feet were so inflamed. And my skin was a train wreck. It was like a teenage boy at his worst puberty. And I saw the doctor in the hallway, who was doing the endoscopy, who had seen me two weeks earlier, and he was like, “Whoa, even if this comes back negative, you shouldn’t eat gluten. I have never seen such a transformation in a person. Take it out of your diet.”
Think about how many people go through that all the time and they don’t even know.
It’s literally the best thing I ever found out in my life. People will say to me, “Oh my god, I could never give up gluten.” I could never feel that way again. You’re so in tune with your body. Nobody is stopping me from having my favorite pizza tonight except me. I just don’t want to feel like shit all day. I used to feel awful all the time and I thought it was because I’m working a lot, I’m getting older, I live in New York. Part of my brain believed that, but a larger part of my brain was like no, that can’t be the case. This cannot be how you feel in the course of a day.
People just assume that this is the process of aging. But no, we’re not meant to feel this way.
Not at all. The aging thing is a big one. People think, “Oh, you just didn’t win the skin lottery.” Or, “Oh, this is just what 45 feels like.” But no, it’s not true. The body is trying to tell us stuff all the time. It doesn’t have a voice, but it’s telling you things in certain ways. You feel bloated, your body’s telling you something. You break out, your body’s telling you something. You have a headache. Listen to your body
How would you describe your diet now?
We don’t say, “We only approve of vegan diets.” But we definitely eat more plants. The founders of Sun Potion describe the way they eat as “selectatarian,” which we like. There’s nothing off-limits, but we select the best version. For instance, they eat dairy but its raw and fermented.
CAP is very educational as well. Do you find that you get a lot of people that are curious about organic beauty but haven’t fully jumped on, or do you get devotees?
It’s both. A lot of our customers are people who already take care of themselves in every other way and didn’t really have a venue to discover these products. The woman who is already buying everything organic is probably doing yoga and meditating. She’s already spending time and money being well, but her beauty products are maybe not keeping up with the rest of her life. But now they can.
Tell us about the facials you offer.
It’s almost all massage. We don’t do steam. We very rarely do extractions. We also have this really cool thing called Mommy and Me, you bring your baby with you and nurse during the treatment.
What are your top three sellers?
The Beauty Chef’s Glow is definitely a big one. The Captivator, which is our energy mist. May Lindstrom, her products are beautiful. In Fiore is another huge line for us. Butter Elixir is really huge in the winter. Jiva Apoha oils also sell really well.
Kerilynn: My nourishing product would be Glow.
Cindy: For topical, I think I’m going Vintner’s Daughter. When the founder was pregnant, she realized that all of the extremely expensive creams she was using weren’t what she wanted to be using. So she decided to make the Cadillac of skincare that was natural. So she did tons of research. It’s really remarkable face oil. It’s got 22 botanical actives and is really good for anti-aging, pigmentation and for skin that has issues, its fantastic. It’s the most high-performing oil we have here.
When you say high performing, what do you mean?
Cindy: So it’s too active for me; I have super sensitive skin. Kerrilynn and I have very different skin, which is actually amazing. For me, the more active the better. I need tons of turnover and exfoliation. I love any product that really goes to work because I can handle it. I tend toward being more stuck and not reactive, so I need to get those layers off and just keep turning things over. Kerrilynn is super sensitive and reactive, so she needs calming.
Kerrilynn: Calm is this really beautiful oil from In Fiore. When I had Celiac, for a long time after I had really intense rosacea, and for the longest time I could not get rid of it. I did everything. Calm has been the one product, coupled with diet, that did it. The smell is intoxicating. I think this product is incredibly effective for anybody that has any sort of redness in their skin and heat in their body, which is hard to find. It’s easier to get actives on your face because you just generate cell turnover, but when my skin goes hot, I can’t get it back down to cool. But this product has helped.
One thing we notice in people that use exclusively organic products, they use too many essential oils that strip the skin of a lot of natural-producing oils. I find that they’re very red, but neither of you have that.
We’re doing a private label for Cap Beauty as well, so we’ll have our own products. But we’re going to do just single ingredient oils. So we’ll have jojoba oil, coconut oil, we’ll have those things that feel really really simple. I’m just washing now with Manuka Honey because my skin has been reacting, I think I was using too much oil in this heat and too much yoga, so our esthetician put me on Manuka Honey. She said ‘you should just be washing with that and you need an antibacterial.” One of the cool things about superfoods is that almost all of them go to work as masks. We use everything back there. We’re working right now on developing a mushroom mask/peel. We also make masks out of tocos, chlorella and honey, of course. Everything goes to work back there.
Often times it’s easy to find a purifying thing that’s not nourishing. I used to go hardcore purifying trying to calm my skin down, which is exactly the opposite of what I was doing. I was inflaming it, trying to get rid of acne. Honey is really cool because it will take down bacteria but it’s also nourishing; it’s not stripping your skin at all. It’s a pretty miraculous product.
The other thing that one of our estheticians said is that the skin is a detox organ, so when something’s getting out, the good news is its working. And also, better out that in. That’s slim consolation for someone who’s got problematic skin, but there’s something to be said for that. The psychology really makes sense when you start to look at your skin as a whole and yourself as a whole. You see the essence of the person and how beautiful they are as a whole. Unless you’re a dermatologist and you’re actually looking for issues, nobody’s doing that. The bigger picture is really what matters. And all this stuff will make the bigger picture prettier.
What’s different about the facials you offer here?
We have a 60-minute facial and are about to launch the 90-minute version. We felt really strongly about not offering a lot of different options within each category. Our estheticians know what to do; we’re not the ones who should decide what facial we need. We want it all. We want oxygenation, we want anti-aging. A really good facialist will tell you what you need. Our skin is different every single day. Your treatment really changes and it’s guided by a philosophy we have here but every facial will be different. We don’t use any tools, we don’t use steam, we don’t use light. It’s very, very hands-on. It’s very sophisticated in the sense that these estheticians really have an understanding of how to get the best skin with their hands. Because they’re so connected to the client, they really learn a good sense of what the ecosystem of the skin is and that allows them to make the best recommendations for your skin. Let someone who really understands what they’re looking at get to know your skin and then work together to develop a routine. We think of them as partners. We want people to have a partner to go through this together, almost like a trainer. We go and get my teeth cleaned every six months. When we leave, they’re like, “See you in 6 months.” We want people to think about skincare in that way. It’s more of a European philosophy. In this country, we think of facials as being either somebody that has really bad skin and is trying to solve something or someone who is really indulgent and lives uptown and gets a facial every three weeks. We want people to start incorporate them into your routine because its self-care. The skin is an organ and it needs to be properly taken care of. It’s not an indulgence. It is the thing you present to the world and you feel different when your skin feels good.
For CAP Beauty’s Tonic Recipe, click here
For CAP Beauty’s GREEN APPLE Click HERE