It’s easy to imagine Nuria Val at her happiest. Dwelling in a mountain retreat, exploring the wild surroundings, playing with light and shadows — enjoying plant life at its fullest.
Having travelled around the world as a photographer, she learned about the wonders of nature. Today, as ROWSE’s co-founder creative director, she’s changing the way we understand the beauty of people and the planet. We speak with her about her skincare routines and recommended rituals, tips and tricks and some insights to enjoy a sustainable way of life.
What have you recently learned about skincare?
When I started ROWSE, I learned something that forever changed my beauty routine. You can substitute a regular face cream with two simple steps that will bring you all the benefits of plants: applying a floral water, followed by a few drops of a plant-based oil. It's the basis of ROWSE’s philosophy and has changed the skincare routine of so many people already.
What’s the best about plant-based beauty?
First, it's the most respectful way to take care of ourselves and the planet. Second, I'm a huge fan of greenery, I've been photographing plants and landscapes for many years so there's something really special when I use plants in my daily routine — they bring me back to nature. I love the smells, textures and colours, it’s all about sensations! My skin feels better than ever and I know I'm contributing to a better future.
“There's something really special when I use plants in my daily routine — they bring me back to nature. I love the smells, textures and colours, it’s all about sensations!”
Define your skin.
I have combination skin, but in winter I feel it changes a lot and it’s particularly dry, especially in the morning.
What’s the most significant change you’ve observed in your skin since using plant-based beauty products?
You can appreciate the difference from the very first day. The skin feels moisturised and gets a natural glow you can't find in any regular cream. Also, the skin feels much hydrated so you don't need to use so many different products to keep it healthy. Before using ROWSE, my skin used to feel dry already at midday, and this never happens now. I'm sure it’s because our body easily recognises and benefits from raw ingredients.
How many products do you have on your shelf? Which ones do you use on a daily basis?
I used to try so many different brands and products but not anymore. I have my hydrating routine made of water and oil. They are my daily essentials no matter what. At night, I love to use the Tangerine Cleansing Balm to cleanse my skin and the Regenerate Night Serum to nourish it.
Then I have my tools, the roller and gua sha stone, that I use to enhance the benefits of ROWSE’s oils. Also, I like to have a couple of powders that I use to make masks and bring some extra care to my skin, I usually opt for Green Clay or the Charcoal Powder, which really suit my combination skin.
How often do you use the Charcoal Powder?
Usually once a week to clean and detoxify my skin, especially during these odd times when we have to wear mask all day. The first time I used it was funny because it took a bit more than just water to rinse it off. But a few drops of any plant oil or the Tangerine Cleansing Balm will help you remove every rest of it.
“I love to massage my face when I apply my plant-based ingredients, either with my fingertips or with ROWSE’s roller or gua sha stone”
Is there some step in the routine that you used to neglect and now you've learned is essential?
Yes, I actually learnt a lot since I started ROWSE! The first thing I learned is how important it is to take time to take care of yourself and how wonderful are rituals for the skin. This is even more true in the middle of the pandemic, when more than ever we deserve some self-love. I love to massage my face when I apply my plant-based ingredients, either with my fingertips or with ROWSE’s roller or gua sha stone — I try to use them every day now that I know they help the product better penetrate the skin and thus be more effective.
Any plant-based ingredients that just don’t work for your skin?
Oils can be tricky if you don't choose the one that suits your skin. There are oils meant to be used for acne prone skin and others for very dry skin but when I started to use ROWSE I was trying everything and I felt Baobab and Camellia were too oily for everyday use on my skin type, so I only use them when my skin really feels very dry - especially in the winter when I need extra hydration.
Early bird or night owl? What are the first things you do when you wake up?
Early bird! When I wake up, I take a quick shower, I apply my morning routine - Neroli Water and Hemp Oil and run to brew some coffee. I love to have some ‘me time’: a nice cup of coffee, eat some fruit and read the news before heading to ROWSE’s creative studio.
How is your cleansing ritual?
In the morning, I wash my face in the shower with ROWSE’s Universal Shea Butter soap or the Chamomile and Camellia soap that I like so much. I use the same soap for my body. At night, I prefer the Tangerine Cleansing Balm to remove all dirt from the day.
Last things at night-time?
My days are pretty intense so at night I'm always very tired. I usually take this time to talk to my family and friends. Right before bedtime, no matter how exhausted I am, I cleanse my face. I’m using the Tangerine Cleansing Balm, it feels like a gift for my skin: it’s so hydrating! Then I apply the Night Serum, I love that it works while you sleep. It’s such a soothing ritual that has become a self-care commitment.
How’s your skin feeling with the Regenerate Serum?
I believe this serum is almost therapeutic, not just for the skin — it really makes a difference! — but also for the senses. The texture is amazing and when you apply it you get enveloped by the most incredible smell — it just helps me to slow down and get ready to sleep.
“The Regenerate Night Serum is almost therapeutic, not just for the skin but also for the senses”
Any more rituals to disconnect?
I always love to light some candles when I’m at home, but getting close to nature is something that I need to do constantly to get inspired and renew my energy.
What does travel mean to you?
I would simply say that everything I’ve learnt traveling and living in different places around the world has helped me to be a better person, both personal and professionally.
What’s the most impressive landscape you’ve ever visited?
Iceland, absolutely breathtaking.
Do you scout locations before travel?
I do. The way I travel is very responsible and respectful with the environment and local communities, so this requires me to learn and read about the places I visit. I always try to find local people to help me organise the trip. I must say I can’t wait to travel again!
How do you take care of your skin and hair when you’re travelling?
I help my skin with extra care, especially while I’m on the plane and my skin gets stressed and dehydrated. I always carry a plant-based oil to moisturize my face, hands and lips. Spraying some floral water to rehydrate the skin is really helpful too.
Let’s talk about hair. How often do you wash it?
Since I’m using ROWSE's solid shampoo I feel my hair is more healthy and I don't need to wash it every day anymore, I usually do it every 2-3 days. Having very thin hair, I thought that I needed to wash it every single day, but now I’ve understood that I was feeding my hair with chemical products that created this need that I wasn't aware of.
Any weird tips to get those loose waves?
This is one of the most common questions about my hair! It is very easy. First, never use conditioner, your hair loses shape and personality. It's something I realised when I started using ROWSE's Super Volume solid shampoo — my hair was already soft and hydrated, so I didn't have to add anything else. Second tip is to use Hemp Oil for your hair ends — it hydrates and gives texture without being oily. I would also recommend not to brush it too much during the day!
Tell us the story of the Winter Body Oil.
It was ROWSE’s very first blend, so it’s a very special product for me and for all the team. It has something really special that we all love: it smells like a forest! But also the texture, the colour and how hydrating it is.
It's perfect after the shower — it feels so soothing not only for your skin but also for your senses and mind. It's made by resilient plants that grow in very extreme conditions, so it's great for winter, although you can use it anytime. My dream is to visit Dolomites this spring in search of one of its main ingredients: Rhodiola!
What makes you proud about ROWSE?
Everything. We are a sustainable brand from inside out and not just because of the products. The way we treat our producers and collaborators, the love and care we give to the planet is something really important and makes me very proud.
We're a community of people with clear ideas about how important it is to be part of a change and I'm proud to say that in two years of life, ROWSE has become a referent in the beauty industry. We are changing concepts that the old-fashioned beauty industry made us believe for a long time. We are learning every day how to do things better and we will always keep an eye to develop new and more responsible formulas.
What changes would you like to inspire in the beauty industry?
I would love people to better understand plants and how much they can help us to take care of ourselves and the planet. Plants are one of the most sustainable resources and there's so much we can learn from and do with them! I want to recover old local traditions and recipes that got lost and I feel are relevant today. ROWSE is not a beauty brand, is a lifestyle brand that will grow in many different ways.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to keep growing, learning and inspiring people. I see myself living closer to nature, running ROWSE’s creative studio and also launching a ROWSE's art residence, a dreamed place to create connecting artists to nature. I'm sure we will make it happen!
Photography: Coke Bartrina