Name: Nikki Mitchell
Occupation: Green Beauty Alchemist and founder of Willow and Oak Skincare
Where do you live: Los Angeles
What inspired you to start the skincare line Willow and Oak: I had really terrible uterine fibroid tumors that obstructed my bladder and rectum and during this time I was severely anemic and gluten intolerant as well. Needless to say...I was in pretty bad shape and did not understand how I got there. Once I got diagnosed I took a couple years to research how my body became so unbalanced. I’m naturally drawn to holistic approaches so I dived in and starting changing my diet, drinking more herbal teas, eating more fruits and veggies and drinking a lot of raw apple cider vinegar. I also created tonics with various herbs and spices like ashwagandha, turmeric, cinnamon, chamomile, reishi and calendula to name a few. I started to notice my mood lifting and I had more energy. During this time of course I had my “ah-ha” moment and started thinking about what I was putting on my skin. The subject of hormonal imbalances, dehydration and an acid body along with all kinds of other factors that can give birth to these annoying tumors allowed me to get some perspective and to slow down. What I also learned was that most chemicals leech into our blood stream to our organs from products like lotions or hair care creams, lip sticks and deodorants etc. etc., that contain nasty substances like cheap fillers and preservatives. Eventually, I made my first salve out of whatever I could find in my home. I found coconut oil...check...I found a beeswax candle that I chopped in pieces with a kitchen knife (don’t do that...it’s dangerous)...check...and I had a bottle of lavender essential oil...BOOM. I made this silky, creamy yet stable product and I was hooked. P.S. I no longer chop beeswax with knives. :)
Tell us about your product range. What products are in the line and what inspired their creation: Willow and Oak is a small body care company that is still growing as I grow personally. I have facial oils, and a body oil, lip balm and a deodorant (that I cannot keep stocked), and more aromatically delicious products in the making such as a coffee body scrub and a facial balm to hydrate dry skin and restore its luster with lots of Vitamin A. My tonics for the face and body are nourishing and give great results, that’s important and that is what I want to continue to create. The green beauty world is growing and for good reason. You can find me online at www.willowandoakskincare.com or head over to Prelude and Dawn or Otherwild located locally here in Los Angeles.
What advice would you share with someone who is interested in transitioning their
skin care to include more natural products: Oh man, that is a great question and all I can think to say is READ LABELS and educate yourself on what ingredients are in the products. It’s extremely important that you do your homework. You are the only one that is gonna really be able to look out for you. Be curious and investigate. The more knowledgeable you become on anything really, the better life choices you will be able to make with confidence. Oh, and try different brands, have fun exploring and discovering this amazing industry.
Tell us about your daily makeup routines. What are your must have beauty staples:
Oh man, I’m so boring, ha! Mascara for sure if I’m not being lazy, definitely my restorative lip balm and a bronzer. BOOM...done...out the door.
Skincare routine: I wash my face with an oil cleanser that I formulated with avocado oil, castor seed and rosemary essential oil and cleanse with this twice a day. After that I use “I GO TO WORK” as a spot treatment for scars and any acne that may pop up unexpectedly. This oil is so badass. I had some pretty embarrassing back acne and broke out real bad for some reason months ago and this baby is shutting it down. Sometimes I’m like...what the...wow...this
“ish” works, haha. I mean I formulated it to do that but I’m always amazed how nature is so dope and truly provides a solution. There are no weird stuff in my products, no harsh chemicals that are gonna dry your skin out or irritate it, as long as you are not allergic of course to any of the natural ingredients.
Favorite high-end beauty product: My bottle of rose otto oil...it’s otherworldly and euphoric.
Hair care must haves: Argan oil with a few drops of Cedarwood massaged in my hair when
its wet. Works for muh curls.
Go-to fragrance: Patchouli or Rose oil are the two oils I wear a lot.
Go-to shop for eco-friendly brands: Prelude and Dawn in Highland park or Otherwild, both have great selections of home goods as well as handmade clothes and apothecary products from small businesses who are conscious and have a deep respect to create mindfully and playfully.
Beauty Secret: Drink lots of WATER!!!
Favorite way to treat your self: I was introduced to Kundalini and Iyengar yoga about 13 years
ago and it was powerful...still is. It’s taken me a long time to look forward to it as a ritual. My practice is much better as of late. Yoga keeps depression away and meditation is right up in
the party too, ha. Visual meditation has been a powerful tool for manifestation in my life. Without that, there would be no Willow & Oak. The power to set intentions during your practice is very real and will come to light, maybe not when you want but eventually. The Universe will prepare you and put hiccups and jolts and all kinds of uncomfortable obstacles in your path. This is all to prepare you for the journey ahead. Great humility will come to big dreamers and healers...it's the only way.
Why do you think self-care is so important: This is a great question and one that I’m learning about all the time as I continue to understand myself more. I found this anonymous quote and put it on my website that says: “self care is deliberate and acknowledges one’s needs and values.” You absolutely have to prioritize yourself or you will get run over by life. Enjoy what time you have with “you”. Get a massage, do a detox mask once a week, write your thoughts down and acknowledge your accomplishments.
Who inspires you: Any Hue-man who has experienced great loss and has learned humility and forgiveness is someone I want to talk to and read about. Those who have a platform to make
positive changes and bring awareness to our fragile humanity. Those who still have that fight inside even when they feel defeated. Muh Heroes!