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An Interview with Flora Mirabilis Founder Jordan LaFragola

October 20, 2022 Flora Mirabilis, Skincare

Our stunning new skincare collection from Flora Mirabilis is the vision of LA-based esthetician Jordan LaFragola. Turning Charlie Chaplin’s former home into a fairytale-style apothecary studio and treatment space, Jordan and partner Christopher Cuseo created the cult Face Oil; a single product designed to provide everything you need for optimal skin health. With her second product just released – the incredible Cleansing Clay, we spoke with Jordan about skincare, self-care and her favourite LA haunts. Go behind the brand with our exclusive interview…

Meet Jordan LaFragola, Founder of Flora Mirabilis

Q. What inspired you to create Flora Mirabilis?

I had been an esthetician for over a decade and worked in various spas with many different product lines. I have talked with thousands of clients and witnessed firsthand the results of different products and routines on people’s skin. I learned that treating your skin with a minimal amount of healthy, natural ingredients makes it look its best in the long run. After moving from New York to Los Angeles in 2014, I embraced the holistic lifestyle and started making my own skincare products. I began honing in on the formula for what would become our FACE OIL product and developed it over a couple of years through client feedback and results. Once I had perfected it to meet my standards of being an all-purpose product that would genuinely and effectively work on all skin types, I founded Flora Mirabilis with my partner Christopher Cuseo to officially launch it.

Q. The Face Oil is such a beautiful product and provides a complete sensory experience. How did you select the ingredients and what was your vision for this product?

Thank you. My vision was to create a formula that would do everything you would want a skin care product to do and for it to genuinely improve your skin’s health. I did a ton of research on natural ingredients when I began formulating it. I read countless research papers and scientific studies and poured over the chemical composition breakdowns of different ingredients. I came up with a list of ingredients that were proven to be skin-safe and had the attributes that I was looking for – moisturizing, brightening, balancing, softening, restorative and preventative. I then narrowed it down to the ingredients that were the most potent and, from there, began experimenting with different combinations to achieve the perfect synergistic effect. For example, oils that contain oleic fatty acids work well with dry skin, and oils that contain linoleic fatty acids are better suited for oily skin; the blend of carrier oils in our FACE OIL contains an equal balance of both, so it works well with all skin types. It took a lot of fine-tuning and hundreds of iterations before landing on our current formula.

Q. The scent is completely intoxicating, how important is fragrance to the ritual of using the Face Oil?

It’s essential. I’ve used products before where the scent was hard to get around, making me not want to use them, despite the benefits. The main thing about the scent of our FACE OIL is that it is scented entirely by its active ingredients; no ingredient is used for the purpose of providing scent. When choosing the ingredients, though, I gravitated towards certain fragrance categories- woods, resins, and deeper florals. I envisioned wanting the oil to smell earthy, exotic, and captivating. Something that you couldn’t get enough of. When something pleases your senses, you want it around all the time, and it is an incentive to use it. Also, because the ingredients in our FACE OIL are natural and have been used for centuries, I think there is a familiarity ingrained someway in our DNA. Often, people remark that they feel as though they know the scent but can’t quite place it.

Q. Flora Mirabilis packaging is stunning and very unique. How did you come to this design and what was the process like?

Thank you. The packaging was a collaboration between my partner, Christopher Cuseo, and me. We wanted to create something that felt special and exciting. Our designs are very much inspired by shapes and colors from the Renaissance, which was a time when beauty and craftsmanship were paramount. Christopher sculpted the mold for our FACE OIL bottle, and we have it custom-made down in Mexico City from recycled glass. All our packaging is made from recycled materials, with hand-applied stickers and a wax seal to give it that artisanal touch.

Q. You’ve just launched the Cleansing Clay, what should people know about this product and how would you suggest using it?

I have been developing this product for the past couple of years, using it in my facial treatments. I love oil for cleansing, but you always need a cloth or a second cleanser to remove it from your skin. I wanted to create a product that would give you all the benefits of oil cleansing (softening skin, thoroughly removing surface impurities, reducing clogged pores) but be able to rinse clean on its own. I combined three carrier oils- Safflower, Meadowfoam, and Castor, that are rich in Linoleic, Ricinoleic, and Eiconsenoic fatty acids, which restore your skins barrier function, prevent moisture loss, balance oil production, and unclog pores. I added five skin-safe essential oils, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Lavender, Frankincense, and Valerian, that contain high levels of Sesquiterpenes- phytochemicals with potent antiinflammatory, antiseptic, detoxifying properties that are incredible for cleansing your skin. I mixed the oils with Kaolin, a gentle, mineral-rich clay that gently polishes your skin without drying it out to create a creamy, balm-like consistency, which emulsifies with water and rinses clean from your skin. I added powdered Apple Cider Vinegar to lower the pH of the formula to a slightly acidic level, which is ideal for keeping skin healthy and able to combat microbes and free radicals. Apple Cider Vinegar also contains Malic acid, an AHA that promotes clarity and an even skin tone.

When you apply the CLEANSING CLAY, it goes on like a thick balm. You massage it in for a few minutes, then splash water on your skin, and it transforms into a milky lather, which rinses clean from your skin and leaves it soft, smooth, and perfectly cleansed. I suggest using it once a day in the evening. In the morning, you just need to splash some water on your face, and you are good to go!

Q. What’s your personal skincare routine like?

I like to keep it pretty simple. I splash water on my face in the morning, apply a few drops of Flora Mirabilis FACE OIL, and spend 5-10 minutes massaging my face and neck. I love using our BEAUTY TOOL to do some Gua Sha, which helps reduce puffiness. In the evening, I wash my face with our CLEANSING CLAY, sometimes use a bit of apple cider vinegar as a toner, and finish with more FACE OIL. Once a week, I give myself a mini facial, where I steam my skin, exfoliate with clay, and masque with matcha green tea.

Q. What are the most common skin issues you see in your studio, and what’s your go-to advice?

Always dehydrated and sensitized skin. The average client I see uses so many different products or is constantly switching them up, and their skin is in a perpetual state of stress. I try to get my clients to pare down their routine to the basics and see how their skin responds. Then they can gradually introduce additional products if they so desire. And always drink more water!

Q. People might be surprised to learn your studio is based in Charlie Chaplin’s former home! Tell us about the space and how this came to be?

The space is magical. It’s a 100-year-old story-book style cottage tucked behind two massive fig trees- in some places, the trees have actually grown into the house! Everyone remarks that it looks like a fairytale cottage. So many of the details are original- the leaded glass windows, wooden ceiling beams, geometric arched doorways, and Saltillo tile floors. We even have a turret with a spiral staircase. We’ve filled the space with hundreds of plants and handmade Mexican furniture. It was built in 1923 when Charlie Chaplin worked at nearby Chaplin Studios and needed a place for himself and his friends. There are two bungalows on the property where Judy Garland and Douglas Fairbanks would stay.

We ended up moving in after literally running past it! We like to go on long runs through the city, and we randomly turned down the street one day and noticed the property with a tiny ‘for rent’ sign on the front; we called the number and two days later moved in!

Q. What are your beauty and wellness essentials?

Definitely our FACE OIL and BEAUTY TOOL for everyday skincare. I love using the Ziip microcurrent device to give my skin a boost before an event. A dry brush for your body is fantastic for keeping your skin smooth and glowing. And I always take a collagen supplement, krill oil, and multivitamin daily.

Finish the sentence: A perfect day in LA begins with…

A hot cup of local organic coffee, a protein smoothie bowl, and a hike up Runyon Canyon to get some sun and fresh air.

Finish the sentence: A perfect day in LA ends with…

A healthy, home-cooked meal and a glass of red wine, surrounded by friends.

Q. How do you practice self care beyond products?

I always take the time to work out every day. Getting that physical movement in is so essential to having a relaxed mind. I take little breaks throughout the day to stretch and practice breath work. I journal every morning to help keep myself grounded, focused, and present.

Q. Do you have a beauty secret you would share?

Never, ever squeeze or pop anything on your face! I know it’s hard, but it can mean the difference between a blemish lasting for just a few days or turning into something that lasts for weeks and leaves a permanent mark. Also, massaging your skin for at least 5 minutes every day really gives your skin a healthy, radiant glow.

Q. Can anyone use the Flora Mirabilis Face Oil?

Absolutely! It’s evenly balanced in fatty acids, which works great for oily and dry skin. It’s hypoallergenic, so it works well for sensitive skin. The scent is gender-neutral and works equally well for younger and more mature skin. We’ve had the formula third-party tested and had no adverse reactions across the board.

Q. Who are your beauty icons?

Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci are classics. I love Penelope Cruz. I think Zendaya is amazing; she has such a great look and beautiful skin.

Q. Are you an early bird or night owl?

Definitely an early bird; I’m usually up every day before 5 am. I love having coffee and getting work done while the city slowly wakes up, seeing the sky turn from dark to light.

Q. What is your favourite place in the world?

Big Sur, California- a huge stretch of redwood forests and rugged coastline above the Pacific ocean. It’s about a 5-hour drive north of Los Angeles and feels like the most magical nature wonderland. We try and get up there as often as we can to go hiking, exploring, and swimming under waterfalls.

Q. If we could transport you to a hotel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Somewhere in Southern Italy.

Q. What are your favourite places in LA?

I love the Chateau Marmont; it has such a classic old-Hollywood vibe. We’ve had many meetings and brainstorming sessions in the beautiful garden terrace restaurant. The LACMA is awesome to go to get inspired. And, of course- the beach; Malibu is my favorite.

Q. What Instagram accounts do you love to follow?

I love making homemade sourdough bread, pasta, and pizza and follow a ton of those kinds of accounts. Also, fitness, health, and art accounts. A random mix!

Q. Are you a podcast or book person? Any recent favourites?

I love audiobooks. Some of my favorite authors are Paulo Coehlo, Oscar Wilde, and Haruki Murakami. I love a good biography; I just finished Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.

Q. What skincare advice would you give to someone in their teens, and someone in their 60s?

For teens, it would be to keep it simple with a gentle cleanser and face oil and don’t forget to wash your face at night. I see many teens using harsh cleansers that strip their skin of its natural oils and actually cause acne to form.

For someone in their 60s, it would be to focus on moisturizing with face oil and doing a bit of facial massage daily. When your skin has adequate moisture levels, it’s less likely to develop fine lines, and facial massage boosts blood flow, nourishing your skin from the inside out.

 

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Learn more about Flora Mirabilis here.

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