Clean beauty “geek” Sarah James on her most prized skincare finds, rituals, and lessons after 40.
– KEYS SOULCARE
To hear her tell it, Sarah James started her clean beauty platform, Whoorl, on a whim — spurred by boredom and the go-go-go burnout she experienced while working as a pharmaceuticals rep. But nearly two decades later, she’s still dishing out the clean beauty secrets and products we can’t get enough of. As a wife, mother, writer, and then some, Sarah has a lot to offer her loyal and growing audience of clean beauty enthusiasts looking to create skincare routines for real life.
We recently chatted with the green beauty queen to get the deets on her favorite products, rituals, and advice for those looking to upgrade their current regimens at any age and stage.
How did your interest in clean beauty products and rituals start?
I’ve been so intrigued by beauty products and rituals since I was a little girl, watching my own mom get ready for events…I just remember thinking how cool it was to enhance your features using color and light, just like an artist’s canvas. Over the past decade, brand practices, sustainability, and supporting small businesses have become paramount to me, which naturally led me to clean beauty.
What did exploring that curiosity teach you about yourself, your skin, and your soulcare style?
Beauty and self-care rituals truly feed my soul. Beyond taking care of myself, they tap into my creativity and allow me to express myself and connect with others all over the world.
What does your skin need to feel nurtured and well?
Sleep. Hydration. A sense of ease. (The last one has been slightly difficult during the pandemic.)
I think a deeply nourishing face cream can cure all that ails.
How has your relationship to soulcare changed over time?
For many years, I viewed soulcare as a prescriptive list of things that the media essentially fed to me (meditation, yoga, a special diet, etc). But in my forties, I realized that while those things are helpful, my true personal soulcare is creating. I love to create, whether it be looks or videos or art, and that’s when my soul feels most fulfilled. Soulcare looks different for everyone.
What are a few of your day-to-day skin rituals?
Not a day goes by without my two favorites: vitamin C and retinol! (My detailed routine can be found here.) And, I always love a little facial massage in the morning.
What advice would you give to someone looking to deepen their skincare knowledge and confidence?
Find a dermatologist [who] truly listens and addresses your concerns, as well as beauty writers, estheticians, and even influencers [who] you feel connected to — ideally, your own beauty dream team of knowledge!
What’s the best skincare advice you ever received?
Wear SPF. Seriously, it is the number-one way to keep your skin looking healthy and youthful.
What one skin challenge has inspired you to learn and care more for your skin?
I wrote about my struggle with perioral dermatitis here, which many of us know is a frustrating condition that requires tons of patience. That period of time taught me two things: less is more, and nothing lasts forever.
What books or resources inspire and educate you about beauty and self-care these days?
I’m slightly obsessed with Dr. Ranella Hirsch on Instagram. She cuts through all the beauty and skincare marketing B.S. — yes, including many “clean beauty” claims — and truly educates her following through science and a healthy dose of wit.
What’s your highest vision for the work that you do?
To make others feel inspired, empowered, confident, and beautiful in their own skin.
How do you aspire to “clean up” your beauty routine? Share in the comments!