How do you spend the first five minutes of your day? There is no better time than the morning to land and prepare your body and mind to set the tone for the day ahead. And since we only have about 25,000 tomorrows in our adult lives, it’s time we made them count. In our Alarm clock series, we take a look at the morning routines of the people we admire to inspire our own AM rituals and do our best. Until next time, AYOND’s co-founder and creative director, By Shani Van Breukelen morning routine.
“Nothing has ever felt like an ‘ah-ha’ moment, I’ve had to work hard to get what I have.”
In a world that seems to praise unicorn startups and 30-under-30 lists, it’s refreshing to meet a founder who rejects the status quo and does things on her own terms. Creative Director Shani Van Breukelen, along with her partner and co-founder, Porter Yates, are seriously breaking the mold with their revolutionary skincare line. AYOND. Drawing inspiration from the beautiful yet hardy plants that thrive in the extreme conditions of the Santa Fe desert, the couple set out to bottle their magical medicinal qualities and transformative scents in a skincare line, and it’s safe to say they succeeded.
In my line of work, it’s safe to say that I tried hundreds of beauty brands and products, so I had high expectations when I tried their Metamorph Cleansing Balm. Let me tell you, it was nothing short of exhilarating sensory overload. The unique milk balm balm quenches your face’s thirst like a desert monsoon while dissolving dirt and debris; it’s basically a refreshing downpour in a bottle. But this innovation is not limited to the ingredients and the formula. Their conscious focus It also covers its manufacture and packaging, giving priority to ecological, recyclable or reusable materials that minimize post-consumer waste. Brands like AYOND may be small, but they are making a big impact on the industry by paving the way for the future.
We were so inspired by the brand’s mantra and mission that we reached out to share more of its inspiring story. Van Breukelen graciously invited us to his stunning New York apartment to tell us the truth about his morning routine, tips for success, and tips for life. Get ready to be inspired.
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On a typical day …
A typical day to me seems like a lot of time at my computer working, taking calls, good coffee breaks with my boyfriend, Porter, and playtime with my dog, Linx.
At the time of your wake-up call …
Anywhere from 6: 30-7 a.m. I try to get eight hours of sleep each night, but that doesn’t always happen.
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In the first thing he does when he wakes up …
I like to get up early because I have time to myself. My dog Linx usually likes to get up between 7:30 and 8 a.m., so if she is up to getting up with me, the first thing I do is let her out in the backyard. Then I’ll take her upstairs and continue my routine. This is varied as I can sometimes stretch and exercise or spend more time on my skincare routine. I’m not overly structured in the mornings as I like to listen to how I feel and do any of these things before I start work.
In your exercise routine …
During the confinement, the training sessions became more intense and essential. I’m not really a yoga person, but I love good cardio. The right music is the most important step for me, as it motivates me. Once I’ve selected that, I can continue my pre-workout routine by stretching with some yoga moves, vagus nerve work, and then start getting into my squat, elliptical, and weight routine. If it’s okay, I like to run the perimeter of Prospect Park.
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On how her morning routine in quarantine changed …
Both 2020 and 2021 have been such challenging years on a personal and professional level that I found exercise to be essential in keeping myself feeling positive or letting go of frustration due to the state of the world. I also spent more time talking to the family in the morning, especially my twin sister who lives in Stockholm. My skincare routine changed a bit too. Previously, I used Metamorph Cleansing Balm at night as a gua sha slip, but found that with the added stress and monotony of the confinement, I started using it as a gua sha massage in the morning; It helped me wake up gently and relieve any stress I may be feeling.
On her morning beauty routine from start to finish …
I start with a gentle hand massage using our Metamorph Cleansing Balm. Once it is applied evenly, I begin to gently massage the contours of my face with a gua sha tool. The areas where I spend the most energy are between the eyebrows, cheekbones and neck. Once the massage is complete, I like to let the cleansing balm sit for a bit and then apply it with warm water, letting the balm turn into milk and then with a damp cloth to wipe it off.
After this step, I will press cold water to my face to fully wake up, I really enjoy how calming the cold water feels. Lately, I have been testing a toner that I made, but before this, I was using Heritage Store Rose Water Toner.
Once my skin is almost dry, I will use three to six drops of Rock Rose Facial Serum. This serum has one of the most unique scents. When applied to my face, I like to breathe deeply into the palms of my hands before applying it. I use it generously on my face and neck.
Once the serum has been fully absorbed, I continue with about a dime of Taos Blue Day Cream. This cream is extremely easy to combine with other products and the aroma always reminds me of the desert. Sometimes when the weather is extremely dry, I add a few drops of the Amber Elix face oil to this cream before applying (if it’s a wet day, I’ll skip the day cream and stick with Supergoop SPF and Amber Elix facial oil).
If I go out, I will add a small amount of mineral sunscreen (Supergoop) after Taos Blue Day Cream. While I wait for the cream to fully absorb into my face, I will take a couple drops of Amber Elix Face Oil and begin by rubbing the oil on my neck and décolleté. Using more drops if necessary, I will gently press the facial oil to the highest points of my cheekbones, gently rub around my eyes, half of my forehead, and treat any scars I may have. This facial oil is great for any new or old scar and has a beautiful slightly spicy and uplifting scent that makes it perfect for the last step of my routine. Any remaining oil on my hands I will use on the tip of my hair to make sure nothing is wasted.
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At your breakfast …
I practice intermittent fasting so I don’t have breakfast in the morning. I’ll drink water with vitamin tablets, take L-Serine Powder or Whole Foods L-Theanine pill supplements, and have coffee or tea.
On his morning rituals with the media …
The first thing I open is BBC news or NPR and check Ayond’s Instagram. Then I usually appear on a podcast while checking emails.
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About your favorite books …
I enjoy different types of books for different reasons. At the moment, I am reading The Other Slavery: The Uncovered History of Indian Slavery in America by Andrés Reséndez and a beautician’s book on skin care.
In what you always have on your nightstand …
Non-slip eye mask or Simply Organic Sleeping Mask, earplugs, water and my phone. Before sleeping, I like to play Sudoku on my phone.
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On your favorite soundtrack to get ready …
In the morning, it is usually The daily podcast. At any other time I like to select an artist and play similar music randomly. An artist I’ve been listening to lately is Kokoroko.
In his morning workout …
Since I run a small business and wear a lot of hats, I can’t spend too much time exercising in the morning, but I do a light 30-minute workout most days. On the weekends I like to exercise in the afternoon instead of the morning and train for an hour or more.
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In his daily uniform …
I like to keep things simple: some jewelry, Totems jeans or VINCE Jeans for those baggy days and probably a black top. During the confinement, I preferred baggy jeans, but kept everything else the same.
If I had an extra hour every morning …
I would spend more time exercising or talking to my twin sister on the phone.
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On what he does to live a more present, conscious and joyful life …
Take a moment to spend time outside and talk with your loved ones. The outdoors is the best way to clear my thoughts and talking to my family and friends always makes me feel better and happy.
On his secret to success …
I don’t think I have had that moment, things have progressed based on the present choices and perseverance, nothing has felt like an “ah-ha” moment and I have had to work hard for what I have.
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I never leave home without … keys and my phone.
If there were more hours in the day, I would …. travel more.
The healthiest morning habit … skin care and water!
Worst morning habit … Some would say intermittent fasting, but I like my morning routine.
The only thing I fear the most is … Lost opportunity.
When I feel that fear, I … think about doing what I can with what I have.
The book I always recommend is … Fire next time by James Baldwin.
The 3 traits you need to succeed in life are … lgo, resilience and perseverance.
Bath or shower? And what is your favorite shower / bath product? Shower and Rahua shampoo + conditioner
When I’m creatively blocked, I … GRAMor to run or walk with my dog.
My hidden talent is … quickly learn a language.
The best advice I’ve ever received is … Dor what you can with what you have.
The biggest sacrifice I have made for my career is … changing paths from fashion to skincare.