Stella Simona On the Creative Act of Business, Beauty and Motherhood

I’m a mother, wife, visual storyteller, and co-owner of fine jewelry brands Amarilo and Haati Chai. To me, an individual is most beautiful when they are comfortable in their own skin, a concept that not only drives what I do in my work but my life too. My mother instilled this in me early on. I vividly remember watching her get ready in awe and she would always emphasize that embracing natural beauty is the most beautiful thing a woman (or man) can do. Since then, as a mother and business owner, taking this intentional way of viewing the world and creating a life that focuses on enhancing over changing has been the most rewarding journey.

Together, my love for aesthetics and storytelling has seen me take on creative direction, not only for my personal brands but also some of the brands I’ve followed from an early age. I’ve collaborated with a range of companies within fashion and beauty — Dior, Chanel, Moda Operandi, Nanushka, Dreslyn, Sezane, By Far, True Botanicals, Dermalogica, Vitruvi, Estee Lauder, Pai Skincare, Biossance, Manasi, Palermo, but if I had to choose one, it would always be beauty over fashion.

When stripped all the way down, I truly believe beauty and self-care is a direct reflection of how we feel. Throughout the years, despite how many products I’ve had the pleasure of trying, these products are my tried-and-true favorites that you can find on rotation in my beauty routine.

  • My 'Desert Island' Botanical Serum

    A clean beauty brand created to encourage daily rituals and self-care, Ranavat Botanics was a ‘love at first sight’ experience for me. I use the Radiant Rani Illuminating Botanical Serum by Ranavat Botanics in the evening after a warm bath and I like to apply it when skin is still damp so it sinks in. Every time I use this serum my skin looks healthier, glowing, and more youthful.

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    Eyeshadow On-The-Go

    The Caviar Stick Eye Colour by Laura Mercier is an absolute makeup bag essential for me. One of my biggest pet peeves is powdery eyeshadow that doesn’t easily blend. This shadow glides onto the skin, can be blended with the warmth of my ring finger, and is the perfect consistency for a smudged eye look even when I’m on the go and without my brushes.

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    The Ultimate High Volume Mascara

    I have been blessed with long lashes but admittedly they are thin and as my daily makeup look entails a smokey eye, I prefer full volume lashes. Ever since I tested The KUSH High Volume Mascara by Milk Makeup I haven’t touched any other mascaras in my makeup bag. It brings my lashes out, adds volume without clumping and I love how the CBD conditions and gives my lashes a wispy look rather than an overdone look.

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    Getting AHA and Physical at the Same Time

    I’m generally apprehensive about facial physical exfoliants but the Noto Resurface Scrub is a holy grail. The smell, the texture (it exfoliates and lathers!), and the fact that it’s multipurpose for face and body. I also love that Noto is a 100% clean beauty brand. I apply this scrub 2-3 times a week, 15 minutes after I’ve been in a hot shower when my pores are opened up. I then let it sit on my skin for a few minutes more to let the AHA’s and brightening blood orange work their magic, before sloughing dead skin off with the walnut beads and washing off with lukewarm water. My skin *literally* glows after I use this product.

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    The Lip Mask I Swear By

    The Lip Mask by Laneige is a staple. As someone with prominent lips that tend to get dry and cracked no matter how often I moisturize, this extra ultra-thick, ultra-nourishing Lip Mask has been a lifesaver. I also wear a thin layer as a daily moisturizer under lipstick and at night I put it on as a sleeping lip mask. Win, win.

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    Are Makeup Brushes Really Necessary? (These Are!)

    The correct brushes are so important when you’re going for a natural look. Artis Brushes are the best for easy and effortless blending. I also love how they allow me to buff away excess product. Another bonus: thanks to the densely packed, super soft synthetic bristles (vegan-friendly, anyone?), these brushes absorb much less makeup than traditional brushes – important for those who use expensive products and who also care about the environment.