I came across Beaute Nouveau, a skincare brand out of San Diego, on Instagram a couple months ago. I loved the photos of the beautiful products and then one day I decided to read more about the bran. I read, I learned and I loved everything that Beaute Nouveau stood for. I wanted to learn more about the lady behind the brand – Lacey Haegen – and I reached out to ask if I could interview her for Wisdomm.
Beaute Nouveau officially launched in April 2016 and is created with ingredients derived from plants and flowers. The products are made for women who need their products to work as hard as they do and take care of them while they take care of everyone else. Lacey created a brand that is so beautiful for your skin, but also empowers women to be who they are, do what they want and live the life they want. She is super inspirational and has so much wisdom to share.
Megan: Beaute Nouveau is a product you created for the modern women. How do you define a modern woman?
Lacey: To me, a modern woman is any woman who has to wake up and get going. She can be anyone from a Mom raising children all day, to a top ranking business executive, and anyone in between. This woman holds many titles and shape-shifts throughout every day to accommodate a continuous to-do list of expectations. She does not have time to put on body lotion, but she wants to. She needs other options. She needs creative solutions and needs you to get to the point. She needs help, but needs you to see where, and just do it without needing a parade. To me, a modern woman is any woman who says “I am going to bed” but then does twenty more things before she gets there. She gets a little down-time, but uses it to “catch up.” Taking time for herself is a “luxury.” She is constantly bombarded by messaging and imagery, yet she “shouldn’t let it get to her.” She is teaching the younger generations to stand tall, believe in themselves, be strong, and reach for the stars, while feeling conflicted and overwhelmed herself. She is a real-life magical unicorn that deserves so much recognition.
M: I love that your products help simplify routines. I think routines are so important. Is there a routine that you can’t skip out on?
L: I also agree that routines are important. I can’t skip out on washing my face with Cleansing Milk & moisturizing with Crème Nouveau. But, I will be honest, I rarely wash my face at night, so this is how I start my day. I also can’t skip out on two cups of green tea in the morning.
M: It’s interesting that you look at skin care in terms of cell-care versus skin-type. As you mention on your website, all skin care is based on the premise that cells need a variety of factors to give skin a healthy, vibrant glow. Is there a reason you created your products with this philosophy? Did it stem from a personal experience?
L: Yes. It was combination of my educational background in sociology and my personal experience in the cosmetic industry. Sociology, is basically, the study of how to critically think about concepts from multiple lenses. Working in the cosmetic industry for the last 22 years has given me the opportunity to touch thousands of faces and I know that skin is skin, regardless of what the skin is “showing” us. So, when I applied my sociological lens to the concept of “skin-type” I first thought about our bodies as a whole. Our bodies are essentially billions of different kinds of cells that all function separately and together. All of our cells need nutrition, water, oxygen, anti-oxidants, rest, protection, love, etc. to stay alive and function. When cells function well, our bodies are healthy, we live well, and vice versa. Skin is an organ, made up of billions of cells, so why would we not be taking care of skin “cells”?
I also realized we do not classify other organs into “types” – there are no heart types, lung types, gallbladder types…so why would there be different “types” of skin? I concede that skin can behave differently, but that is not due to its type; it is because of lack of nutrition, imbalanced hormones, dehydration, toxicity, distress, auto-immune malfunction, lack of sleep, etc. We cannot diagnose skin-type to create “health” any more than we can diagnose a “type” of person to predict behaviour.
Where did the concept of “skin-type” come from? From years of training in the beauty industry, I know that “skin-type” is a marketing tool used primarily to sell categories of products directed at specific concerns. The message is: “if you’re breaking out – buy this,” “if you have wrinkles – buy this,” “if you have both – buy this.” The problem I saw with this pattern was that purchasing these products didn’t necessarily fix any of these concerns, and I saw the same women back again and again, ready and willing to try something else, spend more money, to fix what they didn’t like seeing in the mirror. To me, treating skin by “type” is messaging that wastes time, money, and propagates delusion, insecurities, and unrealistic expectations.
After realizing all of this, it was important to me to create products that promote cell and overall health, as well as a company that stands for more than profitability. I don’t want to categorize types of skin, or types of women, and I want to provide informative and supportive brand messaging for women as a whole, whose intelligence and lives, I have the utmost love and respect for.
M: I love that Beaute Nouveau is inspired by the Art Nouveau movement. Can you explain why you were inspired by this era?
L: I am inspired by the Art Nouveau movement for so many reasons. I love that the name Art Nouveau is such a simple name assigned to a complicated and controversial period of time in history. It was a time when artists were suddenly powerful and they captivated the world by challenging the political status quo and influenced large scale social change and improvements for humanity through art. Artisans of this time romanticized nature over industry and illustrated women as strong, contributing members of society (for the first time in modern history). They rebelled against over-industrialization and were known for craftsmanship, luxury, and quality. They created a culture where “art” was valuable regardless of the medium, material, or place where it was created. They supported each other and viewed themselves as part of a bigger social apparatus. I also love the uncontrolled, organic lines, the crossover from wood, to stone, to gems, to paint, to metal; the use of mixed medium was revolutionary and is visually superb to my eye.
My art is making skin care, so Beaute Nouveau seemed the only option to me. I want Beaute Nouveau to be a a movement as well, not just a product line. I hope to help create a world where we have new definitions and expectations of “beauty”, just like the artists of Art Nouveau created a world with new definitions and expectations of “art” and life.
M: Do you have a favourite artist from this time period?
L: Not necessarily, I truly love it all.
M: Are the painted florals on your packaging also inspired by the art nouveau era?
L: My Grandmother was a fantastic water colour painter and as a child I would dress up in all of her fancy clothes and jewelry and watch her paint in her studio. I love those memories and I love her paintings. The water colours on the packaging are inspired by her. The floral drawings are inspired by my love of vintage botanical drawings that were commissioned by botanists at the turn of the century. These drawings are exquisite examples of scientists and artists collaborating to catalog plant life and create stunning pieces of art at the same time. This type of partnership, by two completely different groups, is inspiring to me. Creating a modern interpretation of water color and botanical drawings seemed to be the perfect combination to represent me and Beaute Nouveau. I wanted everything to be beautiful and something that women would love to display in their bathrooms. I want ladies to smile as they reach for their products. I want them to feel fancy, even if they only have a few moments to devote to themselves.
M: As women, it can sometimes be so hard to look in the mirror and see beauty first, instead of seeing what we don’t like. We’re living in a time where it’s all about fixing flaws. Do you have any advice as to how you can change this thought pattern?
L: I love how you say “thought pattern.” We can choose to see something we don’t like anywhere we look; whether we are looking at ourselves, other people, things, ideas, etc. My advice is to stop looking. Start DOING. Start THINKING. Start CREATING. Our world is so visual these days and we are constantly bombarded with imagery. We see pictures, perfect selfies, perfect houses, and then we compare and measure ourselves against what we see. If we are DOING what we love and making ourselves happy, then these images don’t have as much power. If we are THINKING about what we are looking at, and critically deconstructing that, then its power is minimized. Practice seeing images for the pretty pictures that they are, and not as measuring sticks for us to internalize and beat ourselves with. If we are CREATING something that makes a difference to ourselves, our families, our communities, our world – then our focus is no longer on flaws, and our reflection in the mirror is no longer so important. When there is passion in your eyes, THAT, is what you see in the mirror. Picking ourselves apart in a mirror is a very unattractive practice that should be abandoned immediately.
Also, your image IS important, but not that serious, and your image can be whatever you choose for it to be. Pick a style that you like, one that you are comfortable with and stick with it until you want to change it. Minimize your wardrobe into a color palate and style that works together so that picking out outfits is easy, fast, and takes minimal thought (and time in front of the mirror). Get dressed, get going. Purchase outfits, not pieces. Donate clothing you don’t wear, or doesn’t make you feel good when you wear it. Let it go. Donate or throw away old makeup that is dated or expired. Minimize your beauty routine into no more than 10 minutes and commit to steps that you enjoy, can’t live without, and make you feel great when you step outside. Find someone to help you create this routine if it is overwhelming on your own. Don’t over-spend your money. Think in terms of “how many hours do I need to work to purchase that lipstick or skirt.” This thought pattern will help curb impulse buys that just collect dust (and make us feel bad). Only buy things that you really love and if they fit in the overall big picture of the life you want to create. Realize and internalize that things don’t make beauty, YOU do. These practices build confidence and security in oneself, which naturally increases our perceptions of self-worth, beauty, and that…way…outweighs, “flaws.”
M: Your products are handcrafted with so many beautiful, natural ingredients. Do you create the recipes yourself or do you work with someone else to craft them?
L: I have created every recipe from scratch by myself. For me, it was like learning to cook. I started with basic ingredients and began experimenting. The more I learned, the bigger my next ideas became. Learning textures, weights, scents, melt points, etc. of all of the different ingredients created the foundation for basic recipes, and then the basic recipes became more and more complicated. It was like learning to fry an egg, then learning how to make an omelet and then learning how to make a soufflé. It has been a messy process, full of many “learning experiences” but it has also be a LOT of fun and I LIVE for the “ah-ha!” moments.
M: How did you learn about all these ingredients?
L: I knew a lot about ingredients from working in the cosmetic industry , I read a lot, and then I ordered everything I could afford so I could experience them myself. This has been a revolving process and never stops. I read all the time, order new things, and get into the kitchen to see what they do. I really learn the most when I use them. Trial and error has been my most valuable learning tool.
M: When you decided to create Beaute Nouveau, was there a product you were using that inspired you to create it? Or was there a lack of products that motivated you?
L: The first product I made was actually for my husband, Josh. In 2006, he was diagnosed with Hoshimotos disease and Hypothyroidism and has suffered miserably from psoriasis since his early 20’s. At the time of his diagnosis, we were working with a range of doctors, naturopaths, energy healers – you name it, we tried it. We were on extremely restricted diets and obsessed with ingredients in our food. During this time, I was assistant manager of the beauty department for Neiman Marcus. Everyone knew what was going on with us, and every brand representative and account executive wanted me to try their best cream for “sensitive skin.” So, I would go home with a jar of whatever (that cost anywhere between $100-$1000) and slather it all over his poor little wounds. One morning, I had the epiphany that I really had NO idea what was in those creams. Here I was obsessing over every tiny food ingredient and cooking everything from scratch, yet I was rubbing chemicals directly into his open sores. So, I started researching the creams and the ingredients and did not like what I found. The marketing bubble popped for me and I was disgusted.
Psoriasis is a catch-22. The cells overturn way too quickly, which creates a dead layer that needs to be exfoliated, but right below is a raw wound that should not yet see daylight. I wanted to make a product that Josh could use to gently exfoliate only the part that didn’t hurt and that would also remain on the skin to form a protective layer over the raw skin, as well as be free of any chemicals or anything not of biological origin. So, after hours of research and experiments in my kitchen, I came up with the first version of the Sugar Balm. I would always have extra product, so I would put it in containers and give it away. After a little while, people asked me if they could purchase more, and then wanted to buy multiple jars to give as gifts. Then they started asking me what else I had. That was the organic start to Beaute Nouveau. But, developing a complete line has really been a 10 year art project for my soul and a collaboration with my clients as a makeup artist that has inspired Beaute Nouveau into what it has become today.
M: Do you still work as a makeup artist?
L: I do. I love to work with clients and I love to collaborate with other artists to create photo shoots. I work with a lot of brides and their bridal parties. I also love to teach my clients how to change (and minimize) their makeup routines once they start using Beaute Nouveau products.
M: What is the one beauty product that you find all women love?
L: One thing I have heard women say thousands of times is “I hate having to put on body lotion.” 99% percent of women do not have time for body lotion. Once they get out of the shower, the clock starts ticking. But, they like to stay in the shower for as long as they can. That is why the Butter Balm is so popular. It is an in-the-shower body balm. It is that very last step that only takes a minute, replaces out-of-the-shower body lotion, and makes your skin suuuuper soft and hydrated until your next shower. Women also love Crème Nouveau. As many times as I have heard “I hate to put on body lotion,” I have also heard, “I want one thing that does it ALL.” Crème Nouveau is that shining star. It is your moisturizing cream for face, eyes, neck, decollates, and tops of hands, for both morning and night. It gives those little cells nutrition, water, oxygen, anti-oxidants, rest, protection, love, so they can live their best life. It is that one thing that does it all. It is also incredible under makeup and allows any woman, of any age, to wear powder AND still look dewy.
M: What is the one beauty product you can’t live without?
L: I cannot live without Crème Nouveau. I fear that even one day without it and my face would crack off, and fall to pieces on the ground. When I get out of the shower, it is the very first thing I reach for. I slather myself and then make myself a cup of tea while the crème melts into my skin. Butter Balm is a close second and Hand Balm is third.
M: In today’s busy world, how do you balance life and work?
L: My work is my life on a lot of days. But, I love my work, so even on days when I am absolutely exhausted, and covered in oil and soap, I love it. However, it is very easy for me to get overwhelmed and impatient with myself because my expectations are quite high. So, I practice saying “I have plenty of time” and “I will do enough” whenever I feel anxiety creeping into my chest. It helps calm me down and reminds me that I am the one setting the expectations and the course of my day. I also set strict stop times so that I can focus on my home life. But in all honesty, I am out of balance all of the time. There are times when I have no clean clothes, my house is a mess, I haven’t talked to my friends in days, I’ve been milking an almost empty gas tank for way too long, there is no food in the house, and I haven’t done something “fun” in forever; but then I remind myself that is ok, it is what it is. I regroup, make a Tuesday morning 11:30 lunch date with a friend and put a load of laundry in.
M: What is your favourite way to de-stress?
L: Comfy pants, my couch, my husband, my little orange cats Jack & Ruby, some TV, some chardonnay, and my rose quartz facial massaging stones is my little piece of heaven. Walking to and from work two to three times per week is also a little slice of stillness for me that is really helpful for opening up my creative channels, clearing my mind, and seeing little details around me. These walks remind me that I am small in a big world and that I have to be realistic with myself.
M: Do you have a role model or someone you look to for motivation? Who is it and why?
L: One of my most incredible blessings is a never ending collection of incredible women in my life that I have the privilege to look to as role models and motivation. I could literally name hundreds of ladies of all ages who have inspired me, taught me, trained me, encouraged me, supported me, befriended me, loved, praised, motivated, protected, corrected, redirected, challenged, stopped me, shared with me, got real with me, failed, climbed, and fought with me, and so on. I have been blessed to be surrounded by strong, generous, passionate women, from the very beginning of my life and who continue to come into my life every day. I rely on them heavily as part of my identity, guiding lights, and serenity.
M: How do you stay organized while running your own business? Do you have any tips to share?
L: Everywhere I go, and everything I do, I make a mess. I have come to realize that is just my process. My goal is to start one thing and then finish it before moving onto the next, not to stay-organized. I can’t “stay” organized. Getting organized is a task on my to-do, it is not something I can do along the way. One thing I am a stickler for though, is paperwork and numbers. I believe in paper files, and a lot of them. I have a file for each month of the year, and a file for each vendor, each client and each account I work with. Copies of all receipts/interactions are put into their respective month, as well as their respective client, vendor, or account. This way, I know exactly what happened per month, and can reference any individual account super quickly. The newest information goes in the front of the file, so it is always chronological. This saves me a lot of time and I know exactly what is going on with everyone. I also look forward to pouring over all transactions, money in, money out, at the end of every month so I know exactly where the “business” is. I find that most solo-entrepreneurs and creative business owners dread dissecting the financials of their business. Not knowing, being disorganized, or fearing this information is the death of business and causes undue stress.
M: I’m sure you love all your products, but is there one you can’t go a day without using?
L: Crème Nouveau for sure.
M: Do you have a favourite inspirational/motivational book?
L: I absolutely love Martha Stewart’s book, The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success. This book is so amazing for female entrepreneurs and I feel that every woman should read it regardless of any preconceived ideas about the author. She breaks down her business philosophy into 10 very common sense, relatable, and extremely important lessons that anyone can use as building blocks to their own success. She gets really real from page one and shares many valuable stories about her own successes, failures, redirects, as well as experiences from other fellow business owners. This book literally found me when I was searching for direction and guidance in the beginning of building my business and I lovingly reference her guidance to this day.
M: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
L: I have spent thousands of hours of my life helping women find that “life-changing lipstick,” the perfectly matched concealer, and the skin care routine that will “turn back the clock.” I have seen them go back to the cosmetic counter again and again, hour after hour, hoping to find that “it” thing, that creates “beauty.” I created Beaute Nouveau because I want women to have simple, effective, enjoyable, self-care routines that free up their time to do productive, meaningful, wonderful things. I do not want them to spend so much time and money searching for products that make them feel beautiful. I want them to feel beautiful with simple, elegant, natural, products that they don’t have to think about. I want women to stop trying to “anti-age” because it is impossible; we will not be younger tomorrow than we are today. I want women to take care of today’s beauty. I want women to look at marketing imagery as pretty pictures, not as measuring sticks. Join me for the movement.
All photos are by Bronwyn Huddleson.
Wisdomm is a series that highlights an entrepreneurial lady who’s a super girl boss with an awesome brand and wisdom to share.