Behind the Brand: skyn ICELAND

When chronic stress landed Sarah Kugleman in the hospital, she took action. Forced to re-evaluate her hectic lifestyle, Sarah embarked on a journey that would change her life. During a three month leave of absence, she traveled to Iceland as part of her healing process. Surrounded by the natural oasis of pure, unspoiled waters, air, and plants, Sarah drew inspiration for what would later become skyn ICELAND.

As devoted fans of this therapeutic skincare line, b-glowing brings you an insider look at the woman behind the brand. Learn more about skyn ICELAND founder Sarah Kugleman, her tips for a stress-free lifestyle, beauty must-haves, and personal skincare routine.

Shop Sarah's beauty must-haves here.

Stress has played a large role in your life, and the development of your brand. What do you do to relieve stress?

It has to be a holistic approach. 8 hours of sleep a night, a healthy and nutrient-rich diet, 64 ounces of water a day, a good exercise program and BREATHE! It's the simple things that really help us alleviate stress … and it's how we take care of the inside that shows on the outside. When I slip into a period of extreme stress, I know I have to get more sleep (when you get less is when you get sick!), cut out the refined sugar and white flour and load up on Omega-rich foods (to decrease internal inflammation such as salmon and avocado), antioxidants (lots of berries), magnesium (sweet potatoes) and vitamin B complex (broccoli) and vitamin D (supplement), try to get some cardio or yoga into my week and get a massage!

You are a mother, have you taught your daughter about stress management? What advice do you have for parents that want to educate their children about stress?

My daughter has a severe nut allergy, and that's very stressful.  Also girls, even at that age, can bully a bit. That's also stressful. I have helped her manage her stress by teaching her how to breath (sometimes we take deep breaths together!), the importance of sleep, the importance of eating organic and healthy foods (NO soda, NO candy, NO processed foods, LOW chemicals

), as well as exercise (she does ballet, gymnastics and tennis) and drinking lots of water. Stress is mental too – being able to manage what goes on in your head. I always tell her, "No one can make you feel badly about yourself. You are in control of your own feelings. Tell yourself 'I am a nice person, I am a good friend, and no one can make me feel badly.'"

Iceland has provided much inspiration to you in the development of your brand, how often do you travel there? What are your favorite things to do while visiting?

I travel back to Iceland usually once a year. Some of my favorite things to do are climb to the top of a glacier, walk on the black sand beaches at sunset and soak in a thermal bath. I also love hopping in a car with an Icelander and just driving wherever our whim takes us … you can discover the most otherworldly places there. Favorite food? I love lamb and yogurt. Iceland has unbelievable organic, locally-raised lamb and also locally-cultivated skyr, which is like the best yogurt you've ever had! Favorite place? That's so hard to say!! There are really so many incredible places – Eyrarbakki, Southern Iceland, which has these incredible black sand beaches and blue-green waters, and Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which is a huge waterfall you can walk under.   

You started gloss.com, what is one of your most memorable moments from your time there?

There were so many moments where I had total out of body experiences with gloss. A few that come to mind … Finding out that I had closed a round of $5 million in financing and had to quit my job! Sitting in a meeting with Sara Jessica Parker, and her agent Kevin Euvaine, and negotiating a joint partnership. Being at a press event and having Victoria Principal teach me how/what to do when having your picture taken by a group of paparazzi. Having Jennifer Aniston introduce me to her fiancé Brad Pitt. Having lunch with Michael Keaton. Sitting in the Estee Lauder company headquarters on a Saturday, in hiding, while they discussed buying my company! Crazy …

You've attended, prepped and primed the models at New York Fashion Week for 8 years now. How would you describe your personal style?

Urban Chic – modern but comfortable.

What are some of your favorite pieces in your closet?

My black Chanel clutch, my snakeskin Givenchy bag, my blue patent Gucci platform pumps, my Rachel Zoe camel coat with faux fur collar, Tahari sequin dress, and a beaded mini skirt I bought years ago in St. Tropez.    

What is your go-to makeup look?

Black eyeliner, black mascara, pink lip gloss and a little bronzer!

What is your daily skincare regime?

Glacial Face Wash, Pure Cloud Cream, Icelandic Relief Eye Cream and at night Oxygen Infusion Night Cream.

How does your daily skincare regime change with the seasons?

In the winter I use the Arctic Hydrating Balm either instead of the Pure Cloud Cream or sometimes in addition to the Cloud Cream – my skin is super dry in the winter. In the summer sometimes I use the ANTIDOTE instead of the Pure Cloud Cream – I love the cooling sensation when it's hot and humid. Also, when my skin is winter dry or summer parched, I'll switch to the Pure Cloud Cleanser.     

What advice do you have for people that want to develop a skincare routine, but don't know where to start?

Keep it simple. Cleanse, moisturize and treat your eyes. When you're stressed it shows up first in the delicate eye area – this is where we see stress, aging, exhaustion, poor diet etc. So an eye cream is critical for overall skin health. Also, you have to cleanse your face (never go to sleep with makeup on!) and even if your skin is oily or combination, it needs moisture. I'd say start with a good daily cleanser (like skyn's Glacial Face Wash, which is gentle enough for all skin types, but really deep cleans without drying), a great moisturizer for your skin type (like skyn's Pure Cloud Cream) and an intensive eye cream (like our Icelandic Relief Eye Cream). Then when you get used to your routine and find the products that are right for you, you can add to it and layer on products to enhance, such as a serum, skin peel, SPF, etc.

What's next for skyn ICELAND?

Global expansion, exciting new partnerships, and fantastic, ground-breaking new products for inside and out.  

What can we expect to see in the next year or two?

We have an amazing serum and mask coming for fall, and next spring we're releasing a totally revolutionary new eye product. I'm also really excited to bring more information and education to our customers about stress management, research in the area of stress, relaxation techniques, fitness and nutrition tips and inspiration as well.

Shop skyn ICELAND here.

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