Get a full night’s sleep. Our natural night circadian rhythm places our body into repair mode and needs 6–8 hours to finish its cycle. When we don’t sleep, we don’t fully repair, and our mental function declines. I also love drinking a glass of alkaline water when I first wake and right before bed, as it helps with this circadian cycle. On nights that I can’t sleep, I take a tart cherry supplement. It helps.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Simpson. Nicole is an accomplished beauty veteran in the aesthetics industry. As the founder of Amethyst Beauty, she proves her innovation in the beauty space with a skincare line entirely dedicated to healing & protecting the skin from environmental toxins and skin stressors.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I have been obsessed with skin and hair care products since I was a little girl. I remember being very young, maybe 6, looking upingredient lists on the back of the shampoo bottles in my mom’s bathroom, asking her “mom what does this do?” It drove her crazy, but she soon realized that I was really into ingredients and science, and my parents cultivated a STEM environment for me. I was always at the science fair, discovery museums, volunteering with physicians at the local children’s hospital, and even playing chemist in my own kitchen. I became infatuated with the biochemistry of skin and its ingredients and made my first “potion” when I was 16 to help heal my acne (It actually worked!)
I worked for a short while as a chemist after graduating from university, but I hated it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be in the skincare industry, so I followed my absolute passion and became an aesthetician. The rest is history! I was recruited by a major skincare company to teach skincare from a scientific perspective to other aestheticians, physicians, and nurses. From there I went on to become the AVP of Global Education and Business Development for SkinCeuticals/L’Oreal. I traveled more than 32 countries, working with some of the most prominent physicians in the world to become successful with skincare in their practices.
It was during my travels that I started to see that in America, our reality is a bit different than the rest of the world. My time in China, India, and some European countries allowed me to see our future. The air is heavily polluted. The water is contaminated. There are places in China where food doesn’t grow because the soil is too acidic from acid rain. The University of California Irvine published a study a few years ago that showed that all of the smog that blows over from China adds 5–8 extra days of smog to Southern California each year. While we are not alone, the beauty industry is a major contributor to this. I made the decision several years ago that when I would create my own skincare line, I would do it as a platform to have an impact on this situation. While the industry is not perfect, there are things we can do today to reduce our global impact on pollution, and improve sustainability, which I am committed to being a part of.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When I was about 3 weeks on the job for the first major skincare company I worked for, my youngest brother passed away in a terrible accident. He was 20 years old; I was 28. It was devastating for our family. I remember having a very frank conversation with my boss at the time. She asked me if I wanted to continue. Every part of me was in pain from the loss. I could have gracefully resigned, but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. It was hard, but I picked myself up, and I continued. I learned all about resiliency and determination. I knew that if I really wanted something, it was absolutely within reach. I was at rock bottom at a young age, but I quickly rose to the top by believing in myself and my goals. I also learned a lot about what is truly important and keeping that in perspective. These lessons have served me well later in life. While our wounds are healed, there have been many times where I have found myself caught up in “life”, especially in the corporate world, and all that comes with it. Thinking about that time helped me remember that there was nothing that anyone could do or say that was worse than anything I had already gone through, and if it was, I absolutely had the strength to pull through. It gave me perspective to know that we are on a journey, and each lesson is important, but it was okay to disconnect from all of that and live a peaceful life.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake I made when I first started was allowing the opinions of other people to define who I was. I would let people’s opinions of my performance mold my opinion of myself. It took me a few years to realize just how dangerous and toxic that was. I believe that when we go through times like these, it is important not to lose the lesson. Being comfortable in my own skin was something I wasn’t good at then, but I am good at now. When I spend time mentoring young women in the space, this is usually the topic where we spend the most time. I feel that this is a critical rite of passage when developing strong leadership skills.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The importance of people is often underestimated. I have villages (and I mean villages!) of people who have helped! But if I had to choose one, it is a woman named Dr. Sheila Marie Love. She was a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who repaired my broken knee when I was 15. She was a total badass. She was a female in a mostly all-boys club, who actually founded the surgical practice that was just her and 4 other male physicians. She sparked a passion for medicine at the time and allowed me to shadow her in the operating room for all 4 years of high school. She was the first true example I had of a woman stepping into her strength and taking on a very powerful leadership role as a minority in the space. I still think of her today when things get tough. In my career, I have been lucky enough to have found success at an early age. That did not come without discrimination on not only my gender but also my age. Dr. Love was gracefully strong. It was learning these qualities from her that allowed me to rise above the discrimination and become who I was meant to be- the CEO of a conscious beauty company that will use our products as a platform to spark some major changes in the world.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I have developed every single product in the Amethyst Skincare range to promote the ultimate in health and wellness. Being a self-proclaimed nerd, I like to read the scientific publications surrounding climate change, which is a topic that is very important to me. The 2050 climate report is scary. Even if we could implement the best-case scenario today, which would be no CO2 emissions, our air quality is still going to get much worse before it gets better. As the environment continues to change, the way that our skin ages will also change. There was a study recently published that proved a group of women living in a city had skin that was 10% more aged than their same-aged counterparts living outside of the same city. The toxins found in our air, water, and consequences of poor diet and stressful lifestyle have significant impact to our skin. The ingredients in Amethyst Skincare were meticulously selected to nourish and protect skin, and promote the self-repair necessary to maintain its youthful state for the long-term.
The Amethyst stone has been known throughout history as the gemstone of youth. It also helps reduce stress. We believe it helps create the space needed for the type of self-care that results in stress reduction, contributing not only to healthier skin, but also the overall health and wellness of our entire being.
While we are not perfect, we are doing what we can to reduce our impact on the environment. We use glass bottles and recyclable cardboard. We haven’t been able to completely reduce plastic, so to help offset that, we have two programs in place. More than 85% of beauty packaging is not recyclablebymainstream standards, and even with our good intentions of placing it in the recycling bin, it still goes to landfill, and can end up in the ocean. We encourage anyone who makes a purchase on our website to send us back their packaging when it’s empty. We will send it to Terracycle, who can recycle all our components and ensure that no plastic goes to landfill. Additionally, we support a company called 4Ocean, who works tirelessly to clean plastics out of the oceans around the world. We reserve 5% of all purchases to pay for their famous bracelets to help them continue with their mission.
Additionally, two of our SKUs are waterless — the face oil does not use any water in its production. The Anti-Pollution Mist uses aloe vera instead of water to try and reduce our water consumption overall.
Our goal is to be completely carbon neutral in our production within the next 5–7 years. Additionally, our 3-year plan is for our packaging to become 100% sustainable. In the meantime, we are doing our best to make the least amount of negative impact possible to our earth.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- Diet and exercise go without saying. Choose the healthy foods and exercises that you love the most because it will be easier to be consistent. Self-love through meditation.
- Get a full night’s sleep. Our natural night circadian rhythm places our body into repair mode and needs 6–8 hours to finish its cycle. When we don’t sleep, we don’t fully repair, and our mental function declines. I also love drinking a glass of alkaline water when I first wake and right before bed, as it helps with this circadian cycle. On nights that I can’t sleep, I take a tart cherry supplement. It helps.
- Do brain games. We are sharper at everything we do when we are good about improving our memory. It helps keep our minds healthy and well for the long term in a very stressful world.
- Sunshine, good food, laughter, and family are the best medicine. There are not many things in life that are worth stealing the joy away from any of these.
- Eat lunch out with someone new once a week. There is a lot of importance in surrounding yourself with the right people. Taking the time to slow down and enjoy facetime with people is the ultimate in promoting wellness. Some researchers have compared having a weak social circle as the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
This movement would definitely be environmental wellness and creating awareness as actionable steps for as many people as possible.
While the beauty industry is not perfect, we are doing what we can to reduce our impact on the environment. We use glass bottles and recyclable cardboard. We haven’t been able to completely reduce plastic, so to help offset that, we have two programs in place. More than 85% of beauty packaging is not recyclablebymainstream standards, and even with our good intentions of placing it in the recycling bin, it still goes to landfill, and can end up in the ocean. We encourage anyone who makes Amethyst Skincare to send us back their packaging when it’s empty. We will send it to Terracycle, who can recycle all of our components and ensure that no plastic goes to landfill. Additionally, we support a company called 4Ocean, who works tirelessly to clean plastics out of the oceans around the world. We reserve 5% of all purchases made on our website to purchase their famous bracelets to help them continue with their mission.
Additionally, 2 of our products are waterless. The face oil does not use any water in its production. The Anti-Pollution Mist uses aloe vera instead of water to try and reduce our water consumption overall.
Our goal is to be completely carbon neutral in our production within the next 5–7 years. Additionally, our 3-year plan is to become 100% sustainable on our packaging. In the meantime, we are doing our best to make the least amount of negative impact possible.
We are looking forward to inviting all who would like to join our journey.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- The world might hate you once you start your climb. Do it anyway. As I started becoming more visible, I was also exposed to more opinions. I wish I would have learned to tune out the noise much earlier.
- I came up in this very competitive industry assuming I couldn’t say no. I wish someone would have told me it is okay to stand my ground and say no. I said “yes” on far too many occasions that compromised my family time, quality of life, and even sometimes, my personal health.
- The work you do today in the beauty industry will absolutely impact the quality of life for the multitudes of women tomorrow. The beauty industry goes much deeper than what it seems on the surface. We create products that boost self-esteem, improve health, and quality of life.
- When women go together, they go further and stronger. I was not whole until I found my tribe of absolute superstar women that I could call at any time of day to speak to, learn from, bounce ideas, and have a compassionate voice of encouragement.
- Community over competition. Period. There is enough space here for everyone. We can create more impact on the things that matter when we go together. Strength in numbers.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
All are very important to me. I believe sustainability and environmental changes go hand-in-hand. I want my children to grow up in a world where they can play outside, and their kids can play outside, and they can grow a garden, and drink clean water. I want them to be able to go on a safari and actual see a live animal. We all have a responsibility to act now and fast. We aren’t moving fast enough.
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