Given how much we travel, we’re always looking for ways to prevent the dry, irritated skin and chapped lips that so often go along with international flights. We were thrilled to sit down with Sarah Kugelman, a cosmetics-maven-turned-beauty-entrepreneur whose line of paraben-free, all-natural products, Skyn ICELAND, leaves skin naturally refreshed. Tune in for more on why she chose to found her own company, Iceland’s inspiration, and how to lose that just-got-off-of-a-red-eye-flight look. . .

Sarah Kugelman

Tell us a bit about what inspired you to start the Skyn ICELAND line?

I had some very serious health issues as a result of the stress in my life, and because I worked in beauty, I was very conscious of the terrible effect this had on my skin. I became very interested in the whole connection between stress and skin and eventually quit my corporate job as a VP at a leading cosmetic company and spent 1 1/2 years studying that connection with a team of doctors and experts. When I discovered that there were five main symptoms of stressed skin, I decided to create a skincare line that specifically addressed, alleviated, and treated those effects. I felt that not only could I help treat skin but could also use skincare as a tool to have a deeper conversation with women about holistic health.

If you could advise people to do three things to make their skin better, what would you say?

Stay out of the sun. Get at least eight hours of sleep a night (this is when the skin repairs itself). Use a performance-oriented, naturally based skincare line that works for your skin type (not irritating, not pore clogging, but one that will give you results). Also, a trip to the dermatologist is never a bad thing; the equation is good lifestyle habits, advanced skincare, and dermatological procedures in moderation.

Skyn Iceland

Tell us a bit about the ingredients you use in the Skyn line?

We use pure and potent ingredients from Iceland and the arctic region  which are unique to our line; you won’t find these ingredients elsewhere. We also use cutting-edge science: in every product, you will find our proprietary complex which includes mineral-rich Icelandic glacial water, angelica archangelica (an Icelandic medicinal herb), arctic berries rich in Omega essential fatty acids, carotenoids and tocotrienols, arctic cloudberry and arctic cranberry, thyme extract, butterfly bush (a natural anti-inflammatory), and encapsulated oxygen (which helps give energy to the cells to help replenish, fortify and renew them).

Why Iceland?

It is pure, pristine, untouched and home to some of the most unique natural ingredients in the world. I call it my natural laboratory because you can literally pick ingredients from fields at the side of the road and eat them. Not only are the glacial waters special, as they’ve been proven to help heal all types of skin ailments (from psoriasis to eczema), but there is a short growing season in the Iceland that, combined with the volcanic soil, creates plants with hyper potency. Because stressed skin is damaged skin, I needed to find ingredients that could get to the root of the problem and heal and replenish skin while neutralizing the antioxidants we create when we are stressed. Our newest cream, Arctic Hydrating Balm, uses cryogenic technology that comes from the arctic which actually helps to repair skin, protect skin (as it protects plants from freezing in sub zero temperatures), and boost collagen production.

Skyn Iceland

You’ve obviously travelled quite a bit. What are some tips on keeping your skin fresh on the road?

I always travel with my Glacial Cleansing Cloths, which are cloths that foam and deep clean without water! They enable you to detoxify your skin when you have that grimy travel feeling. I also always travel with my Arctic Face Mist, which delivers mineral waters directory into the skin and also has a multivitamin complex to energize and replenish stressed skin. I never leave home without eye gels for depuffing under the eyes (especially from air travel) and my Arctic Hydrating Balm to do double-duty infusing skin with intense hydration and anti-aging ingredients while soothing and calming. I also do a lot of steam showers when I travel to just purify the skin. A good daily work-out also keeps the blood flowing, bringing oxygen to the skin and toxins away.

Skyn Iceland

On a personal note, what are some of your favourite cities to visit? Any restaurants or spas that you never miss?

There are SO many. . .I LOVE London and Paris. Of course Reykjavik is top on the list. And Barcelona is up there too. I lived in Paris for a while as a student so I have my favourite spots I never miss, like L’Avenue and Maison du Caviar. In London, I like Zuma and the Ivy. In Reykjavik, The Lobster House is a favourite, as is the Blue Lagoon Spa which is very special because of the natural thermal baths and the holistic and health-oriented slant to the spa.

One of my favourite spas is at the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo, which is so posh and luxurious. . .you can sit in the jacuzzi and gaze out at the whole city of Tokyo from a floor-to-ceiling window. I also love the spa at the Berkeley Hotel in London, which has an indoor pool with a roof that opens so that you can swim even in winter. I also LOVE San Francisco. I lived there for 5 years and go back whenever I can. There is a spa at the Hotel Vitale there that has this jet lag foot treatment that is the most hedonistic and revitalising treatment I’ve ever had. . .it’s totally de-stressing and is such a hidden secret. I literally dream about that treatment!