Elina Fedotova, Founder and Chief Formulator of Elina Organics, creates award-winning holistic skincare products that are lauded all around the world. She is also the President of The Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners, founded in 2007. Beauty News NYC recently sat down with Fedotova to learn more about her life changing products, how her business started, and her TOP beauty tips.
Elina, could you tell us more about yourself and how you got to where you are today?
I was always fascinated with herbology, and in Russia, I learned about herbal preparations. It stems from my family because my mother is a patent attorney who worked for a major chemical company. I wanted to create very sophisticated and high-performance formulations made from food-grade ingredients. While working on my English, I started to formulate products for a plastic surgeon’s office in Mississippi. I soon realized how difficult it was to find natural and organic ingredients. People would make fun of me for wanting to create products with an “old fashion” approach. By 1998, I developed my first skincare collection, comprised of five corrective, natural, and even edible products. I moved to Michigan in 1998 with a genuine desire to implement my vision and philosophy, and opened Elina Herbal Skin Care Clinic in Kalamazoo. I wanted to draw the line between conventional beauty treatments and clean beauty services, which benefit the skin and the entire body. In 2007, I organized The Association of Holistic Skin Care practitioners, which enabled me to share this approach with other estheticians.
What was your inspiration to start your own holistic skincare brand?
When I moved from the South (Texas/Mississippi) to Michigan, I had a clear vision of a truly holistic, clinical skincare spa. I formulated organic products a long time before they became trendy. I was not taken seriously by other cosmetic chemists during professional meetings because I talked about sourcing clean, natural ingredients. Although my approach was not a popular trend when I came to the U.S., I have remained true to myself by only working with natural ingredients and offering services that work in harmony with the entire body. I opened my first skin clinic, and finally launched my Elina Organics skincare line. Beauty is more than skin deep; a person is much more than a physical body. As a holistic practitioner, I believe that we grow through our choices and experiences, with the ultimate goal to achieve unconditional love and balance. We agree that beautiful skin can appear only on a healthy body, but a healthy body requires mental clarity, positive emotions, whole foods, and a clean environment.
Can you give our readers some background on the Elina Organics collection?
Elina Organics holistic clinical skincare is a fresh meal for your skin. For over 20 years, Elina Organics products have been lovingly created with the finest, purest organic ingredients. Elina Organic products are formulated and manufactured at our Elina Organics Labs in Michigan. Each product delivers essential nutrients deep into the live skin cells and support the skins’ protective properties and microbiome at the same time. Thousands of glowing complexions throughout the world prove the results of Elina Organics Skincare.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the beauty industry at the moment?
Whether mainstream doctors and corporations want it or not, the holistic evolution and green movement in the U.S. is happening. Products must be able to penetrate the skin’s barrier and deliver nutrients to live cells, but we have to make sure they’re not toxic. Organic ingredients are recognized by our bodies and work like foods — and that is why I always say, “If you can’t eat your lotion, you shouldn’t use it!” If your product is not safe enough to eat, why would you apply it on your skin?
What are your top beauty tips?
Ingredients matter: use a sunscreen with mechanical protection based on zinc oxide because they reflect UV rays and do not penetrate the skin. They are also safe for marine creatures and coral reefs and healthier for our bodies than chemical sunscreens.
Hydrate: If you’re traveling to places with a dry climate, your skin could feel very dry, and it’s essential to use hydrating products instead of oils and heavy butters. Remember, when you are thirsty you do not drink oil; you drink water.
Best Ingredients for Hydration: Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and tremella mushroom are best for hydration. The difference between hydrating ingredients and emollience is the same as water versus oil.
Skin Type & Environment: In a tropical, humid, and warm place like Florida, people with oily/acne-prone skin do not even have to use moisturizers because many contain oils — only use treatment oil, controlling serums, and zinc oxide-based sunscreen. Zinc oxide protects from solar radiation and has antibacterial and skin calming effects, which is beneficial for a problem complexion.
Dry Skin? – For those who have skin that feels very dry no matter what they use, carry a natural skin mist in your purse that contains botanical extracts, hyaluronic acid, or tremella mushroom extract. You can mist your skin over the day to render it glowy and hydrated. People with congested, oily complexion can feel dry because their skin is dehydrated, and to minimize this dry feeling, they tend to use heavy creams and lotions. Make sure to differentiate between hydrating ingredients and ingredients that are heavy in emollience. Hydrating ingredients are: vegetable glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and tremella mushroom. Emollience ingredients are : plant oils, shea, and cocoa butter. I would also suggest that people avoid products containing silicone ingredients because they produce a thin film over the skin, which can contribute to forming blackheads because the oil becomes trapped under the silicone film on the skin’s surface.
Skin Recovery: Treat your skin with masks that directly come from plants, fruits, and veggies. You can avoid the unnecessary additives by crushing aloe vera leaf and massaging the pure fresh gel to calm and hydrate your skin after sun exposure. You can also use cactus in the same way you use aloe vera gel. If your skin feels too red and hot after playing in the sun, you can also calm your skin with a slice of pear or make a mask from organic Kiefer or yogurt. After a few days of sun exposure, you may see extra freckles or pigment spots — and you can take a slice of eggplant and use it as an eraser over the spot to erase the pigmentation.
Similar to your diet, it is essential to adjust your skincare regimen based on the season. During the winter, you may gravitate towards more rich and warming foods, but you may prefer more cooling and light foods during the hot summer. Think about beauty products as food for your skin. Most people feel their skin is drier and oilier in the summer. Use skincare products with hydrating and nourishing botanicals like aloe vera, rose water, vegetable glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and tremella mushroom. In the winter, use creams enriched with emollients such as shea butter and cocoa butter. These ingredients protect your skin from windburn and trans epidermal water loss from indoor heaters. If you use hydrating serums with hyaluronic acid, then ensure it is sealed into your skin by following with a rich cream or balm before you go outside. However, I do not suggest this for people who naturally have very oily skin. Alternatively, our sebaceous oil glands are more active in the summertime because of the warm temperature.
You recently expanded Elina Organics with the Baikal Line. Can you tell me more about these innovative and essential products?
These anti-aging products all revitalize the skin with Lubomirskia micro-crystals, penetrating the skin and creating micro-channels that stimulate active skin repair and protein regeneration while delivering skin-firming micronutrients into live skin cells. The main ingredient in this skin-restoring, hydrating and nourishing product is the Lubomirskia freshwater sponge. The Lubomirskia freshwater sponge is only found in Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume. For centuries, infusions of Lubomirskia and other sponges from Lake Baikal have been remedies for inflamed, damaged, and bruised skin. Lubomirskia can help regulate the secretion of sebum, increase fibroblast regeneration, and improve the overall general skin appearance and resiliency.
What is the biggest mistake you see skincare clients make?
When they have very oily skin but don’t use the right products, their skin is covered by a layer of dead cells, making them feel dry, so they use heavy creams and oils, but that only makes their skin oilier and hardens the dead skin cells. These clients fail to understand that they need to start with exfoliation to remove the shell of dead cells, and they need to hydrate their skin. Many don’t understand the difference between hydrating and emollient products. Young estheticians go by what the clients say and give them cream for dry complexion without analyzing the problem. As an esthetician, you must study the skin yourself, not just believe what the client tells you.
Anything else we should know?
I always loved formulating and working in the lab, it is my meditative time, but most of all, I love to work directly with people by helping them look and feel better. We all know that beauty is more than skin deep, and for years I felt very honored to work on people’s skin and be a part of their life. It is incredible to share the excitement with my clients to see actual results on their faces after facials or using my product line.
To learn even more about Elina, her spas and extraordinary products, visit ElinaOrganics.com.