Khaki Paquette dislikes the word regimen. As in fitness regimen. Diet regimen. Especially beauty regimen. “Ritual feels much more nourishing [than regimen],” says Paquette, owner of the new Face/Food Beauty Market and Spa in Newburyport. Take something you do every day—like skin care—and turn it into a moment of relaxation. “We have to sneak those little bits of self-care into our daily lives,” she says.
Nourishing is really the theme of Paquette’s entire business, starting with the name Face/Food—a reference to ensuring your skin care is just as nutritious as your diet. “If you pay attention to what you put in your body, you should pay attention to what you put on your body,” she says.
Indeed, just walking in the door of Face/Food feels nourishing. Soothing indie folk/pop purrs in the background, a jug of herb-infused water and glasses are set out for patrons to help themselves, and the bright space is neatly lined with a thoughtful selection of things that feel good, smell good, and are good for you.
All three are critical elements for making it onto Paquette’s shelves. A product may have the best ingredients and work really well, but if it doesn’t feel terrific or smell delicious, it won’t make the cut. “All your senses have to get something out of it,” Paquette says.
What does make the cut? Skin care products from Good Medicine Beauty Lab, crafted from desert plants and smelling of crushed herbs and twilight; InnerSense hair care products, which turn hair-washing into a “ceremony;” and the Suntegrity sun care line, scented with a mixture of oranges and fresh-cut grass, which is touted as being people-safe and reef-safe as well.
Paquette is only holding other people’s products to the same standards she uses for her own Face/Food line, handcrafted in Newburyport. Every single ingredient in every product is something you’d recognize—and is there to support your skin care ritual. With no “inactive ingredients,” fillers, parabens, artificial fragrances, phthalates, or artificial preservatives, a little goes a long way. The line includes face products like the Blueberry Green Tea Cleansing Cream, which smells like breakfast, as well as moisturizers, balms, and even an insect repellant rumored to thwart greenheads, mosquitoes, and ticks.
But among all the delights, Face/Food’s most popular products may be the Dawn Radiance and Dusk Radiance serums. “I’m a big fan of serums and facial oils for all skin types,” Paquette says. To make them accessible to as many people as possible, Face/Food serum prices are far below what you’d expect—$26 for the Dusk Radiance treatment. “I really want to squash the notion that you have to spend $160 on a serum,” she says.
That holds true for all the products in the store. Even Paquette’s priciest products aren’t shocking—Starry Eyes eye cream costs $52 and Thorn & Bloom, a line of botanical perfumes handcrafted in Somerville, costs $65 per bottle.
While everything is handcrafted the products are also luxurious. “There’ s nothing hippie about them,” Paquette says. “People assume they aren’t going to work. But something as gentle as hibiscus-infused apricot oil is a natural antioxidant, leaving skin dewy instead of irritated.
Paquette’s spa services follow the same principles—no harsh chemicals, and great results. “So many people have had experiences with facials where they look worse rather than better at the end,” she says. “I think that many of the products available are irritants; they are too harsh and have too many allergens.”
It was that realization that led Paquette to craft her own line of skin care products. Selling them at the Newburport Farmer’s Market starting in 2014, she’s garnered a following as far afield as Australia and Thailand. “I just really want to help people love their skin,” Paquette says. “You can’t hide your face. If you can feel better about your skin, your whole outlook improves.”