An Interview with Negin Niknejad, Esthetician, Reiki Practitioner, Herbalist

SZL gets their favorite NYC-based skincare expert, Negin Niknejad, to spill on some questions we've been dying to ask! Make sure you check out her hand-crafted skincare products on her site, JustBe, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook for more inspiration and insightful instructions.

SZL: First of all, let us start off by saying that you have a gorgeous, natural look. Any tricks up your sleeve?
NN: That's very sweet; thank you. I'm not into wearing a lot of makeup because my hair takes up so much space and, therefore, foundation and excess makeup make me feel claustrophobic. But I love glitter!

SZL: Do you think your nationality, or the fact that you got to experience other cultures throughout your life, had any influence towards the creation of JustBe?
NN: Yes, I am deeply attracted to natural healing and remedies. In Iran, we have a holistic system called "ataari," which is rooted in holistic healing and herbal medicine. When I began studying Ayurveda, I saw the similarities between the two. I work intuitively so perhaps I am plugged into something universal.

SZL: What is your favorite JustBe product at the moment, and why?
NN: I am switching between the Purifying Mask and the Soothing Mask because, between the summer heat and excess sweating and the advent of autumn, my skin wants to be feel clean without being depleted of its natural oils. I am a huge devotee to all of JustBe.

SZL: Where do you source the items for your skincare line? Do your recipes change based on availability?
NN: It really depends on what it is. My facials are customized with local raw seasonal ingredients but I also do source indigenous herbs and oils from other regions. I work with local farms in New York and New Jersey too.

SZL: What are the most common ailments/skin afflictions that people come to you to be treated for? How quickly do they see results?
NN: It would have to be hormonal and digestive-related break-outs. Results depend on their lifestyle, stress levels, and eating habits. I believe stress is the root of ailment in the body; also in the mind. City dwellers are under constant stress. It's good to spend a lot of time in nature, especially the forest and beach, to reset our buttons.

SZL: Are there any daily/weekly routines/treatments that you recommend for all people?
NN: Have a mask that leaves your skin clean but not dry, and do that twice a week. Masking is a great way to maintain healthy skin for at home beauty care and in between facials. Also, always treat your eyes on a daily basis, as they are the first area on our face to feel the effects of aging. Exfoliating, both face and body, is likewise a very important step in keeping the skin looking fresh, and it allows for better product penetration. Moisturize your face and body with bioavailable oils. Drink lots of water as water is nature's best moisturizer. And do make sure you get your beauty sleep. Keep it natural!

- Maria Vasylivna