BRIDGET FORD sits down facing me at a Meteor Cafe two-top, and I swear her complexion is made of moonbeams and stardust. I almost want to ask what her secret is—hydrofacials, right? microdermabrasion?—but I have a sneaking suspicion the answer to my probably-too-forward question is in the brown paper bag she’s just set down on the table. I cut right to the chase.
Let’s see the goods, I say.
OK, so that’s not exactly what happens. We chat a bit first, and I learn that Corson is Bridget’s maiden name, the one she shares with her sister, Marilyn Corson, who lives in San Francisco. They grew up in the kind of house where their mom made all of her own household cleaners “and, like, our own fruit roll-ups and nut butters.” Mind you, this was way back when, before that was something cool moms did on the regular. Fast forward a few years, and Bridget and Marilyn were on the hunt for a clean beauty line that really worked, and that they could also trust. One that smelled good and was a pleasure to use. They couldn’t find one, so they made their own.
“So, I guess you used a consultant to come up with the formula?” I ask.
Bridget looks confused. “No, we did the research ourselves.” Hmmm. Impressive.
“But you use someone else to make the stuff, right?” I say.
“No, I do it. Here in Little Rock. In small batches, in a sterile kitchen,” she says.
Well, now I really want to see the goods.
As she busies herself opening the minimalist packages that definitely lean more “big-city beauty counter” than “handmade in Little Rock,” she explains how they got to this point—how she and Marilyn were the guinea pigs at first, slathering themselves in honey and hazelnut oil and washing their faces “like 30 times a day.”
“It’s a simple, easy routine,” she says, pumping a bit of cleanser onto the back of my hand. “Each one has an active or key ingredient—this one’s manuka honey, it’s incredibly nourishing and kills bacteria. Then the toner—white willow bark is a chemical exfoliant, and it’s got a whole bunch of rose hydrosol in it, which is water made from steam-distilled roses, and it smells amazing—”
“Can I smell?” I interrupt.
“Oh my gosh, yes!” she says, and sprays a bit onto my hand.
“Oh my gosh, yes,” I say, taking a big sniff. “I smell like a honeysuckle!”
“That’s what everyone says!” she says. “Here, the night oil is probably my favorite. This has got, just, a huge list of awesome in it. Hazelnut oil, sea buckthorn oil, squalene to help balance the natural production of oils, pumpkin-seed oil, rosehip oil—oh, and it’s chamomile-infused, so—”
“Oh my gosh, yes,” I say.
After we’ve finished our coffees and the magic potions have been returned to their rightful boxes in the brown paper bag, I head off into my day. Periodically, when no one’s looking, I smell the back of my hand. It still smells like honeysuckles—and, I swear, there’s just the subtlest hint of moonbeams and stardust.
We took one for the team and used Bridget and Marilyn’s regimen for a week, and we gotta say—we’ve never looked better
Their take: Manuka honey eliminates blemish-causing bacteria; hemp-seed oil increases elasticity; jojoba oil removes impurities and balances the skin’s natural oil production.
Our take: It smells delectable—somewhere between freshly made baklava and savasana, aka that part of yoga class when the instructor comes around with a vial of essential oils while you’re laid out like a corpse and blissing out to the frequencies emitted by a rose-quartz singing bowl. In other words, you won’t want to stop washing your face. Like, ever. $38
Their take: White willow bark is naturally exfoliating and anti-inflammatory; rose hydrosol hydrates skin, calms redness and controls oil levels; honey extract softens skin and seals in moisture.
Our take: Refreshing without being irritating. Like the cleanser, it smells amazing. And the spray bottle is a definite win—no need for a cotton pad. Just spritz. Sniff. Spritz. Sniff. $32
Their take: Chamomile calms and soothes, reducing redness; squalene reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; rosehip-seed oil heals marks and scars; sea buckthorn oil repairs damaged cells; pumpkin-seed oil evens skin tone and slows sign of aging.
Our take: We noticed results the morning after our very first application. Our skin felt smoother, plumper and pluckier, and the rosacea-prone among us noticed a reduction in redness from the get-go. We liked it enough to put all our other night creams and lotions and potions back into the medicine cabinet. Word to the wise: a little goes a long way. $88
Their take: Watermelon-seed oil slows signs of aging; aloe vera is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory; hazelnut oil moisturizes, tightens and smooths.
Our take: It’s light and dewy, perfect for moisturizer-phobes. Emphasis on the dewy, though—you might want to use a little primer pre-makeup to keep things in place. $56