Maggie of Tender Forms (her newsletter is linked above) recently wrote an incredible love letter to Estheticians, the healing magic of Holistic Facials, the power of massage to heal, and the potency of small-batch plant-based skincare. I highly recommend her newsletters. She is an incredible writer, photographer, and endlessly insightful. She writes about all things product related in the small batch skincare wellness world, but is also a talented photographer, artist, and connoisseur of movies, TV, cinematography. Maggie truly writes the best reviews (I save all of her newsletters just for her recommendations alone). Tender Forms is the only newsletter I read every week without fail and even save them all in their own folder. Below are some excerpts from her Uncommon Yarrow newsletter including a portion of the Q&A we did. Click on the link above to read the whole thing, check out her past newsletters, and subscribe! You can also follow her on Instagram @tenderforms
"At the beginning of the new year, I visited one of my favorite people, Rebecca Biederman of Uncommon Yarrow. Rebecca is both a licensed massage therapist and esthetician, and Uncommon Yarrow is her bodywork and skincare studio. I think of it as a physical for my skin (I realize this probably works better for dermatologists, but let’s just run with it). As with physicians, finding an esthetician who understands you and your skin philosophy is essential. Sometimes it takes a few appointments before you find one who feels meant for you. I had an incredible stroke of luck finding Rebecca and felt like I was hanging out with an old friend the first time I met her.
Rebecca’s one of those souls that’s beautiful inside and out. She radiates an energy of love that makes you relaxed when you’re around her. She’s incredibly knowledgeable and almost always taking extra courses on herbalism and massage. I see her efforts of always learning and growing, so I know I’m in good hands whenever I visit. That, and she’s been practicing bodywork and skincare now for over 13 years!"
"My appointment was an incredible facial and massage. Rebecca’s hands work magic: strong to work out pesky knots, increase circulation, restore my body back to its best, and gently smooth out the stress lines, all while working in the beautiful mists, serums, oils, and balms."
Q: I know you as so much more than just an esthetician: a friend, a teacher, a product curator, just to name a few. What is something people don’t realize estheticians can offer?
A. Maybe people don’t realize how much estheticians (and bodyworkers) genuinely care about them! I have learned that one of the most important parts of my job is to listen to clients—to really listen. My skills as a bodyworker have improved over the years and I am able to listen not only with my ears, but also my hands, my arms and my intuition. I am also learning to listen to the plants themselves, but I feel like such a beginner in herbalism (maybe I always will! The more you know the more you don't know). It's like a language I am constantly learning to speak. It may seem trite, but I genuinely want to make the world a better place. As a bodyworker, as an esthetician, I want people to feel good in their bodies. I want people to feel their best, to feel grounded, to learn to create their own nourishing homecare rituals. I want people to feel like they can learn to love themselves and listen to their own bodies. Sometimes being human can be so lonely and isolating. It is such a profound experience to connect with another person and hold space for them, to really be physically present with them, and to provide therapeutic touch. I truly love it. I think it’s exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
If you could offer one free piece of advice, what would it be (skincare related or not)?
Well, as you know, I love to offer lots of free advice lol. Don’t think about massage and facials as a luxury. Massage is medicine. Spending time and money on small batch skincare really does make a difference. When you are supporting a small business like mine, you are also supporting other small businesses, small farmers, the environment, our local economy, and women owned businesses. For example, speaking for the product lines I carry, they are all handmade, meticulously sourced (usually directly from the farmer), woman owned and created and operated, constantly innovating and improving, and incredibly healing and effective. A bottle of Oil Serum may cost anywhere from $70-$90, but it is incredible. It will last generally at least 6 months, sometimes longer. Every ingredient is active, fresh and harvested with integrity. The ripple effects of using these kinds of products from these types of small companies is profound. All that being said, I know this doesn’t always feel accessible. Holistic skincare can also be pretty simple—raw local honey, a high-quality hydrosol and a high-quality oil like jojoba, argan, or rosehip seed oil. And, my last bit of advice for us all—even me—don’t buy things because you are being sold the idea that you are imperfect. Try and base it in a sense of care, love and nourishment. We are all perfect as we are right now today, this second.
"Rebecca has 2oz versions available now of her hydrosols! All are from a farm in Northern Washington and distilled in copper alembic stills. Copper stills are known for their antimicrobial properties and provide hydrosols with a sweeter aroma."
Note about Hydrosols: not all of these are listed in the webshop. I am always available at firstname.lastname@example.org for any and all product related questions. Feel free to inquire about available hydrosols, seasonal skincare, and if you do not live in Portland or cannot make it in, I am also available for online skincare consults.