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Conversations: Somerset Moss

This fall we’re excited to welcome back Vancouver-based skincare line Somerset Moss to Gjusta Goods — a botanical apothecary line founded by Sam Miles, and inspired by both her childhood on a farm in Somerset, England, and her nomadic path that has led her around the world.

Amid her journeys, a love for the power of natural ingredients, and a belief in the beauty of simplification have inspired the development of her line, which she created with a Master Perfumer to steep each product in a floral blend that sensorially invokes the feeling of the English countryside in a bottle. To learn more about Sam, her story, ad her beautiful botanical line we invited her to share more in this conversation. Read on!

What inspired the inception of Somerset Moss? What’s changed since the beginning?

Before I started Somerset Moss I had been an esthetician for over 20 years and to be honest, I had reached the point where I was really disillusioned by the beauty industry. I had a cupboard brimming with many products and many promises and felt overwhelmed by choice. There were so many new products hitting the market every day and when I examined products labels more closely, I saw that they included cheap and basic ingredients. These were being sold alongside photoshopped imagery at inflated prices and I felt like I didn’t know which brands to trust anymore.

I wanted to pare down and streamline my skincare, so I decided to simply use coconut oil for everything. It is a common beauty secret, but it left me desiring a more luxurious skincare routine. I started researching about the powerful properties of some of my favorite plants and expanding my glossary of botanical ingredients. I enlisted the help of a Master Perfumer from England to curate the perfect blend for each product, each with a signature Somerset Moss scent and that was the beginning of my Somerset Moss adventure!

In terms of what’s changed, I now have a much better understanding of how totally confusing marketing jargon can be for a lot of consumers so a key component to what I’m offering is skin education. I want to teach my community about all aspects of skin health. Skin confidence is so much more than how good your skin looks – it’s about really feeling better on the inside too.

How do you understand the act of taking care?

For me ‘taking care’ means taking care of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual body. This can look like:

Resting up – I believe sleep is a big pillar of our overall health. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m a much better person to be around when I get my 7-8 hours of sleep. I’m also a big fan of taking a nap: just 20 minutes mid-afternoon sets me up nicely for the evening ahead.

Eating a (mostly) plant based diet – I eat a lot of greens and drink plenty of water throughout the day. I love jazzing up my water bottle by adding teas so I can benefit from the properties of holistic plants when I’m on the go.

Honoring boundaries – I’m still learning to say no to things that don’t serve me. I find this pretty hard as I’m naturally a people pleaser!

Creating pauses throughout the day – I use self-massage and skincare as a small ritual of slowness to alleviate the stress of busy days. It allows me to connect with my body and be mindful about how I talk about it.

What do you feel you’re able to connect to through Somerset Moss that you weren’t able to previously? Perhaps this is a perspective in the skincare world, or a personal quality that manifests itself in running a boutique brand.

My biggest connection is to the Somerset Moss community.

It has made me realize that many people feel that same sense of overwhelm that drove me to create Somerset Moss in the first place and that I wasn’t alone. It’s great to know that you don’t need to make a new buying decision. Instead, the three core products can be blended, layered or worn alone depending on what your skin needs on any given day. It empowers you to trust the powerful properties of the botanical ingredients, listen to your skin, and make small adjustments each day – it’s very liberating.

It fills my heart to hear stories from individuals about how their skin, and skin confidence, has improved since using the Somerset Moss collection. I love feeling that I’ve contributed to the happiness of others, even in a small way, and that’s what puts a spring in my step.

Knowing that our needs evolve over time and across circumstances, it’s the story of the ritual that compels us. What’s something you’ve integrated into your lifestyle recently that’s making all the difference?

At the start of this year, I started cold water ocean dipping! This is truly something I never thought possible as I find the cold very uncomfortable but it has been transformational. The more I practice, the more I feel that I have control over my thoughts and I feel so calm and light after a dip. I’m also really trying to meditate and use mindful breathing practices daily.

Can you share more about your lifestyle in Vancouver? What bits feel the most invigorating? Restorative?

I have been living in Vancouver, Canada for eight years and I have definitely adapted to some of those “cool kid” West Coast ways. A typical day starts with a dog walk. I use this as a way to connect with friends or as a chance to go alone and do what I love to call ‘a moving meditation.’ The forests here are stunning; they are temperate rainforests so they are incredibly lush and are a massive grounding force for me. When I get back through the door, I drink a glass of water, make my coffee, shower, and prepare for my day ahead.

I’m lucky enough to live very close to the ocean and on the toughest days, I love to go to the water’s edge and just sit and breathe. Experiencing the powerful force of the waves and the sounds they make is just so restorative. 

I love to spend my weekends cooking – my other love! My ideal day would be a long hike (with a dip), followed by a home cooked dinner with family and friends. And repeat.

Can you share some go-to bits of skin care guidance that we can lean on if feeling overwhelmed by the “options” available?

‘Keep it simple’ is my absolute jam! It’s so important to keep your precious skin barrier intact and in balance – it’s the key to maintaining healthy skin. You can do this by:

Cleansing – I love to cleanse with oil as it’s gentle and moisturizing, especially when skin feels dry.

Hydrating – You can moisturize with a mist, serum or cream.  

Exfoliating – We all want a glow, right? Exfoliating encourages skin renewal and actually helps other products work more efficiently.

Shop Somerset Moss at Gjusta Goods