Summer Rayne Oakes is a model, an eco-activist and an avid gardener (she has over 500 plants in her Brooklyn apartment!). Regarded as the world's first eco-model, she is best known for her sustainable-minded approach to fashion and beauty. Today, Summer shares her beauty secrets, including the best all-natural deodorant and the one product she always finishes, which you can buy at the grocery store!
Tell us about your morning skin care regimen. What products do you use regularly?
My basic regimen includes using a rose mist spray in the morning (there are a couple I love, including Jurlique's Rosewater Balancing Mist and Tromborg's Facial Mist Rose Water), and then taking a cold shower! For body wash, I'm using AO Biome's Mother Dirt, which promotes skin health and doesn't kill the natural microbiome on your skin. Then, I'll apply a face oil, either Pratima's Nourishing Essential Oil or erbaviva's Firming Oil, and lip balm by either SW Basics or Pangea Organics. I wear sunscreen daily and opt for Mustela's Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, which is a baby care line, but that typically means they put less crap in it. I also use some other products by Saje, Soapwalla, Osea, and Alaffia — I like what all these companies stand for. And, most importantly, I'll swipe on Crystal deodorant, which is all natural with no aluminum.
What's your daily makeup routine?
I personally don't wear a lot of makeup in everyday life, so I can't say that I have one! Typically, it's sunscreen and lip balm. Sometimes a tinted moisturizer.
What are your haircare products of choice?
I am using the AO Biome's Mother Dirt shampoo, which is essentially some of the lightest, non-invasive product you can be using on your hair.
Do you have a go-to hairstyle?
Typically, I wear my hair one of three ways: in a high ponytail, down with a part in the middle, or braided, if I'm feeling fancy.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I'm currently working on a cookbook and guide based off of my site SugarDetoxMe with Sterling Publishing to help people cleanse themselves from sugar. It's something that I struggled with in the past and felt that it was the one thing that was separating me from being optimally healthy. Recently, the World Health Organization released a report stating that 1 in 11 people in the world are diabetic, which probably means that 1 in 3 are pre-diabetic. When I was born, type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders were few and far between, so my current projects focus on helping curb this sudden increase.
I typically spend most of my time working through complex environmental or social challenges and team up with others to build solutions. I've spent about twelve years working at the nexus of sustainability and fashion. I think most people recognize me through my work in the industry, including the work that I do as a model because I exclusively work with brands that share my ethos, which is still very unique in the industry.
Over the last few years, however, I've been spending more time learning about and working in sustainable food systems, and I suppose my current book and focus is a reflection of that.
When did you decide to get into eco-activism?
When I was five years old my mother became very active in stopping an asphalt plant from moving next door. I believe this, and the way my parents lived, the way I grew up, really set me up for working within the local (and greater) community. So, you can say that it was "in me" at an early age.
What's your approach to sustainability when it comes to beauty?
Mostly, make or buy that which harms little and sustains the most. And, remember that what you eat largely impacts both your interior and exterior self, so take care in what you eat and consider how what you eat is grown or produced.
Do you have any recommendations for how to make more eco-conscious beauty choices?
This is straight out of the first book I wrote, Style, Naturally, and I don't think I would change much: Hydrate with filtered water, use less makeup to allow your skin to breath, simplify your products — by using less products and by choosing products that have fewer or no unwanted chemicals or synthetic additives, and support brands that share in the same mission as the latter.
Are there any sites you frequent for beauty tips or product recommendations?
Not at the moment. I kinda feel like I have a routine that works and great brands that I trust!
What's the last product you used until there was nothing left?
Organic coconut oil!
Do you have a DIY beauty treatment you love?
I use coconut oil straight out of the container as a body oil, to wash my face, and for oil pulling, as it's been shown to prevent plaque buildup and cavities.
Is there a part of your daily routine that makes you feel great inside and out?
I have fresh tea every morning, even in the summer, and I often make my own from herbs in my garden. I enjoy cooking 2 to 3 meals a day. Running and stretching also make me feel great, as does sitting in my hammock reading.
You have such an impressive indoor garden (with over 500 plants!). What plants would you recommend to someone with a black thumb?
A great starter plant for any black thumbers would be a snake plant (Sansevieria) or ZZ plants (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia). Both can thrive under a little benign neglect and a range of light conditions.
Who do you look to for beauty inspiration?
No person in particular, but damn, Mother Nature always has something beautiful up her sleeve!
Be sure to follow Summer on Instagram, and check back next week for our latest installment of 52 Faces, a weekly series that spotlights a real woman's beauty routine. If you missed last week's interview, we spoke with Lex Lee, an LA-based furniture designer whose minimalist pieces capture the essence of California cool. Here, she divulges her beauty routine, including the best products for treating dry skin and the borderline-magical concealer she swears by.