Birchbox Crush: Summer Rayne Oakes

Summer Rayne Oakes may be considered the “the world’s first eco-model,” but she goes by so many other titles, it’s dizzying. From speaker and author to consultant and co-founder, the nature-loving beauty has established herself as an authority on activism and environmental responsibility. (The above picture was taken during a shoot for a video about bee colony collapse disorder.) We sat down with the ever-busy entrepreneur to talk products, her dynamic profession, and what’s on the horizon.

Beauty Philosophy

I think that less is more, so I don’t ever really overdo it with beauty products. My routine usually involves a very light sunscreen, a very minimal foundation, lip balm, and I’m kind of out the door.

Eco-Chic Product Love

One of my favorite products is by Collective Wellbeing. They have a body butter for dry skin relief and that’s what I usually use on my legs after I get out of the shower. The scent is very subtle, it uses a tremendous amount of organic ingredients, and the texture of it is really divine. I also like Jurlique’s Rosewater Balancing Mist. The rose scent is very delicate and I often bring it on planes. I do travel quite a bit, and my face gets sort of dry, and it’s a really nice refresher.

Best Photo Shoot Discovery

Often times when I’m on photo shoots, the makeup artist brings naturally derived products because that’s the essence of what I do. At this one photo shoot, I was introduced to H20 Plus’ Sea Pure line. They have this really great body oil spray that gives your skin that very oily, lacquered look.

The Ingredient Bigger Picture

I’s not just the effects of the ingredients on our skin that we should be concerned about, but also the effects of the ingredients use on the greater world. For example, one of the biggest issues that has taken shape over the last three or four years is the use of palm oil. It’s just like coconut oil or olive oil, but the issue was that a lot of endangered forests are being cut down and burned for palm oil in Indonesia and other surrounding areas, and intensely degrading really biodiverse habitats.

Proudest Accomplishment

The creation of Source4Style with my friend Benita. It’s a pursuit to look at how to make sustainable design possible on a more scalable level. The way that we did that was within the fashion industry by showcasing that we could open up the inventories of the suppliers around the world. Textiles are a big base of livelihood and an important part of a lot of developing countries’ GDP. Over 70 percent of the people involved in the manufacturing sector of textiles are women, and I would say it’s about the same percentage for raw material extraction for beauty as well. So both of those industries can affect major change on the ground level for women in local communities.

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