Photography by Eric Issac

Jessica Richards

Founder, Shen Beauty

| Carroll Gardens

Vogue stylist-turned-beauty entrepreneur Jessica Richards singlehandedly sparked a beauty revolution in Brooklyn. A product of her Californian bent for healthy living and a serious can-do attitude (trust us when we say every stylist needs one), Shen Beauty is Richards’ ode to all-natural, high-quality beauty, health and wellness— something she felt her borough was oddly lacking. What was originally designed as a simple resource for neighbors however quickly turned into a blueprint for beauty today— suddenly Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times were covering the shop’s curated line-up (if there’s one thing the former stylist knows how to do, it’s edit). Featuring brands like Pai, Kjaer Weis and Grown Alchemist, Shen is often filled with skincare, make-up, nail, fragrance and even supplement labels otherwise unavailable in the US (we especially love the antioxidant and collagen Beauty Boosts). It’s a modern health haven one step ahead of the game— now, that’s real beauty. Here, Richards sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC, plus a special last-minute holiday guide for the friend that has everything…

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Nightingale 9 (MAP ITx) because the staff is nice, it’s super close to home and work, and the food is AMAZING! I typically start with crispy broccoli and then move on to the spring vegetable fried rice. The cocktails are also delicious.

COFFFE OR TEA: An almond milk matcha latte from Café Pedlar (*Location now closed) because it has a ton of foam and tastes incredible.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: I know this is so cliché, but it has to be Nobu (MAP IT, BOOK ITx). I have been eating there once a week since I moved to NYC 13 years ago.  It’s a tried-and-true favorite and now that my boys eat sushi, they always ask for Nobu. A lot of dishes are amazing, but the ones I always go back to are the salmon new style, spicy tuna with crispy rice and tiradito new style.

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: I love going to Black Mountain Wine House (MAP IT, x) with the girls after work, especially when it’s cold out as there is a fireplace roaring and it’s super cozy. We usually order a bottle of wine and sit and catch up.

MUSIC PICK: My favorite band is The Rolling Stones; favorite song: Beast of Burden. Sometimes I keep it on repeat for hours. It’s kind of strange I know, but this has been going on for over a decade.

BEST BRUNCH: If I still lived in Manhattan, my favorite brunch spot would be Westville on 10th Street (MAP IT, x)— the egg scramble plate with asparagus, mushrooms and gouda and a side Portuguese muffin is my all-time fave. Now that I live in Brooklyn and have two kids, I try and do brunch at Bar Bruno (MAP IT, x). Their huevos rancheros (sans bacon) is amazing and I get the salsa “divorced” aka a little bit of both [verde and roja].

HEALTHY STAPLE: La Esquina (MAP ITx) for the house salad and a side of chicken.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Bar Pitti’s Rigatoni Pitti (MAP IT, x).

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Valentino Park in Red Hook (x)— watching the sunset go down on a summer evening with the Statue of Liberty in the background and a great bottle of wine; you definitely don’t feel like your in NYC!

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: I move very quickly and like when everyone moves that same way.  When I drive in California, all I want to do is honk at everyone and when I order food, it takes forever. NYC is definitely my pace. I also miss how I walk and ride my bike everywhere as most [other] places, you need to get in a car to go just 5 blocks… I hate that.

REGULAR AT: Henry’s Local Café (MAP IT, x) is my local café! I love the vibe. It is truly only my neighborhood crowd there. I am there almost every morning on my walk to work. What keeps me coming back are the delicious lattes made with organic whole milk. Get a pastry while you are there too— you wont be sorry.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: La Vara (MAP ITBOOK IT, x). The food is great and it’s super small. I love the plates to share and the wine selection.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Pizza from Lucali (MAP IT, x). They don’t deliver, but my husband goes to grab it.  It’s right around the corner from our house and who doesn’t love PIZZA!

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: The lobby of The Mercer Hotel (MAP IT, x).

TO ESCAPE AND UNWIND: Either home to California to see my family (although that’s never a place I unwind) or St Martin where we go every Christmas and New Years. On weekends, we go to our little cottage upstate in Clinton Corners (x).

BEAUTY MUST-HAVE: It varies, but for the last few months, it’s been Restore Aura Spray by Therapie Roques O’Neil! That stuff is like heaven in a bottle.

BEAUTY SECRET WEAPON: A proper cleanser— I guarantee you are using the wrong one if you haven’t had a consult at Shen with me or my staff. Every person should stop using a foaming cleanser immediately! My all-time favorite is Amanda Lacey Cleansing Pomade, but I will switch between May Lindstrom Honey Mud, Pai  Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and Aurelia Cell Revitalize Day Moisturizer. I am not a loyalist when it comes to cleansers, but I will not put foaming cleanser on my skin.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Shen (MAP ITx)! If I need to really “wow” my hostess, I bring a Fornasetti candle.  If it’s just a casual dinner or something, I bring Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero— it’s the chicest bug spray out there and everyone loves it.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: I have three…Simone Mangano (x) at Headdress (MAP IT, x) does the best blonde coloring in the business! Hands-down; I have literally tried everyone. Jill Freeman (x) who works at Shen does incredible makeup and is my secret treasure (though the women in Brooklyn have since found out about her, and now, I can barely get my makeup done when I need to!). And for facials, Carrie (x) at Shen. She does the best brows and her facials are a mix between European (lots of massage) and American (peels, microdermabrasion, etc.).

FIT PICK: I go to SoulCycle (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) two or three times per week. My favorite instructors are Rachel W. (x) and Eve (x). I need something quick that tones and this does the trick. For me, my fitness routine is more based on getting my blood pumping. My skin always looks better and I feel my best mentally afterwards.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: When my older son turned three, he was obsessed with the Rangers. I asked a very nice friend to introduce him to [Henrik] Lundqvist. At the time, my son had a broken leg so I took him to the game. He stayed awake through the entire game, and afterwards, we went into the locker room where he met Lundqvist (who signed the jersey my son had on). Seeing his face light up was unbelievable, plus being in the locker room at Madison Square Garden with Lundqvist was pretty special. CP

Richards’ Go-to Holiday Gifts

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1. Makeup Lesson with Jill Freeman
For my friends who are constantly complaining that they don’t know how to do makeup, I am giving them a makeup lesson with Jill Freeman, Shen’s makeup guru and the lady I lean on for everything. Not only does she work well with everyone, but she is the best at the “no makeup makeup” which all of my friends want.

2. 5-Star Facial with Carrie Lindsey
Most of my friends are not as religious about skincare and facials as I am. First of all, most people don’t have the time, and second, it can get costly so for all of the lovely women in my life who need some extra pampering, I am gifting them the five-star, 2-hour facial with Carrie. This facial shines up your spirit as well as your skin.

3. Therapie Roque O’Neil Himalayan Detox Salts
These salts are my #1 go-to for anyone and everyone— mothers, fathers, friends or even for yourself. I refer to them as “organic Valium.” During the holiday season, everyone needs to take a minute to soak in an extra hot bath that will help to calm their nerves.

4. Fornasetti Diffusing Sphere L’Ape
Although expensive, sometimes we need a gift that really wows! This is my go-to for the friend in my life that has absolutely everything. The smell is intoxicating and the ceramic diffuser lasts forever. 

5. Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero
Although I live in NYC, not all the people I have to buy for do, or maybe, I know they are going on a trip to some warm locale. Needless to say, for those types, I gift them my summer staple: the chicest bug spray on the planet that works and smells good too.

6. Amanda Lacey Aria di Collina Perfume
This is one of my favorite fragrances and every time I wear it, people ask me what it is. It is like nothing I have ever smelled before. Amanda created it to remind her of her summers in Capri and I have to say, she nailed it.

7. Glow by the Beauty Chef
This product has seriously changed my skin for the better and this is what I am giving every health nut I know this holiday season. Mix it in some yogurt, add it to a smoothie or simply mix well with some water; 30 days later, you’ll see a definite change. After all, beauty is from the inside out. CP

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