A talented photographer, nurturing mother, and natural herbalist, this Brazilian beauty's glow can be felt from miles away. We met up with Isa Brito, the radiant glow goddess, at our favorite Cafe Mogador. Over Mediterranean platters and mint tea, she told us stories of her adventurous life and the journey that brought her to where she is today. To say we left inspired is an understatement.
At 18 she decided to get off the plane from Canada on a layover in New York because she had an innate feeling that she hadn't accomplished what she yet wanted. So she moved to NY without knowing a soul and with barely any money. She worked different odd jobs and found solace behind the camera in quite a wild era in NYC--many of which images are now a part of her exhibition Passengers. Isa was forced to grow up further as a single mother and learned so much from her Japanese neighbors who almost acted like guardian parents to her, teaching her how to cook, clean (like using a special kimono-rolling technique for cleaning the floor for example), and care for her child.
As a caring mom Isa noticed that her daughter started to fall in love with beauty products but knew they were filled with lots of nasty ingredients. She thus set out to create natural alternatives for her daughter, which eventually caught up with her friends' daughters and their mothers and the rest was history. Her line, Isa's Restoratives, is now most known for its Love Potion which sells out almost instantly.
Through all of her life experience, Isa has most definitely gathered some wisdom. She says that we must consider that everyone as their own process through life. Have generosity for both sides, she says, and from this we will find reciprocity.
We asked Isa what her top tips would be to implement natural herbs into one's life: infusions. Isa recommends making long-term investments through infusing the water that you drink daily. --1oz of herbs in 1 liter of water, boil it, strain it, and then drink it--
1.) Stinging Nettles-- Great for your adrenals, cortisol, endocrine system... and use the leftovers in your hair
2.) Ashwaganda-- Centering herb, modulates stress, it's an adaptogen herb and acts as a cushion between stress and the body
3.) Oats-- Organic oat straw of the plant, regulates blood sugar, nervous system, long-term sustainment of the nervous system, makes you more malleable and flexible
Isa not only incorporates these healthy herbs and plants into her water, she also bakes with them as well. Her Nettle Greenies recipe is one of her favorites, try it out for yourself!
HOW THEY GLOW QUESTIONNAIRE
NAME: Isa Brito
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Rural Brazil
WHEN YOU ARE EATING HEALTHY, WHAT IS A TYPICAL…
BREAKFAST: I rotate. Organic farm eggs with some sort of leafy greens. Or homemade yogurt with my daughter’s amazing teen made granola, sencha.
LUNCH: More leafy greens, have been especially loving mustard greens lately, poached fish sprinkled with cold pressed raw pumpkin seed oil, previously soaked quinoa cooked in shiitake broth, always accompanied by either kimchi or sauerkraut, nettle infusion.
DINNER: Avocado salad, vegetables sautéed with shiitake or maitake mushrooms, a gorgeous baked cod, maybe portuguese style with tomatoes, onions and olives, rice...
SNACK: A piece of dark chocolate
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS/RESTAURANTS TO EAT HEALTHY? Eating well in Brooklyn is so easy! So many amazing farm to table restaurants. The Farm on Adderley is my favorite right now.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCE? Mast Brothers Chocolate
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS/RESTAURANTS TO INDULGE? Cafe Mogador in Williamsburg
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR LAST MEAL ON EARTH? A bowl of Borscht from Veselka or a NY pizza slice.
WHAT IS THE BEST DISH YOU COOK/ YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE? I cook everyday. It’s hard to say what is my favorite, but I have been into the baked cods recently. Getting into making curries at home too. Also making lots of herbal variations on the Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownie from the Minimalist Baker website. I made one with mung beans, nettles, green tea and pistachio and another with white beans, ashwaganda, maca and coconut. Both turned out quite good.
WHERE DO YOU GROCERY SHOP? I live in Brooklyn and I shop almost exclusively at the Park Slope Food Co- Op. I get amazingly fresh produce there.
WHAT IS YOUR FITNESS REGIME? (HOW OFTEN & WHAT DO YOU GO) I go to the neighborhood gym about 3 times a week. I should go more often. I do 30 minutes of cardio and work some of the machines. I want to go back to yoga, but there aren’t any studios in my area. I love Iyengar yoga.
WHAT IS YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE? (PRODUCTS, FACIALS, ETC.) I use my products that I make, or plain oils. I change the oils I use as the seasons change and I don’t cleanse that much. I was given Clarisonic last year and enjoy using that once in a while.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NATURAL MAKEUP/ BEAUTY PRODUCTS? Apart from my own concoctions, I love this.
IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT 3 PRODUCTS WOULD YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
1. Argan oil
3. A good clay
What professional beauty/fitness/health gurus do you swear by? I tend to pay attention to health writing most:
TOP 3 FAVORITE SONGS? So hard to answer. I get obsessed with a song and listen to it until I almost dislike it. I could tell you about a favorite bossa nova song I have loved from the time was a child: As Cores de Abril, by Vinicius de Moraes and Toquinho ou Carolina Carol Bela de Jorge Ben and Toquinho. Or… everything by Blood Orange or James Blake. The portuguese singer Antonio Zambujo is one my favorites. Love is to Die by Warpaint.
Music is huge in my life and work. Must have all the time.
WHAT IS THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? A house
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY. I wake up and sweep my house. Make sencha and bfast for my daughter and I. Then I check in with orders, clients and news. Go to the gym and come home to my favorite lunch. Then work on my herbal creations or write till I am feel accomplished for the day. Dinner with my boyfriend and daughter. Quiet evenings. Lots of sweetness and meaningful time spent with my lovelies and working. Not too complicated. I guess I just described a perfect wither day. In the Summer there’s a lot more time spent in the woods. I love fresh water. Lakes!
WHAT IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE BEAUTY TIP/SECRET? Don’t over cleanse! Keep it simple.
Photography by: Jai Lennard