Drawing on her experience working with fitness apparel and performance fabrics, Britta Cox created Aquis – the hair-friendly towel brand that uses water-wicking technology to change the way we dry our hair. We caught up with Britta to find out how the head of a successful beauty brand finds time to unwind on a Sunday; she talks to us about her pared-back skin, hair and body rituals as well as her love of nature and her two furry friends, Shiro and Yukari.
The Wind Down
My favourite thing to do on a Sunday is to lounge around under the camphor tree in the garden drinking tea with my husband (and CEO) Suveen and our furry kids; Shiro our Golden Retriever and Yukari our cat. Being with animals is like mediation for me, it immediately transports me to another space and helps me to relax. I also like to walk around the garden to observe what’s going on. I’ll check that everything is healthy and make a list for the gardener, who comes on a Wednesday, of what needs pruning, harvesting or given extra food and water etc. I find that the combination of a yoga class and hike is the perfect way to feel energised and ready for the week ahead. I love the stretching and body alignment that yoga provides and being outdoors and in nature is a must for me. Hiking is my jam, but I prefer to hike alone in nature, so my thoughts can drift, or I can think about things freely. In the evening, I make a ‘To Do’ list for the upcoming work week. I can only relax once all the top priorities are called out, and the reminders of all the small things that need to be done, are out of my mind and down on paper. Once this is done, I can wind down. This usually starts a bit before 6pm when Suveen and I think about dinner. My mom often comes for dinner on Sunday night and we watch 60 Minutes together, which starts at 7pm – it’s a nice little ritual.
I take a very simplistic approach to my skincare routine, it works for me and so I don’t change it up much. I like to use minimal products that are as natural as possible. I have a tight edit of products, which is probably made up of 70% oils and 30% creams. My skin is balanced, and I don’t have any major concerns, other than general ageing, which I have come to accept. Maybe I should try to fight it, but there are other more important things to me than that. I don’t wear a lot of makeup at the weekend and so my main aim is to keep my skin nourished without stripping it of its natural oils. I only cleanse my face at night ( I just rinse with water in the morning) and I use a plant-based oil cleanser, like Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil. Once every few weeks I’ll use Caudalie’s Deep Cleansing Exfoliator along with the Clarisonic cleansing device to help remove dead skin cells and improve skin tone. I’d quite like to try a powdered face cleanser, like Dr Barbara Sturm’s Enzyme Cleanser, where you add water to activate. I use powdered toothpaste, especially when travelling and faced with the task of fitting liquids into a TSA-approve sized bag. If I feel l need a hydration boost, I’ll add in a mask. I really rate the Tata Harper Moisturizing Mask, but sometimes I like to experiment with DIY products I make using raw ingredients or things from my garden, usually honey collected from our beehive; a turmeric and honey face mask makes skin look great. I also have an apple orchard and have gallons of apple cider vinegar which I’ll include in beauty routines but I’m mindful of the pH and use a metre to read it and keep it in check. I follow my cleansing routine with Tata Harper’s Rejuvenating Serum and plant-based squalane – I love how naturally hydrating it is without preservatives or water-based products that negatively affect the natural biome of our skin. Then, I’ll use a combination of a cream moisturiser and oil. I really like the Tata Harper Reparative Moisturizer.
Body exfoliating and increasing circulation is important to me. If I take a bath, I’ll dry brush with a soft bristle, natural brush before soaking. If showering, I’ll exfoliate in the shower using an exfoliating washcloth. If I have time, a warm soak in Herbivore Calm Bath Salts is fabulous for relaxing, removing toxins and balancing the body. I like to turn the lights out and surround myself with candles. My current favourite is the Diptyque Feuille de Lavande Scented Candle. This a very common thing to do in Sweden, where it’s so often dark and the lights help to make people feel happier. I also like to load the bath with Epsom salts, and then I lock in the moisture with a mixture of Mauli Serenity Body Oil and Caudalie’s Nourishing Body Lotion. I love using essential oils on my skin and there are so many great ones from Aromatherapy Associates. Depending on how I’m feeling, I make my own blends using herbs from the garden—rosemary, lavender, sage or lemon balm, followed by home-made body oil with calendula flower, applied to damp skin. I usually wash my hair on Sunday, and I can go between five and seven days between washes, so I can usually get through most of the work week. My haircare routine is super simple and always the same; the less I do to my hair, the better it is. I’m super mindful of how long my hair is exposed to water, which I believe weakens it, and I avoid any type of friction which damages the protective cuticle layer. I don’t even use conditioner. As soon as I jump out of the bath or shower, I gently squeeze off any excess water and wrap my hair in an Aquis Hair Towel or Turban. I designed these 25 years ago to mimic the quick-dry fabrics I was working with at the time in the sports garment industry. In the process of designing a product that dries hair 50% faster than standard bath towels, I also discovered that water is hair’s natural enemy – weakening it, leading to breakages, tangles and frizz. Aquis towels are made from fibres finer than silk that wick water away from hair so that it reaches a damp stage quicker, where it will start to regain the strength it has been stripped off. After it’s dry, I then only finger-comb it or comb sparingly as needed. I usually air-dry my hair. After using the Aquis towel, my hair will already be 70% dry by this point. If I want some extra movement or texture, I might take sections and twist them gently or wrap them up into a topknot for a while or lightly spritz with Ouai’s Wave Spray for subtle volume.
No matter what, I try to wind things down and turn off all devices an hour before going to sleep, which is between 9pm and 10pm on a Sunday. It is very disruptive to my sleep if I don’t. I love reading in bed but I’m usually so tired by the time my head hits the pillow, I fall asleep before I have the chance. If I spend time outdoors and in nature during the day, my frame of mind is much more balanced, and I sleep better and feel more rested. It’s funny, but I usually spend some time with both Shiro and Yukari before going to sleep and I find this soothing. Also, sleeping with the doors wide open and breathing in all the cool fresh air really helps me to relax and fall asleep faster. Once I get into bed and am ready to sleep, I pull my hair over my head and lay it on the pillow. I sleep on my back and don’t move, so putting my hair over the top of the pillow this way minimises the rubbing of my hair on the pillowcase and friction. Luckily my snoring is minimal, even when sleeping on my back…at least, as far as I know…
My alarm is set for 5.15am on a Monday morning, which gives me 45-minutes to get out of the house by 6am. Our dog Yukari will often run across us in bed before this to wake us up, so we feed her. It’s quite funny. I usually lie in bed and stretch for a few minutes. I like to flip my legs up the wall and get the blood circulating by doing some flex exercises. I usually feel pretty good, although a bit of catch-up on sleep or a vacation would be very welcome. In the morning, I love listening to mantras or chanting. Deva Premal is my go-to. Her voice is amazing and although I have a horrible voice, I sing along. The vibrations that run through your body are energising and get the oxygen and energy flowing. I do this, especially on the road, to feel ready to take on the morning.