Welcome to our new series, Clean Faces, where we'll dive into clean beauty with the women who are paving the way. We'll give you a peek behind the curtain at each one our brands and get to know the founders - the books they're reading, where they're brunching and more. 

First up is Jessica Morelli, founder of Palermo Body

Why do you stand behind clean beauty?

I believe people have the right to know what's in the products they consume. Putting natural skincare on my body makes as much sense to me as eating natural food. I honestly couldn't tell you what a lot of the ingredients in conventional skincare do to benefit your skin. I can, however, offer information about natural ingredients and how they've been used for centuries to heal and protect your skin and body. This is where I feel I can truly make an impact on the skincare industry and in the individual lives of our customers.

What is your approach to sourcing ingredients? Are there certain credentials or requirements that you look for?

When it comes to sourcing our ingredients, I really try to focus on sustainability first and foremost, both in environmental factors and price point for our customers. Because of this, I like to get our ingredients from suppliers who share our same values and beliefs as we do as a brand. Brooklyn Roasting Company is a great example of this, we use their fair-trade organic coffee in our Coffee Scrub. I work with people who are transparent and knowledgeable about the product they're selling. I also like to purchase organic whenever possible, and in order to keep our prices affordable, I work really hard to choose which ingredients really need to be organic and where they'll make the most impact. For any ingredients that are not certified organic, I take into consideration where they're being grown and if the farmers have organic practices even without having the certificate required to be labeled as organic. Additionally, we consider the process the ingredient went through in order to get to the final product. Such as the difference between a dried flower/herb and cold-pressed oils. For example, our dried herbs are all organic since the whole plant material is coming in contact with your skin. Also, all of our CO2 extracts are organic because they retain a higher percentage of plant material in comparison to the cold-process extraction method.

Your facial serum contains CO2 extracts. Can you explain what that means?

The main difference between CO2 rosehip and cold-pressed rosehip oil is the extraction method. CO2 extracts are produced by using CO2 gas under high pressure resulting in a product that has been found to retain more of the lipophilic components of plants. In other words, more of the plant’s nutrients are preserved during the extraction process. Another benefit—CO2 extracts have a longer shelf life than your typical oil and can help to preserve other less stable oils in a formula. In our Regenerative Facial Serum, we’ve opted to use Rosehip CO2 (instead of your typical cold-pressed rosehip oil) as the main ingredient. Which is supported by 13 complementary ingredients (including 3 additional CO2s) that are deeply penetrating, youth-preserving and contribute to cell regeneration and elasticity in the skin. CO2 extracts can be quite a bit more pricey than cold-pressed oils so using them on delicate facial skin is the best use of these precious extracts.

How long does it take you to develop and formulate a product?

Each product is different. Some come so easily and others take dozens of formula variations. I've been working on a few for years that are still unreleased. Of course, having time factors into this as well. It's become increasingly difficult for me to step away from running the business operations to formulate, but as they say, it's a good problem to have. As we continue to grow, I look forward to expanding our team to manage more of the day to day and allow me the space to work on development. That said, I'm incredibly happy with our existing product line and feel we have a great array of products for our customer's needs without needing to release a new product every few months. Our mission is based on purposeful products so I like to create when I feel there is a genuine need rather than making more products for the sake of more.

Have you read any good books lately?

  • Fiction - Where The Crawdads Sing - by Delia Owens / I love how the author portrays her protagonist, a young woman forced to be fiercely independent and while being completely surrounded and in love with nature.
  • Non-fiction - Stress Less Accomplish More - by Emily Fletcher / She demystifies meditation and offers an approachable method to follow. Meditation has been the single most beneficial thing I can do for myself daily. That doesn't mean I get to it every day but when I practice regularly the impact is undeniable. I'm working on making it a non-negotiable part of my day.

How do you unwind?

I love a good Netflix binge. I often won't watch a show now until I can sit and watch it for hours. There's something so enjoyable in being swept away by a great story and performances. 

Favorite brunch spot in BK?

Egg on N. 3rd St. between Berry and Wythe. So simple, always great. They stick to what they do best and I love them for it.