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A veteran magazine beauty editor/writer (and a member of the 40+ club), Genevieve Monsma created MediumBlonde to help Gen Xers and Baby Boomers age the way they want.

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What Works: Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis, Founders of Well Within

What Works: Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis, Founders of Well Within

One benefit of working in the beauty industry for so many years is that I've encountered dozens of smart, savvy professionals (beauty company CEOs, product development VPs, power publicists, colorists, stylists, makeup artists, etc.) who've tried thousands of products and treatments, and, thus, have uber-informed beauty regimens. I've certainly swiped tips and recs from them—and now so can you. As part of a regular series, I’ll be asking inspiring, in-the-know women (all 40+, of course) to share their best tips and favorite products. The point? As always, to find out what works.

Today's beauty insiders: Lynne Florio, 63, and Renee Tavoularis, 50, founders of Well Within Planted in Beauty

 Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis, Founders of Well Within Beauty ((Photo by Ana Gambuto)

Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis, Founders of Well Within Beauty ((Photo by Ana Gambuto)

Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis met at La Prairie, where they both worked for more than two decades, Lynne as Global Brand President and Renee in marketing, finance and operations. Their lives as beauty execs were rewarding, exciting—and stressful. So, when Lynne left the company almost a year and a half ago, she and Renee (who’d already left La Prairie and earned her certification as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition) began to hatch an idea for their next act. “We were mulling over how we wanted to spend the rest of our lives,” says Lynne. “We both wanted to be less-stressed and healthier, and we were looking for cleaner beauty options. There are a number of natural lines out there, but many are lacking in credibility.  So, we decided to create our own.”

Well Within Planted in Beauty includes seven products made with chemical-free, plant-based ingredients (learn more about their sustainability efforts here): a makeup remover, a cleanser, an exfoliator, a toning lotion, a firming/smoothing/brightening serum, an eye cream and moisturizer spiked with antioxidants. I’ve personally tried the cleanser and the toning lotion and found them effective and gentle. The packaging is also chic, indicative of the years Lynne and Renee spent at a luxury brand. While many natural skincare lines look utilitarian, Well Within is quite posh. The line also positions itself as a means to healthy, glowing skin; Lynne and Renee are not selling youth. “We spent a lot of years in an industry that uses the words anti-aging. But we wanted to be in another place, where we embrace age. Why fight something that's inevitable?” Lynne explains.

In addition to embracing aging (and using their own line of clean skincare products), what else do Lynne and Renee do to look and feel their best? Here, in their words, what works:

Try meatless Mondays (and Tuesdays and Wednesdays…) “I embarked on a vegan diet about two years ago. I’m a firm believer that food can change everything. Following a plant-based diet really improved my gut health. It alleviated digestive issues I thought I was going to have for the rest of my life. I joked for years that I just had a nervous stomach. But now those issues are gone. It’s amazing how the gut can impact your health, your energy level, even the way your skin looks.” —Renee

Start cooking “Most of my family's meals are home-cooked. We rarely order in or go out. After I left LaPrairie, I spent two months at my childhood home in Montauk. I disconnected from the city and reconnected with my family. That’s when I first dove into plant-based nutrition and started transitioning my pantry. My daughter and I would try two new vegan recipes a day. We learned a lot. But when we came back to the city, it was harder to sustain. So, now we have fifteen good recipes that we rotate. We try new ones when we have more time in the kitchen. And my husband has changed his diet too; because of our new plant-based diet he has been able to reverse some serious heart issues. One of our family favorites is tomatoes stuffed with brown rice, raisins, pine nuts and fresh dill.” —Renee

(Note: Here are some other Renee and Lynne-approved vegan recipes.)

Can't go totally meatless? Compromise “When I was the president of La Prairie, my job was very high-stress. I wasn’t home a lot. I struggled with my weight. And I was a caffeine addict; sometimes I would have as many as nine coffees or Diet Cokes throughout the day. But when I left the company, I was inspired by Renee and started a plant-based diet as well. The transition, however, wasn’t always seamless. I am Italian, I love cooking and entertaining, and my husband and son expect meat on the table for dinner. So, I became vegan by day and what I call flexitarian by night. Still, this change to my diet enabled me to lose 25 pounds.” —Lynne

 Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis (Photo by Ana Gambuto)

Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis (Photo by Ana Gambuto)

Try a natural deodorant. But be patient “As I've committed to clean living and clean products, I was determined to finding a natural deodorant that wouldn’t compromise my health or my [teenage] daughter’s health—and that works. Together, we experimented with thirty natural brands and finally found one we like: Schmidt's Naturals. My favorite scent is the Lavender + Sage. It’s important to note that a natural deodorant does not work right away; there is a transition period of a week or two as your body detoxes and adapts.” —Renee

Embrace SPF. It’s never too late “I’m a sun lover. I ruined my skin all through my teens, twenties, even thirties. We used to rent a house on Fire Island and spend the whole summer on the beach. I loved going out in the sun. At this point in my life, I’ve finally reformed. It’s never too late. We will eventually develop our own natural sun protection product for Well Within Beauty, but right now I am using Farmacy Green Screen SPF 30.” —Lynne

Just breathe “I really believe in the power of breathing. We have an article on our blog right now on different types of breathing. Simple abdominal breath is so important; it clears your thoughts and resets your focus.” —Renee

Abide by the 80/20 rule “Although we are committed to clean living and creating clean beauty products, we're also realists and try to follow what we call the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of the time we follow the healthy road and 20 percent of the time, you do what you need to do. My 20 percent is coloring my hair. There are obviously chemicals in haircolor, but I’m not giving that up. I also try to use less makeup, which is easier now that my diet is better and I use good skin products—my skin has a healthier glow, naturally. But when I do use makeup, I experiment with lines that have minimal chemicals like Vapour Organic Beauty, RMS Beauty and Tarte. And we will, eventually, develop our own makeup for Well Within.” —Renee

Get better with age. It is possible “I'm approaching 51 and I feel better now than I did in my twenties or thirties. I recently did some decluttering at home and found blood work from 15 years ago. My levels are considerably healthier now.” —Renee

Don’t forget your sunglasses “Eyes age five to ten times faster than the rest of your face. Good skincare and sunscreen helps, obviously, but wearing sunglasses is also important because they block UV rays and keep you from squinting. I wear them even on cloudy days.” —Lynne

Do an inversion right before bedtime “Before I climb into bed, I do some kind of yoga inversion pose to get blood flowing to my head and face. I think it eases tension and makes for more restful sleep.” —Renee

(Note: Yoga inversion poses include down dog, a head stand, or a supported shoulder stand. Here is a link to some beginner inversion poses.] 

Act the age you feel; not the one you are “Age is a state of mind. I thought I’d feel much older than I do right now. Sometimes I'm shocked that I'm 63. But I had children later in life—they are only teenagers now—and that has kept me young at heart. My mother said she never felt older than 38, and she was that age in her mind until the day she died.” —Lynne

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