Nina Zilka's Products - Shannon Comstock

#MyCleanBeautyShelf: Peek Inside the Morning Routine of Nina Zilka, Co-Founder and CEO of Alder New York

5 min read

Alder New York is a genderless skincare and haircare line based in NYC. The brand’s founders, Nina Zilka and David J. Krause, are longtime best friends that have worked in the beauty and design industry together for more than a decade. They both wanted smarter personal care products—legitimately clean products that were as sleek as they were effective. So, they created their own. Everything Alder New York makes is vegan, cruelty free, and ethically made, making it a line that’s accessible and one that looks classy on your vanity. Let’s get a peek inside Nina’s #MyCleanBeautyShelf.

My beauty philosophy is…

To listen to my body—meaning noticing when I’ve had too many days in a row where I drink alcohol, eat french fries, haven’t exercised—and embrace my “imperfections” like my big, curly hair, because they’re actually often what makes a person striking.

First thing in the morning, I…

Pet both cats that have fallen asleep on top of or right next to me and—I’m working on curbing this habit—reach for my phone to check emails.

My morning skincare routine includes…

Alder New York’s Everyday Skincare! We created this system to make looking good super quick and easy because I personally don’t have a ton of time or interest in making my daily routine longer than 10 minutes. I’m a night showerer and wash my face then, so in the morning I don’t wash again, and simply apply our Everyday Face Serum (it’s got vitamin B3, hyaluronic acid, and willow bark and rosemary extract to even my skin tone and plump it up), and our vitamin C&E Everyday Face Moisturizer to fight free radical damage that I get walking around NYC.

My morning haircare routine includes…

Almost nothing if it’s dry from the night before. I’ve got curly hair, so if it’s dry, I’m not brushing it—I’ll just put a bit of Alder New York’s Texture Powder in the roots to absorb any oil and give it some volume, and sometimes I’ll use a curling iron to redefine any curls that have gotten frizzy rubbing against my pillow during the night. Every few days I’ll wash it in the morning (not my preferred shower time, but it’s not gonna work to sleep on my hair wet) with Acure Organics Mega Moisture shampoo and conditioner and let it air dry. I currently use DevaCurl B’leave-In and Wave Maker to define the curls, but it isn’t as clean a product as I’d like so I’m on the hunt right now for some good, silicone-free curly hair products.

My morning makeup routine includes…

If it’s just a typical work-day, a light layer of Alder New York’s Fortifying Face Oil to create a smoothing/blending layer, then Kevin Aucoin concealer under my eyes and on my nose and a dab of Menasi7 All Over Colour (thank to the Indie Shelf in Philadelphia for turning me on to them) to add color to my cheeks.

In terms of skincare I am a stickler for clean ingredients, but I’m a bit less intense with my makeup, because I’ve found it harder to find high performing clean makeup. I figure I wear it less frequently than my skincare products, so it’s a little less damaging… but still, I would like to start switching out my less clean products. Right now, if I’m doing an event where I want more of a look, I do the face oil, then Juice Beauty foundation (which is clean and high performing!), and I love a sparkly eye- I like MAC’s color pallet in warm gold, and then I use Chanel eyeliner in a chocolaty brown to rim my eyes. No matter what, I like a strong brow, and right now I’m using YSL’s eyebrow pallet and Bobbie Brown’s brow shaper in Brunette. I’m currently using Benefit mascara—and I use that every day.

For either look, I tend to finish it off with a light brush of Bare Minerals SPF 25 Mineral Veil, and if it’s very sunny out, I’ll put on some Supergoop 100% Mineral Matte Screen post face oil, pre everything else. For lips, I swear by Burt’s Bee’s tinted lip balms because they’re very subtle and gives just the perfect amount of color—I personally love the Rose color.

My favorite beauty tip

I’ve gotten really into facial massage using a facial roller this year and I love it! It’s been huge in terms of releasing facial tension I’ve always sort of lived with, especially around my forehead and jaw. Now I usually massage my face with it while my husband and I watch Succession or whatever show we’re hooked on that night. We make a Black Obsidian one which looks very chic sitting on my coffee table, so that’s an added home decor bonus.

What’s your desert island/can’t-live-without beauty product?

Alder New York’s Everyday Face Cleanser. It’s a low-dose glycolic acid cleanser with sea botanicals to boost collagen, and it just leaves my skin so soft and smooth. We make a travel size that lives full time in my suitcase so I never forget it and panic.

Want more beauty tips? Follow all things beauty and get more tricks from our #MyCleanBeautyShelf.

About The Author

The WELL Team

The WELL Team

The WELL Team is dedicated to 360-degree view of wellness for the modern woman, with coverage of clean beauty, mindful living, fitness, recipes and more.



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