We showed up in Brooklyn to shoot Gilah and were welcomed with the biggest smile we’ve seen in a long time. That smile obviously transfers beautifully to a photo. Gilah is a co-founder of Muri Lelu, a premium cannabis skincare company that we love. We chatted all things beauty, and of course Muri Lelu, in hopes that some of her glow would rub off on us.
What is your morning beauty routine?
I am not great at being a morning person, but since co-founding a business, carving out some brain space for myself in the am has been really important.
I start the day reading the news in bed, while my partner simultaneously plays NPR on the speakers. It’s a bit of a skill to absorb both at the same time, but somehow I think we’ve become quite good at it. We always do the NYT mini-crossword together before finally getting up. Then I make the bed and we do a 15 minute ab workout or stretching together.
Then – coffee. Lots of coffee. If I have time, I’ll read a few pages of whatever book(s) I’m reading. I take a warm shower and cleanse my face with Aesop’s Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser.
If I do my hair, I’ll run conditioner through and detangle. I use Shea Moisture or the Davines LOVE conditioner, which my longtime hairstylist Illeisha Lussiano of The Way put me on to. As soon as I get out of the shower I wrap my hair in a thin cotton tee to dry.
I pat my cheeks dry and apply a generous dropper-full of our Muri Lelu Bloomrise Sativa Serum. First, I warm it up in my hands, bring them to my face, and take a few deep breaths. Our products are made with full flower cannabis sativa extract and infused with cannabis aromatherapy too — our morning Sativa blend is citrusy and invigorating. I press it into my skin while the milky formula sinks in and soothes me.
It’s also a perfecting primer, so from there I’ll do sunscreen (EltaMD is a longtime love) and go into makeup if I feel like it. I use the Merit Beauty Minimalist Cream, Kosas Air Brow Tinted Gel and Big Clean Mascara, and Madame Gabriela lipstick. Lately I’ve been obsessed with the gorgeous manuka-honey infused Madame Gabriela Beauty. I’m almost done with my Sydney at 8am shade.
Last step is taking my hair down and applying Cantu Coconut Curling Cream from the roots to the ends. I put extra on my driest parts and shape my curls. It sounds like a lot… and it probably is! But then I’m finally ready to start my day.
What products do you use throughout the day and why?
I keep it low-key throughout the day and reapply lipstick if I need to. I suffer from cycle-related mood swings, so something I’ve also been doing is taking Xula’s Mhmm! Tincture to help stabilize me. The brand is a Latinx and Black woman-owned business based in Mexico City. I love everything they’re doing.
What is your evening beauty routine?
I try to exercise right after work. I weight lift, or do a class like HIIT, Boxing or Yoga. I find it gives my brain “permission” to unplug from the daily grind.
Right before bed, I cleanse and pull back my hair with the SIDIA Cloud Nine headband… it’s so cozy! I apply our Muri Lelu Mauvaise Herbe Indica Oil. The name literally means “weed” in French, and our aromatherapy blend pays tribute to that. It’s spicy, peppery and herbaceous — I use 3 or 4 drops, warm it in my hands, and then take very deep breaths. Inhaling it activates my parasympathetic nervous system and soothes me after a long day. I apple with about 3 seconds of massage, and dab on a extra in areas that I have hyperpigmentation or active hormonal acne.
Then, some water, my Muji diffuser, Gossamer Dusk and playlists! On the best nights, I fall asleep to Sade.
What is your definition of beauty?
This has changed a lot for me over the years. As someone who has many different intersectional sides to who they are, I’ve come to think of beauty as the true recognition of all those amazing things converging within us. Being able to see and celebrate all sides of who you are is a really beautiful and affirming thing.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Dancing. By myself, with friends, with my partner. All dressed up, or in my PJs. It always makes me feel really joyful and radiant.
What is the origin story of your skincare brand, Muri Lelu? What negative space did you want to fill in the beauty world and why?
Simple: we wanted to bottle the lush complexity of cannabis. When we started the brand, we couldn’t find a luxury, clean skincare brand that actually celebrated the plant while also engaging in discourse around its cultural significance and its complicated and stigmatized political reality. So, we decided to make one.
As women who have used the plant throughout our lives in various ways, we just want to make the plant and all of its magic central (and real) in the beauty conversation.
Tell us why whole flower cannabis sativa is so great for skincare and why you decided to make it the star performer for Muri Lelu?
This is one of the most common questions we get: Why cannabis? Because it works.
Cannabis is amazing for our skin! It’s one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, making it top notch at neutralizing free radical damage and protecting against environmental pollution. It’s super hydrating and soothing, which is great for people (like myself) who suffer from acne and breakouts. And, most importantly, it is a powerhouse anti-inflammatory. It can reduce everyday redness and dryness, but also treat the chronic inflammation that causes premature aging.
It’s a true all-in-one ingredient, which is why we’ve made it so simple: two daily steps.
And no, you won’t get high ;)