Ask the Expert | Marina Jardim

The clean cosmetics product developer and native Brazilian wants you to go inside your kitchen pantry and start moisturizing. Now.

Marina Jardim

When cosmetic product developer and entrepreneur Marina Jardim was a little girl in Brazil, she would spend her days at the beach, swimming, sailing and combing her hair with a special blend of oils and creams. “In Brazil, you will see every girl treating their hair immediately after coming out of the water. We have a lot of rituals that connect nature with your day-to-day,” she says of the grooming habit that was passed down by her mother.

Jardim, 34, who was born in the small beach town of Niterói, which is just across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, always had a deep connection to the environment. She was a member of Brazil’s Olympic selection sailing team before graduating from Gama Filho University with a degree in pharmaceuticals. She later moved to France and graduated from the University of Montpellier with a master’s in cosmetic engineering and product development. In 2018, after a job took her to the Netherlands, she launched her own clean beauty consulting company Tupi Beleza, which is named after an indigenous language spoken by tribes along the Brazilian coast and the Amazon River. Her goal was to help brands like Costa Brazil develop and deliver good products for consumers while respecting the environment. “My message has always been: efficacy, equality and sustainability,” she says.

Here, she discusses her favorite superfood ingredients—some of which lie at the heart of Costa Brazil’s product line—and more than a few Brazilian beauty traditions you’ll want to try at home. Luckily, you’re likely to find everything you need already in your kitchen pantry.

Marina Jardim sitting on a cliff.

Tell us more about this post-swim hair treatment. 

I never thought of it as a weird beauty routine! But, here [in the Netherlands], where nobody does it, everybody is like, "Hey, what are you doing? Why are you doing this? Should I do this?" 

So... should we all do this?

I’m just always looking for added protection and nourishment. I grew up mashing avocado and banana in my hair, too, like a mask. Remember: always use hydrating masks in dry hair with a little spray of water because it will absorb better. Sunshine also helps to work it into your hair. Leave it on for about 20, 25 minutes, and then shampoo all of it out. Sometimes, you will need two shampoos to wash out the banana, but it gives a lot of shine.

What should we be doing for skincare?

Use sand as a body exfoliator if you’re at the beach, and if you’re at home, mix sugar or ground coffee beans with honey and coconut oil for the body, face, everything! It makes a big mess but it’s really good. I do that once or twice a month; growing up, my mom used to call it “Cleaning Day” because we’d work on everything

Every December 31st, we’d take big family showers as a cleansing ritual for good luck. To replicate them, you’ll need arruda, which is a Brazilian sacred plant (every Brazilian healer has Rue in the yard), louro (a Mediterranean plant), and capim limao (lemongrass), all tied together, and two handfuls of coarse salt. Keep everything inside your shower stall while you take a hot shower and let the herbs get wet. You will start feeling the magic at this point. Finish with cold water and place the herbs on your shoulders and back; you can give yourself small gentle buffs with the herbs, too. After, take the salt and place it in your shoulders, and let the water take it away. 

Speaking of healing herbs and ancient ingredients, tell me about some of your favorite superfoods in Costa Brazil.

For me, it’s not just about the rich ingredients, but also the synergy between them that’s so nice. Take, for instance, kaya, cacay and breu, which form Costa Brazil’s Jungle Complex. Kaya is high in fatty acids and bioactive lipids; Cacay is rich in vitamin A, E and F, the latter of which is a combination of two essential fatty acids, as well as Omegas 3, 6 and 9; and Breu is a mystic oleoresin popularly used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. These three ingredients, while working in synergy, rebalance the lipo oil in our skin and hair; respect and improve the quality of the sebum leading to a healthier skin microbiota; protect and enhance the skin's moisture barrier; act as a powerful antioxidant and anti-ager; and touch your soul through aromatherapy, connecting you with the energy of the Amazon forest and reminding you of all your power.

Costa Brazil's Jungle Complex consists of Kaya, Cacay and Resina de Breu.

Is the connection between nature and beauty specific to you, or do you think it is ingrained in all Brazilian people?

I believe that in Brazil we are more connected with nature but also our ancestors. For example, when in the sun, especially at our summer festivals, we paint our faces with urucum (bixa orellana), which is a red fruit that indigenous people from Brazil use to color their skin in order to protect from the sun and insect bites. It’s rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoides, and is used in rituals for thanking the gods for harvest, fishing and the health of the tribe. It’s our way to connect and show thanks for the year and for life. At the same time, we are protecting our skin from ultraviolet waves and [mosquitos].

Fruit, in addition to plants, seem to be at the core of many of your formulations. What’s next for you?

Seaweeds! Red, blue, green seaweeds—there’s a lot of seaweeds with a lot of power.

Marina Jardim submerged in water.