A Sustainable Getaway to Maine With FāTH Skincare
We talk to Faith Appleton, Founder of FāTH Skincare, who beautifully describes her Columbus Day weekend plans and her family’s deep connection with Maine. Much of this connection has inspired Faith to create FāTH Skincare, combining her love for nature and the powerful natural ingredients found on ‘the island’, their ancestral retreat located in Maine’s Acadia National Park.
“The island is a deeply personal retreat, a property I rarely talk about publicly and share quietly with my loved ones. Knowing how much Cora and I have in common with our deep affinity to the environment, Maine, and all things sustainable for our planet, it is easy to open up and share a glimpse.”
Can you tell us where you are traveling to this upcoming Holiday weekend?
Columbus Day Weekend, the trusted friend that arrives as a gentle last call on summer. The weekend always eases in with a gentle hug like a cashmere sweater on a crisp fall night. For my family and me, Columbus Day weekend is always spent “on island” in Maine, where we close out the season. A cherished time and routine for my family, Columbus Day Weekend is the mile marker in the year that gently reminds my soul it is time to prep for winter hibernation. This year, with my kids getting older and busier with their academics and athletics, we will make the quick trek, as always, to put the island to bed.
Can you tell us a bit about the sustainability side of things at the island?
Island life is for a rare breed. My friend and neighbor on their island next door always likes to quote, “if ever you have slept on an island, you will never be the same,” and I know this to be true. Rising with the sun, setting with the sun, and adapting to the rhythmic tides of the ocean recalibrate your body, soul, and mind. If ever I need to ground, I retreat to the island and sit on the rocks until I have recharged. The island is a deeply personal retreat, a property I rarely talk about publicly and share quietly with my loved ones. Knowing how much Cora and I have in common with our deep affinity to the environment, Maine, and all things sustainable for our planet, it is easy to open up and share a glimpse.
The island is an incredibly magical sanctuary located in Acadia National Park. It has been in my family for decades. My Grandfather would retreat here to write many books. Despite our ability to integrate more modern-day amenities, we have chosen to keep the island off-grid, living as rustic and authentic to its original artist’s retreat as possible. First, the key to island living is sustaining. We love our luxury amenities and we are highly selective and minimal in what we use. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are not fashionable words when you live on an island; they are a necessity and a way of life. We sustain with propane appliances only for cooking, cooling, and coffee, of course. We’re not uncivilized. We have two homes on the island, both with proper water wells. We read by kerosene lamps and candlelight and warm by the fire and hot water bottles. We have generators to power the necessities but keep them far from view. I guess one could say we are choosing to live in Little House on the Prairie but in the middle of the ocean. We are an Island in all of its glory.
How important is the connection to nature on the island?
On island, there is only nature. I can wake in the night and tell you the time by the moon’s position. Similarly, my body regulates by the gravity-pulled tides. On island, we don’t call it a retreat or meditation; it is simply a way of life. I am absorbed by my surroundings, and my surroundings accept me. As such, it is not uncommon for an eagle to land close by on a rock to have a look at me. It is a regular occurrence for my morning seal to come to play waterside during coffee hour. Summer after summer, for my saltwater practice (long before cold water therapy became a fad), the longer we stay in the season, the closer the porpoises will come to me. One summer, they became so used to me floating in the water that they swam just yards from me. I could hear their clicking in the water, and I surrendered to their language, knowing that they were speaking to me in a universal language that I accepted. It is a deep privilege to take part in this unique life, one that informs all of my being.
What is your connection to Maine and why is it a place you keep returning to?
Maine is my true north. It is the thinnest veil to where universal knowledge lives, and I return to it time and again to recalibrate, muse on all that matters, and reconnect myself to my higher purpose. It’s so integral to who I am and was a major inspiration for FāTH, that it has become a brand pillar, something we call “Meeting your Mage.” It’s also the name of our best selling botanical recovery treatment, The Mage Oil, that sensorially transports me back to Maine with each use.
How has your time in Maine influenced your beautiful new skincare line, FāTH?
There is a truly funny story about my graduation party from college, where I hosted many of my friends for several days of rest on island. The story has sorted details of the days of freedom from academic life where I pulled, chopped and blended seaweed masks, lathering them all over their faces. It was the original “fruit and facial” and my friends were such good sports about it all. Thank goodness this was before social media. I had forgotten until we launched the line that one of my oldest friends used to call me face as a child. I guess I have always been skin product obsessed since I was a kid, and the island was my original laboratory.
Deeper than that, the island instilled in me a love of nature, and the opportunity to observe the power of natural ingredients. Living on an island months out of the year provides great space and time for quiet contemplation. The island has historically been where I have retreated with textbooks and resource manuals to study. When my kids were younger, and we would stay on island for months, I would make many of their creams which were powerful, potent, and much easier than boarding the boat for the mainland with three babies. All of this has been inspiration for my formulations like The Infinity Cream and Rose Nectar.
“First, the key to island living is sustaining. We love our luxury amenities and we are highly selective and minimal in what we use. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are not fashionable words when you live on an island; they are a necessity and a way of life.”
Any tips for us about sustainable travel?
Of course! First, we have a running challenge in our house on who gets through the year with the fewest (or none at all) plastic water bottles. Traveling is always the hardest, and so we plan ahead. NO SINGLE-USE PLASTICS. EVER. NO EXCUSES. It requires planning and thoughtful consideration and is totally doable whether traveling by bike, car, boat, train, or airplane. Plan ahead.
We travel light, especially when going to the island. Going from our home, to the car, car to dock, dock to boat, boat to island, then up to the house gives you a new appreciation for packing light.
I am never without a sleeping bag throw, cashmere slippers, and sweater. I am obsessed with my Leap Concept Grey Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater.
And of course my Perfect Nomad Sweet Serenity Dress is ideal reading and lounging on long beach days.
Island attire is always chill, sustainable, and not without vibe. I pretty much recycle my favorite jeans multiple days in a row. E.L.V. is my current girl crush: Black/Dark Blue Contrast Flare Jean. My kids like to say that this is my island uniform.
Any other places you would recommend stopping in Maine that have a good ethos at heart?
Maine has so many jewels. Among my favorites is the Thuya Garden in Northeast Harbor, which I visit yearly to study. Their moss-lined paths are future dream state for our island living and always inspire. The dining table tucked down into the wine cellar at The White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport is a family favorite. Last, there is always something remarkable about a canoe trip down the Allagash. Early season or post-first frost to reduce mosquito exposure is the key.
What FāTH products are you packing to take for the weekend?
I’m never without my Travel Essentials Kit. It’s a perfect sized, luxe vegan clutch that can double as a handbag when we head to town for ice cream. Inside are convenient travel sizes of the Resurfacing Botanical Cleanser, The Rose Nectar, The Collagen Serum, The Mage Oil, and The Infinity Cream. Post boating (with lots of sunscreen), I like to double cleanse, so I will bring my Botanical Cleanser as well.
My morning routine is like clockwork. I rise with the sun, long before my kids. I grab my sleeping bag blanket and sneak out front. First light is where all the action is as the animals are out hunting. I put the pot on the stove, press my coffee, then add the Onda Wellness Content Mint. I just discovered it, not only is it a calming way to start the morning, proceeds also go to support regenerative farming. I will sit out front on the rocks for hours observing. After, I sneak up to our studio platform in the woods for a virtual pilates class with Erika Bloom, or a Class with Taryn Toomey on my iPad. Post Savasana, I lather on my Botanical Cleanser for a refreshing morning cleanse. I retreat to the water for my cold water session, a time to purge. Non Toxic to the highest standard, I rinse face down for my final cleanse. Post water, I use my Rose Nectar and allow my face to absorb all of its goodness. I let it absorb and then apply a generous amount of The Collagen Serum, followed by The Mage Oil. Salt water and air can feel drying so I like an extra layer of moisture.
Around this time, my kids are up and ready for popovers or blueberry pancakes on the rocks. From there it is a round robin of hiking, reading, backgammon (always backgammon), and some water fun be it paddle boarding, boating or kayaking. Our days are long and full with nature.
As nightfall arrives, I retreat to our outdoor shower, where I use the full travel lineup to refresh and replenish my skin from an active day outdoors on the water. In the evening, I double cleanse with the Botanical Cream Cleanser first to remove any excess makeup. (Even the birds love a pretty face) Next, the Resurfacing Botanical Cleanser to dig a bit deeper and remove any excess sunscreen, followed by The Rose Nectar. I let the nectar absorb naturally and then apply The Collagen Serum, followed by The Mage Oil, and blanketed with The Infinity Cream. I spent a long time on the final scenting of The Infinity Cream. It is deeply complicated, spiritual, and meditative. I always finish my day with it, signaling my nervous system to rest.
What are your top four picks from Rêve En Vert you will be packing for a Fall trip?
My bag is always the same: Skincare, jeans and cashmere, and a dress. There are many pictures of my Grandfather having guests out for lunch with the woman in their white floor-length gowns. I always pack a dress like this one from LOUP CHARMANT MAGELLEN DRESS The island has always been about our rustic luxury since I was a child and the organic Magellen dress embodies it perfectly.
In my weekend bag, you will find my pilates clothes, the Seela Geneva is my current favorite and I never leave without a great book. Currently, I am reading my friend Libby Delana’s book, “Do Walk.” If you haven’t read it, Do Walk – Navigate Earth, Mind and Body, I highly recommend you pick it up.
Words from Faith Appleton @appletongist