Cool Girl Baltimore: Drummer/Aesthetician Arika Casebolt Moves to a Beautiful Beat

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In a recent past life, aesthetician Arika Casebolt drummed in D.C. bands Circus Lupus (Dischord Records), Antimony, and the Whips, plus Baltimore’s Resistoleros and the Divining Rod. Still performing steadily in the early 2000s, the jade-eyed, porcelain-skinned Gen-X stunner trained her rhythm to beauty science, working at spas like Natural Body in Arlington, Virginia, and ultimately scoring her dream gig at Bluemercury on Dupont Circle. Three years later, a serious accident sent her home to Madison, Wisconsin, to recuperate quietly while managing a Clarins counter and copy-editing to make ends meet. We’re lucky she chose to bounce back in Baltimore, where she lives in Reservoir Hill with her journalist husband Bret McCabe and provides affordable holistic skincare at the Chop Shop in Hamilton. I talked to Arika about skincare in cooler months, and snagged nutrition advice for great skin year-round.

Where do you like to dine in town, and do you restrict what you eat in the name of beauty?

I like places with small plates — it’s fun to sample bits of things and share. TenTen in Harbor East is fabulous, and the bartenders are so good that I prefer eating at the bar there. I love 13.5 in Hampden, and Clementine (both locations!) has awesome service, creative dishes and this amazing homemade fizzy ginger drink that I love. Marie-Louise in Mount Vernon serves a lovely brunch, and my husband makes the best Mexican almond-milk mochas with Cassia cinnamon and Abuela’s Mexican chocolate! The best foods for the skin are loads of berries– particularly blueberries — dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, raw almonds, olive and nut oils, and salmon for Omega-3s. The Perricone Prescription by skin health and anti-aging guru Dr. Nicholas Perricone is a great resource for information about what’s best for your skin.

Oh, and when it comes to foods I avoid, I don’t have any hard and fast rules. I know that sugar is not the best for the skin or any other organs, but if I don’t have a soy or almond-milk mocha in the morning and the occasional ice cream cone, I’m just not happy! I do an occasional sugar detox, and my skin is happiest when I eat tons of oranges, so it’s become my daily habit.

What skincare truths should we keep in mind as the temp drops?

As the weather cools, the advice I give to my clients is to keep using sun protection. Just because it’s not swelteringly hot doesn’t mean the sun is no longer a concern; the worst damage you can possibly do to your skin is to tan. I am continually shocked by how many people still think it’s okay to expose their skin to the sun — it’s undeniably the primary culprit for premature skin-aging. It is imperative to apply a good sunblock an with SPF of at least 30, whether it’s in your moisturizer, foundation, BB cream or powder.

How can we best boost our skin in fall and winter?

Taking chewable zinc is a great, inexpensive way to boost skin’s environmental protection, too — it strengthens the capillary walls and can reduce irritation from free-radicals and other evil little epidermal interlopers that break down the skin’s cellular network. It’s also good to ramp up the exfoliation in cooler weather; I like alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids and retinoids, as they exfoliate more gently, evenly and effectively than granular scrubs, which can cause teeny tears in the skin’s surface and cause irritation. You can also switch to a slightly heavier moisturizer when the temperature dips. The bottom line: pay attention to what your skin seems to like and need.

How should we treat skin at bedtime?

Use active products mostly at night. Your skin does its best work while you sleep, and the best way to see results is to cleanse twice and then apply anti-aging products before bed (this practice also gives you the most value for your money — using active renewing goodies at night ensures efficacy and eliminates irritation that can result from overdoing aggressive ingredients). And consistency is key: give your active skin care potions a few weeks to allow your skin to acclimate, and it’s of utmost importance to stay on your regimen to see results.

How often should we get a pro facial from you? And why?

It’s a great idea to get a facial at least every three months. Every time the season changes, get a professional facial to re-calibrate your skin and help it to adjust to the change in weather. I love giving my clients the pampering Pumpkin Glycolic facial using local, vegan ReNew Organic Skin Care Pumpkin Exfoliant. At home, use a mild lactic- or glycolic-acid exfoliating moisturizer at least a few nights a week, or try a product with Retinol, a vitamin A-derived ingredient that increases cell turnover and reinforces the effects of a professional facial. I love serums and oils, too — right now I’m loving Nude ProGenius Treatment Oil with Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9. Nutritive, non-exfoliating oils and serums can be used day and night, and are incredibly soothing and smoothing under makeup or on their own.

For a pampering, renewing and restorative facial treatment, you can book an appointment with me on Fridays and Saturdays in my lair of luxury upstairs at the fabulous Chop Shop at 4321 Harford Road — (410) 426-2300.

Watch Baltimore Fishbowl for more helpful hints from the glamorous skin guru in weeks to come. In the meantime, visit her blog: BeautyforBeauty.

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