With a leopard print turban (from her favourite designer Norma Kamali) around her head, a black toga dress and a self-given name like ‘Madame Fox’, Alexis Rose of LILFOX could pass off as a mystical fortune teller instead of a maker of whimsical botanical beauty products. But Alexis has the chops to match her passion and love for brewing and blending luxurious face and body potions. As a certified aromatherapist and essential oil educator, she’s also currently pursuing a clinical aromatherapy certification.
In a sea of artisanal brands, LILFOX’s use of wildcrafted and organic plant essential oils, magical crystals, unrefined plant butters and mineral rich clays is expansive and admirable. It’s also proof that she’s committed to communicating each plant’s unique characteristics in her offerings. Furthermore, Alexis advocates for no animal testing of her formulations and bottles her entire collection in recyclable amethyst glass.
With all these acts of consciousness and affection for nature, we’re thrilled to follow Madame Fox deep into the forest that she calls her botanical apothecary.
“Where stress makes you vulnerable to illness, on the contrary, aromatherapy helps to strengthen your body’s immune system by stimulating chemicals in the brain that help fight off infection.”
From L-R: LILFOX’s Maracuja Youthful Vixen Face Nectar Essential Oil, Maracuja + Rose Youthful Vixen Face Nectar and Seabuck + Neroli Youthful Vixen Face Nectar
First off, we love the LILFOX brand — from the philosophies and aesthetic, to the ingredients used. How does formulating each one of your products begin?
I am usually walking my two dogs under the tropical palms and admiring the lush foliage of South Florida when I get an idea to work with a specific ingredient, or to have an underlying theme communicated with a new product. I then dream of what other delicious ingredients would go well with the focal ingredient and draft the formula. Then I experiment with many different versions until I find the perfect balance.
I also love working with fatty oils that have their own unique aromas, such as maracuja oil from Brazil. It has this sweet, fruity yet tart aroma that is really quite lovely on its own. When I first smelled maracuja oil and applied it to my skin, I saw how light and fast absorbing, yet nourishing it was. I instantly knew I wanted to feature that in the LILFOX collection.
For the Maracuja + Rose Youthful Vixen Face Nectar, I chose to blend essential oils with it that didn’t mask the smell, but instead elevated and magnified the fruity tart aromatics. I chose Bulgarian Rose absolute, sandalwood, grapefruit and frankincense. Not only does Rose absolute help cell regeneration for skin cells, but its aroma is not as concentrated and sweet as steam distilled Rose Otto. Rose absolute really makes the perfect pairing to marry with the maracuja’s tart aroma.
Whimsy trickles down to every aspect of LILFOX’s aesthetic, from the product names – like this Flower Ball Heart Chakra Body Polish – to the brand’s back story
What is it about aromatherapy that you love, and how exactly does it work to help one’s mind and well-being?
I am intrigued by the sensual nature of aromatherapy and how it can instantly elevate one’s mood. Aromatherapy not only helps to relieve stress but also boosts the immune system. When you inhale air that is infused with essential oils, it goes to the roof of your nose. Olfactory receptors in the nose then transport the information to the limbic system. The limbic system is where your emotions are processed.
One of the reasons why aromatherapy helps to relieve stress is that it stimulates the release of certain chemicals in the brain that can help you relax. Where stress makes you vulnerable to illness, on the contrary, aromatherapy helps to strengthen your body’s immune system by stimulating chemicals in the brain that help fight off infection.
Madame Fox in her Miami studio, or as she calls it, her “botanical apothecary”
You encourage your customers to “embrace self-love and quiet moments of reflection.” How do you practice this on a daily basis?
My evening bath ritual is my favourite time of the day. I love to play peaceful spa music, light candles, and use one of my two body polishes that also double as ultra-moisturising and enticingly aromatic bath soaks. I apply one, or a delicious mixture of my clay/botanical and honey face masks and disconnect, leaving my phone in another room.
What do you do when you feel stressed or sad?
When I am stressed out or sad, I usually like to take a walk with my dogs, enjoy nature, be outside and take in fresh air. If I am away from my dogs, then the LILFOX perfume concentrates are incredibly helpful to provide an instant pick-me-up. They fit in your purse and have a wide range of luxurious and soothing aromatics. They are helpful too especially when travelling.
Alexis stresses that every plant element is thoughtfully
selected before use
When it comes to clay products, we understand that the source of where the clay is obtained is an important factor in its quality. Is this true? What can you tell us about your favourite one?
Absolutely! One of my favourite clays to work with is white clay from the banks of the Amazon River. This mineral-rich white clay is gathered from the banks of the river in the beginning of the dry season after months of steeping in all of the leaves, fruits and seeds swept downriver from the rainforest. This earth clay has been used in Brazil for centuries as a stress relieving, detoxifying therapy. The clay is rich in iron, potassium, calcium, boron and sulphur. It is also dried by sunshine.
Tell us about your daily skincare routine.
In the morning, I love to leave the Jungle Glow Rainforest Honey Enzyme Cleanser + Mask on for a couple minutes while getting ready or when I am in the shower to let the steam activate the honey and oils, and prep my skin for the day. It is incredibly moisturising and skin plumping. Then I rinse it off and saturate my face with the Mystic Awakening Rosemary Toning Mist, and mix the Maracuja + Rose Youthful Vixen Face Nectar with my sunscreen before massaging it in; followed by spritzing on more toning mist.
At night, I love to mask in the tub with a combination of the clay masks and the Jungle Glow. Night time is the best time to apply the Prickly Pear Illuminating Tourmaline Infused Beauty Nectar. It has 85 per cent naturally occurring vitamin E, so it makes your skin feel like liquid silk. I can’t live without it.
Why is it important to you to source ingredients ethically, and how does this help our Earth?
We concentrate on working with organically farmed ingredients and wild harvested ingredients because we see the importance of supporting the local communities who are farming, harvesting and producing the ingredients. [All of] that is just as important as the quality of the ingredients, and eliminating harsh chemicals and pesticides from our products. This practice of working with organically farmed ingredients and wild ingredients leads to less pesticides and harmful chemicals in our soils and water sources, as well as empowering the local communities.
Tell us more about amethyst glass and why you chose to bottle your products in it.
It is a practice dating back to the ancient Egyptians. The violet glass filters out harmful UV rays and protects the biodiversity of the product. Since we do not work with synthetic preservatives manufactured in a lab, this glass is helpful in extending the shelf life of our precious formulas.
One last question we ask everyone we interview: what does conscious living and conscious beauty mean to you?
Being more thoughtful in all areas of your life. Really living thoughtfully through more conscious consumerism. Being mindful of where the products you purchase come from, and how the ingredients affect your skin.
“Working with organically farmed ingredients and wild harvested ingredients is just as important as the quality of the ingredients, [as well as] eliminating harsh chemicals and pesticides from our products.”
Each product is handcrafted and poured in micro-batches to ensure purity, potency and freshness
Images courtesy of LILFOX