The Skincare Brand Founder Who Masks All Day

The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

“Hi! I'm Fran Miller (@fran__miller)—you may remember me from my Top Shelf After Dark a few years ago. I live in Toronto, and I'm the founder of F. Miller, an organic line of multi-purpose skincare essentials. I think it's easy to be overwhelmed by how saturated the beauty industry is, the volume of products marketed to us, and the often problematic messaging that comes along with that. So I try to focus on quality and purpose, and pare everything else back—seeing how transformative relatively simple ingredients can be reinforces that ‘less is more’ approach. My job generally requires me to wear many hats, and my day-to-day might include research and development, product formulation, growth and strategy, creative direction, and social media. I'm grateful to spend my days working with beautiful things and healing ingredients, and I love that I get to share them with others.

Working from home allows me to skip makeup and start the day with a super hydrating skincare routine. I don't wash my face in the morning, and instead use this cleansing toner by Zizia Botanicals to remove any excess oil. It's super herbaceous and perfectly astringent without feeling drying. One to three times a week I’ll do a mask that I leave on while I do my morning things, and I alternate between a few. I really love mixing Activist Manuka Honey with a bit of white clay when my skin is feeling dry, reactive, and in need of nourishment. After masking with this combo regularly, my skin feels smooth and hydrated. When I need something a bit more intense, I turn to Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, which I mix with apple cider vinegar. I love this once every couple of weeks to deeply purify and draw out any congestion—it pulls everything out of my pores like nothing else. My face is a little red afterwards, but there’s never anybody around to see it.

I'm lazy with my P50 and only use it a few times a week, but pretty much always notice brightness and clarity the day after I do. On the other hand, I am consistent with my serums. I started using Klur's Stellar Restoration serum last year and love how gentle and multi-corrective it is. It's a retinol, but I haven’t experienced the redness and dryness commonly associated with many retinols. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic has definitely helped brighten and repair pigmentation, and I don’t mind the weird smell. And then I’ll use Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30. I love the lightweight hydration and protection it provides with zero white cast, but I’m still not sure if it’s my perfect SPF.

When I do put on makeup, I start with a creamy concealer that I apply under my eyes and on any areas of redness. RMS Un Cover-Up in 00 is my go-to, and I also love the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation used as a concealer—I have yet to find a true liquid concealer that feels as weightless and hydrating, and gives me the perfect amount of natural coverage. In winter I'll sometimes mix a drop of Face Oil into it for an extra glow. Then I use the Terrazzo bronzer by Make, Ilia Illuminator in Polka Dots & Moonbeams, and Noto Botanics' Multi-Benne stick in Ono Ono on my cheeks and eyelids. Last year I discovered BrowFood, which is kind of like a mascara for your brows. I use the Dark Brown shade to fill them in and fix hairs into place. For mascara, I like W3ll People's Expressionist mascara in Brown and Kjaer Weis' Lengthening mascara. If I want to do something that feels more special, I'll add a smudgier eye with the Chanel Stylo Ombre pencil in Electric Brown and a red lip—my favorite matte orangey-red is Nars Heat Wave.

Then I get dressed, or at least change out of pajamas. I like to have my daily task list planned out the night before so I don’t have to waste time in the morning and can get right to work. Creating a structured schedule and sticking to it is key for time management and productivity. If you’re prone to distraction like I am, avoid working anywhere too communal or near the kitchen where cute dogs and snacks live. Another thing that helps me focus is scent. Sigil has a beautiful line of gender-neutral fragrances—I like to spritz a bit of Prima Materia on my wrists for a subtle float of woodsy citrus while working at the computer. And I’ve been burning Bodha incense sticks, specifically Ground and Purify, throughout the day. They're smokeless, so I don’t have to worry about them as they burn.

I keep a bottle of F. Miller Eye Oil in the fridge for when 4PM fatigue sets in. It has cucumber and green coffee to depuff and a stainless steel roller ball—the coolness wakes my eyes up instantly. Sometimes I put it on double duty to moisturize my dry cuticles too. There's an F. Miller Lip Balm in every corner of my home, which is almost like a light lip mask. It lasts for hours. And I keep our Toning Mist deskside and spray it throughout the day. It's a super hydrating blend of rose, calendula, aloe, and green tea that instantly refreshes my skin when I’ve been sitting in dry heat or A/C. I also take breaks! I like to go for short walks, do 10 minutes of stretching, water the plants, and enjoy a tea somewhere other than my desk. If I didn’t do a mask in the morning, maybe I’ll do one midday.

I’ll cook something nourishing and delicious for dinner, like a cozy white bean stew with vegetables or seafood, or a big pot of bone broth bulked up with whatever I have on hand: miso, cabbage, broccoli, greens, mushrooms, konjac noodles, brown rice, and maybe a jammy egg. I aim to put all devices away a couple hours before bed, and my partner and I will often read aloud to each other over tea on the couch. We’re currently rotating between Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino, Severance by Ling Ma, and Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón. Reading short stories or poetry in the evening is my favorite way to wind down.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author

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