We sat down with holistic nutritionist Bianca Valle to discuss her refreshingly simplified approach to self-care, the inherited beauty ritual of curling eyelashes (with a spoon!), and washing her face with honey. Read on below for wisdom and stories from Bianca.
What is your hometown and where do you live today?
I was born and raised in Coronado, California, and now I live in Chinatown in New York City.
Can you tell us a bit about your career path and how you became a certified nutritionist?
When I was in college, I interned at Nylon Magazine. When I graduated from NYU, I got a job at Milk Studios. After being there for a while, I got an email from the Beauty Director who I knew from my intern days. She said Bianca, I have an opening for Beauty Editor and would love for you to [take it]. So I just hopped on over to Nylon over the course of a weekend. I was there about 4 or 5 months before the magazine folded.
After getting laid off, I thought, I love beauty so much and I love self-care so much, that I don’t want this to be the end of my beauty career. But I want my work to be richer, to go deeper. I want my work to be a little more grounded, a little more accessible. Because a lot of beauty products that are talked about in magazines and sold online are quite expensive and are not very accessible.
I took a few months to reorient myself and figure out what could I do in wellness that is a little more accessible, a little more grounded, a little more rich. I came to the conclusion of working in food, and within food, being certified as a holistic nutritionist.
In a few words, how would you define your approach to beauty?
Less is More. I feel like women in general start off at a young age not being allowed to wear makeup, then playing with makeup, then makeup all of a sudden becomes their every day. I think we all go through periods in life where we do more makeup than not, where we accentuate different parts. But I would say my beauty routine for the last three years has really, truly been less is more. I put an oil on my face, SPF, some bronzer or blush, and curl my eyelashes, and put some eyebrow gel on, and that’s kind of that.
"Less is More...I have scaled back on everything in my existence. I’ve tried to keep everything less, more natural, and more mindful. "
Looking at your own roots in Mexico City, do you feel that they’ve informed your beauty philosophy?
Definitely. At least with what I have seen in my familiarity, in my culture, people are actually more focused on soul, on family, on art, and agriculture, and community - things of this nature versus their looks. It’s kind of already pre-established. At least in Mexico City, whenever I go, everyone is already so naturally beautiful, and they know that and feel that. It isn’t a part of the culture to add too much. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with that [tendency]. That can be fun and exciting to do. But in Mexico as a whole, I have felt that the focus for women is just elsewhere.
I think it comes and it goes, and wherever it is, it’s a beautiful thing. I think right now we are in an era of realness. I think everyone is a little more practical, maybe. They’re like, I want to wake up and not want to be in front of the mirror every day for 30 minutes doing my makeup. And I actually don’t have to.
"Not a day goes by – even in quarantine – that I don’t curl my eyelashes. I actually never curled my eyelashes with a spoon, which a lot of Mexican women do. I have very fond memories of my aunt curling her eyelashes with a spoon in her home in San Luis Potosí."
What is your favorite inherited beauty lesson?
My mom came from a different generation. When she was a young woman in her experimenting phase, it was the 80s, so she definitely went for the makeup and the hair, and just went all out. I think she enjoyed it, and it kind of stuck. And it’s not to say that it’s bad, but it’s also this old school mentality of, “If I want to look presentable, if I want to look done-up, if I want to look like I put in the effort, then I have to put makeup on.” From a young age, I was always the anti. If mom said put makeup on, I wouldn’t put makeup on. If she said don’t put makeup on, I would put makeup on.
On the days I would not put makeup on, she would say, “Well at least please curl your eyelashes!” Now, not a day goes by – even in quarantine – that I don’t curl my eyelashes. I actually never curled my eyelashes with a spoon, which a lot of Mexican women do. I have very fond memories of my aunt curling her eyelashes with a spoon in her home in San Luis Potosí.
Who is Your Beauty Icon?
I would have to say I have 4. Frida Kahlo (obviously), Mother Teresa, Edith Piaf, and my mother. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved these women. These strong, powerful leaders who didn’t take no for an answer and who did whatever their heart wanted.
Can you walk us through the highlights of your skincare routine?
Actually, like never before, I use no more than 4 products. I wash my face with honey. To moisturize, I put a rosehip oil on. Then I have a spot treatment just because I do get some blemishes – basically hormonal stuff. Right now I’m using Origins – it’s called Peace of Mind On the Spot Relief. Since I have a darker complexion, I do tend to hyperpigment. So I put on a Vitamin C. I actually use a Vitamin C in powder form [Vitamin C Booster by True Botanicals].
Using honey to wash your face sounds amazing – tell us more! How did you get into it?
You just massage it in there. You have to rinse it off a little more than your average facewash, but I love it. The reason why I do that is because in a beauty routine, aside from moisturizing, something that we do very often is wash our face. That is a big opportunity for chemicals to go down the sink, and in theory, into our water, and into our oceans. And honey is not a chemical. It’s the least chemical face wash that there is!
"I wash my face with honey... Something that we do very often is wash our face. That is a big opportunity for chemicals to go down the sink, and in theory, into our water, and into our oceans. And honey [is] the least chemical face wash that there is!"
What is your favorite beauty destination – spa, store, experience?
Maybe the reason why I can keep my skincare routine so simple, is because I do get regular facials. I go to this amazing spa on West Broadway in Soho, here in Manhattan, called Ever/Body. I get what’s called a Clear and Brilliant facial. This bad boy is quite expensive, but it’s incredibly worth it and it’s just once a month. In theory, we spend so much money on skincare, that I’d rather use my rosehip, use my honey, and then get this blast once a month. It’s almost like fraxel – it’s a laser facial. In primal, primitive terms, it just burns the first layer of your skin off. We love that!
Is there a new treatment or product that you’re curious about?
Maybe some sort of body treatment or lymphatic treatment, but I haven’t really been keeping up to date with beauty stuff. I have scaled back on everything in my existence. I’ve tried to keep everything less, more natural, and more mindful. I’m not really even exposing myself to the “next best thing.”
What is your favorite self-care or mindfulness ritual?
Just quiet time. Being quiet with myself and having alone time with myself. Journaling, and reflecting, and listening to podcasts.
What nutritional advice do you give for maintaining a healthy and clear complexion?
I say to keep coffee, sugar, and alcohol to a minimum for clear skin.
How do you stay active?
I love running. Usually I run about 3 miles a day, and then do calisthenics on my own at home.
What is your favorite fruit?
It’s always changing! If something is in season, all of a sudden it’s my favorite fruit.
What is your favorite escape in South America?