Be Well

Kerrilynn Pamer of CAP Beauty on Wellness for Everyone

The co-founder curates a CAP Beauty starter pack and talks about high vibrational beauty.
Reading time 10 minutes

Anyone who has ever stepped into CAP Beauty’s store in New York City's West Village is either up-to-date in the wellness game or is lured by its incredibly aesthetically pleasing interior. Since 2015, the brand has been a leader in promoting wellness in a holistic manner, from rare natural skincare products to beauty potions and superfoods. But CAP isn’t just a pioneer in a growing (and expensive) trend. Founders Kerrilynn Pamer and Cindy DiPrima want to show that wellness is beyond the products — it’s a lifestyle that can be accessed by everyone.


Over the phone, Pamer shared her story dealing with celiac, which led her to pursue an interest in health and wellness in the first place. “I started to realize the connection between what I was putting on my skin in addition to what I was consuming.” With her long-time friend of 20 years, the two started to dive deep into the industry and created CAP Beauty. “There wasn't a location where you could buy all of these products under one roof — where everything has been vetted and felt modern, sophisticated, and relevant to how myself and my friends and other customers and clients were shopping at my store,” explained Pamer.


Kerrilynn Pamer also spoke to us about her wellness ethos, their new book High Vibrational Beauty, and advice on transitioning into naturals.   

Photography by Erin Starkweather

For someone who is just starting their wellness journey, what steps should they take toward natural beauty?
Start where you're interested. A lot of people start with the food because it's a really easy thing and it's a delicious way to introduce naturals into your life. That's kind of an entry point for a lot of people. But if somebody is curious about something else, say they have eczema or they have some type of issue they're dealing with, you know that can be a good place for them to drop in.

But we have people ask, "should we overhaul everything at once?" We actually don't think it's a good idea. It's something within that huge overhaul, say you start breaking out from switching your products and you've switched everything. It'll be really hard for you to isolate within that what it is that's working for you, and what it is that's not. It's more intelligent to do it in a thoughtful way and in the way that is joyful.


And definitely, that could be more long-lasting compared to let's say a 7-day cleanse.

I was always guilty of that, like having kind of the detox and the retox. Since I don't approach health and wellness in that way anymore, I feel way healthier on the day-to-day level as opposed to having the big blowout and denying yourself of things for the next week. It's really more about what it is you can do that's going to make you feel and look your best today.


What are the essential products at CAP? Curate a starter-pack for someone who’s never been to the store.

So, I just flew, I didn't bring my Matcha Sticks, and I'm very tired, so I would say you should start with the Matcha Sticks. And, I would add coconut butter too for the healthy fats and it'll cause an instant relief to the caffeine in your body. The May Lindstrom Jasmine Garden facial mist, it's a hydrosol, and it's good for keeping bacteria away. It has a beautiful scent of jasmine and cacao so it's a nice aromatherapy treatment as well. I love the In Fiori Treate Cleanser, that's a cream cleanser suited for a lot of different skin types so I feel like it would be a good cleanser to start with. Then one other item I would add in: The Shea Butter from Sun Potion.

Obviously, you can use it as a body moisturizer, but you can also mix it with matcha, honey, and water. You can turn it into a face mask that's hydrating. It would also help with encouraging cell growth and stimulation.

What's one ingredient that you always look out for when choosing a natural beauty product?

I would go bigger than one ingredient and I would say plant-based oils. They are so nutritious for the skin and so high in essential fatty acids. Sea buckthorn is a great one, Jojoba oil is amazing and it mimics the skin's sebum that we naturally produce. Some people use coconut oil, I don't like coconut oil at all for the face but it's a great body oil. The molecules in coconut oil are just too big, it actually can't penetrate into our skin so if you're prone to breakouts at all, it sits on top of your skin and then it'll trap back bacteria underneath, causing breakouts.


Speaking of being conscious of what natural products to use, how do you and your team select products to sell in the store?

We do everything ourselves, and we rely heavily on the brands that we work with. Everything we carry in the store is 100% synthetic-free. We don't think that all synthetics are bad, but for us to have that 100% guarantee just took the guesswork out of it for people. Since we're not scientists, it puts us in a place of basically not having to bring things into the store that are like 96%, because we're not the ones that can say at 96% that's okay. There's also kind of a gut-reaction, sometimes things come in and we're just really drawn to them.

A lot of people transitioning into wellness and natural beauty have this perception that it's very expensive.

And it is, they can be more expensive and there is a sound reasoning for that. But then, there are products in our store that are incredibly simple that sit around a price range of $10 to $20. If you're comparing it to a product at Bergdorf’s, it's going to be comparable to a high-end skincare item. But if somebody is comparing it to Duane Reade or CVS, our products are going to be more expensive, but they're also more potent, more powerful, and they're not filled with stuff that's making them last longer and all the reasons that the products are inexpensive, to begin with.


That's why I really love your book because, with the DIY recipes, we can make our own masks for a much cheaper price than buying a product.

Yeah, that was one of the intentions behind the book — bringing what we do to a larger audience.


Is the book [High Vibrational Beauty] dedicated to someone who's already a wellness expert or is it a guide for beginners?

It's honestly for everyone. We tried really hard to have it be accessible, but then we also go deep on certain things. For somebody who's deep in the wellness game, it wouldn't feel like they're too advanced for it. And for somebody who's just jumping in, it wouldn't feel like they're not able to get into the game.

Do you have a favorite ritual or recipe from the book?

Oh, my god, there's this really beautiful recipe, that is a quite complex recipe, "The Summer Loving Raw Tart.” It is the most delicious thing ever. It has a cauliflower crust, botija olives, tomatoes, and sunflower ricotta cheese — an exquisite recipe.


The book mentions radical self-care. What do you mean by radical?

It's really just diving super, super deep and maybe taking on classes that are not accepted by mainstream resources right now. But often things start out radical and they become just mainstream.


[Image: Summer Loving Raw Tart, photograph by John von Pamer]

"In a situation where you don't have the funds to buy a $400 facial once a month, yes that's totally true. But everybody has the ability to sit down and practice meditation for two minutes a day."

With the growing trend of alternative rituals, do you think they are the future of beauty?

Definitely. I also think that they're the past of beauty. So many of these things are rooted in history. We live in such a fast-paced, frankly can be exciting, but also can be a frantic world, that I think we're going back to practices that have been around forever, re-discovering them, and applying them to our lives in a modern way that makes sense.


Yeah, I agree. 

It's just a constant discovery process. I feel like everyone should have access to these practices. I mean a lot of people have this perception that wellness is expensive and elitist and people don't have the money or the funds. That can definitely be true, in a situation where you don't have the funds to buy a $400 facial once a month, yes that's totally true. But everybody has the ability to sit down and practice meditation for two minutes a day. For me, that argument is always a little bit unsound, because that's taking like one end of the spectrum, and saying that's what wellness is, and wellness is so much more than that. It's really about choosing what you do with care, intention, and thoughtfulness. That's why we have so many things in the book that address, "What are you drinking your herbs out of?" "What are you saying to yourself?" "What animals do you live with?" "How do you treat your friends and family?" All of those things are acts of wellness, and those add up to be and create your most beautiful life.


With this very holistic approach of wellness, you’ve channeled it into the design of the store. What's the relationship between interior design and wellness?

Where you live and how you live is massively important, it's so huge. I'm a hardcore Libra and Virgo too [laughs]. Clutter is the real thing — clutter of the body, clutter of the mind, clutter of the physical space, all of that are relevant. So, living in a space that feels good, clean, and allows you to feel your best is so important as a practice of wellness.


CAP Beauty Store + Spa is located at 238 W 10th St, New York and in Fred Segal, 8500 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles. 

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