We were recently introduced to the Sponge line of products, which are a must for any Jet Set Girl and already a favorite of Eva Mendes, Sarah Chalke, and Scarlett Johansson. The line is uber-organic, founder Markos Lambros Drakotos collects native Greek plants when they are in season, which is better for the environment and ensures each plant is at the healthiest stage to create the most powerful ingredient for each formula. After he collects the plants, he replants more to reduce Sponge’s carbon footprint.
Another reason Sponge is JSG-approved, the line has facial sprays that are ideal hydrators for dry planes and an anti-fatigue leg cream, which we like for long flights.
We chatted with Markos Lambros Drakotos to learn more about the line and get some insider tips on Greece.
I get a little nervous when I think about putting olive oil on my face. What skin types is it best for and what are the benefits?
Plant oils in general are great for keeping the skin hydrated, and avocado oil in particular is naturally rich in vitamin E and anti-oxidants to help firm, protect the skin against free radicals and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles which is a concern of every skin type. A great benefit of oils for the skin is the immediate absorption. The skin is lipid-loving, so oils are easily absorbed into the skin along with all the vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants natural plants oils are renown for.
It’s a common misconception that using oils make your skin more oily. Rather, oils work with the skin to promote healthy hydration and balance. An interesting fact to note is that typically, women with oily skin can really benefit from using oils. Because their skin is dehydrated from daily clarifying, mattifying and anti-blemish products, their skin overproduces oils to keep hydrated. Because avocado oil is full of vitamins, it has the added benefits to help nourish and heal skin, which is great for all skin types.
Which products do you recommend for plane flights?
Air travel is very dehydrating for the skin. One of the side effects of the pressure controlled cabin is that it sucks all the moisture out of the skin. Spnge aromatherapy treatment mists contain super antioxidant olive leaf and hydrating benefits that help to keep the skin hydrated during long flights with every mist. The aromatherapy mists come in four scents- sweet basil, jasmine and lavender and soon-to-be-introduced wild rose. Each one has its own unique benefits for the skin. In addition to antioxidant and hydrating benefits, sweet basil helps to restore the skin’s natural balance and clarity while minimizing the size and appearance of pores. Lavender is known for its calming effect, which soothes and reduces tension and stress, but people don’t realize that lavender also has anti-inflammatory properties known for helping to heal the skin. The scent of jasmine is known to uplift the spirit, but it also reenergizes fatigued skin restoring visible radiance and freshness. Wild rose helps to strengthen, hydrate and balance the most sensitive skin types while promoting a sense of calm and well-being. (JSG Note: Jasmine is our fave.)
The anti-fatigue leg cream is another great product to use on planes. Even though it was originally designed to help pregnant women relieve tired, painful fatigue in their legs, the mastic herb inside this formula helps to promote deep circulation, to keep legs comfortable and cared for during long flights.
Sponge products don’t have any SPF. Why is that?
Sponge supports dermatologist recommend levels of SPF. SPF ingredients, textures and qualities vary greatly and are, in many cases, a personal preference. I recommend choosing the ideal SPF for your own skin and lifestyle. Sponge Skincare compliments that choice to complete the ideal skincare regimen, promoting overall health, radiance.
What do you recommend for first timers to Greece?
Without question I would suggest visiting the Acropolis. There is such a strong sense of history and mysticism there. It’s an inexplicable feeling when your feet touch the same ground that so many great philosophers, statesmen and students stood, sat and walked on. Experiencing the simplicity of life of Hellas is also a part of its beauty. It is one of the few places where the past is still very much alive and you can feel a very strong presence of God and timelessness. I also recommend visiting the Sponge fields, which are all around the country, because the beauty of the flowers, plants and herbs in their natural environment is unlike anything else.
Do you have a favorite island?
It is difficult to choose one island as a favorite, as they all have their own identity and offer something very different. I love Mykonos for its familiarity, energy and beaches; Santorini for the heart-stopping views from the caldera and of the sunset — it is a place where there is no sense of time; and Symi for its deep, dark blue waters, its harbor and the kalistrata, the hundred steps of beauty.
The bottled water in Greece is filled with many minerals, more than from most countries. I also enjoy Greek wines. The white wines of Santorini are among some of my favorite.
Greek cuisine is very light and healthy. For breakfast, I like to have locally made yogurt with honey and fresh picked chamomile or mountain tea. The perfect meal for either lunch or dinner is fresh grilled fish with fresh herbs and a tomato salad with fresh baked bread to dip into the olive oil and tomato juice. The fruits and vegetables in Greece are unrivaled during the summer months.
Sponge products are available at Barneys.