Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Ada Polla
CEO of Alchimie Forever, Swiss entrepreneur, skin care expert, author, speaker, lover of art and champagne.
CEO of Alchimie Forever, Swiss entrepreneur, skin care expert, author, speaker, lover of art and champagne.

Ada's posts

Post has attachment
Last week our best-selling Kantic brightening moisture mask was included in a roundup of best masks on Here is what the beauty experts at my favorite magazine said about our product:

Get the ultimate glow with this cult-classic product. Extremely creamy in texture, it contains natural botanicals and oats to soothe and brighten dull skin. Plus, your skin will feel extra-soft.

This product has received many accolades and is an editor favorite – it was written in In Style as the “best pre-party mask,” in Redbook, in Organic Spa, and it even made it in Travel & Leisure Magazine as one of the best things to come out of DC!

While you can read here all about the amazing ingredients, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share a few lesser known secrets about this product:

Actress Necar Zadegan maintains her glowing complexion with this mask, applying it between taping episodes of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.

Before “sleep masks” and “nighttime masks” and “overnight masks” were a thing, I was getting calls from our fans telling me they loved applying this product in the evening and leaving it on overnight, waking up to flawless skin and the perfect glow.
My Mom’s favorite trick with this mask is to add a little to her Alchimie Forever moisturizer every morning. She thinks of the mask as a “booster” for her favorite cream.
As In Style figured out early on, it is the best “pre-party” mask because it evens out the skin, fills in fine lines, and gives the complexion a gorgeous glow – making makeup application easier and your makeup look better. Before a big event, apply a thin coat of the mask, almost like a primer, to your skin, then proceed with your makeup routine, and be amazed!
One of my favorite uses of this mask is on airplanes. I travel with samples of this product and apply it right when we takeoff. No “I just got off the airplane and my skin is blah and dehydrated” look for me when I land!
The color of this mask makes the above doable without seeming freakish: it is a soft shade of purplish (this is from the whole red grapes we use) which almost blends in to your skin, so you can wear it around the house when your other half is present, or like I do on airplanes…
If you have not yet tried it, add the Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask to your skin care routine today!

And if you already love and know it, you can start looking forward to it arriving this late fall in travel size…

Post has attachment

How Ada Stays Healthy, Happy and Sane – Part 1 of 3

organizer with cup of coffee and mobile phone on desk 

Other than perfecting my morning and evening routings—the parentheses that

surround each of my days—there are a few other strategies I use to make sure I stay

sane, well-groomed, happy, and healthy despite my frequent travels, early mornings,

and various responsibilities.


– I have an accountability group with which I meet weekly (and by meet I

mean by phone). My accountability partners help me stay on track in terms

of what my priorities are each week, encourage me when I need a pep talk,

and help me re-focus when I am not doing what I should be doing.

– I have a weekly gameplan / to-do list which keeps me focused. I look at it a

few times per day to make sure I am working on the things I should be

working on.

– I track my time. I started doing this in January of this year, again, to make

sure I am spending time on the right things. The app ATracker Pro makes it

easy. Once a week I look at my “time pie chart” and make sure that I am

spending time on the right things at work (team and sales, primarily), enough

time with my family, and enough time sleeping. Just the fact of tracking my

time makes me behave more productively.

– I love Evernote, and keep notes in this app on everything ranging from gifts

to give to team goals and marketing ideas. It is with me everywhere, on the

go or at my desk, and the shared function makes communication with my

team and my husband seamless.

Post has attachment
What I learned on my juice cleanse

“Let’s do a juice cleanse” are words I never thought I would hear my husband utter. So I was surprised when he announced he was going to do a two day cleanse, and was buying me juices for Day 1. I agreed reluctantly (read kicking and screaming) mostly because I was curious about what it would feel like (or how bad it would feel I should say).
We purchased juices at Raw Republic in New Orleans. I asked the lovely juice attendant if doing this for “just one day” was even worth it. I was hoping she would say “absolutely not,” yet she explained that any break I gave my digestive system would help your body, my health. My plan at escaping this adventure failed.
Mondays are not my favorite days of the week, but the Monday that I will forever remember as “Monday Day 1 of the Juice Cleanse” was atrocious. I was told that typically Day 2 is the worst, as it takes a full day for your body to start cleansing. Either I was overfull of toxins, or my body is super efficient (I prefer the latter), but it took my body just 6 hours to start feeling the effects of the cleanse. By 2 pm on Monday I had a horrendous headache, was feeling nauseous, and had the most upset stomach I can remember. Of the 6 juices, I could only drink 4. I felt so ill I was in bed by 8 pm to try and make the day end as quickly as possible.
I was only going to do a one day cleanse because I was flying to DC Tuesday morning. And flying with juices is not overly practical. However, I woke up feeling amazing and craving the beet juice from Day 1 that I hadn’t been able to even smell the day before. I had that on my way to the airport (breakfast of champions) and packed the almond milk juice in my suitcase. Upon arrival in DC, almond milk tasted delicious and then it was noon and I thought I might as well finish Day 2 since I was halfway through Day 2 already.
I headed to MINT Spa to purchase a Pure Cleanse from Puree Juice Bar. There, I met Kirby who works for Puree. She told me two things. First, that a cleanse should be done one day at a time – don’t say you are going to do it for 5 days. Start with day 1 and then figure out the morning of Day 2 if you want to continue. Second, that it is ok to have a glass of wine (which, after all she said, could be considered grape juice) or a salad during a cleanse – the worse thing, she said, is to think that if you do either of these things you are negating all of the benefits of the cleanse. I liked her immediately (she had me at “wine is grape juice”) and Puree is now my go-to juice destination in DC.
I continued the cleanse for 7 days – having 3 salads (lettuce and olive oil), two avocados, and a few glasses of wine only during that time, in addition to the juices. And I felt amazing.
What I learned:
– I should not have worried about being hungry; I was not hungry for a minute
of those 7 days.
– As Puree puts it on their website: “be in awe of how little your body actually needs to sustain itself.” Who knew I needed so little food?
– I will continue to incorporate some juices in my “normal life” – Puree’s Mean Lemonade with a shot of Ginger is something I now crave and indulge in regularly.
– I don’t (yet, perhaps?) want many of the foods I used to relish.
– I always thought I ate healthy, meaning mostly fresh foods, but the cleanse made me realize how much better I could do.
– I love and always will love champagne and wine; but I drink just a little less of each.
– My husband’s ideas, no matter how crazy they sound, are usually brilliant.

Post has attachment
Why Alchimie Forever Doesn’t Tint

Liquid tone foundation isolated on white background
I frequently get asked to create a BB cream and why we didn’t add a tint to our newest product, our Pigment Lightening Serum. I also get asked why I don’t wear any foundation or tinted moisturizer (fine print disclaimer: when my face is really blotchy, I will use the Laure Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Nude).

The answer is two-fold.

First, I believe in taking care of one’s skin and complexion. Which means there should be no need for foundation or moisturizer. It is almost a dare I make with myself – let me see if I can have such good skin care rituals that I don’t need foundation.

Second, I avoid tinted anything because the color in foundation, BB creams, tinted moisturizers is created by metal oxides. Mostly iron oxides. Look at the ingredients in your tinted product and let me know what you find. Who cares, you might ask… Here is the scientific truth (do not keep reading if you don’t want some real scientific jargon; or grab a coffee first): excess iron is bad for our health, in many ways (it is involved in Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, and more), including on the skin.

Excess iron accelerates aging. Don’t stop taking iron supplements if you have a medically-diagnosed iron deficiency. But don’t increase your iron intake if you don’t need to. That means no supplements with iron in them. And no skin care products with iron or iron oxides in them, including tinted anything. How is excess iron bad? Excess iron is a catalyst for a chemical reaction called Fenton chemistry, which leads to the creation of one of the worst free radicals, the hydroxyl radical. We know this to be true: free radicals are bad and accelerate aging. Do you really want to use anything that will increase the level of free radicals on your skin? I didn’t think so. It kind of defeats the purpose of all of those anti-aging and antioxidant products you use… (As a side note – think about this: one of the theories about why women live longer than men is that we have a generally lower iron status because of menstruation and delivery… Just saying.).

So there you have it. The science behind why I prefer not to wear tinted face products.

Post has attachment
I recently shared some tips about my morning routines. Here are some of the rituals I try to keep up in the evenings. I can’t categorize my evenings as clearly as I did my mornings…. They all different, yet have some things in common.

One of the goals I set for myself for 2015 is to have at least one evening per week alone, without any social engagements or plans. This has turned out to be one of the best resolutions I made. I use that evening as quiet, alone time, either catching up on an important project I have not had time to focus on, cleaning out my email inbox which is always too full, reading, or watching the latest episode of NCIS (my guilty pleasure, and the only TV I really watch). Those evenings, I try to be asleep by 10 pm (versus my normal 11pm bed time).

I take a few minutes every weeknight to review my day, my list for the day, and review my calendar and priorities for the following day.

I go through my beauty routine, which involves our Purifying gel cleanser, Pigment lightening serum, Kantic+ intensely nourishing cream, Rejuvenating eye balm, and Dry skin balm. If I remember, cuticle oil (either CND Solar Oil or SpaRitual Cuti-Cocktail) on my nails every evening means I can get away without manicures (I have never been a fan) and extend my pedicures to 4-5 weeks. And most importantly, per my father the dermatologist, I try to sleep on my back (helps with facial and décolleté wrinkles…).

I don’t read before bed, I am usually too tired. I keep a notebook and pen next to my bed in case I wake up thinking about something – writing it down means I can always go back to sleep. And I sleep in white sheets only.

Post has attachment
I get up at 5 am and this is what happens…

A couple of weeks ago, my sister Rachel paid me the best compliment in the form of a question. She asked me how I did it all. How did I manage the work load, the stress load, of running a beauty brand, how did I manage to still look good and act coherent with short nights and sometimes up to 5 flights per week. Did I have any tips or secrets to share with her?

Her questions made me pause, and reflect. Did I have any strategies to share? And I do. This is the first of a few posts to share my morning and evening routines, and a couple secrets, which keep me sane.

My morning routines depend on the type of morning I am having, which fall into four “types.”

Mornings when I wake up at home in DC with no travel plans.
Mornings when I wake up on the road somewhere.
Mornings when I have early flights (7 am or earlier, which happens more often than it should).
Weekend mornings.
All mornings share a few things in common:

A regular wakeup at 5 am (except if I have a 6 am flight or it is a weekend). And yes, my iphone is my alarm.
A tall glass of water with Super Orange Emergen-C. People are fascinated that I fly up to 150,000 miles per year and am not sick more often. I credit this morning ritual.
Inspiration from three sources: Danielle LaPorte Truthbombs. Harvard Business Review Management Tips of the Day. And a Milepost quote on running.
Mornings when I wake up at home or on the road without an early morning flight, I exercise. SoulCycle or a run in DC. Hopefully a swim while on the road (even budget-friendly hotels often have swimming pools). Part of what helps me keep it all together is a regular exercise routine, with a minimum of 3 workouts per week.

Mornings when I have a flight at 7 am or earlier are my fastest, most minimalist, mornings. I have learned to get ready in 20 minutes tops: no exercise, no breakfast except for a power bar on the way to the airport, no coffee until I get to the airport (gives me something to look forward to). Those mornings require extra red lipstick.

Weekend mornings are precious treasures. I catch up on sleep during the weekends, and try to have at least one 10-hour night per weekend. The most luxurious morning weekend involves waking up next to my husband around 8 am after a long night. Those mornings include a long run and brunch, catching up on my reading, and on my day-dreaming.

Post has attachment
“Life is too short to eat salad without dressing” – advice from Suelyn Farel
Almost a year ago, I met Suelyn Farel, CEO of Julien Farel Group at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit. I was struck by her oversized black sunglasses (we were at the Breakers), her connection to France, and the air of kindness about her. We made plans to connect back in NYC, which finally happened a month or so ago when she treated me to a salon service and to amazing Julien Farel hair products, including the Magnifique Fortifying Serum. During our simultaneous blow-drys and over coffee, we shared stories of the beauty industry, compared notes on our favorite products and spas, and became friends, discovering we have much in common (including a 5 am wakeup time, the necessity of having champagne in the fridge at all times, and the fact that working with family means work/life balance is not something we can even being to comprehend).

AP: What city were you born in? SF: White Plains, NY.

AP: What city to do you live in? SF: New York, NY.

AP: What is your middle name? SF: I do not have a middle name. My maiden name was “Bogdanoff” and with Suelyn being my first name, my parents couldn’t find something that would fit in between the two!

AP: What is your astrological sign? SF: Sagittarius.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? SF: I graduated from college in 3 years.

AP: What is your most prized possession? SF: My family.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? SF: My husband.

AP: Describe your fashion style in three words maximum. SF: Elegant, sporty, and black.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? SF: Yes. I switch between a Panerai / Bulgari for work, and wear a diamond Cartier Pasha for evening.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? SF: DIAMONDS ALL THE WAY!

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? SF: Sleep.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? SF: I’ll never tell!

AP: Botox or not? SF: Not but I’m weighing the options as I age.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? SF: Hair color definitely NOT NATURAL.

AP: What are your special diet tips, if any? SF: Diet tip #1: Starbucks for breakfast. Diet tip #2: Eat everything in moderation. Don’t limit yourself in the foods that you eat, just eat the right quantities. Life is too short to eat salad without dressing!

AP: What do you do for exercise? SF: I have a fantastic personal trainer, Christina De Almeida, at JF Fitness at Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa.

AP: What are three things that you always have in your fridge? SF: Pommery Champagne, Evian and mustard.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? SF: Tigre Blanc vodka with a splash of cranberry and two slices of lemon.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? SF: There is no such thing as balance in my world. Work permeates every part of my life, being that I work with my husband. There is no separation between who I am and what I do!

AP: How many miles do you fly per year on average? SF: 50-60,000 miles.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? SF: 1) Pack lots of layers and scarves, 2) For my hair: Julien Farel Smooth Crème to smooth flyways, Janeke mini travel brush+always have an elastic on my wrist, and 3) Alchimie Dry Skin Balm for my super-dry ‘airplane hands.’

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. SF: Blank Space by Taylor Swift, which I sing with my girls plus two workout songs always on my iPod are Survivor by Destiny’s Child and Lose Yourself by Eminem.

AP: What book are you reading right now? SF: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which takes place in St Malo, France.  I loved the book so much that I’m bringing my mom there this year, because she gifted that book to me after having read it!

AP: Quote to live by. SF: “Work hard, play hard!”

AP: What is your worst pet peeve? SF: Laziness and dishonesty compete for the top spot.

AP: What time do you usually wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep do you usually get? SF: I wake up at 5:00am because my husband goes for a run every morning and I am an early riser! I usually sleep about 6 and a half hours a night.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? SF: The beauty industry is filled with amazing women who are supportive, smart and savvy. The mentality is that “we are all in it together,” which is very different from fashion and what’s in many other industries. I really admire most, if not all, of the women I have met in beauty. It is a great club to be a part of.

AP: Least favorite thing. SF: Well, as the mother of young girls, I worry about the influence this industry may have on my girls… the look of perfection in an industry where everything is so nipped, tucked, buffed and perfect. I love the Dove Real Women campaign where they show true beauty by being yourself regardless of imperfections. A lot of marketing around beauty and fashion is so airbrushed and plastic. I love looking great but most days of the week I don’t wear makeup. And I’m okay with that real image being presented.

AP: Who is your mentor? SF: I’m not much of a follower, so I honestly haven’t really had a mentor. I do have women in beauty who inspire me and who I admire like Essie Weingarten, Jane Lauder, Debbie Perelman. And Bobbi Brown!  Bobbi remains so tied to her brand and down to earth. When I met her, a few years ago, she smiled and gave me one piece of advice and that was, “Don’t fuck with your face.” Since we are in the beauty industry, it is hard to stay away from the invasive options out there!  But, hearing that from Bobbi Brown, that will stay with me forever.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. SF: Find what you love. If it feels like work, change jobs or careers. Nothing replaces hard work. There is no real magic. If you keep working hard, you will get there. Never stop dreaming. If you keep dreaming, you can make it happen. Don’t be afraid to stick to what you believe in. Young women have many innovative & interesting ideas and insights that they bring to companies, that are completely different from the insights of professionals more senior in their career. Don’t be afraid to share them! 

Post has attachment
Your skin can’t keep secrets… what can a dermatologist know about you just by looking at you?

So you remember those days when you were a kid and you were trying to hide things from your parents? And somehow it never worked? At least not for me… I remember skipping ballet class one single time… and of course that is the time my Mom decided to come pick me up (something she had never done before and never did since). You would think being an adult (I think 37 qualifies) would mean I would not have to worry about hiding things from my parents anymore… and I don’t. But I still can’t get away with much… because my skin can’t hold a secret. And neither can yours.
Your skin confesses for you…
Do you know what your skin says about you? To the trained eye of a dermatologist, a lot… I had to ask my Dad, aka Dr. Luigi L. Polla, how he always knows so much about my sisters and me … Apparently, our skin speaks. What can a dermatologist know about you just by looking at you? Here is what my skin says about me:
1. I sleep on my left side more than I sleep on my right side. My “left side” wrinkles are more pronounced; the left side of my face is slower to move when I laugh or make facial expressions, i.e. my skin reacts more slowly to my expressions. I have less volume in the left side of my face. (Yes, these are the things my Dad mentions when he looks at me… among others LOL).
2. I am not sleeping enough. I have dark circles under my eyes, and the peri-orbital fine lines I am starting to see are deeper than usual. My face looks “stressed.”
3. I don’t smoke. At least something positive… I don’t have that greyish tinge that smokers tend to get, and I do have luminosity in my complexion. I don’t have a “bar code” on my upper lip, which is a sure sign of smoking (or sometimes too much drinking through a straw).
4. I enjoy champagne and wine but I don’t over-indulge. I don’t have broken capillaries and I don’t flush easily. I don’t have accentuated lines and less delicate features. My skin is not “thicker” as it typically is when too much alcohol is imbibed.
5. I am not a sun worshipper. Actually, I actively avoid the sun or protect myself form the sun. I don’t have uneven pigmentation or too many sunspots. I don’t have a million little fine lines all over my face. I don’t have the parchment-like, thinner skin that is an indication that sun exposure has led to an accelerated breakdown of collagen.
6. I don’t take cortisone. I don’t have that swollen look, or a puffy face.
7. I don’t eat spicy foods. My face isn’t flushed, red, and I don’t have those micro-breakouts often associated with heavy spice.
8. I don’t take testosterone supplements. I don’t have cystic acne, as is often associated with higher-than average levels of this male hormone.
9. I am not depressed. My wrinkles don’t all “face downward,” and my lips certainly don’t; and I don’t have bags under my eyes, or “sad eyes.”
10. I am in love. My lips can’t help but curl up and smile and my eyes are wide open with a dreamy look in them.
11. I am not going through any major hormonal transition. Aka my skin is not currently “freaking out.” Enough said Dad, thank you!

Post has attachment
Super Bowl 49
Pure joy

Last night was one of happiest night of my life. I got to see my beloved Patriots win Super Bowl 49, live, with the love of my life standing and cheering right there beside me.
There are so many amazing things about last night, many I know will continue to be debated about or disagreed with by fans who love the Seahawks as much as I love the Patriots. And to them, I send my love and the promise that tomorrow will be easier than today. I have felt their pain twice in the last seven years, and it sucks.
What I want to never forget about last night are the lessons I was reminded of throughout the game. In effect, lessons I already know and that are some of the reasons I love American football so much. Lessons that the Patriots embody day in and day out. Lessons that are applicable as much on the field, as off the field.
Pure gratitude

It’s all in (y)our head.
One might expect that throwing two interceptions in the biggest game of the year might mess with your composure, your strategy, your ability to execute. That a 10 point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter might mean losing faith and giving up. Not the Patriots. Mental toughness means you don’t let an interception, or two, rattle you. You just keep improving, keep fixing things and adjusting plays until you win.
Do your job.
While this seems obvious, it’s not as easy as it sounds. When everyone does their job, the job gets done. This resonates with me from my college rowing years. The only way for the boat to go anywhere is for every single person to show up, and do their job. Unless everyone shows up, no matter how talented the people on the boat who do show up, the boat does not go anywhere. When everyone shows up but the stroke tries to do the coxswain’s job, the boat does not go anywhere. Show up. Do your job, not anyone else’s job – yours.
It’s not over until it’s over.
The catch by Kearse and the interception by Butler should forever remind fans that a game can change in just a few seconds, and that the game is a sixty minute game.
Perfect practice makes perfect.
Many will say that the interception by Butler is an amazingly lucky catch. And of course luck should not be underestimated. But luck smiles to those who are prepared for it. That play was practiced by the Patriots over and over again. Butler also recognized the Seahawks’ formation and knew a throw was coming. He positioned himself accordingly. That has nothing to do with luck. That has to do with perfect practice.
Hard work, discipline, and commitment always win.
No explanation necessary.
Humility is attractive.
While Brady once told Kraft that he was going to be the best decision the team ever made, he is graciously humble. When the team does a bad job, it is because of his “shitty throws.” When the team does a good job, it is because the team does a good job.
A piece of my heart stayed in Boston.
Boston was my first home away from home, the first American city I fell in love with. And while I consider DC (and New Orleans) my American home(s), part of my heart still (and always will) belongs to Boston, to New England. We walk to work uphill in the snow, both ways. We are tough. We love adversity (weather and otherwise). We work hard. We don’t pretend to be who we are not. We have Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon.
The Universe knows.
Most of all, I wonder in awe about how it is that I ended up at the University of Phoenix stadium last night. The short answer is that I have an amazing husband who understands my crazy passion for the Patriots. The long answer is, well, longer. A few years ago, I wrote about all of the reasons I am thankful for football. A friend in Boston read it and forwarded it to his friend, Andrea Kremer. She opened that email and read it. And then emailed me. And we have developed a friendship around our football connection. It was thanks to this friendship that Super Bowl tickets materialized. I have had on my bucket list since January 2005 to see the Patriots win a Superbowl with Brady as quarterback and Belichick as coach, live. Ask the Universe, and the Universe will know and answer. And thank you Edwin for helping the Universe along.
Celebrating with a new friend

Sharing the love with a perfect stranger

Post has attachment
Serious Business 2015: On being naked

Get naked!
Get naked!

As always at the close of Serious Business, I feel inspired, excited, and exhausted. The theme was transparency, openness, authenticity, and this year’s conference was the best one yet (although I do find myself saying that every year). A number of one-liners from the general session speakers keep running through my head…

From Brené  Brown:

- “Tell me what you love(d) about this.” Use this question when someone says “I wish we still did X.” It opens up the dialogue and allows you to understand what is really the question at hand (and is a more productive response than the defensive reaction that might come automatically).

– Don’t use the “invisible army” when making a point. What is the “invisible army” you might ask? Is is the “Everyones” and the “Alls” – “everyone loves it” or “we all think.” State your opinion as your own opinion, Brené says, before adding “The invisible army is chicken shit.”

- “What is worth doing even if you fail?” is an even more powerful way to look at failure and risk than the well-known phrase “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

From Marcus Buckingham:

- Who is on your personal board of directors? Have one, and let them know.

- ”What are your priorities this week, and how can I help?” As this question of each of your team members each week, instead of status updates or “one on ones.” Instead, every week, ask each of your team members

- Remember that a year is 52 sprints. We are on sprint #3 already for 2015… 

- Don’t give feedback. Coach. As my brother-in-law Tatum says: “feedback is a problem without a solution.”

- A person will grow most in the areas she is already strong in. Don’t focus on “fixing” your weaknesses; instead, focus on growing in those areas you are already strong in.

See you next year Serious Business! 
Wait while more posts are being loaded