Being an ex-supermodel, she may have an advantage to maintaining her youthful glow, but at 65 years old, the ten-year Telluride local's smooth skin belies her true age.
Her secret, she swears, is not only good genes and a healthy lifestyle, but also Astara Conscious Skin Care products, a line of skin care she helped create.
"The idea behind these products is that they not only prevent skin damage, but actually help the skin repair damage itself," Griffin explains.
Since the company's inception in 1997, Astara has turned heads throughout the skin care industry. National magazines Glamour, Vogue, Allure, In Style, Spa, Oprah, Organic Style and others have all lauded her "raw" botanical skin-care line; high-end health spas like the Ritz-Carlton's use Astara products. The company's international following is impressive for a company born and bred in the small, remote town of Telluride, Griffin says, and it's a reputation well-earned.
"If it weren't for the extreme environment and high altitude of Telluride, Astara wouldn't exist," she says. After moving to Telluride in 1995, Griffin was dismayed by the effect of the high-altitude on her skin. Expensive skin care products purchased from L.A.'s finest stores did nothing to alleviate her dry skin, so she took matters into her own hands.
Looking for a way to combat the dry, red, chapped skin caused by Telluride's high altitude climate, Griffin created products from all-natural ingredients that contain antioxidants and raw organic plant and sea extracts.
"It's a skin care system based completely in nature," says Griffin of Astara. "I believe that the body has the power to heal itself, if it's given the right nutrition. Knowing that the enzymes and antioxidants found in raw, organic foods can help rejuvenate the body's cells, I thought, 'Why not in skin care?'"
The ingredients in the Astara line are never heated above 130 degrees, leaving them in their raw, natural state. Raw plants and foods contain enzymes, explains Griffin, and those help the body detoxify and rejuvenate itself on the cellular level. High heat destroys the healing enzymes.
Some of the ingredients in Astara's cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing products include aloe, green and white tea extracts, essential oils, and sea minerals.
"We also try to use organic ingredients whenever we can," she says, "but it's not always possible."
Being an organic and raw food proponent myself, not to mention being impressed by Griffin's own youthful appearance, Astara's products intrigued me. Could I erase the effects of 26 years of skiing, hiking and living in Colorado's high altitude by using Astara's Nourishing Vitamin Mask, Facial Serum, Botanical Eye Cream, Intense Moisturizer, and other products on my face? A girlfriend and I, both full-time ski patrollers dealing with dry, wind and sun damaged skin, decided to put the products to the test in an impromptu Astara self-facial session. We started with the Cleansing Gelee, a mild cleanser infused with pink grapefruit, lemon and lavender essential oils and Hawaiian sea plant extract, followed by the Daily Exfoliating Scrub, a delightfully gentle cleanser with a subtle scent of green apple, and the AHA Toner (ahhh, no alcohol sting!). That was just the first phase.
Next came the fun part, with six facial masks to choose from.
Which would it be? The Violet Flame, a potent enzymatic exfoliant, or the Blue Flame, for purification? Or maybe the Green Papaya mask, with its algae and mineral-rich extract to soothe and refine skin? Or the Golden Flame, to heal and hydrate? And what about the Activated Sea Mineral for skin re-mineralization, or the Nourishing Vitamin mask, for deep penetrating hydration?
I settled on the Nourishing Vitamin mask and my girlfriend chose the Golden Flame.
We slathered our faces with the selected products and waited.
"What's yours doing?" I finally asked her.
"I don't know…but it feels like it's not even there anymore," she said, pressing her fingertips to her now well-moisturized cheeks.
My face also felt like it had drunk up every last drop of the botanical smoothie I had just applied, leaving my skin creamy, refreshed.
Feeling quite hydrated after the masks, it seemed overkill to add yet more moisture to our faces, but for good measure we went ahead and applied the Activated Antioxidant Infusion, made from orchid and white tea extracts, and the pleasant-smelling Antioxidant Rich Moisturizer.
Our faces sated, we both agreed our skin felt fresh and happy after using the Astara products. The only hang-up, as my girlfriend pointed out, was that we weren't likely to go through the entire facial cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing procedure every single day.
Griffin's philosophy of skin care takes this into account. "I'm a big believer in simplicity," she says. In other words, when you have the time, do the extra mask or exfoliating scrub. When you don't, stick to the basics of cleanse, tone and moisturize.
After cleansing, toning and moisturizing with Astara for the last month, with a few added scrubs and masks along the way, my skin is unusually radiant.
"Telluride is the ultimate testing ground," Griffin says, "so if it can work up here, with our extreme weather conditions and dehydrating high altitude, it can work anywhere."
Astara products are available at Aromatherapy Day Spa, Atmosphere Day Spa, The Beauty Parlour, Bliss Telluride, and Franz Klammer Spa. Call 728-9191 for more information, or visit their website at www.astaraskincare.com.