Hannah Bronfman

Zoom Date: Hannah Bronfman Is Leaning Into Her Emotions During Quarantine

"I've been letting my guard down a lot more, which has been so nice."

Hannah Fallis Bronfman has been described as a modern-day renaissance woman. You might know her as the founder of the mega-popular beauty, wellness, and health platform HBFIT. Or maybe you recognize her as the DJ behind the turntable at fashion's buzziest events. Or perhaps you picked up her wellness and self-care book, “Do What Feels Good,” which received rave reviews from A-listers like Gabrielle Union and Karlie Kloss. Moral of the story: Hannah Bronfman does it all. 

Her life as a multi-hyphenate entrepreneur keeps her busy and, prior to the pandemic, her career moves had her jet-setting around the world. But when we chatted, Bronfman was lounging outside and soaking up some sun in Canada, where she’s been stationed for some time. For her, these slower moments have been a welcome change of pace. “I'm never someone who's in one city for more than five days at a time," she tells me over Zoom. "I’m usually on a plane three times a week, so it's definitely been so nice to just embrace being at home."

Given Bronfman's jet-setting lifestyle pre-pandemic, it might be surprising to some people just how warm and down-to-earth she is. Over the next 45 minutes, we talk candidly about how quarantine has changed us collectively, her new CBD bath bomb collection with Highline Wellness, and, of course, her ever-growing quarantine skincare collection. Keep scrolling to get to know Hannah Bronfman.

Hannah Bronfman
 Hannah Bronfman

Prior to the quarantine, you were always busy and had a packed schedule. What has it been like for you being home so much now?

Honestly, it's been such a welcome change. I'm never someone who's in one city for more than five days at a time. I’m usually on a plane three times a week, so it's definitely been so nice to just embrace being at home. I feel like there are so many things on my to-do list that I always kept putting off because I kept saying like, when I have time to do that. And now there is no excuse—we have the time. It's been so nice to explore so many different types of workouts that I'd been putting off, so many different recipes that I wanted to try, and just DIY home stuff. Honestly, getting to spend that much time, over 120 plus days, with my husband has been so amazing. And he's also one who has a very hectic lifestyle. It sucks that it's come at such an expensive price for humanity. But, I am very grateful just to have hobbies that keep me busy, work that keeps me busy, my husband with me, and a roof over our head.

You mentioned that you've gotten to work on so many different projects while you've been home, and of course, one of the most recent ones is your CBD bath bomb. What is it about baths that you love so much? 

Growing up, I was always a bath girl. My mom used to put me in the bath when I was super young, like getting ready to go to kindergarten and stuff. She would put me in the bath and she would sing this little song to me called "Wake Up Little Susie.” And the bath, ever since, has been this calming, grounding, familiar, and nostalgic place for me. It was one of the non-negotiables that I was rooting for when my husband and I renovated our first apartment in New York together. The clawfoot tub was the one thing I really needed. I just love a good bathtub and when we travel and we get to go to exotic places, I just love that so much. Even nonexotic places. I remember I went to this house upstate years ago and this woman had a bathtub in her bedroom. It was just a wooden A-frame house and it was so chic. So, it just showed me that bathing is such an old ritual for so many different cultures, be it you know, Egyptian, Roman, etc. So, I just always had this attraction to baths and the feeling that it brings me. 

I read that you tried to create your CBD Bath Bomb product several years ago. Why did you want to create a bath bomb? And why did partnering with Highline Wellness seem like the perfect way to bring it to life now? 

I did try to create this product several years ago. We put samples together, but it just ended up not being the right time nor did I have the resources to do it on my own. And then in my book, 'Do What Feels Good,' I added a whole section of bath recipes, so there are about eight or nine bath recipes that you can concoct on your own at home, which I was always doing. It's something that I do in my kitchen all the time when it comes to like tonics and smoothies and just cooking in general. I love to just put things together without necessarily following something and that love of concocting these potions and tinctures moved into my bathroom in the form of bath soaks. So, I would put together different salts, essential oils, powders and you know, condensed coconut and just all these things.

And then I was introduced to Highline Wellness and we had such an amazing conversation. And when they were talking about their product pipeline, I said "Hey, have you guys ever thought about this?" And they were like, "No, not really." And I said, "Well, I think there's a really big hole in the market. As someone who's an avid bathtub user, I have yet to find a product like this." They were just so excited. They were like "Let's do it." It was a dream come true.

How did you land on CBD as the key ingredient for your bath bomb?

For me, I've been a part of the cannabis world for over a decade now. My brother works in medical marijuana and I've just been exposed to CBD for the last six years, more traditionally in the form of salves and tinctures. But, I'm really interested in the way that CBD and other cannabinoids and isolates from the marijuana plant actually affect us as humans. We all have this endocannabinoid system where we just respond really well to this plant, so much so that our bodies have certain receptors that are made for this plant. So, bathtime can be about soothing your muscles or soothing irritated skin, but at the end of the day, it's also just a relaxing routine, something to just really take you out of that flight or fight mode, which we're so used to living in. And CBD is one of the most effective ways to get you into that rest and relaxation mode.

In the bathtub when your pores are being opened by all the heat, it's a great entryway for the CBD to penetrate and really move into your system as opposed to a straight-up topical use on your face. And that's really because a lot of the skincare that is using CBD is not using nano CBD. I know this is a little technical, but CBD as a molecule is actually kind of large. And so it can be hard to penetrate your pores. So if you're a skincare brand, I would highly recommend that you use a nano form of CBD to help penetrate your pores. But in the bath bomb, this is obviously disintegrating into the water, so the entry point into your pores is a lot greater, so you'll really feel the effects of it. And I think that for me as a consumer is something I was really concerned about or interested in because you see CBD becoming everyone's favorite go-to ingredient. But again, as someone who's an educated consumer, I know that it's sometimes just for show and they're not necessarily using the nano form, they haven't sourced it from a great place, or it's not full spectrum. So, it was important for me to have the integrity of the plant and have the highest absorption for the consumer.

Hannah Bronfman
 Hannah Bronfman

Another thing that I love about the product is that there's a social good component to it. You’re donating proceeds to Black organizations and helping essential workers.

So, it was a no brainer in terms of trying to make this launch as socially impactful as possible. We are also giving products away to people who have been affected by Black Lives Matter and by COVID-19, whether they're frontline workers, single parents, or they've lost their jobs, or have just been down and out by all the triggering content that is continuously on our phones. The 25% [donation] was kind of the least we could do. To me, the lowest hanging fruit was going to be to have some of the proceeds benefit organizations that are doing the most I think for the movement. Highline Wellness was already giving 10% of their overall sitewide sales to these organizations, which just reiterated the fact that I'm working with a brand that really wants to talk the talk and walk the walk and has every intention of doing good.

I thought a lot about the time and the place of launching this product. We were supposed to launch the first week of June and that's when all the protests and everything started. So, I didn't want to take away from any of that. And I wanted to be very aware, but at the same time, I didn't want to just push it off completely because I really truly believe that this is a product that will help people feel better, especially in a time when we know that taking care of ourselves is really quite extremely important especially being inundated with all the triggering content that we are constantly seeing. 

And then also Highline Wellness was founded by two white guys who wanted to partner with me. That's giving me an opportunity to change some of the ways they're thinking about their business. So, it was a welcomed moment altogether. They wanted to be allies and it just seemed like there was no point in shelving this. People are paying attention to Black-owned products and it's a time when white business owners need to be doing the most. 

You've been incredibly transparent about your entrepreneurship journey, the highs and lows of it. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the lifestyle health and wellness, and beauty space?

It's interesting. I mean, I think the lifestyle space has changed a lot over the last couple of years. I would say always stay true to your message, whatever that is. You can't stray from that. But, I think what your message is, is extremely important and right now more than ever, if your message is not socially aligned, you will have an issue. I think wellness is finally looking more inclusive as opposed to one size fits all. And I feel like a lot of brands that we now talk about as big corporations, like the Lululemons of the world, really made their mark by being a bit more on the exclusive side. I don't think that's going to fly now. They're established. But, if you're not an established brand, you need to make sure that your message reaches the largest number of people. That's not to say that having a niche company or something that really hones in on something very specific isn't going to work. It's still going to work but the messaging really needs to be thoughtful. And I would say make sure that your mentors, advisors, and whoever you're working with have an alternate skill set than your own.

Hannah Bronfman
 Hannah Bronfman

Such good advice. I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about your favorite beauty tips and products. So while you've been home, what has your routine been like?

My number one thing that I've been doing is I've been using a lash serum from Rodan and Fields literally every single day. It's funny because I ask my husband like once a week if he notices that my lashes are longer. Week over week, he doesn't necessarily notice but then when I do occasionally put mascara on recently he's been like, "Oh my god, are you wearing false eyelashes?" It's been the best one that I've found.

And then I am doing a lot of facial massages. I just found an amazing Gua sha stone from Dehiya Beauty, which is a Black-owned beauty brand and it's a beautiful clear Rose Quartz gua sha stone.

I've been messing around with my hair more, letting it really be natural and curly. I've been trying out different products. I actually used a Pattern product yesterday. I'm not sold on Pattern but I really like the product I used yesterday and I just let [my hair] air dry and I'm very happy with the results. BrioGeo and Amika have some great products that I've been using. I actually just got a great all-natural shampoo and conditioner that I'm really into from Wander Beauty. Also, Wander Beauty has an amazing mascara that I'm loving. It's a curl-enhancing mascara that's also a clean mascara.

What about skincare? You have flawless skin, it's glowing. 

I alternate my cleansers. Cleansers and masks, I have on rotation. I just feel like some days if I did wear makeup, I need to do an oil-based cleanser first. Or, if I like just put on a ton of sunscreen I need to like, do something that really kind of gets the gook off. So, one of the cleansers that I'm loving right now is from Haoma Beauty. They have an oil-based cleanser that's awesome. That's what I was using at home all throughout quarantine, but now that I'm in Canada now I brought my travel [cleanser] which is from The Ordinary. It looks like a thick cream, but then you rub it in your hands and it turns into an oil. And then other cleansers that I'm really loving are from Linné Beauty. She has a purifying face wash that has a bit of a texture to it, which I really like. And then I use my Dr. Barbara Sturm foam cleanser for dark skin tones. I love that one. I love foam cleansers in general. There's another foam cleanser that I love from a brand called Consonant and they're an all-natural brand from Canada actually. So, I switch up my cleansers, but then I'm pretty consistent with my serums.

At night, I'll use the Vintner's Daughter Essence, it's kind of an all-natural version of [Biologique Recherche] P50. So, I'll use that at night and then I'll do my serums, which really is just like the iS Clinical Active Serum. And then I have a serum from a facialist in London called pheffer Sal. It's kind of a mix between a hyaluronic acid. They call it their central serum, but I kind of use it in the way I would use a hyaluronic. It's very nourishing, but it's clear, lightweight, and it just absorbs really well. And then, because I suffer a lot from hyperpigmentation, I use this serum AB system from Environ. You do one pump of each and then you mix them and you pat that in. That I think has really helped kind of take some of the scarring away. Then, I use a face oil from a brand called Supernal and it's a green face oil. It's really pretty.

Hannah Bronfman
Hannah Bronfman 

In addition to trying new products, you also mentioned you've been trying different at-home workouts. What are some of the ways you've been trying to stay active like during quarantine? 

The woman that I see in the city for Pilates has a virtual class that is so great. It's called the "NoFar Method." I love her classes. And then I love Megan Roup, she has a great app. Kira Stokes, she has a great app. I actually have been doing a few P.Volve things. He has this hand band that I really like. I really like the arms series from him. Melissa Wood Health: I'll do a flow of hers every now and then. There's just so much out there and now we have the time to just really try it all out.  

I was really into Instagram lives at the beginning of quarantine and now I'm just trying to be on my phone less. But, they're great. It allows you to find so many different people to follow. I think that's one of the best things about Instagram, the ever-evolving and never-ending community that you can find.

Since you've been home, you've had a lot more time to yourself, as you said. Is there anything you realized about yourself during this time?

I baked bread for the first time during quarantine and I was actually really good at it and I really enjoyed it. So, that was really nice. But honestly, what I really noticed the most about myself is just that I actually really quite enjoy just being home and the slower-paced lifestyle.

And maybe this wouldn't be as true if the world was resuming as normal. I don't have FOMO because there's nothing to have FOMO. But, I have really enjoyed just functioning at my own speed, not drinking every night and going to sleep early, or just watching Netflix in bed. Or even on a rainy day, just shutting my computer off and saying, "I'm good. I'm not doing it." So, I've honestly really enjoyed that. And I have to say, I've felt quite emotional during quarantine, and I've just leaned into it and that's also been really nice. 

Yes, just letting yourself feel those emotions is so important. I've been that way too lately. As those emotions come up, I just let myself feel it and feel it fully.

Yeah, because we don't have to worry about it crying in the office. Our bathroom is our office, so now we can just cry there or cry in the bathtub or wherever. I've definitely been leaning into my emotions. It's not that I try not to show my vulnerability, because I do, but there are so many instances in life that I just suck it up. And just put on a brave face and just keep it moving. But I've been letting my guard down a lot more, which has been so nice. I find that because I'm really dealing with emotions at the onset of emotion, then I feel like it's not manifesting in physical places in my body. 

Sometimes I feel like my throat is going close when I'm upset and I can't vocalize how I'm feeling. It's so nice to not have that feeling and just feel like you can talk about anything when it comes up. Because essentially, we're all in a safe space hopefully. I know so many people are not in a safe space where they're quarantined or where they're staying at home, but I'm very grateful for the safe space that I have.

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