For ladies who are into pared-down lingerie, Land of Women is definitely a heaven sent. Mckenzie Raley, the plus-size model founder of the New York underwear label, launched her six-piece collection in 2013. They offered classic designs with playful cuts, they also have a nonwire bra with sizes up to D cup. Raley decided to use one-note palette so the wearer instead of the undergarment is highlighted. And this is what she intends to do in her latest skin care line.
The Land of Women Skin debuted three daily beauty essentials: face oil laced with musk, cuticle oil, and moisturizing rose balm. Packed in an unostentatious and UV-protected black bottle, the three are designed particularly for the travelers. To Raley, who credits her knowledge to effective skin-care components while modeling for top labels like H&M and Levi’s, these are the things that usually top on the women’s list.
“The cool thing about modeling is that it’s an ongoing internship. I always connected with the makeup artists because they’re so passionate and so health conscious,” she says.
Raley brought this knowledge into her products. She first experimented, and soon, she collaborated with a Berkeley lab in California. Her products are packed with nourishing essential oils particularly squalene and rose hip oil that evoke the same good feeling as her triangle bras and high-cut briefs—the kind of image that the LoW brand wants to create, with a selection that cut across size and age boundaries.
What prompted the shift into beauty?
“It’s a huge passion project. I love skin care, and I’ve always kind of made my own cosmetics. To me, it was most about what ingredients made my skin happiest, and then I did some alchemy of my own, figuring out what’s oil- and water-soluble.”
With so many skin-care lines going 100 percent natural, was there any hesitation in using petrolatum in your rose balm?
“There are a lot of opinions about petrolatum. The one we use is in its purest form; it’s medical grade—they use it on patients in hospitals. It’s not a scary word to me. It’s also an incredible emollient. Ultimately, this is what skin care is all about. You choose what you like, and that’s what resonated.”
And then the two oils round out the collection.
“They all live together. Recently I went to Colorado, and the air there is incredibly dry, and my skin was screaming for attention. I used the face oil as a base, and then the balm worked for those dry patches when I was skiing or sleeping. A great thing about the balm is it creates this immediate glow—even when your skin is really dull. And the cuticle oil: to have healthy hands, for any woman at any age, is really lovely.”
Any other beauty essentials? You told me once that you’re a fan of SK-II sheet masks.
“Oh yeah! Who isn’t? I love Laura Mercier. The oils, the tinted moisturizer—I’m obsessed. There is this lanolin egg-white soap [by Victoria Scandinavian Soap] that is the best soap I’ve ever used; I’m really loyal to that. And I really like RMS—the concealers and cheek stains. I customize so many things. I’m a big eyebrow freak with getting the shape right, and I’ve actually crushed different eye shadows so it’s the perfect shade.”
As someone who seems comfortable in her own skin, did you ever have body hang-ups?
“I think every woman does. Sometimes I’ll look at things in a certain way and think, I could lose five pounds. The great thing about plus-size modeling is you can be a 10 or a 14—anywhere in between is game. I’m Scandinavian; I’m built a certain way. I’m never going to be a size 6, and that’s fine! I’m stoked. I’m at a good point in my life.”
Are you sensing a shift in the modeling world?
“Yeah. We’ve never shot a double-zero model, and with the exception of removing one tattoo, we don’t retouch either. We recently did an awesome shoot with girls who were, I think, size 8, 10, and 12. It’s just more relatable. It’s happier. I think the biggest way to make a statement about size is to not mention it. Don’t say plus-size shoot. Just shoot her like you would shoot anybody else!”
You’re just as apt to buck age norms. I’m thinking of that gorgeous silver-haired model.
“Yazemeenah Rossi. She’s incredible; she just exudes contentment. What’s missing in the lingerie market is age! It’s youth-obsessed. Granted, she’s in incredible shape. It’s important to see that this woman can also wear this bra.”
Talk about empowering.
“Yeah! I just want to, like, go upstate and live in Eileen Fisher and my Land of Women bra and braid my hair at night. That sounds so relaxing. [laughs]“