Pillow Talk: Perfume creator Beckielou Brown’s night-time routine

HUNGER sits down Beckielou Brown — the co-founder of perfume brand Altra — to discuss how she unwinds after a long day at work. Altra was founded in 2021, after Brown was driven to create a range of scents that are as sustainable as they are luxurious. The brand now boasts five 100% natural scents, and is continuing to push the industry towards a synthetic-free future. Here, Brown invites us into her bedroom to hear all about her nighttime routine…

Can you sum up what you do in a few words? 

Create the future of natural scents.

Why did you decide to create Altra? 

I have always been completely mesmerized by scent. I find the way in which scent can move you, transport you, and elicit so many emotions in a heartbeat to be so fascinating. It’s something I’ve had a deep connection with since childhood, so after years of working on the periphery of different creative environments, it made sense that I found my own creative language within perfumery. I started developing my own approach to using natural materials with a futuristic aesthetic and using absolutely no synthetic ingredients, which was (and still is) very rare in the industry. I could see there was space for this new interpretation of natural perfumery, challenging the status quo of what natural, sustainable, and luxurious can look like. I also joined forces with my best friend Bridget Plant to launch Altra from this desire for an otherworldly scent experience that’s created with care and respect for the natural realm. 

What makes it different from other perfumes on the market? 

When I compose the scents for Altra, I have complete creative freedom, so I’m not limited by a marketing brief of what or who I should be creating for, nor do I have a limiting target budget. The output is an elevated collection of five 100% natural scents. We use the most stunning precious raw materials and our bottles are infinitely home-refillable. They are designed as objects you can keep forever.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you love your sleep? 

10, but sometimes I treat it like it’s a 5.

What time would you ideally like to go to bed, as opposed to what time you really end up in bed? 

I plan to start getting ready for bed at 10, but in reality, the reminder on my phone pops up at 10:30 telling me it’s time for bed and I’m usually too tired to move off the couch.

Why do you end up going to bed late? 

I’m guilty of working late, then trying to squeeze in some ‘me time’ of cooking, eating, and watching movies which keeps me up way too late.

What side of the bed do you sleep on? 

I’m fickle, but at the moment it’s middle, propped up with pillows on every side like a little nest.

What kind of sleeping position do you normally find yourself in? Do you sleep on your back, or are you more of a fetal position kind of person?

I’m a side sleeper. I try and sleep on my back (because of wrinkles) but I need the comfort of the pillow on my face – I can’t help it!

What is your bed setup? 

I rotate bedding depending on the season, but I am a big fan of silk pillowcases, a very high thread count cotton, or my antique French top sheets that are a super heavy blend of cotton and linen with beautiful old monograms.

Light sleeper or heavy sleeper? 


Morning bird or night owl? 

Morning bird, with the help of a matcha latte.

How do you unwind before bed? 

I like to take my time doing my nighttime skincare routine. This slows me down and if I find myself still going at 100 miles an hour I’ll play some soft music and remind myself to breathe deeply, burn some incense, and light a candle.

Do you read before bed? If so, what can’t you get enough of at the moment? 

I always have books by my bed but I am usually too tired to read at night so they get pushed to a rare Sunday morning when I don’t have to rush out. I’m reading a fascinating book called The Prophecy of One which is giving me much-needed comfort and guidance in these strange times.

What products/items are on your bedside table?  

Oto CBD hand cream, Ilapothocary Calm Butterfly’s Soothing Balm, Altra Skin Eau de parfum, books, crystals, and incense.

What’s the weirdest thing next to your bed? 

My facial devices – Silk’n Facetite and NuFace.

Do you sleep with your phone next to you? 

Yes, but always in airplane mode.

What can’t you go to sleep without doing? 

My full face routine, my teeth, and turning off my wifi. 

Do you always take off your makeup before sleeping? 


How does your nighttime routine change when, say, you’ve been out late on Friday night?

I’ll definitely do the express version! I use a quick foamy facewash like the Q&A Hyaluronic Acid cleanser in one step and probably slap on a night cream like Ursa Major Golden Hour Recovery Cream and then I’m off to bed.

Can you walk me through your full nighttime skincare routine? 

I cleanse with either Holifrog Sacred C Powder Wash or something less active if my skin is feeling stressed. I’ll do a double cleanse if I’m wearing makeup or SPF, and rinse using cool water (I learned this recently from facialist Jasmina Vico who said to never wash your face in a hot shower). After patting my skin dry I apply Eighth Day resurfacing tonic, then either Eighth Day regenerative serum, or Teresa Tarmey Retinol Gel, Agent Nature ageless eye serum, and once or twice a week I use Allies of Skin bright future sleeping facial. I brush my hair and apply a little Leonor Greyl serum de soie sublimateur to condition as I sleep, and lastly spritz on some Altra Skin as I find it so comforting. It’s nice to get into a freshly made bed all clean and smelling gorgeous.

What are your favourite products to use before bed? 

If I have time I’ll have a Magnesium bath with my mum’s lavender oil from her organic lavender farm Mas de Villetelle in the South of France, which relaxes me for the best night’s sleep. If not, I’ll slather on Oto CBD hand cream and hope that it’ll help along with my bedtime hot drink of ashwagandha, CalM magnesium, and minerals.

What do you do if you can’t sleep? 

Pop a melatonin which I stock up on when I’m in the United States and put on a Deepak Chopra meditation.

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