As she launches her first make-up collection with Smashbox, we speak to founder and Bruja Bri Luna about her beauty rituals
Have any conversation with a witch today about where they go for their magical inspiration and they’re more than likely going to namedrop The Hoodwitch. The site for “everyday magick for the modern mystic,” The Hoodwitch offers free meditations, rituals and horoscopes alongside a carefully curated selection of crystals, herbal smudges, books, and tarot cards for everyone from beginners to full-on occultists. Bri Luna, a seasoned Bruja, and the founder and Creative Director of the site started her online destination for all things mystical over five years ago and has since grown it into a company that operates both URL and IRL.
Raised in LA, Luna credits both her maternal and paternal grandmothers’ rich spiritual traditions – the former being from the south, and the latter from Mexico – for her interest in the occult, though she didn’t quite realise it at the time. “Watching my grandmothers in their personal spiritual practices definitely played into my subconscious,” Luna says. “They had so much knowledge and understanding of healing, always working with plants and making their own dressing, candles and anointing oils. As a kid growing up and as a young adult I thought they were superstitious and old fashioned. Now as an adult, I realise I really took their wisdom, not for granted… but you don’t realise you have this abundance of information right at your hands.” By the age of 10, Luna claimed the title of witch for herself, aptly casting a spell that didn’t work on a boy she had a crush on named Joey. Whilst she was in junior high, she spent her free time trying to get her hands on anything occult or esoteric, but it was never quite what she was looking for. “Throughout my own spiritual search, the books that were available to me were Eurocentric Pagan practices, Wicca, stuff like that, so there wasn't a lot of material that was accessible that really touched on my cultural identification. I wasn’t looking to my own culture, to my grandmothers, who were right there.”
The Hoodwitch was in many ways, a means for Luna to remedy this one-sided display of what witchcraft could look like. The platform became a resource through which Luna could share information about the metaphysical and the occult that felt both real and relatable, a place where you could buy her carefully curated, ethically sourced selection of crystals and books. More than anything, Luna wanted to create a space that felt inclusive. “Prior to The Hoodwitch, online everything was white, Wiccan, very Tumblr witch. It was old school pagan, and that isn’t who I am,” Luna explains. “I wanted to find a way to creatively express myself through what I call visual storytelling. I love art, I love contemporary art. I wanted to showcase artwork and people who are aligned with my vision. I wanted to recognize other women who were walking this magical path, so I started doing the “goddess of the week” series and then we had our private community so it just kept building and growing. I think the site has had such trajectory and such a huge momentum because whether or not people like to admit it, prior to me launching The Hoodwitch and merging fashion, beauty, witchcraft, and art and all of these things and being a woman of colour; that wasn't out there. It wasn’t a thing.”
Since its inception, The Hoodwitch has grown massively and now boasts an Instagram following of over 400K. Luna has collaborated with brands like Almay, Refinery29 and Broadly, making occultism, witchcraft and magick accessible for a new era of witches. While those before had to dig through books that laid out rituals and spells as the “right way,” The Hoodwitch offers a path that lets the practitioner lead the way. This isn’t one size fits all witchcraft, it’s not specifically anything. “I wanted a space where people can learn and feel welcome no matter what their practice or level is, a place for them to jump off of. I want people to embrace their own journey and start their own thing, and that’s happened. It’s been crazy,” Luna reflects.
And now The Hoodwitch is making her first move into the world of beauty with a collaboration with Smashbox Cosmetics. Two years ago, the global beauty brand slipped into Luna’s DMs, approaching her about a collaboration inspired by the beauty and magick of gems and minerals. After countless meetings, jetting back and forth between LA and NYC, the Crystalized Collection has finally been revealed to comprise 15 exquisitely crafted products including lipgloss, liquid eyeshadow and shimmer drops, all based around the transformative power of crystals. “It was a real collaboration, everything from the design to the marketing ads to the colours to the textures to the smells,” says Luna. There’s a highlighter infused with crystals, which comes in a gold case laid with vibrant jewels on the lid; liquid eyeshadows inspired by crystals like Lapis Lazuli, known to harness creativity and self-awareness, and Rhodonite, which has powerful heart opening qualities; crystalised primer; shimmer drops; waters infused with potent ingredients like clary and jasmine and rose.
Recently we have seen a widespread co-option of witchcraft by the beauty industry. It was only recently that Sephora and Pinrose received immense backlash for its pastel-hued Starter Witch Kit, which included a tarot deck, some scented oils, a white sage smudge stick and a lump of rose quartz. Social media was alight with calls of cultural appropriation, denouncing the kit a reduction of a diverse tradition into a basic capitalist commodity. Luna assures me that her collection couldn’t be more different. “The difference between the “Witch Kit” and the Crystalized Collection is that I’m an actual practising witch, who respects people's practice,” she explains. "With the Crystalized Collection, it’s not about appropriating any spiritual practice, it’s inspired by nature, by gems and minerals.”
And while this collection is by witches, for witches, it’s also for anyone who loves the beauty of gems and minerals. It’s for anyone who appreciates and loves beauty, who loves ritual and who isn’t afraid to embrace themselves. This isn’t shoving magick into someone’s face, it’s inviting them into a different realm and then giving them the key to dive deeper through meditations and rituals if they wish.
Beauty has always been important to Luna. She’s a Taurus Sun, Taurus Moon, Scorpio Rising, after all, which means her penchant for glamour and pushing the boundaries is literally written in the stars. Luna cites her mother as being one of her first beauty icons. She’s also drawn to the heightened glamour of old Hollywood, embodied by women like Eartha Kitt and Josephine Baker. In terms of her own aesthetic, Luna presents a very striking image with long painted nails, lacquered lips, winged eyeliner, big eyelashes, and lots of jewels. “Glamour is one of the oldest and certainly one of the most powerful forms of magic to me,” Luna explains. “The word glamour in itself is powerful, a captivating and illusory spell to have an undefined or unspeakable quality or qualities that lure and/or attracts people into your realm without their understanding of why… This is an art form, knowing yourself, learning how to play up those qualities and embodying that fiercely and unapologetically.”
When it comes to her own beauty rituals, for Luna, setting is everything. The first step is the music, which is instrumental in creating the atmosphere. What she listens to depends on how she’s feeling, sometimes it’s City Girls, sometimes it’s Chelsea Wolfe, sometimes it’s Prince, or Rosalia. Besides the mood, it all comes back to intention. Luna’s rituals change with the seasons. “This Spring, I plan to do lots of rituals around cleansing and releasing,” she says. “We are shedding the layers of winter away, and making room and space for creation, embracing the new. Some ways I do this is by adding beautiful seasonal flowers to my baths and my home and cleaning out my closets. I also use fresh and dried herbs such as rosemary, lavender, chamomile, rose petals, mugwort, and essential oils in jasmine, clary sage, lily of the valley, rose and many other citrus scents to spark creativity and mental clarity.” Fragrance is another way that Luna embraces the energy of glamour. “Our olfactory system is quite magical,” she says, “our brain has this exciting way of taking a scent and associating it to specific memories. Fragrance brings me so much joy and pleasure.”
From make-up to fragrance right down to what she wears, Luna lets her intuition guide her. She embraces her own rituals of glamour and she encourages us all to do the same, to find our own sort of magick that inspires us. How? Set the space, set an intention, and let yourself shine. “Allow yourself to get creative, experiment, turn on some of your favourite music and take your time. Set the tone to really focus on relaxing, or playing up the features you love about yourself,” she says. “That’s the beauty in ritual, finding ways to connect to yourself and your divinity on your own terms. Indulge, play, have with it. There is no right or wrong way to feel beautiful. Whatever makes you feel powerful, sexy and empowered is the perfect beauty ritual for you.”