While the Nécessaire co-founder is strict about keeping business out of the bedroom, he let our founder, Cassandra Grey, interview him in his bed in Brentwood.
One of my mentors, a beauty-industry titan from New York, once said, “Cassandra, make sure he knows what he is doing before you get in bed with him.” Meaning, make sure whomever you are thinking of doing business with is someone you can trust.
My job often takes me into people’s bedrooms and bathrooms. This is where I make new friends, some of whom become trusted business partners. Nick Axelrod is one of the people I want to do business with. In his case, it’s the business of bedside and bathroom essentials—or, rather, necessities. This seems appropriate given that Nick and his co-founder, Randi Christiansen, named their new clean personal care collection Nécessaire.
I was first introduced to Nick by our mutual friend and venture capitalist Nick Brown, who is one of those guys who only connects people he thinks should be in business together. After several corner booth meetings with Nick and Randi, I was convinced they were about to disrupt the personal care market—and I wanted in. VIOLET GREY Beauty Director Jayme and I fast-tracked the product through The Violet Code process and asked a dozen committee members to test the body wash, the body lotion, and the sex gel (modern-day lubricant), and they unanimously approved the entire line. In celebration of the launch, I found myself literally and figuratively in bed with Nick, upgrading his bedside table game for this week’s Violet Vanities file. I felt it was important that his bedside table reflect the personal care mogul he is about to become. With the exception of Nécessaire Sex Gel—which is not only incredibly effective but also aesthetically pleasing—Nick isn’t confident that he has all the right products in his nighttime routine. “Maybe it’s the journalist in me,” he says, “but I’m always searching for the next best thing.”
Nick reveals the secret to clean sheets and his obsession with sleep hygiene.
V.G.: OKAY, SO A LITTLE ABOUT YOU BEFORE WE GET DOWN TO THE BUSINESS OF WHAT PRODUCTS NEED TO BE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE. I KNOW YOU AS THE CO-FOUNDER OF INTO THE GLOSS. THAT’S A REALLY BIG DEAL. HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
N.A.: When Emily [Weiss] launched Into The Gloss, we - as friends do - were talking about it all the time. At some point, I presented the idea and said, “Why don’t I leave my job at ELLE, and we can build this platform into something really big?” And we did. I was there for two years as a co-founder and editorial director.
V.G.: THEN YOU MOVED TO CALIFORNIA?
N.A.: First I spent a few years in New York freelancing and basically having coffee with every single person I knew in order to generate ideas. I never had a plan of attack for my career. I’ve never thought, Okay, I’m going to go to this school and then work at this company for two years. I never really thought about it in terms of steps. I’ve always had this confidence in my ability to meet new people, give ideas away, get ideas in return, and hope something will gel.
V.G.: WELL, WE ARE HAPPY ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WAS RANDI AND WE NO LONGER HAVE TO HIDE OUR LUBRICANT. WHY DID YOU SET OUT TO MAKE THE PERFECT LUBE?
N.A.: My sheets are too nice to be stained by silicone-based lubricants. That is one of the problems we solved with Nécessaire; the Sex Gel will not stain your sheets. Also, it performs and it looks cool on your bedside.
V.G.: LIKE, COOL ENOUGH TO INSTAGRAM, AND YOUR SHEETS WILL STAY NICE. WHAT SORT OF SHEETS DO YOU HAVE?
N.A.: Restoration Hardware by Matteo.
V.G.: OKAY, LET’S FIGURE OUT WHAT WE NEED TO ADD TO YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE. WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT STAPLES?
N.A.: I like to light a candle about half an hour before bed to perfume the room. There’s something soothing about having a low flame in your sleep space.
I wouldn’t say I use the Sex Gel every day, but maybe a few times a week. Particularly with the Sex Gel, Randi and I really wanted to create a product that you could keep out instead of hiding at the back of a drawer. It’s designed for moisture, glide, and pleasure, and it’s great for solo or duo, or duo plus play. It’s pH optimized for internal use and it’s FDA approved, which was important to us. Generally, a product that can bring you or your partner pleasure is great as an everyday essential.
Also, I love Beboe CBD. They have a CBD vape pen, which isn’t psychoactive but is good for winding down and relieving stress. I tend to use it on the weekends.
V.G.: TAKE US THROUGH YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE ROUTINE.
N.A.: I’ll read or watch TV outside the bedroom. I go into the bedroom when I’m ready to go to bed. It’s a very considerate action. I tend to light a candle, and my boyfriend and I will talk about our day and what we have tomorrow. Then I’ll yell at Alexa to wake me up at 5:30 a.m. so I can go to the gym. And then it’s bedtime. I’m obsessed with sleep hygiene, which is why there is no TV in my room. Sleep hygiene is about getting, preserving, and protecting the best sleep possible. I turn off any extra heat at night. The optimal temperature for sleep in 68°F. You’re also supposed to sleep in total darkness, which I’m not as good about because I don’t sleep with an eye mask, but I should do it to preserve my internal rhythms. It’s about winding down for the night in your sleep space and using your bed for only sleep and sex.
V.G.: DO YOU HAVE ANY NONBEAUTY BEDTIME RITUALS?
N.A.: If I’m having trouble going to bed, I find repeating a mantra—this sounds so LA—really valuable for clearing my head. My mom always told me that everything is better in the morning. That’s sort of how I live my life. If you’re having a shitty day or night, go to bed. You’re not going to solve anything between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Also, every night I try to do a body scan in bed. I start with my feet and my toes and release tension in every part of my body.
V.G.: WHO IS THE LAST PERSON YOU SPEAK TO BEFORE GOING TO BED?
N.A.: The last person I speak to is Casey, my boyfriend.
My sheets are too nice to be stained by silicone-based lubricants.
One of the exceptional products in the Nécessaire lineup, the Sex Gel, is a water-based personal lubricant treatment for moisture, glide, and pleasure. Just apply the desired amount wherever you wish to lubricate.
Thirty minutes before bed, Nick likes to set the mood with a candle. The Byredo Bibliotheque scent contains notes of soft peach, plum, peony, violet, smoky leather, dusky patchouli, and warm vanilla, and it recalls the hushed, book-filled rooms of an antiquated library.
Just like Nécessaire, the chic Chanel Hand Cream should not hide in a drawer. Aside from looking great on your bedside, the formula—blended with may rose wax and iris padilla extract—moisturizes, smooths, and brightens skin. Plus, Nick is obsessed with washing his hands and keeping them hydrated throughout the day.
LA is dry, so it never hurts to keep an allover healing antidote within reach to combat irritated skin. The combination of shea butter, jojoba, evening primrose, St. John’s wort, and chamomile moisturizes, soothes, and repairs.
This roller helps promote lymphatic drainage, enhances natural bone structure, and increases the penetration of skincare products. Although Nick believes in sleep hygiene (no TV, no books, just a serene space), he can use this roller to lift and sculpt his cheekbones and massage himself before bed.