When the world outside feels turbulent, the comforts of home feel especially important. For me, any semblance of calm and structure I can initiate always starts with a morning routine. There is something about the act of repetition in these simple AM rituals that offers refuge from the storm, not to mention much-needed respite. Everyone has their own practice that sets them up for success and while it’s completely individual, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit our voyeuristic nature is always seeking out the AM habits of people we admire. Case in point, Agatha Relota Luczo‘s morning routine. When the founder and chief creative of Furtuna Skin told us she starts her day with a shot of extra virgin olive oil, we were immediately intrigued.
Keen to know more, we spent the morning at her home in San Francisco where we also delved into her former career as a model in the late-90s working for Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jeremy Scott (who her company just collaborated with!), and how a 300-hectare organic farm outside Corleone, Sicily inspired a skincare line that has transformed the industry.
You started your career in the late-90s working with brands such as Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jeremy Scott. How has that career served you now in your role as a business owner?
I think my favorite part of my modeling journey was working with so many incredibly talented people from photographers to fashion designers, to makeup artists and hairstylists. Being on set was always so inspiring and it still influences me to this day—all of the magic that happened on set will always be a part of my life. Being around makeup artists I learned a lot about products and skincare which helped to shape my skincare routine along with my creative side which has influenced the products, and the look and feel of Furtuna Skin.
You split your time between the home you share with your husband, Steve, and four children in Atherton, California, and your farm in Sicily which was the inspiration behind Furtuna Skin. Can you tell us the backstory of this heavenly farm, how you came to live there, the heritage olive trees that fill the property, and how it inspired your foray into skincare?
My husband had promised his grandmother that he’d find the land that once belonged to her family and bring it back into the family. So, we went on that mission and when we found the acre of land where she grew up, we bought it along with over 700 acres that surrounded it. We transformed the land into a magical farm which we named La Furtuna Estate. The farm is a special place. When you’re there you can feel how much the land wants to give. It hasn’t been cultivated in over 400 years and all 700 acres are certified organic, watered by natural spring water. Dr. Marino, who is the resident botanist on the farm, discovered over 80 medicinal plants and over 500 different botanical flowers and plants on the farm. He also discovered an almost extinct Olive Tree species called Biancolilla Centinara, which we brought back from extinction and planted 4,000 of them on our Estate. My co-founder, Kim Walls, was like a kid in a candy store when she saw the list of all the wildly potent botanicals we had on the farm and the amazing olive oil we produce. From the moment Kim and I met, we knew we could create something great, and thus, Furtuna Skin was born.
Most people might not know that you also have a food company called Bona Furtuna that has olive oil, pasta sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Why did you launch food alongside skincare?
Food plays a big role in our family’s life and my husband’s Italian heritage. My husband and I started Bona Furtuna about seven years ago. Our olive oil is so special because it’s completely organic starting from the water source that feeds the trees, and we have control of the whole process from picking the olives, pressing them, bottling the oil right there on the farm. Some of the cultivars of olive trees are only found on our farm. We’re able to provide people with some of the most delicious and fresh pastas, oils, herbs, and vinaigrettes—you name it.
One of the things I love most about Bona Furtuna is that proceeds from the products fund scholarships for local students who are unable to afford school tuition and everything we do have future generations in mind to preserve the local heritage and culture. As a member of 1% For the Planet, we have pledged to contribute 1% of all sales to the preservation and restoration of the environment.
Now, let’s get into your morning routine… What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up, stretch, use my Furtuna Skin Transformation Set, and have a shot of olive oil and a warm cup of water with lemon. This improves the functioning of the digestive system: stimulates intestinal transit, promotes the absorption of nutrients, and reinforces its anti-inflammatory properties. There are so many benefits of high-grade EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) for gut health. Then I spend time with our children and get them ready for school and the day.
Once they’re off I’m able to get into my own morning routine: I answer emails, connect with our team, and flesh out everything on my to-do list for the brands. I also make sure to find some time throughout the day to squeeze in a workout, especially before the kids are back home from school. At night, we always have a family dinner and enjoy some quality time before putting the kids to bed. We love doing gratitude journals together and I’ve found that it deepens the conversations we’re able to have together. Since I value sleep so much for optimal health, the kiddos go to bed early. Once they’re tucked in I usually spend time with my husband, read, and just get ready for a good night’s sleep.
What time is your wake-up call? And how much sleep do you usually get?
I’m usually up at 6 am and I try to get eight hours of sleep every night. Sleep is very important to your overall health and the health of your skin.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I stretch! In the mornings, I stay off my phone, and focus on my body, easing into the day ahead. For me, Lauren Roxburgh’s Aligned Life has been a blessing. I bring my mini roller with me everywhere and always find time to stretch and sweat. I love anything that promotes long, lean lines. I’m not a huge fan of intense cardio.
What rituals set you up for success?
Practicing gratitude and focusing on positivity are important aspects of my life. I like to hold a dance party with my kids most days to elevate their mood, release pent-up energy, and get them moving, all of which improves their immune systems and spreads joy. Other rituals that set me up for success are stretching, and my shot of olive oil with a cup of warm water and lemon.
How has your morning routine changed since covid?
My morning routine hasn’t changed but the rest of my day has, because my kids are attending school remotely and I have to help them with that. I use my phone to set alarms for all of their different class changes, breaks, and for my own meetings. It’s practically going off non-stop. When we created Furtuna Skin with our team, we decided that working from home is the future of business for flexibility purposes. We’ve been home since its inception, so we didn’t have to shift as much as others did during quarantine. That said, the four kiddos at home was a major change as it was for every family taking on the care and education of their little ones but I wouldn’t give back that time with them for the entire world.
Describe your morning beauty routine from start to finish.
Skincare is a form of wellness for me and I’ve always had a special place in my heart for clean beauty. I use our Transformation Set every single day—it’s my full routine in three simple steps. I use the Micellar Essence for cleansing and toning (super important!), the Face and Eye serum for an instant glow, and the Biphase Oil for the ultimate dose of hydration. My skin feels so fresh and rejuvenated after using these three products. I’m a big believer that quality over quantity is important. That’s why I appreciate dual-use products. It’s also really important for me to teach my babies about overall wellbeing. I believe it’s important to teach healthy habits early in life through rituals, so you can always find them with me during my self-care times.
I was introduced to Leonor Greyl haircare when I was modeling in France and I’ve never looked back. It’s a complete hair transformation and I’m completely addicted to using all of their products. If I have meetings or need to run errands, I grab my Westman Atelier Foundation and Lit Up Stick. My go-to trick is to add a few drops of the Furtuna Skin biphase oil into my foundation for an extra glow.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I really enjoy having green juice in the morning and a coffee. For food, I typically have an egg dish so maybe some eggs with avocado or a side of vegetables. Gut health is skin health and I really like to get my protein in at breakfast. Some days I have oatmeal with some berries. I like to keep fresh, organic fruits and vegetables handy so they’re easily accessible to snack on.
What are your morning media rituals?
I try not to spend too much time on the phone or engaging with media before 9 am and try to stay as focused and present with our family as possible during the morning. I will catch up on the news throughout the day.
What do you always have on your nightstand to ensure a smooth, successful night?
I have our Bambini Furtuna Dreamy Hush Time because it helps me calm down before going to bed at night. I will take some deep breaths of the Bergamot, Blue Skullcap, Chamomile, St. John’s Wort, and more to promote peaceful and restorative sleep. The kids can’t go to sleep without it and now I can’t either!
What’s your favorite getting-ready soundtrack?
Something fun! I love dancing so anything that gets my mood up! I love good Italian and French music as well. Anything from Angele, Clara Luciani, Laura Pausini, and, of course, the great classics from Jackson Brown and Beatles. I love a wide range of music.
Do you work out in the morning? If so, what do you do, and for how long?
What’s your daily uniform?
Usually, a blazer and jeans are my go-to outfit, but during quarantine that obviously changed. However, I always tried to keep my tops professional because of all the video calls.
If you had one extra hour every morning, how would you use it?
I would probably use it to read more, work out, and just spend more time with our babies!
What are one or two things you do every day to live a more present, mindful, joyful life?
I love to practice gratitude with our family and take a moment and dance with our kids! Ballroom Dancing is a passion of mine and it really helps me destress.
If you could pin your success down to one thing or one moment, what would that be?
Staying grounded has helped me in my modeling career, my current role with Furtuna Skin, and as a wife and mother.
I never leave the house without… Furtuna Skin Replenishing Balm.
If there were more hours in the day, I would… ballroom sance more with our family!
Healthiest morning habit… a shot of olive oil.
Worst morning habit… I’m rather disciplined about my morning routine, so I think I have that handled.
One thing I want to be known for is… helping people live a better life.
The one thing I fear the most is… something bad happening to someone I love.
When I feel that fear… I pray.
The book I always recommend is… How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
The 3 traits you need to succeed in life are… kindness, discipline, determination.