Self care is something we always talk about, but how often do we truly take the time to do it? in this world we live in, we’re expected to be on and responding all the time. Our worth is defined by our output. And we can sometimes forget we even have a physical form.
What if just the way we adorn our bodies on a daily basis becomes our most radical act of calling back our power?
In this episode I sit down with Ayurvedic skincare expert + founder Lisa Mattam, who’s family is from Kerala, India which is the epicenter of Ayurveda.
We talk about Ayurveda, the Doshas, how to create beauty rituals, what products are best for you, and why the divine femine path to spirituality includes beauty and self care.
This episode will leave you cleaning out your skincare cabinet and grabbing aligned products that beautify your body and soul.
Connect with Lisa and learn more about her Ayurvedic skincare collection, Sahajan, at https://www.instagram.com/sahajanskincare/
Use code SAHARA for 20% off all Sahajan skincare products at https://www.sahajan.com/collections/all-products
Try Betterhelp for 10% off at www.betterhelp.com/sahara
*As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided
Intro + Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor
Order My Books: www.iamsahararose.com/books
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Episode 449: Ayurvedic Beauty Rituals, Skincare + Self-Care with Lisa Mattam
By Sahara Rose
Namaste, it’s Sahara Rose and welcome back to The Highest Self Podcast, a place where we discuss what makes You, Your Soul’s Highest Evolvement.
If it’s your first time listening, welcome! I’m so grateful to be reconnected with you in this lifetime, and if you’re here every week, year after year, yes, let’s get this shit popping!
So, self-care, it’s obviously a term that we’ve all heard but I feel like we talk about it more than we actually do it. And self-care really is a radical act of reclaiming our power, because in this capitalistic world that we are in, we are always pressured to achieve, to produce, to be a value to the machine that wants us to keep giving and giving, and hustling and hustling, and grinding and grinding. And you know, our rap songs, even from the time we were kids, you know, promote that style of living, “I’m a hustler, baby, I’m a hustler!” So, right now, here we are, healing our nervous systems and we’re like “Oh shit, I’ve been hustling my whole life!”
And you know, something as simple as taking a bath is this radical act because it’s reclaiming our power and bringing the focus back on ourselves and what’s important in so many of us, and it’s beautiful to see.
I see on TikTok, a lot of people are talking about slow living again and not being in a rush and trying to be as productive as possible, but instead “How can I enjoy my meals? How can I enjoy my conversations and how can I enjoy my self-care practices?”
So, for those of you who don’t know me, my journey really began with Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga, based on the mind-body connection. And it’s really a science, the word literally means ‘the science of life – Ayurveda’, is an ancient Indian system, and it’s really about attuning to the natural cycles of nature and earth, and seeing those cycles, those seasons within you, and bringing balance to the seasons of yourself with the seasons of the earth.
So, it’s really based off of these three doshas, these three energy types – Vata, which represents the air, the wind energy. So, think qualities of the wind and the air, it’s cold, it’s dry, it’s ever-changing, so if you have, specifically on skincare and haircare, which we’re going to talk about in this Episode, so, if you have a cold body temperature, you have dry skin, eczema patches, dry hair and you tend to get more bloated, gassy, constipated, you have a Vata imbalance, too much air in your system, and that’s the dosha that I’m predominantly the highest in.
What brought me to my Ayurvedic journey is, I had such a bad Vata imbalance, that I couldn’t digest food because I was in so much pain, and I stopped getting my period for over two years because my body went into perimenopause when I was 21 years old. Through Ayurveda, I was able to heal myself.
So, Vata, cold, dry, low hormones, low period, low body temperature, body pressure, everything is kind of like blown out.
Then we have Pitta, which is that fire energy. So, think fire, it’s hot, it’s inflamed, it’s aggressive, it wants to go, go, go. So, we have a lot of this in our society because, think of the energy of New York City, that’s like a Pitta energy right there, it’s just “Okay, what’s next? What’s on the agenda? Keep it moving”, but that fire can erupt into a volcano, and that’s the energy of burnout, which is such a huge, real epidemic that’s happening right now.
So, if you and your skin, you feel a lot of rashes, you’re inflamed, rosacea, redness, just any form of inflammation and irritation, as well as acne. So, if you are someone that struggles with a lot of acne, still maybe have adult acne, this is a sign of a Pitta imbalance. That heat is rising and trying to leave your system, so you’re experiencing a Pitta imbalance.
Now, the final dosha is Kapha, which is the earth energy. So, if you are someone that’s a little bit slower to change, you tend to hold onto emotions, you tend to hold onto energy. So, you might hold onto calories, have a more bigger bone structure, thicker built, you know, your friends can just eat whatever they want and you just look at the food and you feel like you’re gaining weight, that can be a Kapha imbalance. If you have mucus, phlegm, if you’re someone that you know if you eat a little bit of dairy, you’re going to get all this mucus and sinus stuff, that’s Kapha. If your skin tends to actually be more balanced, Kaphas do tend to have the most regulated skin, it’s a little bit thicker, it can be cool and clammy, maybe you have combination skin, that’s a sign of Kapha. So, Kapha tends to get more, just like, congestion in their skin.
So, we really look at these doshas, everything I’ve written, two books about them, “Idiot’s Guide To Ayurveda” which teaches you everything you need to know about the doshas, with nutrition, self-care, yoga, meditation, as well as my book “Eat Feel Fresh”, which is all about Ayurveda and using it in a more modernized, plant-based, alkaline-focused approach because the world has also radically shifted from the earth that we were in 2000, 10.000+ years ago, even 50 years ago. The earth has shifted, so it looks at Ayurveda from this lens of seeing our ecosystem today and how it’s shifted. So, those are great places to start.
Now, in this Episode, I’m really excited because I actually get to ask a lot of skincare questions to someone who is an Ayurvedic skincare expert.
So, her family is from Kerala, India, which she shares with us, is really like the epicenter of Ayurveda around the world, and she shares with us why that is. And it has such a special place in my heart because I started going there on my own when I was 23 years old and it was a big place of spiritual awakening for me, because I was completely by myself, I did not know a soul there and I would just be on this, walking through the plantations and a house book, and just thinking about my life. So, that was a huge turning point for me and I actually went back to shoot the photography of my book “Eat Feel Fresh” in Kerala.
So, her family and her lineage is from there, so she speaks about that experience, growing up with just, they didn’t call it Ayurveda because it was just their way of life. And then, I also ask her a lot of questions about skincare, haircare, that we think about today because she also has a pharmaceutical background, so she combines modern, western medical background with this ancient more intuitive, Ayurvedic background. So, I ask her questions around “What do you suggest around hyperpigmentation? What are your thoughts on SPF? What are your thoughts on hair loss?”, and all these different questions that, you know, frankly I’m asking for myself, but I also ask things that were not so relevant to me and it was really great to hear her answers, and just to really give ourselves that time and attention.
I feel like, so often, we’re doing whatever skincare we’ve been doing since we were teenagers, we actually talk about how, so often, those things that we are marketed as teenagers, like the Clean&Clear commercial were so toxic, and we were just like “How are we doing that?”
And it’s surprising because you see a lot of people, what they have in their make-up bag or self-care products are just what they’re used to, and that’s just what they buy, and you just don’t have time to think about anything else, so sometimes you need to look at “Okay, what am I putting on my skin on a daily basis? Because I could be eating the cleanest diet but putting chemicals on my face all the time and that’s still going into my blood stream and producing toxicity”.
So, I’ve switched, years ago, to a completely clean skincare, haircare, which has been so helpful for me. I really, barely do anything to my face, I feel like the less I do it, the better it is. So, I never use any kind of soap, most of the time I just wash my face with water, to be honest, unless I’m wearing make-up, then I’ll use an oil-based cleanser.
We talk about oil-based cleansers, we talk about hair, I only wash my hair once a week, max, because I want the natural oils in my hair to remain in my scalp. And sometimes, I’ll go longer than 10 days, to be honest, some people ask me “Well, doesn’t your hair get really oily?”, and the answer is no, because my hair is used to it now.
And the way that I started this was, I mean, probably when I was in high school, I would wash my hair every day because that’s just what you thought you were supposed to do. But then I started to go every two days, every three days, every four days, and I just let that timespan continue to increase, that now, my hair really doesn’t get oily, I really never have greasy hair. I will also say I tend to be more on the dry side of things, but for me, washing my hair just dries my hair out, that I want to do it as little as possible.
So, we talk about different hair masks you can do, I share other tips that I do for hair growth. And this is just such a beautiful conversation because the divine feminine path to spirituality really is the path of beauty and self-care, and we speak about how that’s so missing, especially in our postpartum world, and how to bring more of that beauty and ritual and intuition and self-care back into our lives.
So, this is an amazing conversation for you to just feel nourished and you’re going to walk away from it, definitely, wanting to change up your skincare, for sure, and just give yourself that self-love that you deserve.
So, without further ado, let’s welcome Lisa, to The Highest Self Podcast.
And before we get into this week’s Episode, I am so excited to share that I am offering a free sample class from the Dharma Coaching Institute curriculum, especially for those of you who are interested, you’re curious, but you want to get a little micro dose of the experience, and this is our Masterclass, all about the Energetics of Sales.
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I dive into reframing what making an offer really is about, which is actually making an offering, and allow you to see that a lot of the limiting beliefs that we have around sales comes from the fact that most sales in the past have been around things that we don’t actually need. Think a used car, which actually is a lemon, but when we are offering our gift as a coach, we are helping someone step into the highest version of themselves, which truly is the greatest offering that we can do, so we don’t need to have that same shame or weirdness around it, but we can actually see it for the gift that it is.
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[11:14] End of Advertisement
Welcome Lisa, to The Highest Self Podcast, it’s so great to have you here.
Thank you so much, I’m so glad to be here!
The first question I’d love to ask you is, what makes you your highest self?
Oh, gosh, you’re starting with the big guns! What makes me my highest self? This is going to sound a bit, so, I’ll explain it because it might sound a little cheesy or trite, but it’s when I’m in flow. I think that, far too often, I’m a Pitta, I am a fire energy, I like to be on the go, but the hard part of that is that it’s constantly what’s next, what can I achieve, what should I be doing, what isn’t enough? Or just thinking, overthinking.
And what I’ve really realized is, if I spend my time in flow, and even in, sometimes in the wellness world, we get into “I should have a better morning routine” or “I should get up at 5” or “I shouldn’t watch Netflix”. Being in flow, to me, is letting go of all the shoulds, is giving up all the judgment, is giving up all the pressure that I put on myself, and just giving myself the opportunity to live. And that’s when I’m at my highest self.
I completely agree with you! In fact, yesterday, I went to this water therapy called Watsu, have you heard of this before?
No, tell me.
So, basically, you lie down in the water, like you’re floating, they put down these little floaties on your legs and someone is just swaying you in the water, so you have to completely let go of control and really be in the embodiment of trust and surrender, otherwise you’re going to be kind of splashing. And it really is such a powerful practice of just trust and release, that in our society, we all kind of become Pitta imbalanced. And when I say Pitta, people don’t know, it’s like excess fire energy, because our nervous systems are hyper-aroused and we feel like if we’re constantly not doing and responding and staying on top of things, we’re going to fall behind. If we don’t fall behind, we’ll lose our jobs; if we lose our jobs, we won’t be safe. So, having those practices that we can literally be in flow and using the energy of the water, to me, I was like “Wow, I don’t have any practice in my life that I’m completely trusting and surrendering”, so even just one hour of having that embodied experience for the rest of day, I lost that desire to be like “Okay, what’s next?”, because my body was just in a different vibration, that I was just like “I’m just going to be and flow and receive”, and maybe creativity comes through, maybe it doesn’t, but not doing it for the sake of “Oh, I’m going to chill so then I come up with a better idea”, but just doing it for the sake of “You’re a human being”.
Absolutely. And I think we do that all the time with our routines, “I need to get up and I need to journal for 10 minutes and then I need to meditate for 10 minutes, and then I need to do this”, and doing it for 20 days and saying “Well, I’m not better” or “I haven’t accomplished”. But you know, we forget that the reason for all these practices is to let us in our being.
And I had a similar experience, I went to see an Ayurvedic practitioner, who focused on esthetics. And so, she did a shirodhara, which is an Ayurvedic hair oil massage, she gave me a facial. And at the very beginning, I don’t know what I must have been doing, I don’t know, my shoulders were our, my ears, I have no idea, but she said to me “It’s okay, you need to trust the bed, the bed has you”, and I actually felt my shoulders fall and I had the same experience when it was over.
Often times, I’m ready for the next move or ready for the next action, or if I’m in an environment like that, like, is there a pool and all I just thought was I’m just going to sit and I’m going to enjoy feeling this surrender. Yeah, there’s something peaceful to that.
Yeah, I feel the same with the shoulders going up, it’s almost like you’re bracing yourself for something to happen, it’s your body’s protection mechanism, that I notice when I just become aware, and anyone listening to this right now, just be aware of your shoulders and let them drop, and there’s just so much more space there that we don’t allow ourselves to have because we’re bracing for the next thing.
And you know, back in the day, we were bracing from a lion or an incoming hurricane, but right now, it’s from emails and social media posts, and all these things that are constant. So, I think just being in that embodied experience, and that’s why Ayurveda and self-care are so important, because it really reclaims your power. All of the ways that we give up our power to the outside world, which is what makes us become shells of ourselves, it’s like “No, I’m not only worthy of receiving, but who I am is nature, so of course, I’m going to give back!” So, I’m super excited to talk to you about your family, being from Kerala, India, which is just one of my favorite places on earth. I actually shot a lot of the photography for “Eat Feel Fresh” in Kerala. I went to Somatheeram, the first ever Panchakarma center in Kerala, so I’m very excited.
So, can you share with me a little bit about your background, your family, and for people who’ve never heard of Kerala, India, how this really is the motherland of Ayurveda?
Yes, absolutely! So, this is more of a history lesson than anyone wants to learn, but basically, when the British came to India, and there was this real interest by the British to really minimalize, or even rid, the country of a traditional medicine. And so, what happened was, Ayurveda went underground, is the best way to describe it, and in doing so, it went to the farthest south of the country, which is Kerala. And Kerala, if you’ve never been to India, but you can imagine it sort of being like a triangle with the bottom tip. Kerala is the southern-most state and it’s along the Malabar Coast, and it is this most beautiful state, it’s lush, it’s green, and it remained relatively untouched by the British, compared to the rest of India. And so, Ayurveda transmitted there, and now, as you say, when we think about Ayurvedic study, or when we think about going on an Ayurvedic retreat – I meet a Vogue beauty editor who said to me “I’m going on an Ayurvedic retreat”, and I didn’t even have to look, I swear, and she told me and I said “You’re going to Kerala!”
And so, that is where my parents are from, that is where my grandparents, generations of my family have lived their lives, and I continue to have so much family there, and we have a family home there, and my parents grew up on these beautiful plantations, for lack of a better word, it’s a rich, beautiful place. And so, for my parents, they didn’t say the word Ayurveda when I was growing up in Toronto, Canada, they just made it life. And for them, I even think was so much of life, because whatever the ailment, whatever the struggle or whatever the proactive measure around your health, you looked to what was in the kitchen, from your spices in your food, and you looked to what was in the garden. And those practices, I can remember throughout my life, I remember being 7 and going to India, and getting very sick, because I always got really sick and my cousins always said I have this horrible constitution or something, but every time I traveled to India, I would get sick, that’s my first memory of seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner. But also, I remember my cousin, and I was at another day feeling really sick and he took a nutmeg and he told me to bite it, and he said that will make the feelings of nausea subside, and he was right. But what was also amazing about it was, I think I made a face when I was doing it and he said something like “You’ve got to respect the process, this isn’t western medicine, it’s not going to come to you in a pill and you’re not going to taste it, you have to respect the process”.
So, this is generations of my family really enjoying these practices and celebrating these practices and using them, from everything from an upset stomach to a rash, to acne, to hair, it was something that was practiced widely. And so, for me, being the daughter immigrants, being first generation, my parents, I sought, through their lens, growing up in Toronto, they would, if my first acne was met with a little turmeric paste when I would fall on the floor as a kid and cut myself, they would make this little dough and it would have turmeric in it. We would make face masks with eggs and yoghurt, there was always things that they were doing. And again, we didn’t use the word Ayurveda, it was just the way that we did things. But it was very intuitive to them, and then it became intuitive to me.
And I think what’s important about that is that it becomes, not only, you know, I look at Ayurveda and I look, particularly, at the beauty practices because that’s the world that I live in, but those ingredients are time-tested and are high-performing, and I know that to be true. But when you know, in your heart and in your intuition, that they are this incredible gateway into wellness and to beauty, it just, many years later, after all of my life of being in the corporate world, studying and doing all these things, I just had to go back to it, I had to go back to where it started.
And it really is so intwined with our spiritual practice because, as we become more conscious, we become more conscientious around “What am I putting in my body?”
So many of us, as kids, every time we had a slight sore throat, antibiotics, we ate junk food. I remember my mom would make this Persian stew and I was so embarrassed from it that I wanted to eat lunchables because she couldn’t mess that up, so that led to me being overweight and having asthma and so many different things. So, our food, but then also our skincare, I remember in middle school seeing those commercials for those acne cleansers that had those little dots in it, like these little plastic dots, and I was like “I need that!”
I love that! I remember I bought a cleanser and it would be so drying, I used to think that’s what made it worse. You would see it on TV and it would suck every element of moisture out of your skin and I’d be like “This is it”, or you’d buy the ones with all the grains, it felt like you’re taking sand from sandpaper and put it all over your face.
There were Acu-V commercials on teenage shows and I’m like “I need Acu-V”, and that’s like a prescription medication.
I know, it’s very complicated to navigate it as a kid, to navigate it, as you say, when you talk about your Persians too, I was the same. I remember begging my parents for Shapewear, I don’t know if they still sell that, at the store.
They had great commercials.
Yeah. I remember having a sleepover, it was my first time having a sleepover and I said to my dad “Don’t do any of your weird stuff in the morning, no meditation, no lighting candles, just make pancakes, like everybody else’s dad does”, and now, I go there and I’m like “Will you meditate with me? Will you teach me this?” And so, it is really full circle, the way that we do these things. And it’s amazing, again, when you think about the things we were exposed to or we strived towards because we saw them on tv and we thought that they were right, that we can come back to this place where, what we saw and experienced at home, was actually more better for us.
And I feel like our skincare products, beauty products, homecare products, are sometimes some of the last things that change, because you might change “Okay, I’m going to stop eating junk food”, and you eat healthier, but then you might not realize your synthetic Febreze that you’re putting all over the place, or the Yankee candles that you’re lighting, or your secret deodorant, or whatever, Cetaphil Cleanser, not those brands specifically, I’m not trying to name you guys, I’m just thinking of the most common things that you’re just so used to, that you’ve been doing it for 20 years, and you’re like “Wait, that means to change too?”
So, specifically on skincare, I feel like a lot of people are still using really, like, harsh soaps, because they’re afraid, because we’ve been trained, if you’re not scrubbing your skin clean every single night, you’re going to have this huge build-up of oil and it’s going to turn into acne and blackheads, so you need to have a three-step, really intense, synthetic cleansing process. So, how can we start to look at cleansing our skin through a different lens, especially with Ayurveda, using more oils?
Yes, so, I’m happy to talk about this! And for starters, that was exactly what sent me on this path. I came home one day, so, I have two children, but at the time, I was pregnant with my second, and my daughter, she was home with the babysitter while I was working, and she got into my skincare, she had it all over her face, her arms, everywhere, super thick, the way the kids like to play with things, and I remember looking up at her at the top of the stairs, having so many emotions, thinking like “Oh my gosh, you’re so cute”, thinking “Oh my gosh, it’s like a million dollars on your face, that you’ve used”, but also being immediately concerned about what the chemicals from my skincare would do to her face, because everything I bought at the time, with anti-wrinkle or anti-fatigue, or turn back the hands of time, and I just said to her “Look, if these are the things” these are the things that you want to play with, it makes sense that she would want to play, this is what you play with” and I took her by her hand and I took her to her room, and there were all these bottles of oils and stuff my parents had brought back from Kerala, and I said “If this is what you want to play with, this is what you should play with”. And in that moment, I thought to myself “Oh my gosh, if my skincare isn’t good enough for her, then it certainly isn’t good enough for me”. And like you, why had it taken me so long to get here on my journey? Because I think of myself along this, sort of, wellness journey, you know, I started practicing yoga young, but I do love my junk food sometimes, there’s all these things, so I would never claim that I’m the perfection of anything. But I’ve been on this journey and I thought “Why did it take me so long to get here with my skincare and with my beauty products?” And I think it’s because when we buy beauty, much like you said, all we care about are the results, we want it to be anti-fatigue or anti-acne or anti-redness, and that’s all we care about. First, we spend time thinking about what else is in it. And Ayurveda teaches us that 1) those challenges are often the result of imbalances, and so, what we need to do is 1) start from within, so, yes, I have a skincare brand and yes, I believe in the beautiful products. And I come from pharmaceuticals, so it’s really important to me that I approve that these Ayurvedic products work. So, when we have clinicals against them, but 1) Ayurveda teaches us that we have to start from within. So, understanding if you’re dealing with acne or redness, where does that come from? Because those are symptoms of other things, redness is inflammatory, we talked earlier about Pitta, if you have so much fire in your body, you’re going to feel hot, you may get reflux, you may get indigestion, and then you’re going to get redness on the face, so you want to start with that.
And then, when we think of products that are going to keep you in balance and products that are immediately going to do that, then you want to start looking, Ayurveda has a gorgeous Armamentarium of ingredients that really can help your skin.
And then, when we think of cleansing, which I know is your original question, Ayurveda has long since believed that there’s no greater act of self-care than anointing oneself with oils from head to toe, but cleansing with oil, which you can now find at Sephora, at Ulta, you name it, wherever, has been happening in Ayurveda, since forever. And so, the beauty of cleansing with oil, and this is just now getting into the technicalities, and especially for anybody who wears make-up is, like dissolved likes. The moment you start cleansing your skin with oils, if you have make-up or any of those things, it almost instantly lifts those things, and interestingly, oil is one of the only things that can break SPF. But what’s beautiful about oil, and depending on the cleansing oil that you use and regardless if you have a factor, it’s not going to leave your skin beaty, but it’s going to leave your skin cleansed, but hydrated and kind of with a sort of glow, which is essentially what the goal is. The goal is not “You look tired, you need to fix this, you look like this, you need to fix this, you have wrinkles, you need to fix this”, the goal is “You’re gorgeous, we just want to nurture that inner and outer glow”. And so, starting with an oil cleanse, I can tell you the moment I started cleansing with oil, I can’t go back, because, from a very functional perspective, I do wear make-up, so it’s going to remove my make-up, so my SPF, I can put it right into my eyelashes until they feel like hair again, and then from a more, taking care of my skin, it leaves your skin cleansed, if you use moringa, which is what we use in our cleansing oil, moringa is also – so, moringa is a green, leafy plant, they cook with it in Ayurveda, my parents cooked with it in our food, they often put moringa leaves into lentil dishes and to different dishes, but moringa is also a proven anti-pollutant. So, it’s proven by clinicals, so this is not me talking about Ayurveda. But in Ayurveda, historically, it was always used on the skin because it was known for its cleansing ability and its, sort of, ability to sparken your glow. And so, moringa, in developing countries, they put the seeds of moringa into dirty water, so that it can pull the toxins out of the water and people can drink it. So, now you’ve got a really powerful ingredient in a beautiful cleansing oil, that you’re putting it on the skin, it’s going to pull out toxins, it’s going to help get your skin in balance, but it’s not going to do what the old scrub or the old – and I was about to start thinking about the brands too, but the old Clean&Clear, which I was obsessed with, and no shade on those brands at all, but more, we had this very traditional feel, none of that needs to happen. And you can get your best skin, and we have people who’ve said to us “I’ve changed nothing else, but now I cleanse with your cleansing oil and the difference on my skin”, and even for people who have acne-prone skin, they’re like “Really? I should use oil on oily skin?”, and it’s like “Yes, because we’re all about balance”. You strip all the oil from your skin, guess what your body and everything it’s going to do, it’s going to make more oil, it wants to get you in balance. And so, it’s using products like this that are going to keep your skin in balance.
What I would say is, as you’re looking at your skincare, is to really be careful, because people love the words natural and they love green, and they love putting pictures of trees.
I remember when I first started my journey, going into a big, big, big retailer and saying “Can you show me a natural product?”, and they handed me this product and it had a picture of a tree on it and I said “Is it natural?”, and he was like “I don’t know, but it has a tree on it, so it must be”. And so, it’s really understanding that, and there are retailers who do that work for you, and there are brands that do that work for you. What I would say is, is finding those key places, whether, it’s again, it’s a retailer or brand, that can really do their work and really make sure that you’re getting super efficacious products, but without, whether it’s the stuff that you want to be weary off or the added ingredients that are going to strip your skin.
So, is it safe to put oil around your eyes?
Yes! Oh my gosh, why, I don’t know why, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be. I guess, my question, back to you, is because people are worried about milia or they’re worried that it’s irritating the skin. So, everybody has to know their own skin, that’s the one thing. There are people that could take an aloe vera plant, open it and put it on their skin and have a reaction. And so, there are ingredients like aloe vera that are generally regarded as safe, and so, most of us can use it, and oils around the eye, absolutely, absolutely!
And actually, one of my favorite things around the eye, if you want to grab it from your kitchen cabinet, you’re going to smell like cooking, but is ghee. Ghee around the eye is so beautiful. So, ghee, if you haven’t, for your listeners, if they haven’t used it before, it’s almost like clarified butter, so it’s where the butter has been heated and the milk, relatively, has been removed, and it’s considered to be a very, in Ayurveda, it’s revered for its abilities to promote immunity and all of these different things. But around the eyes, it’s full of butyric acid, it’s full of fatty acids and it’s really great at helping to minimize dark circles around the eyes.
So, people would think that “Why would I put, almost butter around the eyes?”, but you absolutely can.
And can you tell how good an oil is for your skin based off of the fact that your skin has completely absorbed it? Or do certain oils just tend to kind of stay on your skin a little bit more?
So, it depends how much you use, it depends on the oil and it also depends on what you want. So, some people want to look dooey, and they almost want to look oily, when you’re applying an oil, you don’t need more than a dime-sized amount for your whole face. And most of the time, and depending on the oil that you use, again, moringa is a beautiful oil, it’s full of vitamins and nutrients, but it’s also considered a universal oil, so on dry skin, oily skin, combo skin, it’s going to absorb, so it’s really to what you want.
There’s a – I’ve a girlfriend who, she often jokes, she’s like “I want to look oily, I want you to run into me on the street and feel like, the glare off my face is blinding you”, and so, for a person like that, yeah, add extra oils. But that is not necessarily the measure of how well it’s working. The measure of how well it’s working is how it adjusts to your skin and what oils in particular you’re using. So, you want to look to these high-quality oils, in Ayurveda – Ayurveda favors blends, so Ayurveda rarely says “This is the oil you should use for this and this” and “This is the oil you should use for that”, instead, it favors blends and often infused blends. So, if you look at a hair oil, of course, go and use your coconut oil, go and use your sesame oil, but Ayurveda, in fact, says “Okay, make that, we’re going to use coconut because it does this and sesame because of this, and let’s infuse it with some herbs like some bhringraj, which is like the false daisy plant. We’re going to do that and it’s going to really be a potent herb that’s going to help to put the structure of the hair and the fullness of the hair”. And so, it’s as much about the blend than the fact that’s it’s an oil, in and of itself.
And are there any oils that you suggest not to put on the face?
Yeah, I would really caution anybody about putting essential oils directly on our face. They smell amazing, but you would be amazed at how many people do, because neem, for example, is a really great oil for acne, but I’ve has a lot of people who’ve said “I put neem directly on my acne”, the same neem they would use to spray a tree, because it’s an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, and that could have severe damage.
And another thing with essential oils that you want to be careful of is, they’re photosensitive, so you could be getting a light burn from them. So, you want to be careful of how much essential oils are in, those are the ones that I would really, probably for the most people, want to be able to use them, and we use them sometimes, but in very sparring forms, because everything sort of has its usage. So, frankincense, for example, smells incredible, but on your skin, but the therapeutic use is actually quite small. So, you can get all the benefits and smell and look like royalty, but not have the impact of putting it directly on the skin.
Totally! And what are your thoughts on SPF, as a lot of, most people say “SPF every day, it’s really needed”? But I also hear people in the natural beauty space who have different perspectives, some say that SPF has chemicals in it, so don’t, use a barrier-based SPF. I’m curious, you having both a pharmaceutical background and Ayurvedic background, what is your take? Are you doing SPF every day? If so, which type?
Yeah! So, I’m a big advocate of SPF, and from a few different vantage points. So, as someone who has darker skin, and I get hyperpigmentation easily. If I get a pimple, for example, even if I don’t do anything and I don’t pick at it, I don’t do anything, it’s going to stay on my face. And so, one of the main reasons I favor SPF is to protect my skin, it’s to really protect it from sun sensitivity, to protect it from hyperpigmentation, to protect it from sun damage, all of those things. And I do tend, so, it’s interesting, I do come from pharmaceuticals, and so, my background is, is that I want people to, not just to indulge, but really get the benefit of all these beautiful natural things, but we really have to understand the scientific reason. Many, many, many years ago, our ancestors didn’t have to worry, we’ve done so many awful things to the earth, we’ve done so many things, awful, to the O-zone, we’ve done so many awful things, that the sun that was on my ancestors, years ago, is not a sun that is on our skin. And that’s what I would really take as your, first and foremost, when people say to me “Oh, but my grandparents didn’t wear sunscreen”, well, they were living in a completely different world, where we’ve damaged the layer around the sun. We know we have UVA, UVB, all of these different things now, coming onto our skin, so I’m a huge advocate of it.
I tend towards the cleaner sunscreen of things, so I tend towards the ones that are Barrier-Reef friendly, so if you were to go swimming with them, you’re not going to be damaging the oceans. And actually, the State of California is now going in the process of banning those that’ll take some time. And I am in favor of the more natural ones, but even the more natural ones, in order to say SPF35 or SPF40, these are highly-regulated things, and so I’m in favor of you buying the SPF from very true and legitimate sources so that you know that the work has been done and the research has been done, and all the studying work has been done, to actually save it, it’s in fact that SPF, because one of the challenges may have actually have in the natural world is someone who takes carrot seed oil and says “We know that that has some impact in terms of being SPF, but we don’t know the measurement, we don’t know what it’s like, we don’t know in the way that it’s been mixed, whether or not it still exists as an SPF”.
So, I’m a huge SPF advocate, I use it every single day and because I do worry about hyperpigmentation, particularly for me, but also, it’s – a dermatologist will tell you, but most people in the clean beauty world will also tell you, you need an SPF, it’s your first friend against, whether it’s, like, dry skin or damaged skin, or aging skin, or any of those things.
So, if you were even inside all day, would you still wear it?
Oh, I wouldn’t, no, but I leave the house every day. But if, for some reason, I was unwell or let’s say, hypothetically, I didn’t leave the house will 7:00pm and it was evening, I wouldn’t wear it, but if I’m leaving the house and I’m out in the world, I’m wearing it, it’s reapplied, which I should, but a lot of people say you should reapply during the day, I don’t.
Because I’ve heard, if it’s like SPF35, it only lasts for 35 minutes, is this true?
So, that’s where the tested component works, because, normally, an SPF that’s gone through the rigor, will have that detail. Typically, it’s about 3 hours, unless, it’s shortened if you go into a pool or you go into the ocean, but you get about 3 hours. But I find, I put SPF on this morning, what did I honestly do, I drove to the office and I’ve been here most of the time. On the weekends I love being in nature and just going out and not thinking about the office, and on those days, I won’t wear any make-up, but I’ll put it on before I leave, and if I’m going to be out and about, I might put it on the second time during the day because I’m out all day.
Makes sense! Yeah, I definitely don’t wear enough SPF, but this conversation is inspiring me, because I’m like “You know, I’ll just wear a hat” and I try to be as natural as possible, I don’t put any make-up on my face.
I used to be like you, until recently, and I’ll tell you a very true story. There’s a very popular brand, it has a gorgeous oil, and I would never describe my skin as sensitive, never, ever, ever, ever, I’ve put anything on my skin, I put all of our love samples on my skin, I’ve put anything. And I purchased it because I had heard such amazing things about it and I wanted to understand why people liked it, well, it turned out, I had a sensitivity to it around my eyes, and it was high in essential oils, and it felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my head. Eventually the skin on my eyelids started to peel, it was a disaster and I’d never had an experience like that. And then, I candidly started putting ghee around my eyes and eyes and everything healed and I didn’t think anything of it and I didn’t wear SPF, and this was a few years ago. And then, what I noticed is that the color of my eyelids never changed back to their original color. And I have cousins who are physicians and then I ended up talking to a friend who is a dermatologist and she was like “You need to wear SPF”, and I was like “Yeah, yeah, no, I do if I go out for the day or on vacation”, and she said “No, that’s what’s keeping the color dark on your eyes, is because, yes, your eyes have healed but there’s damage to your eyelids that you don’t even see”, and so, every time the sun goes, that’s why when you have an acne scar, if you have any sort of, had any sort of trauma on your skin, when it’s trying to heal, if the sun comes and tans at it, it’s going to be really hard to get rid of. And so, that was actually what got me on the SPF train, because I wanted my eyelids back. And it’s been years, and they’re still not back to where they were, but they’re much better, but I’m meticulous now because I can really see the difference in terms of scarring, hyperpigmentation, all of those things.
So, do you suggest that we put sunscreen on our eyelids and around our eyes as well? I have seen eye creams that have SPF.
Yes, I do, I’m a big advocate. And again, you want to be careful which ones you’re using and how you’re using it, but yes, you should, because I put it, and I actually go out of my way when I put it, I make sure I put on two dots on my eyelids and I smooth them in, because you help that skin, round your eyes.
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So, another question that I have for you, again, having both these perspectives, is, growing up, I heard, when you put on an eye cream, just dab it, you don’t want to pull your skin. And right now, facial massage, gua sha, are such popular practices, so, I know with gua sha, you’re supposed to, kind of, hold your skin and then do it so there’s less tugging, but your skin is definitely still moving, so what is your take on gua sha, facial massage, do you feel like it helps with lymphatic drainage, or do you feel like we’re unnecessarily tugging our skin?
Great question! So, I’m a big advocate of gua sha, facial massage, kansa wand, things that do have the benefit of lymphatic drainage. It’s also really helpful when you’re creating circulation around the face, you’re bringing blood flow around the face, but it’s how you do it and where you do it. So, most people who are aficionados of gua sha don’t wash under their eyes, they limit themselves to the upper part of the cheek bone because that’s where they’re able to do it, and then, the other thing is the product that goes underneath. So, if you’re using a tool, this is where an oil is your best friend, because you want to enough slip that you’re not pulling at your face, because that’s what you want to be weary of.
If you’re using your hands and you want to be able to get into the fascia of your skin, I would use something a little bit lighter because you are going to get a bit too much slip and you’re not going to be able to manipulate the skin, I would use something, I use our serum, our Radiant Serum, it’s got a little bit of slip, I’ll put a little bit more than I might, on a regular day, and then I’ll do the massage.
And I will, often, and I don’t know if, I feel like you’re such a good balance of your stress, but sometimes, even when I start with my serum, and I start by massaging the area where my jaw is, you can feel the tension start to lift, and then I start moving through the face. And there has been good data to demonstrate that there is benefit and that it does drain the lymph and that the blood circulation is helpful to the skin, but for your eyes, again, you want to be very delicate.
And so, TikTok has given rise to people doing the craziest things. My daughter showed me somebody on TikTok who, he makes a face mask with whatever he can, so with homemade peanut butter, he’ll make it with tar. Just because we see it on TikTok, doesn’t make it good. But what I would say with the eyes is, you want to be very gentle.
One of the things that Ayurveda says, again, if you have that sore case, you can do an easy figure 8 around your eyes, and it’s a gentle way, again, if you get dark circles, which I do, is often stagnated blood underneath the eyes, it starts to move it around very gently. The skin under the eye, and my memory might be off, it’s either 14 or 17, but it’s like 14 times thinner than the rest of your skin, so that’s why you’re so delicate with that area.
Totally, yeah! I went to a gua sha class and I learned I was doing it totally wrong, I was doing it way too hard, and the thing is supposed to be flat on your skin and I was just doing it as if it was a massager thing. Exactly, the harder, the better. Or, I would just be on a plane and do it for like 3 hours, which is just not what you’re supposed to do. So, I’ve learned, really, how gentle and subtle it’s supposed to be.
Yes! And what’s your thoughts on ice-rolling, for the face?
That’s an interesting one. Have you ever done it?
I’ve done it and I’m not consistent with it, I have a friend that, she had a jaw surgery, so she gets really swollen, so for her it’s such a game-changer. And I’ve heard people saying it’s made their faces more sculpted, which is such a word right now, but then I wonder is it just a temporary swelling thing that’s happening or is it actually, again, moving your lymphatic drainage system?
So, I don’t have a lot of data on this so I don’t want to speak without knowing the data. But what I can tell you, so, even if we go back to Ayurvedic principles, like, like increases like, and opposites balance. So, why we would use ice, would be to balance heat.
So, to your point, your friend has swelling, it’s warm, it’s hot, it’s swelling, putting the ice on is to want to cool that down, just like if I sprain my ankle, I’m going to put ice on my ankle.
What we do know with the area under the eyes is, it tends to also get very puffy. And so, it gets puffy because of not sleeping, stress, salt retention, genetics, any of those things, and so, being able to apply ice, again, is going to offset that.
I haven’t seen anything, although I haven’t done a tremendous amount of research that it’s demonstrated that it has a long-term effect, but I think if you’re looking for an instant, you wake up in the morning one day, you’ve had a wild night or you had a lot of salt, or you’ve had something where your eyes, just, you needed to balance that out, I believe you would see a quick difference with the ice, but it wouldn’t be long-term.
Totally. Yeah, I figured it was like you have a photo shoot or something it could be a nice thing.
Exactly, you have a photo shoot, you know, you had a late night, you were at an event or a wedding and you looked a bit too puffy, it could help you with that.
So, another thing I notice in myself, the past few years, are these little dry, almost like eczema-like patches. So, it started on my knuckles and kind of, it’s turned to different joints, which I know is related to a Vata imbalance, so what tips do you have for dry patches and eczema?
Yes. So, being the person I am, I would tell you to see a doctor or a dermatologist, just to be, because the other thing is, is we can self-diagnose things that we see sometimes, are just not right, that we think of, they’re one thing and they aren’t. So, I would definitely say, if you’re having specific issues, you should always see a professional who can help you because it might be an early indicator of other things.
What I can tell you, to your point of the Vata imbalance, and about dryness, is a few things. 1) one of my favorite things to do in the morning, as part of my morning routine. So, we talked about oiling, we have this gorgeous ritual body oil, but you can do it with any body oil you have at home, is, before you exercise, you wake up in the morning, if you use oils in the morning, you know, Ayurveda would tell you to use a little bit on your head, maybe use a little bit behind your ears, and then they emphasize the joints. Ayurveda actually emphasizes putting oil on the joints, and the belief system is, is that it’s going to provide lubrication to the joints, before you exercise, that’s why it’s a before exercise, a before shower thing, a before yoga thing, but also, we tend to neglect these areas and that dryness. We’re a very dry society, everything is fast, we don’t hydrate enough, there’s climate change, everything about, even the nature of general foods, it’s all crackers and things that are dry, and so, we want to bring moisture back.
And so, my immediate way is by self-massage, I’m like touching my knees as we talk to each other, but is by adding the oils in and again looking to do that internally.
So, if you have dryness associated to eczema, any of those things, oiling is good; our Nourish Crème Rishe is a gorgeous, again, if you have eczema, you need something that’s a barrier, so you need something that’s going to provide a barrier. So, ours hasn’t been tested in eczema, we have, you know, a lot of clients who have told us about it, but definitely dryness associated to eczema, particularly on the face, if you get it around the eyes, if you get it – you know, my girlfriend uses it for her dryness on her fingers, from eczema, and in an instance, it’s gone. And it’s because, again, of these beautiful ingredients, it’s got a whisper of coconut oil, which, coconut oil is a gorgeous ingredient, if blended at the right amount, and then you add Triphala, which is a tri-doshic ingredient. So, Triphala means three fruits, it’s in Sanskrit, it’s three different fruits, it’s amla, which is the Indian gooseberry, it’s bibhitaki, it’s like the combination of all three, have this incredible impact, and it’s really good for the dryness associated to eczema, and the same thing with rumni, which is Gotu Kola.
So, there’s a lot of really, really good ingredients out there that can help you with that.
I love Triphala, just taking it for your digestion is so balancing.
Aha, it’s balancing for the digestion, it’s considered, again, to be Pitta balancing, so it’s good, and it’s cooling, which also is going to be helpful if you get redness, but those ingredients have really, like, again, with dryness, and have formulated well. I’m totally bias, but our primrish is, it’s our bestseller and that’s one of the things it’s known for, it’s just like getting your skin back to its healthier center.
And I wanted to talk about hair, you mentioned putting some oil in the hair. And I know a lot of people, a lot of friends dealing with stress, which can lead to hair loss, so what are your tips to help rejuvenate our scalps?
Oh, yes! So, hair-oiling is my number one tip, and the active hair-oiling. So, again, you can use the oil that you have at home, if you have coconut and sesame, Ayurveda would say you need to use something that’s infused with herbs, and so, brimraja is a great one, it’s the false daisy plant, it’s also called the culpta alba. We have that in ours, but you can alma oil, which, again, is the Indian gooseberry. And what you want to do when you’re oiling your hair is, you put it all the way through your scalp. So, you’re going to apply it right into the scalp, your hair is going to feel oily and you’re going to comb it through. And the active combing it through is going to help to stimulate the scalp and is also going to help clean the scalp. And a lot of us, again, because we suffer from dryness, have dry scalp, have dandruff, have all the, sort of, dryness in our scalp. And if you’ve ever seen a baby with cradle cap, which is basically a baby that has dry scalp – a lot of people will just try and remove, I’ve seen, parents will just try and remove the dryness because it almost looks like it’s sitting there, what you really need is the oils. And so, you put in the oils, you do that with the scalp, I highly recommend you giving yourself a bit of a head massage, and if you only do one spot, if you take three fingers from the crown of your head, from the middle of your head, and three fingers, and massage the hair. So, you’re basically at the top of your head, and that’s believed to be grounding in Ayurveda, but it’s also believed to be stimulating for the hair, because, what happens is, is that, this is the top most part of the head, because of gravity, all the blood goes down, so we’re bringing circulation back here, but it’s believed that this is going to help, again, to stimulate the hair. And then if you’re using great ingredients, you know, you’re going to leave it in for a couple of hours, you know, you can shampoo, you might need to shampoo more than once just to get the oils out, you don’t need a conditioner because you’ve done this beautiful active oiling, and what you’ll find is that your hair is stronger, it’s more resilient, it doesn’t break.
And for me, my experience was, I tend to lose when I’m stressed, I lost hair when I had my kids, I lost my hair particularly, again, around the crown of my head, and the fellow who does my hair, a couple of years after I had kids, said “What are you doing, your hair is coming back?”, and the only change I had made was hair-oiling.
There are a lot of good other things that you can do, but it’s tending to your hair, getting, again, the circulation back going through the hair. So, I’m not going to tell you that using our hair oils is going to make your hair grow back, but what I am telling you is it will give you stronger, more resilient, more full hair. And we do know that the act of oiling, massaging the head, is incredible.
Totally! It brings back so much stimulation, blood flow, lifeforce, even doing head stands and being upside bringing down that blood back.
I actually bought this little micro needle roller and you’re supposed to put oil on your hair and then kind of micro needle your scalp, which also can really stimulate hair growth. The thing that I struggle with is, I only shampoo my hair like once a week, so I’m like “I don’t want to put oil on my hair because then I have to shampoo it’, but you know, I’m thinking, on that last day, when I know I’m going to shampoo it the next day, anyways, that’s the perfect time.
That’s exactly when I do it, I do it on Sundays. And I’ll even keep it and I might go to the grocery store, and I’m getting to this new place where I will, because I put, sometimes, oil behind my ears in the morning, or a little bit on my head, I’m like “I’m just kind of oiling down”, and I’m okay with that.
Yeah, I used to do it so much, especially when I was living in India, and it’s so funny because all the kids in school have their braids with oil, it’s mandatory in the schools there.
It’s mandatory! Like, if you go to school in Kerala, for context, for your listeners, like, you will see all the girls, even the boys have oil in their hair, but the girls, their hair has been oiled and it’s been put in braids and they can’t imagine anything else. But they have the best hair, they have the best hair!
Totally! And the reason why I’ve heard that it’s mandatory is so the hair doesn’t get on the floor and get everywhere, it keeps it in place, but I think it’s because they want to make sure you have good hair.
But it is, traditionally, they say that the hair – we always think of our skin as a way of reflection of our health, but they also believe your hair is a reflection of your health. So, there’s a very strong sense of looking proper which is also why your hair is braided in India, if you’re a kid, but it’s really, again, it’s that whole taking care of your whole self.
Totally! We need to normalize it because there’s almost, like, pressure in our society now that you have to have your hair blow-dried, right? But it’s like, why not just have your oily bun and rock that, and why can’t that be the thing?
Exactly, I’m with you! But it’s like, why can’t we – I think, again, we live in this society where I feel like everything is just dry, we all look dry, we struggle with dryness, and so, why not make looking not dry the thing?
And what kind of masks do you do? Let’s say it’s Sunday, you have time, what kind of mask are you putting on your skin, hair?
Yeah. So, I do my hair and then I do our – so, again, we talked about hyperpigmentation, which is something that is on my mind because I’ve had it since I was young and I didn’t use to take care of it, and I didn’t use to wear SPF. So, I do our mask, which is our brightening mask, but the reason why I do it is because, basically the Ayurvedic recipe for hyperpigmentation is turmeric, holy basil, which is tulsi, and then traditionally they would use papaya or lemon, or another fruit-based acid. And so, our mask is actually based on that same recipe. We have turmeric, we have holy basil, we have the HAs from lemon, orange and blueberry, so, again, from fruits, and then we’ve added hemp seed oil as well, and that’s all in a clay base.
So, what’s nice about it is, the turmeric is not going to stain, this isn’t like whipping it up in your kitchen and your counters are yellow and your fingers are yellow and you’ve got some turmeric on the back of your neck that you can’t get off, it’s not meant to be that way. But the reason that I tend towards that one is because I want to freshen and brighten my face. And I don’t break out very often, but when I do, as I said, it stays for a while. So, that’s my go-to treatment and it smells lovely, so I will oil my hair, I’ll do my mask and then that’s when I take my shower and that’s my beautiful self-care Sunday.
And do you do dry brushing or abhyanga as well?
Yes. I don’t dry-brush as much. And it’s funny because I know many – so, that whole point that I made earlier about dryness is that a lot of us don’t need the dry brushing because, again, we’re dry. What we need is the counter, which is the abhyanga.
So, abhyanga is oil massage and the word for oil in Sanskrit is sneha, which also means love, so, I do a lot of abhyanga. And sometimes if I’m in a rush, I might just do my hands. Like, we’re constantly on our phones, we’re typing with our phones and we’re constantly on our computers, and the amount of stress that that causes just on the hands, it’s amazing.
I don’t know if you ever do this, Sahara, but if you touch the area between your fingers, you can actually feel the tension between them, and that’s all from doing the phone work. So, I massage my hands, I massage my feet, when I have more time, I do my whole body, but in the morning, if I only have a little bit of time, I give a little oil massage at the back of my ears. I do a little bit on my head, my hands and then my joints.
I love that. And, you know, beauty and self-care really is just such an act of remembering the truth of who you are. I remember I was in this really busy period in my business and it was just constant go, go, go, putting out fires, and I took a shower and I have this body scrub that has been in there for like 10 months, that I’ve just never used because, you know, it takes an extra 5 minutes and I’m like “You know what, I’m going to use this, I don’t know, coffee bean”, it was a natural body scrub and I did and I was like “Wow, I remember why self-care is such a big deal”, because me just taking these 5 minutes for myself, to do something that nourishes me, that allows me to just experience beauty, aroma, joy, is just reminding me of the truth of who I am. And we just get so caught in the social media, very Vata, everything’s up in the air, and it’s not grounded in reality that just connecting to out physical body and having these rituals really s such a reclamation. And it’s such an, also, reminder of this just used to be normal life, people would work in the fields or wherever they were, and then come home and take care of themselves, whereas for us, now, it’s almost like this emotional thing because we just don’t do it so much, which shows how far we’ve come.
I know, it’s funny! I always laugh because I remember – this is when I was working in pharma, I went to Kerala with my mum, and we were there on vacation, but I remember I had just been a bit burned out, there was a lot going on, there was so much happening in our business, I was making decisions about whether or not I was going to stay, and the first day I was there I think I just, like, slept and slept, and I remember hearing my cousins talk to my mom from the other room and they were like “What’s wrong with her?”, they thought I was so crazy. And to your point, like, many of my relatives still have, they still go and work in the fields and they have coconuts and they have rice patty fields, and they have all these things, and then they come home and they nourish themselves with great food. I would see, like, my cousin, I remember seeing his wife, she would give him an oil massage at night and it’s not selfish, it’s like, we’ve created this world where we reward ourselves for being like “I work 16 hours a day”, and “I work 60 hours a week”, and “I’m constantly on the go”, and “Look at how many followers I have”, and “Look at how many things I posted”, and “Look at how many jobs I have”, and “Look at what my account says”, whereas, going back to, like, no actually, 1) you can’t pour from an empty cup, you can’t achieve all of those things if you’re not taking care of yourself, is number one; and second of all is, we’re not robots, we’re not meant to be doing that stuff all the time. So, that self-care is, as you say, it’s necessary and it’s warranted and it’s not selfish, but when we do it, I’ll have moments where I’ll like, incense, like “Ahhh, this is the best feeling in the world”, and then you think to yourself “Why don’t I just do that every day?” If that one moment can elicit such an incredible experience of, you know, for me, whether it’s again, like, incense or using our body oil or oil in my hair, like, yes, I don’t want to get my hair oily, but look at what the difference is. Sometimes I actually, after I oil my hair, it feels like somebody’s lifted heat off my head because, and it makes sense because they believe that the Pitta is all stuck in your head and when you massaged the oil, you’re actually releasing it. So, we need to get ourselves into balance and we need to ground ourselves, we need it, we just need it. And when we start to feel – I have a lot of friends who are entrepreneurs or who are founders, they often say to me “Lisa, I feel numb. I just feel like I’m out of emotions”, and I say because, for them “It’s not because you’re depressed, it’s because you’re just, you’re no longer functional. You need to go around, you need to nourish. Your body is telling you, your mind is telling you that it needs something, like, I can’t give anymore”. And so, we need to put into place all of those practices that will do those things.
Absolutely! And it really is such, of the path of the feminine, you know. I think, often, in spirituality, we so focus on the traditional monk path, the path of the esthetic who, you know, wants to have nothing, be nothing, be in the caves and remove from society, and like, that’s a path. But the path of the feminine was all about ritual, and beauty, and community, and nature, and gathering, and coming together to weave baskets of create herbalized oils, and we’re so missing that in our society.
I actually had this gathering with friends that we had different types of oil and we brought a bunch of different herbs like calendula and all these things, we made our own herbalized oils, and it was, like, such a nourishing act and I’m like “Wow, this is how we used to just live”. And I feel like so many of us, especially who embody more of that feminine energy, we’re missing those qualities and the insights and revelations that we get through self-care, they carry a different vibration than the ones that we might get if we’re just meditating. You know, you’ll receive from, it’s a different chakra, it’s a different energy center, but when you’re in your body, you’re receiving more from the sacral, more from the root, and it’s going to give you more of that grounded, nurturing, momma bear building energy that I feel is really what we need, especially moving into this new paradigm where everything is virtual, we need more of the Shakthi.
We do, we need more of the Shakthi, we need more of that power. And when you talk about the feminine power, it’s interesting, I have two children and they’re amazing and I love them, and my son, who’s 9, he’s, like, playing baseball and he’s really into sports and all that kind of stuff, but he actually said to me, and I feel like sometimes he’s like “Oh mom, mommy, you’re too much”, and he said to me the other day “Will you just give me a massage? Will you just give me a massage?”, and he was like “With an oil”, and it was such a beautiful moment between him and I because that’s the experience I would’ve had. My dad was actually such a focal point for me, both my parents were, but my dad was the one who really brought these rituals into my life. But that ability to be able to also share because there’s 1) again, doing the abhyanga on yourself, doing the self-care, but the coming together is very feminine, it’s very in the feminine energy that’s part of the collective and it’s part of the community, and it’s something we’ve somehow detached ourselves from. We have to go find our places to feel sacred, and we have to go find our people to feel sacred, where we have to make it part of the norm that these sacred acts are part of how we do life. And then I think that that’s our responsibility, is to bring this to life.
I’ve seen more and more Ayurvedic doulas pop up because it’s such a different way of looking at the postpartum period, whereas instead of being like “Yeah, go off to the next thing”, it’s all about having your kitcheree, your warm foods, nourishing the womb space.
I heard that in Ayurveda they believe that there’s now space in your body, now your baby is literally gone so there’s excess Vata in your system because now there’s this large amount of space that you need to nourish yourself from.
So, did you have any experiences with an Ayurvedic postpartum process?
So interesting because my mom’s actually a maternity nurse, and so, and now retired. So, she was amazing for me because my family really subscribed to, you know, your family is supposed to take care of you when you had a baby. So, that in and of itself is an experience that wasn’t unique to me, but we see with people who either have those familial connections or from more traditional cultures, but that made things better. But they did have, like, there were certain drinks, certain things that they said you need to, fenugreek, to give you as an example, is been believed to help with lactation. And so, my parents would put fenugreek into the yoghurt or they would do different things with fenugreeks. We do the sort of, like a boiled yoghurt dish, in Kerala, and so they would make me that, they would add fenugreek to it, so it would help with that.
But it was really, you know, they revered the experience of having a baby, as a significant one, whereas I think, here, we’re like “Oh, can you get back to work in 6 weeks? Do your pants zip up?” They took it from, like, you do need to nourish yourself, here are the foods. So, they, my parents, for the most part subscribe to the very traditional foods, so it was a lot of rice and a lot of lentils and a lot of nourishing foods.
So, coming from the south, but where my parents do eat meat, also in Ayurveda, it’s believed that when you have these difficult times or they say for warriors, the one thing that I want for people to also understand is, Ayurveda doesn’t say that you have to be a vegan, it doesn’t even say you have to be veg, that there’s times and places for all of those things.
And so, it’s really about, again, nurturing who you are and where you are in that stage of life.
So beautiful! Yes, and understanding the subtleties of even when someone might need meat, because I do think that was a common misconception of people think Ayurveda says everyone should be vegetarian but they do say that for you to sustain life, if you need to eat meat, that’s honoring the circle of life.
Yay, amazing! Well, thank you so much for all of this wisdom, it really just inspires me and I hope everyone is just going to go put some oil on their hair and give themselves that sneha, that love that we are so deeply needing. I think we’re all dehydrated as a society and as a collective, and coming together with your friends and let’s put on masks.
I feel like we, in a way, our culture looks at like a spa day, but again, it’s this thing that you have to do that’s like out and it’s like how can we bring that energy into our daily lives so it’s not this like once a month thing that you do, but having 10 minutes of your day, every single day, that you can do.
Yes! It shouldn’t be a reward. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love going to the spa, but it shouldn’t be something that you have to delay. Like, bringing in, even if you’re putting on, for example, when I put on our serum, I go out of my way to add massage to it, sometimes I say affirmations when I do it. And it’s a great way, again, to mix those two things together, and it’s a great way to say “I have gorgeous skin and I am so blessed, and I am grateful, and I am worthy of this, and that I am worthy of this ritual and I am beautiful”, like, all of those things. Bringing that into your day-to-day life and not waiting for the one time you get to go to the spa or the one time you get to go do a sound bath, it’s about bringing it into your life.
And, you know, when I started the brand, of course I wanted to bring people incredible skincare, of course I wanted them to see that their skin was being impacted by Ayurvedic experiences, but I wanted them to walk away and say “This has become a part of my ritual that yes, my skin looks better or has less acne or less marks”, all those things, but also “I love doing it”, and it nurtures their soul as much as gives them the outer glow as well.
So beautiful! It’s just, again, such a reminder for us to not only focus on outer beauty, but really that inner beauty, that sustains and nurtures us on a soul level, so, thank you so much for sharing!
And can you share with us a little bit about where people can try different Sahajan products and any that you many suggest for different people of different needs?
Yes, absolutely! So, where you can always find us is on our website for sure, so sahajan.com and I know you’re going to share some fun details.
Yes, we have a code ‘Sahara’ for a discount.
Absolutely! So, you can always use the code ‘Sahara’ on sahajan.com. Sahaja comes from the word sahajan, which means intuitive, so this is about all us going back to what we intuitively know.
My favorites – okay, so, my favorite favorites are our Radiant Serum and our Nourish Crème Rishe. So, Nourish Crème Rishe, as you can imagine is a rich cream, it’s for Triphala it’s got grummy, which is Gotu Kola, or Centella, which stimulates production of collagen, it’s a rich cream. But when we think of dryness, it has incredible abilities, so it’s been clinically proven to minimize bottom lines, to increase hydration, to do all those things, because again, I came from pharma and I want people to know they can get their best results from Ayurveda.
But how I describe that Crème Rishe, is like nourishing your skin back to its healthier center, so if you have dryness due to eczema, if you have redness, if you feel like your skin is maturing and you just want something to really keep it in balance, we have people who use this at 17-year-olds, we have people who use this at 70 years old, so that’s an incredible one.
Our Radiant Serum is a water-based serum, it’s a little bit thinner, it’s going to drop down into the actives. I layer every morning, our Radiant Serum plus Crème Rishe, those would be my favorites, and then our Cleansing Oil. I know we talked about this before, Sahara, but our cleansing oil is incredible, it has been used on, in some of the coolest backstage Hollywood, on Shit’s Creek and on Jenny and Georgia, Handmaid’s Tale, all these really great places, but also Star Trek, because what they found is, that it does, remove make-up, removes even the heaviest of make-up, because of the moringa, it has an incredible ability, it’s going to pull pollution out of your face, but it’s going to leave your skin hydrated. So, those would be my top three.
And then, for those of you who are doing self-massage, we have a gorgeous ritual body oil, we have our nurture hair oil, there’s so much there, I could talk about them all day, but I hope you check them out.
And everything smells amazing! Once you just open this up, you feel like you’re at a spa, which I love because it adds that other sensory experience. And I think that sometimes we’re so missing, we’re so stale and cut and dry, so I love the sense of them, and I love how soft and supple they are.
And sometimes, like, in India, the very Ayurvedic oils can be very pungent, but these are really subtle.
These will make you feel like your face is in the plant.
Exactly! So, this is really subtle and beautiful and you can wear it every day. So, I will share that link below, you guys can use the code ‘Sahara’ for your discount and you guys are going to be obsessed! So, thank you so much Lisa, for sharing all your wisdom with us today!
My pleasure! And thank you for having me, it’s such a pleasure!
Yay! And we’re looking forward to trying all the products and diving into our skincare!
[1:12:34] End of Interview
Mmmh, what a beautiful conversation! I mean, it definitely inspires me to start wearing some SPF. You know, you hear different things and I’m someone who just tries to be as natural as possible, but I do live in Miami and I do definitely notice, like, after I was doing the water healing all day in the sun, I’m like “Ah, here’s some new brown spots, hello, how are you doing?” So, definitely, just spending that extra ounce of time to give yourself that self-care, whether it’s in your morning, putting really clean products on your face, on the weekends, maybe just instead of Netflix and chilling, you’re Netflix, hair mask and hair oil and chilling, giving yourself a beautiful abhyanga self-oil massage, just these little acts of taking back our own time and reclaiming our self-worth, they really go a long way.
This is how we build confidence, it’s by choosing ourselves first, and that doesn’t mean we have to stop caring about our children and other people, but we actually set the example and become a role model for them, of what does it look like to take care of yourself.
I remember my grandma was always putting different things on her face, anything that she ate, she would put some on her face. She always had strawberries on her face, honey, yoghurt, and I loved it as a kid, to watch her do it and that made me want to do it, and she would tell me “If you want red lips, rub strawberries on your skin”, “If you went into the sun, put yoghurt on your skin”, and it was really fun for me.
And I think that sometimes we think we don’t have time for those things, but we can actually involve our children, our grandchildren, in them, and that’s, again, that more matriarchal way of living that we’re so deeply missing and disconnected from.
So, if you’re interested in trying the Sahajan products, I highly recommend them! I love the oil cleanser the lip moisturizer, I’m excited to try all of the other products, the body oil smell is amazing!
And we have a special promotion for Highest Self Podcast listeners to receive 20% OFF any Sahajan product. So, you can head over to their website sahajan.com and use coupon code ‘Sahara’ for 20% OFF, you can also find that link in the show notes.
Thank you so much for listening, please share this with any beauty fanatics you have in your life, or anyone who just might need to freshen up their self-care, they’re still using some really gnarly scrubs on their skin and it can help them, you know, just take care of themselves in a more longevity-approved way, that can allow our skin to remain healthy for the long run and not just dry it out right now, just because of our culture and the advertisements that we’re shown. So, send this to anyone that you know that might still be using toxic products and, you know, maybe invite some friends over and make some oils together, it’s such a fun way to connect.
Thank you so much for tuning in and I’ll see you in the next one. Namaste!
Episode 449: Ayurvedic Beauty Rituals, Skincare + Self-Care with Lisa Mattam
By Sahara Rose