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The Beauty of Oils: UMA Oils

by Celia Shatzman
UMA Oils

Shrankhla Holecek, Ayurveda expert and founder of UMA Oils, explains why beauty traditions that are thousands of years old have an edge on modern elixirs. 

How can you treat modern beauty concerns or health ailments with natural ingredients that are just as powerful as their synthetic counterparts?

A majority of these beauty and health concerns have existed—and been effectively managed by humans—for thousands of years prior to the use of retinols. Natural medicine has withstood the test of time, and agrees better with the body than synthetic substances that the body often doesn’t recognize. For aging skin, the most notable natural products in your arsenal are rose and frankincense essential oils, serving as nature’s hyaluronic acid and retinol.

As we age, the skin’s lipid barrier thins, leading to moisture loss and dryness. Rose oil has a unique ability to plump skin cells with their own natural moisture, allowing a resurrection of the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which has both restorative and preventive function. Frankincense promotes cell turnover and renewal, key in helping prevent wrinkles as well as age spots and uneven skin. Together rose and frankincense repair aging skin, and improve skin health and elasticity with time.

Acne-prone skin needs bacteria containment, anti-inflammatory support and rapid healing. Oils such as clove and tea tree potently—yet gently—zap bacteria, without the drying and damaging effects of benzoyl peroxide. (Please note that essential oils, especially ones as powerful as clove, should never be used undiluted.)

Lavender and sandalwood are calming and anti-inflammatory, while citrus oils like orange, juniper berry and neroli can greatly enhance your skin’s ability to absorb vitamin C, repair the skin and prevent scarring. Turmeric, honey and aloe vera are wonderful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory ingredients to add to masks when experiencing acne.

Tell us about the rare formula behind your organic oils.

As family physicians for the Indian Royal Family for centuries, my family had the honor of working with precious and celebrated ingredients across the land to create some of the most coveted and efficacious formulas for beauty and wellness needs. These formulas were passed down from generation to generation in secrecy within my family, and at any given point in time only four to five people in the world knew what was in our elixirs! It’s this time-tested expertise, and unwavering commitment to quality and results, that makes UMA formulas as powerful as they are.

What are your favorite precious ingredients?

I’m drawn to sandalwood oil. It grounds me emotionally. I can’t say enough good things about this rare, underrated oil. It is incredibly effective at creating the most luminous of complexions and doubles its worth by also having the most exquisite aroma.

Frankincense is a close second. It’s deeply restorative and anti-aging, and works beautifully to turn over skin cells so you don’t wrinkle or get dark spots (like a retinol, but without drying or thinning the skin).

What is the one beauty tip you wish every woman knew?

Facial massage! We all know that exercise helps the muscles in your body stay firmed and toned, so why do we forget that about our faces? We are often prone to similar expressions during the day—squinting in the sun or the computer screen, smiling happily at a child—which can lead to muscle memory and wrinkles and laugh lines. Try one to three minutes of facial exercise a day to release facial tension, undo muscle memory and restore firmness to the face.

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