Have you ever wanted to try plant-based skincare, free of chemicals, fragrances and parabens? Graydon Moffat was interested in making a skincare line that was plant-based, completely green and actually good for you, emphasizing skin health over skin care. So she created Graydon Skincare where her skincare products almost read like a fresh salad for your skin or your morning smoothie.
We chatted with Graydon about what makes her plant-based skincare line different, her favourite DIY face mask, and the power of honey for your skin.
WEHL: What does wellness mean to you?
GM: To me, wellness means feeling good in my body. I feel well when I am feeling good, and feeling connected to my body physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
WEHL: Tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start Graydon Skincare.
GM: I’ve always been influenced by food. Starting when I lived in Paris as a little girl, the aromas, flavours, farmer’s fields, and vineyards I encountered left such a significant imprint on me, that later on in life would inspire me to want to work in the culinary world. After an exploration of classical culinary approaches, and working in pastry, I made some health changes as part of my commitment to creating wellness in my life. This is what lead me to macrobiotic cooking, and focusing my culinary work with a vegan, whole-food mission. After becoming certified as a yoga teacher, it was a natural expansion for me to make my own healing products for customers; the skills for which allude back to my work in the kitchen with recipe development.
WEHL: When did Graydon Skincare get started and what did the early days look like?
GM: Before Graydon Skincare, I was really just making products for my yoga customers. I was selling the products in community-focused shows and events, like farmer’s markets, schools, and churches, and pop-ups that other moms would have. All of this became the material I needed to learn, almost like the focus groups and information I needed to learn, before taking this step to launch a real brand. After some years, the yoga community had began to be much more established, and my love affair with teaching downward dogs everyday diminished. I was looking for more of a sustainable career choice for myself as a single parent. My kitchen became my laboratory, and it wasn’t for quite some time before I found an alternate product option.
WEHL: All of your skincare is plant-based; why did you choose to do this?
GM: Our emphasis is most definitely on plant-powered superfoods, because I feel the phyto-nutrients that these ingredients offer are unparalleled. We use vegan, plant-based ingredients with the exception of only two. Those being manuka honey, which has well known antiseptic healing qualities, and ghee, which is a traditional ayurvedic ingredient to cleanse, balance, and moisturize one’s skin.
WEHL: What are some of your top superfoods that you’ve included in your skincare and why are they beneficial?
GM: There are so many ingredients that I love from our products! If I had to choose, I would go with prickly pear, moringa, and broccoli seed oil. Prickly pear is full of essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and amino acids that will make your skin glow when ingested or applied topically. It’s great for skin elasticity, reducing inflammation, and stimulates cell growth and regeneration. Moringa oil and extract is amazing for its anti-pollution qualities and richness vitamin C. Broccoli seed oil is a powerhouse, and we use it a lot in our products, because it is rich in sulforaphane, which helps to help support the drainage of the lymphatic system.
WEHL: Why is it important to know the ingredients that are in your skin care products?
GM: People forget that the skin actively absorbs what you put on it. It absorbs the good stuff, and the not-so-good stuff. So when you apply your products, you have the opportunity to nourish your body with good-for-you ingredients, for the same reasons you would eat that kale salad or drink a green smoothie. Your skincare is just another vehicle to great wellness within your body! The healthier you are, the better you will feel, and the by-product of that is looking better too.
WEHL: In what order should skin care products be applied and why?
GM: With the exception of starting with a clean face, I tend to break the rules on having a specific regimen. Of course it’s fun to have a 10-step Korean-like self-care ritual from time to time, but on a daily basis, people are time starved and need a solution that is simple and effective. For me, that usually means blending my serum with my moisturizer and my highlighter. Likewise at night, I usually alternate my products, but I will choose a richer serum, moisturizer, and follow that up with a refreshing mist to more deeply penetrate and create hydration.
WEHL: What are some ingredients that you want to make sure your skin care products do not have?
GM: I would stay away from The Dirty Dozen, which are big no-no’s in terms of keeping your products clean. Typical offenders include parabens, phthalates, artificial fragrance and colour, SLS, formaldehyde-based products, and cold tar. The best way for a consumer to do that is to start reading the labels, and you can use EWG (or its app) as a reference to help increase your understanding, because it can be quite confusing when you start. I recommend small changes, one at a time, instead of feeling like you need to clean out your whole cabinet.
WEHL: What’s your current favourite beauty superfood and why?
GM: I’m currently enjoying experimenting with blue majik, which is a spirulina, that has remarkable anthocyanins and therefore a beautiful blue colour. Everybody’s favourite new ingredient of course is cannabinoids, because of the anecdotal evidence which suggests it has really valuable anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties. I am really looking forward to experimenting with those in the future.
WEHL: Your Superfood Mask + Scrub is packaged into capsules, which are perfect for traveling. How and why did you come up with this packaging?
GM: We work with a supplement lab that helps us source our ingredients, and because they make private label supplements as their core business, we jumped on the opportunity to create a single-serve portion in a capsule. This also kept our superfoods as fresh as possible. When not protected with the capsules, many superfoods have the tendency to oxidize, so this helps us maintain the potency and efficacy of our superfoods, which are known to help nourish and brighten your skin. It is also a subtle nod to the idea that wellness comes from the inside out, and outside in.
WEHL: Do you have a favourite DIY face mask recipe that we can make for ourselves at home?
GM: We just posted about a chaga face mask, and the office is currently loving this one! Chaga is such a unique ingredient, we also created a post about a chaga tea, it is such a versatile and beneficial ingredient.
WEHL: We’ve heard a lot of information about honey being good for your skin. What can you tell us about the power of honey as a skin care ingredient?
GM: Honey has natural antiseptic and humectant qualities, so it has the uncanny ability to both moisturize, and clear up your skin. But not just any honey – some commercial honey’s are laced with corn syrup and have been pasteurized. It is only unpasteurized honey that will work, such as natural manuka honey. When honey is heated, a lot of the skin-loving enzymes are destroyed. One of the cool things about local honey, is that it has anti-allergy properties, which is especially helpful to those with seasonal allergies. I take it internally and externally, because it helps support the immune system. But you need to watch where it comes from, which is why supporting your local farmer’s market is a wonderful choice.
WEHL: Do you have any advice for an entrepreneur who’s interested in building a socially and environmentally conscious business?
GM: To call yourself an entrepreneur, you need to wake up in the morning and be truly obsessed with whatever your interest is. I don’t think people become entrepreneurs voluntarily, I think it is a driving a force where there is almost no other choice but to create. To put your whole life on the line for something you believe isn’t easy, and people should only do it if they feel a compulsion. Whether this is in the eco-world or not, I would also say my advice to any entrepreneur is to try to create a network of people who can give you constructive advice and keep you in line, and to be prepared to sacrifice a typically-normal life for an extended period of time. The glamour that some people associate with some people being an entrepreneur, such as being your boss and having your own hours, are true, but there really isn’t a day that you won’t be working. So if you’re sleeping in until 10am, it’s probably because you were up until 3am working on a project, and the fun of that wears off quickly. However, the positive is that you can feel good about making change in the world that is positive and may way be well lasting. Even a small change can make a huge difference. A quote I like from my mentor Lisa Borden, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”
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