What inspired you to start Graydon Skincare?
I was actually teaching yoga for a long time. it was probably in the early 1990’s, and I noticed that many of my students needed help with their skin. Besides actually teaching them to do yoga postures, I was teaching them self-care, and so we talked about nourishing oils and I started blending combinations for red, dry, irritated skin which was the complaint that most people had towards their skin. I worked in the culinary world in the past for quite a while, so making products good for the skin actually reminded me a lot of making an emulsified salad dressing which might sound odd but there is a connection. I was using a lot of the kitchen-oriented superfoods I was used to eating, and then incorporating them into skincare products.
Do you have any tips for readers who are interested in starting a plant-based lifestyle or making their own skin care products at home?
I would just say instead of going cold turkey, you make small sustainable choices, and you can increase the amount of plant-powered foods in your diet, whether if it’s actual green vegetables or more like a plant protein. This way it’s more of a gradual transition and you can at least sustain the new lifestyle. I have seen a lot of people who are like, ‘”I’m gonna do this’ and they do it for 7-10 days and then they get a craving for steak, and they’re like, “ugh I can’t do this’. It’s kind of like training for a marathon – it’s really hard to train for a marathon in just 10 days. You start switching things slowly and actually notice how your body responds. It’s a very personal thing, sometimes people aren’t suited for a plant-based diet.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up relatively early, but I don’t get out of bed right away. I have a few meditation apps on my phone, so doing an extended meditation is an excuse for me to stay in bed a little longer. I also find it that it is very nourishing for me, emotionally and spiritually and it is a good way to get me out of bed on the right foot. I drink 2-3 warm beverages, and then I literally curl up and wrap myself in a blanket and go through my phone. That’s when I respond to my social messages. I read a lot too so I like that quiet time in the morning by myself. Walking my dog is also a nice way for me to connect with nature too.
What was the worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
I had a lot of people in my life being very resistant to me going off on my own, starting my own yoga business and now skincare, because it isn’t a practical, reliable lifestyle. I had a lot of pressure to make logical choices in my life that didn’t align with my one gift as being a human being, so I had a lot of advice to take customer service phone jobs and go work as a barista. I worked crappy sales jobs and was just so miserable and my anxiety just shot through the roof, I would say my anxiety was worse than the levels of anxiety you feel being in startup mode as an entrepreneur. I started to develop serious health issues, my hair started to thin and it was really not good for me. It’s a terrible choice when you don’t listen to yourself on a very deep emotional level and ignore how you feel.
“I don’t think you need everything in life to be 100% healthy. I do treat myself with good dark chocolate and a glass of wine most nights, but the difference is that I have a glass, or a glass and a half, versus a full bottle.”
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to keep you stay balanced?
I cook a lot in the morning. I’ll be making savoury dishes, soups, and salad dressings and that sets me up for the day. I’m pretty focused when I get to the office, and I find if I don’t have something that’s easy to eat, then I just don’t eat and then I crash. I find that cooking in the morning is therapeutic and probably a different schedule than most people. I start and finish work later in the day, so when I come back I can actually have a nice glass of wine and relax. I do like little treats – I don’t think you need everything in life to be 100% healthy. I do treat myself with good dark chocolate and a glass of wine most nights, but the difference is that I have a glass, or a glass and a half, versus a full bottle. And I find that regulates me for the rest of the week, as opposed to some people who are like, “it’s Friday, let’s go out!” I wouldn’t drink more on the weekend either, so I just created balance.
Since I used to teach yoga, I also have a lot of yoga props in my space. I try to have some time where I’m literally lying on the floor, and doing some deep stretches which really helps with my posture. I find that connecting with my breath while holding my postures really helps my emotional body as well, and it’s a great wind-down activity as well.
I always usually have a bath, not a shower, and I find the whole ritual of bathing really works for me. Nourishing myself with an oil really also helps me unwind.
Do you have any recommended dishes that you can cook when you don’t have much time?
I usually like to make a pesto, using lots of coriander which is really good for getting rid of heavy metals in your system – it helps your liver clean out, which is correlated to your skin health. I’ll toast in some pumpkin seeds because they’re really high in zinc and they’re a nice source of protein, and I will blend that up with a little bit of lemon juice or lime juice, some sea salt, pepper, and a healthy fat like a good olive oil or hemp seed oil. I make a really dense paste like that, and I use that for so many different dishes. If you add a little more oil and vinegar then that turns into a salad dressing. You can take a spoonful of it and put it in hot water and it’s a broth. You can mix it in to pasta. If you eat meat or tofu, you can turn it into a marinade. It’s super tasty and it’s my go-to. There are so many different ways you can use and if you want to switch it up, you can use different herbs. I find something like that really keeps me energized because there’s healthy fats, protein and nutrients!
What’s your one skin care product that you can’t live without?
We’re launching a brand new product that I’m really crazy about that’s not on the market yet, which is a hydroluxe serum!
My all in one product is our Elixir oil. It’s a multipurpose moisturizer. It is more like a serum, but we have it in a 100ml bottle so it’s enough for you to put it on your body, in your bath, use as an oil-based cleanser, and on your cuticles. It is blended with camelina, which is an oil from Saskatchewan, which has a rich, nutty smell and includes other oils like chamomile and sandalwood, which is kind of sexy.
If you liked this interview, you might like our recent interview with Jackie Marwah-Chow, founder of Ponytail Mail.