Welcome to the next instalment of the #beautyinsider Q&As, where you can find out who is behind some of your favourite beauty brands, what they are working on and how they got there. This month’s guest is Sheilesh Shah, Founder of Urban Veda, an Ayurvedic natural skincare brand. I first discovered this brand thanks to CEW, an organisation that brings together beauty professionals. There was a Radiance Body Wash featured in a goodie bag and I remember thinking what a lovely scent it gave my morning showers. This was a few years ago now, but it wasn’t until I read about Urban Veda’s pop up in Shoreditch’s Boxpark that I decided to rekindle my interest in this skincare brand and get in touch with them. With Boxpark offering a curated selection of cool, alternative brands such as The Ordinary, Only The Blind and Get A Drip, Urban Veda was in good company and I couldn’t wait to re-discover this brand and find out more about its founder and all about doshas.
1. Hi Sheilesh, thank you for being my Insider Q&A guest this month. Let’s start from the beginning: every beauty brand has a story, what is Urban Veda’s?
The story of Urban Veda is all about bringing the eastern philosophy of the Ayurvedic lifestyle to the western world that we live in. My father was an Ayurvedic Practitioner who would treat people with internal health issues with Ayurvedic herbs. I then wanted to explore how these herbs can be used on the exterior of the skin and so developed Urban Veda’s skincare ranges which contain a unique blend of Indian Ayurvedic herbs, exotic fruit enzymes designed to aid particular skin types.
2. I always find the inspiration behind a brand name intriguing – how did the name Urban Veda come about?
The name for Urban Veda came about very late one night and I registered it right there and then. The word ‘Ayurveda’ means Wisdom of Life in Sanskrit so I wanted a name that combined this 5,000-year-old philosophy with the western, urban world that we live in today. So Urban Veda was born!
3. So what exactly is Ayurvedic skincare?
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old philosophy derived from India. It teaches that we all need balance in our life in order to thrive and maintain good health. It draws on Yoga and Meditation to balance the body physically and mentally as well as Ayurvedic herbs and supplements to support a balanced state internally. The three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha are made up of the 5 elements, however it is the dominating level of these elements that makes each of us unique and individual. Our four skincare ranges cater to the different doshas and therefore different skin types. Each range is formulated with a set of ingredients designed to aid that skin concern. For example, the Vata dosha combination of the two air elements (Ether and Air) means you can have very dry and dehydrated skin when out of balance, indicating the need for hydration and glow-giving skincare products. So our Radiance range features Turmeric as the key ingredient which has excellent skin brightening properties. Alongside Papaya, Goji Berries, Pomegranate and Liquorice which all thoroughly hydrate the skin and restore the skin’s elasticity, Vata skin is supported and brought back into balance.
4. As founder of an Ayurvedic brand, what so far has been your proudest moment?
I feel most proud every time I hear that someone whose skin concern completely cleared up having used our natural products. Someone’s confidence can then improve as a consequence of this so the benefits of natural skincare are endless.
5. What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with some meditation. It helps me to clear my head ahead of a busy day and enables me to really focus throughout the whole day on my work. As little as 20 minutes each morning can make a huge difference. I then take my two daughters to school before heading to the office. I spend the day working across my 5 brands, of which Urban Veda is one. I am constantly pushing these brands forward, overcoming obstacles and developing as a team. Each day comes with its unique set of challenges but seeing these brands develop and slowly grow bigger is extremely rewarding. I try to then really switch off when I leave the office and have a balanced ratio of work to social life which is so crucial nowadays. Whether that be watching a film with my two girls or going out for supper, I really value the time with my friends and family.
6. Insider news please! What are the key ingredients to look out for this year in natural and Ayurvedic beauty?
I think Adaptogens will really take off and Ayurveda has many adaptogenic herbs that have already been used for thousands of years. Adaptogens help to relieve the body from unregulated physiological stress that occurs in the body internally and works to balance them out. For example, Shatavari is an Ayurvedic adaptogen and it works to balance out women’s hormones. So for anything related to PMS and menopause which are hormonal imbalances in the body, it works to balance out the oestrogen levels and relieve any pain. This results in a reduction of symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings.
7. And finally – what do you get up to when you’re not at work?
As mentioned, Ayurveda is all about balance. So having downtime away from work is so important. I spend valuable time with my family and my children as they grow up. Time is precious!
If you have any burning questions you’d like to ask Sheilesh why not leave a comment below? Or you can get in touch with him directly on Instagram.