Interview: Holistic Skin Care with Mugdha Sapte

Mugdha Sapte is the creator of Kindred + Wild and a freelance product/ still life stylist. Her love for nature and personal experiences with health and skin care led to the creation of Kindred + Wild, a natural and organic skin care company making products for everyday use and rituals.

Have you always been interested in the power of nature to maintain heath, cure and remedy issues?

Yes I think so. I remember as a teenager I was always experimenting with natural products or trying out old wives’ tales for my skin care, putting on herbal face or hair masks. As long as I remember, I’ve always avoided medications like paracetamol etc. unless absolutely necessary, preferring to use natural remedies first.

What first inspired your interest in natural skin care?

It was through personal experience actually. A few years ago I started getting something like hives or rashes on my face for no particular reason. I thought I was allergic to something and kept a careful eye on my diet as well as started buying better quality products with natural components in them. However a serious episode when my entire face was covered in red spots like hives in a matter of hours was a wake up call. I was in India when this happened so instead of a GP, I chose to visit an Ayurvedic doctor and he prescribed medication not for my skin but for my liver. He explained how it’s all connected; that my liver was not detoxing my body and the extra toxins are being released through my skin making my whole body very sensitive and reactive.

It is brilliant when you know what your body can do. 

After that I started cutting down on skin care products rigorously reading through the labels and looking for natural products with fewer ingredients. And along with the Ayurvedic medication and a prescribed diet things got better. And as they did I realised I don’t need that many products to truly take care of my skin. A few simple, natural products were enough. Your body knows how to heal. Your skin has evolved through millennia to withstand a lot of things. I just needed to trust that and help it along a bit.

How do you create your recipes?

My existing products are an extension of what I was already making or using. The idea was a simple one. What are the most basic products one would need for skin care in a year? An oil for the warmer months, an oil for the cold months, an oil for the hair, a balm for lips (I used to get very bad cold sores), a balm for everyday cuts and scrapes and then I added a balm for extra sensitive skin. And they all had to be multifunctional!

Kindred + Wild products are natural, organic products for everyday use and rituals which are born out of my own experiences with skin issues and the eventual holistic approach towards life and health.

Sometimes I’m just looking for which plant to use for a particular issue and I become fascinated by it. Then there is a journey of experimenting and finding out how best to use it, apply it and make a recipe around its properties as best as I can. My research of plants and inspiration for products is rooted in the concepts of herbal medicine, Ayurveda, history and folklore, manuscripts and books like those of Nicolas Culpeper, John Gerard etc. and other traditional herb wisdom.

Are you trained in herbalism, Ayurveda or other methods and philosophies that inspire you?

I am not actually. I have done a 10 week basic Herbal Remedies workshop a few years ago but all my knowledge comes from curiosity, enquiry, my own experiences and participation in workshops and reading a lot of books to keep expanding my knowledge.

Why do you feel it is important that we are aware of the products we put on our skin?

Our skin is our biggest organ. It protects the inside of our bodies from the environment outside, acts as a link between them. It breathes, helps maintain body temperature and also aids in detoxifying the body. To me the simple logic is there are many medicines for topical application. They are all using the skin as a medium to deliver medication and chemicals to the deeper tissues or bloodstream to affect, improve or change their condition.

The skin doesn’t stop acting as a medium to deliver chemicals to the body when it comes to skin care products.

So what we put on our skin affects its functions and eventually makes its way deep down into our bodies. When I started this journey years ago this was a revelation but I think it’s become a bit more mainstream now.

Why do you think natural and holistic products have gained so much popularity in recent years?

We are at last beginning to become disillusioned by, what is for most part, marketing gimmicks of profit making corporations. I would like to think that we are getting wiser and deeply realising the need to get back to more natural ways.

Do you believe we have a natural affinity to plants and herbal remedies?

I think we once did when we were more a part of the natural world, more in tune with it. Then we moved away from it and now we are stumbling our way back.

What does a holistic life mean to you?

A holistic life to me encompasses all aspects of life to be in balance and harmony with one another. It is an attitude which acknowledges that everything is connected. It realises things like that our relationship and interaction with food are equally important to our wellbeing as is the quality of the food itself.

A holistic life pays attention to details.

That health isn’t just about exercise and eating good food, although these are very important. It’s also about eating the right foods for your particular body and also slowing down and living in the present sometimes. A holistic life is also one of awareness and intention. I am far from my idea of a holistic balanced life but I believe I am on the path towards it.

What are your skin care rituals and routines?

Its very simple really.

I wash my face in the morning and before bed followed by applying one of my oils (depending on the season or if I’m experimenting with a new combination). Once or twice a week I’ll do a hot towel cleanse. And sometimes when I feel like going the extra mile of self care I use a natural face mask.

Occasionally I’ll massage and moisturise after a shower with one of my oils, as and when I have the time or my skin is in need, more often in the winter months when my skin feels a bit dry. Sometimes I do that first and then step into a hot shower.

Once or twice a month I’ll oil massage my head for 20-30 minutes before I shampoo.

Thankfully in the last few years that’s all I’ve needed. I still do get acne or dermatitis occasionally. But I have gotten better at recognising the first signs and managing it early on.