Kristi Blustein’s (the founder of Khus+Khus) perspicuous and articulate responses can only be described as insightful, profound, and deep. It lent a different viewpoint to my disposition and it resonated with me so deeply that I could feel a sense of calmness and clarity forthwith.
Greenchicgirl: You’ve extensively studied Ayurvedic science and plant medicine. What was the turning point in your life or motivation that led you to start your own plant based skincare line?
I think I was quite idealistic when I finished school and started my own donation based Ayurvedic medical practice. I realized shortly after that Karma dictates a lot of people’s actions especially when it comes to compliance of things I would ask them to do. I spent a lot of time researching and writing specific herbal formulas for patients, and lifestyle practices; and when you find out on a pretty consistent basis they’re not taking the herbs or really doing any of the requested practices it became very challenging for me. I started to get frustrated, but from that frustration I began to think about what they were successful at, which was Abhyanga, warm medicated oil massage. And then I thought how can I have a broader impact? How can I adapt Ayurveda for the modern person living and working in the 21st century. And how can I at the very least put the practice in the mind of the average person who knows nothing of Ayurveda and herbalism. And how can I put it in a modern attractive form that people can at least start the process of having them connect with plants.
Greenchicgirl: A typical question from my end – Why the name Khus+Khus?
Yes, of course. Well ruh khus, is the Indian name for the vetiver vetiver plant. I was in meditation one day; and it just came to me, then I realized the ruh khus plant is a prolific plant that its roots detoxify the environment they grow in and are highly revered in India, which is obviously our roots as well; and not to get too cheesy, but we see ourselves as also working to detoxify the bodily chemistry. The modern herbal fusion, is because of my training in Eastern and Western herbalism, and aromatherapy; and modern because I see KHUS+KHUS as a updated version of herbalism in the form of skincare.
Greenchicgirl: In today’s modern world, what’s the scope of traditional herbalism? (Do you think people are aware of its benefits or its potential?)
Yes, and yes, again this is where Karma dictates your experience in your current form to seek nature for healing. It’s kind of like this, when the plants are ready to reveal themselves to you they will. It’s a blessing to learn and use their wisdom and power in your life. It can’t be forced, nor should it be, it needs to be accepted by the person who is receiving it.
I’ve been asked before what do you say to skeptics of plant medicine? My response is always the same, nothing. Because I don’t claim to know everything, but this is something I feel confident in, you don’t cast pearls on stones. And there can be no greater pearl of wisdom than nature?
Traditional herbalism is a interesting term, I think just like every science, and art it will continue to evolve with society as it should. We don’t live like we did 2500 years ago, so traditional herbalism has adapted. Now you can purchase tinctures and capsules full of herbs at your local Whole Foods. You’re not asking the village wise woman in your community to make a formula for you; you’re making an appointment online with the naturopath that lives in your city of 1 million. So the scope has broadened and adapted to the culture which it has done since the dawn of humanity.
Here’s an interesting viewpoint I want your readers to consider. Whether we realize it or not we are not the only ones in charge of how plants are used; they are also very part of the equation – we are talking about species that have been on this planet for millions and millions of years. It would be a mistake to think that humans dictate in what capacity they will evolve as we have only shared this planet for 200,000 years. So that should put some things into perspective in terms of their benefits and especially since we wouldn’t have evolved without them, in Spirit, consciousness, and body.
Greenchicgirl: How do plants help in healing one’s mind and body?
Simple answer energy, but I’ll go a bit deeper – they translate millions of years of evolutionary success into your body and mind and over time your body metabolizes the intrinsic and robust chemical compounds from the plants successful DNA. It starts to heal the body and mind by providing the body what it needs to function at its peak level.
When your body and mind are in great health you begin to access your own healing capabilities because this is where healing resides within you. It’s just we’ve forgotten our true potential and inherent wisdom. Plants help us uncover the deep wisdom that resides within us.
Greenchicgirl: You’ve studied Ayurvedic science and aromatherapy for 5 years! What are the aspects of the field that intrigued you so much to pursue it extensively?
I still continue to study all the time, they are both very vast topics. Originally it was my dedication to the science of Yoga which I’ve been practicing for 12 years now, that led me to Ayurveda. This is where I started to use plants, but I wasn’t really connected to them. I was a bit skeptical; I didn’t think I needed them originally. But then I started using nervine herbs to calm down my mind to assist in mediation. I soon realized they are quite effective as digestives and relaxing to the mind and body. In Ayurveda school we studied aromatherapy briefly as it is not part of traditional Ayurveda, it is a western adaptation. My teacher at California College of Ayurveda, Dr. Marc Halpern recommended Floricopia’s David Crow if we wanted to learn more about aromatherapy.
So I started with one live course with him, I found his understanding of plant medicine really translated well within my mind, and started diving deeper into essential oils using them extensively and studying in more depth taking both his aromatherapy course and advanced aromatherapy courses for about 2 years prior to formulating KHUS+KHUS. The term pharmaceutical grade herbalism comes to mind when I think of essential oils, fast effective, multifaceted; their ability to take action on the endocrine system, via the olfactory system is really fascinating. I think most people can benefit from relaxing the mind; when the mind is too active your latent abilities can be hidden from you. The goal of Yoga and Ayurveda is to assist in uncovering your innate power which dwells within.
I have found there is no better ally than the use of plants, in diet and lifestyle practices to help us to reveal our power and true potential. Because whether we realize it or not we are desperately trying to unveil ourselves from our egos, which is the source of suffering.
Greenchicgirl: Your face collection contains a set of Hydrolat and serums categorized for diverse skin types. But it doesn’t include any facial cleanser; why is that so?
This is interesting in terms of how we see skin health. The general idea is cleanser, toner, treatment, right? That’s how I was taught in my modeling classes when I was 13, and we are still stuck in this paradigm. But I’ve been trained to see the body from a holistic view, which takes into consideration all aspects of a person’s life, diet, lifestyle, mental emotional patterns. So our formulas are designed to assist the mind and body in calming things down through the use of known nervines or nervous system relaxants; which translates to immune health; which then helps to assist the body in reducing inflammation; which is the precursor to most metabolic dysregulation.
Hydrolats contain the same chemical compounds as the essential oils just in a water form. This builds on the effects of the essential oils used in our serums to assist the body and mind in maintaining balance. We are about improving health of your skin from the inside out through the use of plants. We are a modern take on herbalism, so even though we are put into the box of skincare we consider our design to be more focused on assisting the body and mind in the maintenance of homeostasis. So a cleanser never came into the equation when I was formulating the products. I was more interested in how do I get people interested and educated on the use of plants in their daily lives. And in all reality you can use coconut oil with a few drops of rosemary to cleanse your skin.
When we put products on the market that use plants and we only talk about the superficial effects we aren’t understanding the complexities of what they do – it’s a very simplistic and one dimensional understanding of a very complex and deeply sophisticated process that’s happening within the body when we use them and KHUS+KHUS exist to bring awareness to this reality.
Greenchicgirl: With the current tidal wave of green beauty industry, how does it feel to be a part of it? (Is there lot of pressure or competition or struggle?)
Wonderful, of course there’s struggle in any business; but there is a need for our approach, which is unique. I think education is important and I will continue to honor the vast teachings I have been blessed to learn from my teachers and bring this into everything I do. What makes me and KHUS+KHUS different is I actually believe in what I’m doing it’s not just some money making tactic; but a desire to share the wisdom with others. It’s part of my dharma, to share and educate. I believe I have the qualities of a healer and I went through a lot to get to where I’m at so that I can do what I do.
As for competition, I’d like to touch on this, we are supporting an industry together, and some people will resonate with my approach; some may resonate with other brand’s approach. It’s really all about consciousness, and what a person is seeking at a particular time in their life. So no need to compete, be happy for one another’s success in this industry as we are responsible for a large paradigm shift in the consciousness of humanity. I see teaching people about the harmful impacts of toxic products as a very big deal in terms of not just the health of humans but also the health of the environment.
There’s struggle in any business; but there is a need for our approach, which is unique. What makes me and KHUS+KHUS different is I actually believe in what I’m doing it’s not just some money making tactic; but a desire to share the wisdom with others. It’s part of my dharma, to share and educate. We are supporting an industry together and we are responsible for a large paradigm shift in the consciousness of humanity. I see teaching people about the harmful impacts of toxic products as a very big deal in terms of not just the health of humans but also the health of the environment.
Greenchicgirl: You’re an avid Yoga practitioner and a Certified Yoga teacher. How does Yoga help you live a holistic and balanced lifestyle?
It is the biggest blessing of my life to have found Yoga. KHUS+KHUS would not exist if I hadn’t started Yoga, it provides tools for living. How to push past limiting beliefs in what you think you are capable of as we are the manifestations of our minds. When you clear the mind, and learn to be still – we enhance focus, lack of focus is why we have problems accomplishing the things we want out of life. We manifest everything; so Yoga teaches us many things about being present; how to remain calm, slowly lose attachments, and to understand the control our egos have in our development and choices.
Essentially, until I found Yoga everything I did was controlled by my ego which caused me a great deal of suffering. Now I suffer less, but this is a long journey and I’ve learned to be patient and ride it out. In the beginning I longed for peace so bad, I wanted it right away; which I realize now was part of the problem, and very much a part of my untrained mind. Now I can say I feel peaceful most of the time; I still have many tendencies I’m working through and this will be going on until my life in this form is over and maybe into the next life. The difference is now I am aware and I accept and surrender to this truth, which allows for more peace and balance in my life.
Greenchicgirl: What does self-care mean to you? How do you practice it?
Self care as it was taught to me is called lifestyle routines in Ayurveda. It is a means to establish health so that you can access your higher Self aka the Soul. I practice it by maintaining a whole foods plant based diet, regular asana, and mediation practices. But also, my daily routines look like this, wake around dawn, eyewash with organic rose hydrolat (the eyes are one of the seats of pitta dosha), dental health with tongue scraping (stimulates digestion removes ama (toxins), water with lemon (room temp), reading, and mediation.
I eat mostly vegan, organic food; I haven’t had a soda in almost 20 years, or ate meat in 12 years. I use herbs mostly everyday in cooking as well as I take adaptogens, liver tonics about 4-5 days a week. I have been doing Abhyanga (daily self massage with medicated oils) for 12 years; I also love dry brushing maybe I get to it 2 times a week. I clean my house with bon ami and lavender oil, or orange essential oils mixed with water. I use non toxic laundry detergent; so my home environment is about as toxic free as it can be. I’ve been on the organic natural lifestyle for about 18 years or so, and feel strongly that it has many health benefits. There’s always palo santo or frankincense flowing through my home at various times throughout the day; as I believe sacred essences clear environmental toxins, pathogens, clear negative energy, and enhance spiritual channels.
I want to say something about lifestyle routines, there is a time for rigid determination. However, I feel it’s best not to force any lifestyle routines, you should allow your tendencies to fall away as your body and mind purify. Or else the guilt of not living up to some sort of ideal can cause you to beat yourself up. When we don’t have such good days, and the mental guilt is really not good for us it actually can create more imbalance than us not doing the actions we had planned. It’s best to be relaxed and to do what feels natural and not forced. We don’t want to create more ego around self-care. We want to unburden ourselves from the ego by slowly releasing its hold on us so that we can access our highest Self, which contains all the power for us to heal ourselves.
Greenchicgirl: What’s the plan for Khus+Khus in the future? Any new product launches in the pipeline?
We have some exciting store partnerships coming online this Fall.
And we have a couple of products in the works and one release this September. You’ll have to wait it’s a surprise. 🙂