An all-in-one beauty oil that fights pimples? It seems too convenient to be true! When I came across an article in Teen Vogue hailing the benefits of Maya Chia, including usage as a topical acne treatment, naturally I wanted to know more.
Maya Chia is composed of one ingredient and one ingredient alone: supercritical omega-3 chia seed oil. You may have heard about the health benefits of adding chia seeds to your daily diet, but chia oil can work as a beauty tool. The New York Times reported that, “the seeds, often pressed into an oil, increase skin hydration and have anti-inflammatory properties.” Maya Chia uses a “unique supercritical extraction method…created to ensure the purity, stability and maximum potency of the oil nutrients.” What does that mean in layman’s terms? The oil, packed with vitamins and minerals, will help your skin retain moisture. Maya Chia is also not tested on animals and does not contain the following: harsh chemicals, sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, dyes, colorants, and phthalates.
I received the lightweight beauty oil ($59) rather than the beauty balm, which is packaged in a glass bottle with a corresponding dropper. The oil is lightweight and doesn’t take long to absorb into your skin. A few drops go a long way. Unlike a traditional moisturizer, my skin wasn’t left with a greasy sheen or slippery residue. The process of growing out my Rihanna-inspired undercut has been too slow for my liking and thus, at the recommendation of Maya Chia, I applied some to my roots and scalp. It’s too early to say if this little experiment has encouraged hair growth, but it has definitely helped with breakage.
I was able to interview Susanne Norwitz, the founder behind the Charleston, South Carolina-based skincare line. Like many business owners with a strong vision, it seems that Norwitz was interested in skincare at an early age. She says, “Since I was a tiny baby, I have always loved skincare and beauty products, and playing with other people’s makeup. I love how the right skincare regimen can really, like fundamentally, transform the way a person feels about himself or herself.”
Norwitz has similar feelings about the incentive to start Maya Chia. Alluding to a sense of restlessness, she explains, “I reached a moment in which I said to myself, ‘If not now, when?’ I wanted to capitalize on the full base of my strengths and didn’t think my career, as it was, took full advantage of my creativity and vision.”
The philosophy of Maya Chia blends customer appreciation with philanthropy. Norwitz revealed a personal connection to the Mayan culture and says, “The company cares passionately about making them [customers] feel good, and wants them to be a part of their family for the long haul. We also give back a portion of our proceeds to the Maya people…my step-kids are from Guatemala, and my dad used to go there over a period of two decades to help people with cleft lip and palates.”
Norwitz champions functionality, rather than a complicated beauty regime: “Most of our products were deliberately designed to be multi-purpose—I don’t plan on creating unnecessary products that I don’t believe people truly need. Just the essentials for the best glowing skin you can personally have.” She cites a recent study by the annals of dermatology that recognizes the benefits of chia oil: “Chia oil was clinically proven to “significantly increase skin hydration, reduce trans-epidermal water loss and increase skin barrier function. The study was conducted on people suffering from the most severe dry skin conditions, including xerotic pruritus, and the results were pretty amazing. These results were achieved at a concentration of 4%—our oil is at a concentration of one hundred percent.”
Although the company officially launched last December and is fairly new, Norwitz says, “The idea began over three years ago, it was only until we found the combination of the perfect seeds and the best way to extract the oil through our patented process, that we were confident to launch the line. It was paramount to me to create a product that I could be very proud of and stand confidently behind.” Like other fledgling businesses, social media certainly aids the growth of the company. She acknowledges the power of social media, calling it a “force” that is “an important part of acquiring new customers.” She confesses, “It’s an area we need to tap even more, to be honest.”
As a business owner, Norwitz finds many things to celebrate. When speaking of her customers, she reveals, “There is nothing better than when I hear that our products helped someone with terrible acne, or persistent rosacea or psoriasis, or even when someone tells me they feel years younger. I just had an 83-year-old lady reorder herself a bottle and one for her daughter because she said it made her feel at least 10 years younger. When I hear that, it sounds silly, but my heart literally skips a beat. I also love the creativity, and having my hands in a lot of different pots. I feel like making a business work brings much of my skill set to bear.”
For all those prospective business moguls out there, Norwitz has sound advice: It’s important to remember that “success doesn’t happen overnight.” She adds, “First and foremost, create a good—no, try to create a great product. The best product you can make. Even if it’s seemingly mundane, offer people something special. Treat people well, and also, be kind to yourself and forgiving when you fail. Because the likelihood is high that there will be failures along the way, but you have to move through them and be focused on your end goal. And I guess try to remember, it’s also fun. Some days aren’t a laugh riot, of course—but overall, it’s so exciting to take the reins in your hand and realize a vision. And lastly, surround yourself by supportive good people who don’t minimize your vision.”
In addition to the website, Maya Chia is available on CharlestonNaturally.com, which will soon be renamed Organaca.com. Future plans for Maya Chia include a nourishing super critical chia-based oil cleanser, as well as a body oil within the next couple of months.