Shop My Shelf: Gunam Beauty
Written By Vibhuti Desai
Did you ever look at someone’s skin and wonder what her routine is or look at their hair and wonder if it is good genes or a good hairdresser? We wonder too. Quite often actually. Shop My Shelf is our repository of recommendations sourced from people whose skin, beauty, wellness and general life principles we admire! In this edition we asked founder of skincare brand Gunam, Elizabeth Isaac to share her journey, skincare wardrobe and wellness philosophy with us.
READ TIME: 5 minutes
You’ve been a part of the cosmetic industry for a while now. What led you to create your own brand Gunam?
Truly, my troubled skin is what got me into reading about skincare ingredients. Additionally, I worked for an ingredient supplier in Paris which really helped me in understanding the industry better & what really happens behind the scenes. While I was looking at a lot of ingredients available in India & Paris, I could only imagine the outcome of combining the best of both worlds.
At the time that I started formulating Gunam, there weren’t really very many Indian brands that were using Ayurvedic ingredients in their formulations. I don’t think I have reinvented the wheel, I just wanted to focus on the ingredients, sourcing, and formulating a good quality product without putting forward any claims. There are some good homegrown brands out there now, and I love using them.
Gunam promotes sustainability very actively. Share your thoughts.
Post covid people have realized the ways in which we consume things are unsustainable - the era of showing your skincare shelfie is over. I wanted to formulate a skincare line, where every step was more streamlined as there is no real requirement for a 10-15 step routine.
How much has Ayurveda influenced you in the making of Gunam?
That's a great question, if you look at our branding we do not claim to be an Ayurvedic brand. We put conscious effort to state that we use Ayurvedic ingredients in our formulation. As Ayurveda does have a lot to offer, I have tried to use ingredients that have roots in Ayurveda like ashwagandha, saffron, & neem.
What does the name Gunam mean?
Gunam in my native language of Malayalam means Virtue, a word commonly used in Kerala. It has its roots in Sanskrit and I wanted to celebrate my roots through the brand.
Born in India, Made in France. Why?
This was quite intentional. Born in India - we are referencing the ingredients, as several ingredients are sourced from farms in India. These are then sent to France. We have formulated the product entirely in France as the French are known for their strict regulations and I wanted to deliver a brand of high quality. That's how it is Made in France.
You mentioned your struggle with acne-prone skin, which is a very common issue with most Asian skin, what kind of internal care would you recommend?
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to acne, see what works for you. There are a few basic things that I make sure are included in my diet as much as possible. I avoid high-insulin foods, no sugar on an empty stomach, also I do try to include probiotics & prebiotics in my diet, just high-quality omega, and protein which do go a long way. Having a diversity of food does really help. Also, I feel managing stress is the most important - one can have a clean routine, or eat clean but if the stress is not managed well then it is a problem. My skin is never perfect and I am completely okay with that, I accept this is my skin, and from that acceptance comes a lot of peace of mind.
What has been your holistic approach?
A consistent good diet, sleep & stress management. I alternate my days between yoga and gym. Additionally, I have recently started journaling - it is a good way to pen down my thoughts. Ever since I have started Gunam, I have had this high level of phone/laptop usage - setting clear boundaries to detox is also very important and just taking a moment to pause.
Who are your beauty & wellness icons?
Oh, that's a tough one. I think my mother. She is one who has lived a healthy life both inside out. She emphasizes on being a good person, maintaining a positive outlook, and always being helpful to other people. In little ways, she has taught me the importance of being a good person first before anything else and that is what people are going to remember. Anyone that meets her feels she is a very special person and I am very lucky to have her as my mother. She is definitely a person who has influenced me greatly. Even with my acne journey, she helped me through, never did she highlight the acne and always said it would pass - that built my confidence greatly.
Does Gunam intend to expand into another category?
It is good you ask, yes we are expanding into the wellness category. We are going to launch 3 powder-based supplements with ingredients like blue spirulina, chlorophyll, and curcumin - I feel a lot of these ingredients aren’t available from an ethical source that is free of pesticides. If one is consuming these ingredients on a daily basis, it is very important to consume high-quality supplements. Cosmix has a really good format and they are addressing some pressing concerns.
Pick 5 skincare & wellness essentials you’d carry for a holiday.
- Sunscreen - This goes everywhere, beach or mountain.
- Cleansing Balm - To get rid of the makeup
- Face Masque - To bust the stress of travel
- Dyson - Love a good dryer that does not damage your hair.
- Supplements - To balance out the unhealthy food I eat
SHOP MY SHELF
A rebalancing face mask with active ingredients and purifying properties that regulates excess sebum reduces breakouts, and mattifies the skin.
Protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and other environmental damages, while adding a boost of hydration.
Fotoprotector Fusion Water
A purifying face cream that regulates sebum production and purifies and calms the epidermis with a mattifying effect.
What Women Want
A fast acting serum that is formulated to brighten, treat acne and reduce aging.