Cannabis-infused skincare is enjoying some due time in the spotlight, thanks in part to fans like Gwyneth Paltrow to Olivia Wilde – but this work is far from superficial. If Kristi Blustein, founder of KHUS + KHUS is any indication, the people paving the way forward in this industry are using skincare as an avenue to bring a much deeper healing to more people.
An Ayurvedic Specialist, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, Herbalist, Aromatherapist, among other skill sets, Kristi is dedicated to making holistic health accessible via her brand, KHUS + KHUS. On the heels of a busy week travelling through LA for the Echo Park Craft Fair, trade shows and more, Kristi took some time to speak with us about her mission.
KF: What sparked your passion for working with plants, and how does plant power make its way into your work?
KB: I’m an herbalist and an Ayurvedic specialist, so I work with plants – I went to the California College of Ayurveda and studied Eastern plant medicine, I continued my training in herbalism and completed my training advanced aromatherapy. I had my own private practice (before launching KHUS + KHUS), so I look at plants as medicine, and the products are an extension of this medicine. To me, this is a way for people to integrate wellness into their lives, instead of using toxic products.
We can ‘get our herbs on’ in many different ways – we can perfume the body with them and when you inhale the plant’s aroma, it sends a message to the hypothalamus, which regulates the endocrine system – it tells the body which hormones to create, they also take action on the autonomic nervous system. They help to stabilize the body in homeostasis, by calming the nervous system down and if you use these type of products versus products containing chemicals I believe you receive a great deal of healing from our plant allies.
What I do is modern herbal fusion, that’s what I call it. How I write my formulas is, I use classical formula design which involves herbal compounding. What you do is find one plant you want to work with and line it up with other supportive plants. All products are written for the nervous system, working on inflammation, because if you calm the nervous system down, it assist with inflammation which is the precursor for most diseases.
If we can take action via the nervous system, we calm immune function and we don’t have this overactive immune response – then we effectively treat aging. All of the formulas contain plants with proven skin therapeutic effects. They seem quite simple, but they’re quite focused in terms of what they do.
KF: Why cannabis? What led you to investigate the value of this ingredient in particular?
KB: How it happened was really a happy accident. A friend of mine who owns a spa, she called me up about 18 months ago and asked me, ‘could you make a CBD serum?’ So, I made Copious, which is how I would traditionally make something for someone experiencing pain or insomnia. I wasn’t sure if (the public) was ready for it because it’s quite herbaceous in terms of aroma, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive it’s one of the best-selling products now. We then added SEN face serum and PREMO hand treatment.
I was having this conversation the other day, a store owner was like a lot of people are in pain – I was like, yeah, I know! I worked in treating people who were not well and it made me aware of the fact that there are people who silently suffer – who have anxiety, who can’t sleep or in pain. I feel strongly that working with herbs subtly works on your consciousness so you can heal yourself – healing has to do with little choices we make all day long. Ayurveda works like that. You work with a practitioner and they help you change your habits so you can heal yourself. Plants, after you use them for a time period start to have an impact on your choices and subtlety you start to choose more natural. Ayurveda has a saying, the further you are from nature the more imbalanced you become.
And, when it comes to cannabis, can you name a more prolific specifies on the planet than cannabis sativa? We get confused sometimes on who rules who. It’s fascinating to me, my husband is a MMJ consultant and we’ll see big investors who are like, ‘we’re going to grow all this cannabis,’ coming to Colorado and they think it’s all about them, but the plant is the supreme being here, and they don’t realize that it’s in charge. This plant wants to proliferate across the world. They’ve burnt it down, they’ve arrested people – but still it grows. We’ll be gone and the plant will be still be there. This is a very sophisticated plant species that has been part of humanity. I’m fascinated by its ability to survive what has basically been an all out war against it, and now it thrives like never before.
I had this epiphany one day – I’m the servant here. They’re so intelligent. One of my teachers used to talk like this and I was like yeah, yeah – but I didn’t really get it. I get it now. Plants are super powerful, and our health relies on our connection to them.
KF: What is your skincare philosophy?
KB: Skin is a manifestation of what’s going on in your body and mind. It’s a holistic communication of what’s happening inside. A lot of people, they’ve been taught to think we need chemical preservatives in skincare, but these chemicals can cause metabolic issues because of those are toxic ingredients. I try to educate, and explain that we are using powerful biological ingredients that are part of nature, which have been evolving for millions of years, and we’re putting those on our bodies, and how does that work versus using chemicals that I believe dis-regulate our bodily system over time.
I feel like sometimes when we talk about skincare and products we’re not really – we’re looking at things in such a one dimensional way just from a topical perspective and this is fine but there’s so much more going on when we use plants. There’s a place for that, but there’s an esoteric healing that goes on when you work with plants. It’s not like it happens straight away, it happens over the course of time, over the course of this dance we’re in between us and them – this dance has been going on over the course of humanity.
If you remove yourself from nature there will be something that suffers – we need to connect with these beings. And now the green beauty industry has made it easier than ever to do so.
KF: What’s your ultimate mission with KHUS + KHUS?
KB: I want to put this out there, I feel the toxicity in many products is a public health crisis. People are inundating their bodies with synthetic fragrances and various chemicals and not just beauty products but laundry, cleaning products, deodorants – it’s coming at us at all levels. It’s not the only cause of metabolic dysfunction, but it’s a huge precursor to causing heighten immune response in people’s bodies. It’s certainly up there as one of the causes of why we’re seeing high rates of autoimmune disorder, systemic inflammation, etc. Your body doesn’t recognize these chemicals.
This is not how we evolved, this is a product of people wanting to make cheaper products, or products that last 5 years on the shelf, which is unreasonable. We evolved with plants through a sophisticated biological process, and we shouldn’t mess with the natural evolution of how are bodies have adapted to nature and that’s what has been the norm, plus it’s worth noting that a lot of these chemicals are banned in the EU for this very reason.
We are so stuck on the topical results, and we’re not looking internally so much. Healing imbalanced skin happens from the inside out – it’s your mind, your thoughts, your feelings about yourself, love, and how you treat and talk to yourself. You can’t manifest healthy vibrant skin, which looks different for everyone, but if you’re inflamed and stressed and in that state for a long time, you can be sure that you’re going to have health issues. I want to take this conversation deeper than where we’ve been.
KF: What’s excites you most about being in this industry now?
KB: We have an opportunity in green beauty to separate ourselves from the way beauty has been typically done. We can start to talk to people about that measures they can take to create pillars for their own health – we have been on the surface of beauty for so long, but what we are talking about wellness because they are intrinsically linked. We can take it to a much deeper level in terms of talking about how to attain balance and healing. This isn’t just about my brand and selling products, it is, for me, a way to continue to do my healing work but on a much larger scale.
Plus, we are making waves it’s the largest moving beauty segment, we are literally about to change beauty forever. Because once you start to see the difference in your skin and even the way your body feels once you turn to nature you can’t go back to using things that are harmful. Your mind has opened to nature and once it’s in it’s in. And if we’ve learned anything from our cannabis sativa allie is that nature always wins because there’s a difference between treating and curing.
KF: What’s a current favourite KHUS + KHUS product of yours at the moment?
KB: It’s always different because plants send out chemical messages, when you smell the aroma, you might be like, I don’t like this anymore but I used to. That because the plant has chemical compounds that you’re needing. But I love the PREMO the hand and nail, with CBD in it – its super dry in Colorado. It’s great. I also love the SEN face serum it’s seriously a beautiful serum, it has a great lavender, frankincense aroma, but it’s so effective because of the CBD.