Clean Beauty Brand Santosha Co. Differs From the Rest—Here's All You Need to Know
Wisconsin may not be the first place you think of when skincare comes to mind, but the Badger State just so happens to be home to one of our newest fave beauty brands, Santosha Co.
We were lucky enough to discover the brand earlier this year at Indie Beauty Expo in Los Angeles, California, and after just a brief trial with the company's sampler kit, we fell in love with everything, from their squeaky clean cleansers to their glowy face oil.
Curious to learn about launching a beauty brand in a smaller market, and what sets this line apart from the rest, we reached out to founder Ashlee Assadi, who answered all of our burning questions. Keep reading for what she had to say below:
Sweety High: What does Santosha mean?
Ashlee Assadi: Santosha is a Sanskrit word. It's divided into two parts: sam, meaning completely or entirely—and tosha, meaning acceptance or contentment. Together they create a word that means complete acceptance or contentment.
Santosha has a different meaning for everyone. After I started practicing yoga, I was on a journey of self-acceptance and wanted everyone to have the same revelation as I did. Santosha has depth, it's not superficial or surface-level. Santosha is courageous, gutsy, earthy. It goes beyond the masks and facades we may try to put up. Santosha penetrates the soul and brings about complete acceptance. My prayer is that everyone who comes into contact with Santosha Co. feels a sense of acceptance, contentment, safety and security.
SH: How did Santosha Co. come to be?
AA: I was awake early one morning and decided to meditate and pray as my newborn daughter slept next to me. The soft morning light was just starting to peek through the windows. I was asking god about my purpose. As I started praying that morning, a simple thought about how essential oils were created popped into my mind. That thought turned into a reality as I visualized creating an organic skincare line that consisted of wildcrafted ingredients and zero waste in the process.
This skincare line would be for everyone, a line that moms didn't have to worry about reading the label to know if it was safe for their children or not. A line that women trying to get pregnant or struggling with infertility and hormonal imbalance could trust weren't putting harmful chemicals in their systems. I had just birthed a baby but I had also birthed a business and a dream. Santosha Co. was born. A dream was birthed.
SH: In your own words, please describe the products you offer.
AA: Rosemary + Aloe Purifying Cleanser: If you're new to green/clean skincare, this cleanser is a great place to start. We steam-distill the Rosemary Hydrosol in-house to use as the base of this cleanser. It's gentle and won't dry out the skin, and it's pore-tightening and soothing as well. Plus, it smells amazing.
Balsam + Green Tea Antioxidant Toner: We wild harvest the Balsam Fir from our family farm and steam-distill it over a long period of time to use in the toner. Balsam has an amazing effect on the skin (similar to witch hazel) and also helps alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is PH balancing, packed with anti-aging properties and helps reduce redness. I keep one in my purse at all times to spray on after a yoga class or for a boost of hydration.
Balm of Gilead Nourishing Face Cream: Balm of Gilead is our signature ingredient in this deeply hydrating moisturizer. Balm of Gilead is known for its ancient, soothing, and biblical healing properties. We handpick Balm of Gilead from the forest, and my brother, Luke extracts the oil from the bud to put in the face cream.
Calendula + Balm of Gilead Healing Facial Oil: We call this beauty "liquid gold" for your skin. It's a non-comedogenic oil and absorbs completely into the skin. It's a combination of soothing plant oils, anti-aging rosehip oil, and brightening extracts. It works as a great makeup primer during the day and will help prevent breakouts due to the naturally occurring salicin from the Balm of Gilead extract.
Lake Superior Mineral Clay Exfoliating Mask: We're so proud of this mask. This is great for someone who needs to decongest their skin and bring about a natural glow. The combination of Lake Superior Mineral Clay, and apple AHA's and BHA's from aspen bark are a match made in face mask heaven.
SH: What's the least difficult part of starting a beauty brand?
AA: Getting family and friends to test your products before they launch.
SH: What's the most difficult part of starting a beauty brand?
AA: There's so much! Right now, the struggle is scaling our company to meet the demand.
SH: What's the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a beauty brand?
AA: Start slow and grow with the business. You're never going to have everything figured out, but you have to start somewhere. Just take the first step. Figure out what your MVP product is and what people are wanting. It's easier to meet the demand of what people want, than to create the demand.
SH: What's your daily beauty routine?
AA: Cleanse: Santosha Co.
Tone: Santosha Co.
Face Cream: Santosha Co.
Facial Oil: Santosha Co.
Mask: Santosha Co. 2x per week
Makeup: I love Au Naturale cosmetics. I use their foundation, blush, bronzer, lipstick and lipgloss.
Deodorant: My go-to is Norveda Ghee-Based deodorant
Body Oil: I'm obsessed with body oil, and I'm loving House of Heartland Maha Rose Ayurvedic Body Oil
SH: What makes Santosha stand out from other beauty brands?
AA: 1. We sustainably forage and wild harvest over 50% of our ingredients. That means we go into the forest and pick our ingredients at peak harvesting time. We then steam-distill the plant material we harvest at low temperatures over a long period of time to create aromatic hydrosols and essential oils that we use as the base of our products.
2. Every product we make is made by us in small batches. We control the entire manufacturing process, from plant to bottle to ensure no chemicals enter the products and only the highest quality ingredients are used. If we were to outsource to a major manufacturer, we'd have to give up almost 20% of our formulations to them and we refuse to be a compromised brand. We stand for sustainability and transparency every step of the way.
3. Our signature ingredient: Balm of Gilead. We are one of the first companies to utilize this miracle ingredient in our skin care products and harvest it ourselves.
SH: Santosha Co. is for the person who…
AA: Cares about sustainability, transparency and what they're putting on their largest organ: their skin.
SH: Santosha Co. is not for the person who…
AA: Has extremely dry or extremely acneic skin.
SH: What's coming up for the brand, and anything else you want readers to know about Santosha or beauty in general?
AA: We have some really fun product launches coming in the near future utilizing some really amazing sustainably harvested ingredients. Stay tuned!
Now that you know all about our new favorite skincare line, let's talk about a lesser fun topic: your armpits. Learn everything you need to know HERE!