Well Woman Interview: Evan Healy of evanhealy Skin Care
So happy to share the words of this radiating beauty, Evan Healy. Reading her interview brought me a deep sense of peace. Her words are so eloquent and filled with wisdom and experience — I relished every bit of it and hope you will too.
I have so much respect and admiration for her values, her hear-focused mission with evanhealy and how she has grown a conscious business, literally from the ground up (to your face).
Evan’s skin care products are sourced from the wild; from small family farms, and women’s co-ops from around the world.
Since they began working with argan oil, they purchased exclusively from a collective of twenty-two women’s co-operatives called the L’UCFA (L’Union des Coopératives des Femmes de l’Arganeraie). Over time, they identified the argan oil from one specific co-operative as the most exquisite. That co-operative is Al Amal, the sole producer of the hand-pressed, certified organic argan oil they now use in so many of their products.
To celebrate this relationship and these women, they visited them in Morocco and funded the planting of four hundred argan trees. It will take between six and eight years for the trees to mature to fruit, and as such is a beautiful investment for both of their futures.
I tried evanhealy skincare on my face for the first time about 3 weeks ago and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to part, especially from the Rose hydrosol and the Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf. Divinity!
I’ll keep coming back to this beautiful and insightful interview. There is so much truth in her words, read, enjoy and let it sink in.
Hi Evan! Tell us about you. What is your favourite quality in yourself?
No question. The quality I value most in myself, and others, is a sense of humor. I rely on my own slightly wacky humor to try to see things that might otherwise be aggravating, absurdly frustrating, or mind-bogglingly confusing. I don’t know anyone who’s been in, say, a meeting that’s gone off the rails that hasn’t appreciated the person who might lighten the mood by injecting a touch of light humor or whimsy, bringing a breath of fresh air, balance or perspective. I can go one step further and say that it is my belief that a good sense of humor has the potential to lengthen one’s life!
What are your morning rituals? What is the first thing you do when you rise?
I’m a morning person, so when the sun is up, I’m up. To start my day I wash face, brush teeth, etc. I make an herb tea, and move into a meditative time. My BFF Mary, a life long yoga instructor in Sydney, Australia has just taught me a movement called the Four Directions Blessings. It’s a wonderful way to wake up. Go outside (weather permitting), plant your bare feet on the earth, face each direction starting with North and chant the saying for each direction. Bending over, gather energy from the earth, bring it up to your heart, and with arms outstretched, send it skyward. Other practices include a meditation of just listening to the sounds of nature, bird song, or the rustling of the leaves of the trees, being present in the natural world. Morning is also when I get most of my inspiration, for new products, directions, or treatments. All it takes to kick off a cascade of creativity is standing in front of my sink, needing to wash my face. I tune into how I am feeling and how my skin looks, which, btw, is a very accurate diagnostic organ. My bathroom is my sanctum sanctorum, so precious oils, our various hydrosols, infusions, lotions, serums, balms and clays, surround me.
This is also the time I take to look at new products that we are experimenting with. Feeling the season, the day, and the mood helps me to innovate and create. Water is a very important part of my morning ritual. For me, there is something about being in water – whether it’s spraying HydroSoul, standing in the shower, bathing, cleansing, or simply watering plants in the morning; that opens up a portal inward and takes me to the limbic system of my brain, the seat of memory and emotion.
What is your philosophy on food + nourishment?
Throughout my adult life I’ve gone through various periods of trying different diets: vegan, vegetarian, paleo, intermittent fasting (nope), macrobiotic, or… remember the pineapple diet? What I discovered is that I do best as an omnivore. I am very careful about what I eat, pastured eggs, grass-fed beef, USDA organic fish, but the bulk of my diet consists of lightly cooked plants. I don’t do well on a raw diet, it’s too cold for my body, and difficult to break down. But I believe very strongly that what you eat, what nourishes you, is a path each one of us must discover for ourselves. In addition, I eat seasonally. I live in Southern California, so vegetables are abundant. I follow the wisdom of Michael Pollan when he says in his book, Omnivore’s Dilemma, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’ For me, this works.
It’s important to realize that we all have completely different bodies, and genetics. We live in different climate zones, and our bodies will continue to change and adapt throughout our lives.
Today, I am not extreme in my food views. I don’t pay too much attention to food fads. I have trained myself to listen to my body’s signs and signals. The action of digesting, assimilating, eliminating are all predicated not only on what you eat, but under what circumstances you are eating. What you are eating and when? Driving? Working? Standing up? I have heard that trying to eat at the same time everyday helps the rhythmical digestive systems of the body immensely.
How did evanhealy skin care products come into being? Can you share your mission with us?
I lived in San Francisco and came from a fashion marketing background. My father, after taking an early retirement opened one of the first natural food stores in the US, in San Diego in 1978. A few years later he needed someone to organize the body care department and I had reached a point in my retail-merchandising career where I felt stagnant and desperately wanted a change.
I moved to San Diego in 1984. My responsibility was to help design, develop and integrate the Body Care section of his 20,000 square foot natural food store called Greentree Grocers. In those days skin care and nutritional supplements were all under one department. I realized I wanted to separate body/skin care from nutritional and herbal supplements to better track sales. After some searching, I found a skin care line that I felt I could really get behind philosophically.
This was a turning point in my career. It was during this time that I became interested in skin care and decided to become an aesthetician. As a retailer, I had worked daily with people on a one-to-one basis anyway. I found the skin to be a wondrous, fascinating organ; the only organ we can actually see. I was offered an opportunity in 1986 in Germany with the Dr Hauschka brand. Upon my return I took a leave of absence from the store, and went back to school to get my skin care license.
I practiced for the better part of a decade, while studying and postgraduate training with various modalities such as Bach Flowers (British Institute of Homeopathy), herbs, essential oils, non-invasive skin treatment therapies, with a focus primarily on natural substances. While I was in practice I saw areas of opportunities in my skin care treatments where I could innovate and create my own products. I worked in a holistic acupuncture clinic and saw the more medical side of skin care as opposed to a salon environment. This experience really informed the type of skin care I wanted to create.
Observing my client’s skin over months and years, I realized how little was required to satisfy the skin’s needs. The beauty industry is worth billions of dollars so there is naturally an incentive to create new products all the time, but what is missing is insight into our authentic physical needs. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself. In my own line today, the center of our ‘universe’ revolves around products such as our Oil Serums, Infusions, Balms, HydroSouls, and Clay masks – all simple solutions that allow the body to heal itself.
My range of products are based on my experience as an aesthetician during those years, and today, I have been in this industry for more then 35 years and I love it as much today as the day I started.
Why are you passionate about skin care?
For me, it’s the way I express myself as an artist. It utilizes a variety of personal interests, such as photography, writing, education, ‘healing’, touch and color. It is my dharmic path. When I started my career in retail I was clearly searching and simply paying attention to what was coming towards me, and found myself on a sort of path, following a thread of energy, guided by my own intuition of what felt right.
I imagine most people’s career choices might come to them in a similar way, maybe during a shower (it happened to me!) or during a meditation, or dream. There’s something that you see, feel, or something that catches your attention that says, “this is it – this is what I want to do, it’s what I’m good at (or failing at) it is what brings me joy and a sense of fulfillment.” Beauty, therapy, and educating the public on the care of the skin was that for me, and it’s still leading me on. I have grown, taught, and passed on my experience and I am now moving and evolving in different directions.
My life has just suddenly and profoundly changed. Now, out of necessity, it’s time to move on, always forward. I won’t leave the work I am doing, but I recognize the need to begin to look up from the keyboard, so to speak, to scan the horizon and see what’s coming next.
I just read an article about managing stress by tapping into our own biology, “…As mammals our ancestors were both predator and prey, and from this understanding came a powerful stress reducing practice, scanning your environment! Animals instinctively always lift their heads up from grazing to scan their surroundings for threats, a practice which evidently has powerful stress reducing effects. Fight or flight or rest and digest?”
* Managing Stress by Looking Around ~ Well Being Journal – Vol 28 No 1 From Mindfulness for Mammals: by Sarah Cotten
What does a typical day of work look like for you?
I have bursts of creative energy that have nothing to do with the typical work hours. In the early mornings I scan social media where I find all sorts of inspiration. So a typical workday for me starts with the scary potential of a 24/7 schedule! But I’ve just discovered napping! So I make sure I try to lie down and rest in midday, if possible. We just opened a beautiful new office space, 16,000 sq ft that includes not only our offices, warehouse, cold storage, labs, but also a retail and treatment area, so we have our work cut out for us, we’ve only been here a little over three weeks. I love it I wouldn’t have it any other way. But “I need to nap” is in my new mantra.
What are you excited for? Both personally and professionally.
The constant challenge of newness and creating something brand new is so inspiring and I also enjoy working with people. I love the creative spirit I witness when working in groups and I do love hearing everybody’s ideas and understanding what people are looking for. I’m interested in hearing other’s opinions. I got a lot of mileage out of my years of working in retail because I could work one-on-one with people everyday. I would hear their problems and help them find solutions. Recently I have taken up photography and this, I have a feeling is my new direction. I love it, I am at heart a stylist and photography is my new passion. But, make no mistake, I am a student, a beginner, but a determined one.
When do you feel your most radiant?
Haha! At the moment, never! But in normal times, i.e. not Holiday Season, I feel most radiant when I’m out in nature, walking, watching, breathing. I can be sitting on a log or dangling my feet from a bridge or in a river or paddling in the ocean. I feel most alive when I’m outside, after exercise, or after meditation, or just sitting still.
Has your idea of beauty shifted over your life?
Yes and no. I think what I see as beauty has shifted. If we’re talking human physical beauty, there’s a classic, almost geometric proportion of beauty that the eye responds to, it’s seen in great works of art. The classic beauty of skin and well-shaped face, hair and eyes and gentleness in the countenance of the face. Today I see beauty all over the place. I see beauty in the old and weathered, in the broken and decaying. I call it shadow, or humble beauty.
There’s a sort of brokenness that I love about humble beauty and that’s where the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi comes into play. There’s a certain repair work that needs to be done to our spirits over a lifetime that has nothing to do with how we look, but that leads us to the creative inspiration of a well-lived life. This is reflected on the face, and through the eyes. Grief, joy, happiness, depression, wonderment…it’s all there and leaves traces on the face. This to me is beautiful. No judgement. To look into a person’s face is a sacred affair. It’s an acceptance of responsibility that we enter into when we look into another’s eyes. It’s what humanizes us.
Simplicity and complexity are both aspects of the same coin. This is okay, it’s important. With this we are participating in the cares of the world, and allowing our deepest feelings to be felt and expressed. When someone has inner peace, his or her beauty is transcendent, radiant. Beauty lies in the cracks and crevices of our lives everyday, it is always right there in front of us.
How do we teach women confidence instead of perfection?
Ah. Ephemerality. There is no such thing as perfection. It’s an illusion and chasing after it is an exercise in futility. I can’t think of anything more frustrating than spending time trying to physically perfect one’s self! There’s always going to be that one errant eyebrow hair going off in the wrong direction! My hope is as we age we reach a level of acceptance and confidence. A sense of always following our own hearts; with no fear.
In my life in this career, and I was in the fashion industry before being in the beauty industry, I have yet to see perfection. Not in the physical beauty sense of the word. But a sunset, or a golden leaf in autumn, that’s perfection to me.
We humans are messy, emotional, imperfect. Cultivating confidence, joy, health, and loving relationships are the things worth working towards, it seems to me.
I admit, I don’t know how to teach women to have more confidence in themselves other than to tell them what I truly believe from my experience – stop the struggle. You are already beautiful, you are imperfectly perfect, just the way you are. Have faith in this…who you are is enough.
What does it mean to you to be a Well Woman?
A well woman is someone who takes deep breaths every morning, appreciates where she is, has a sense of humor about what’s going on, and has the ability to let go. You can be broken and still be a well-woman. You can breathe, you can be happy, feed yourself well and you can have loving relationships. You can do a job you love and take time off when you need rest to go inside yourself. Or simply go outside into nature. That’s what it means to me to be well.