We are so excited to kick off our Brand Spotlight series with Susanne Norwitz, creator and founder of Maya Chia. Harvard educated with a true heart of gold and passion for her craft, Susanne was gracious to take time from her busy schedule to sit down and chat with Kate about her incredible line of skin care.
With so many brands promising to do so many things to your skin yet many times leaving us with no results and disappointed we got caught up in the hype. Maya Chia is far from hype and genius marketing. Maya Chia starts with science and then formulated with the utmost care to deliver stunning results to your skin.
To say that she is simply an amazing brand would be an understatement. Susanne is eloquent, level-headed, optimistic, humble smarty pants, and one of the most good-hearted people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know. If you don’t know about Maya Chia yet or are teetering on the brink of making the jump to purchase any one of her products, we invite you to sit down with us and get to know the passionate mastermind behind Maya Chia.
What makes your two main ingredients, chia seed oil and astaxanthin so groundbreaking in treating and helping the skin glow unlike any other product out there?
Chia seeds are the richest known plant source of omega fatty acids, antioxidants and essential minerals – all factors that play a vital role with the health of your skin. The Nutritional Science Research Institute tested the nutritional value of chia seed and said it contains “the highest amount of antioxidants we have ever measured” and cited chia as one of the most powerful whole food antioxidants we know. Further, in a study published in the annals of dermatology, chia oil was clinically proven to significantly increase skin hydration, reduce trans-epidermal water loss and increase skin barrier function.
We own the rights to a patented supercritical process to extract chia seed oil. In certain cases, as is the case with chia seeds, the way you extract the oil from the plant makes all the difference for the longevity and efficacy of the oil. We worked with leading scientists to license the patent for supercritical extraction of chia seed oil in the United States. Supercritical extraction is a gentle oxygen-free, solvent-free process, which results in an oil with a total absence of chemical residues and impurities, and one that most closely mirrors the chemical profile of the plant, and importantly for a natural product, has up to a two-year shelf life.
The introduction of our latest product – the Super Couple ™ – was driven by a spate of clinical research studies extolling the benefits of natural astaxanthin for the skin. Like chia, the benefits of astaxanthin for skin are amazing. Over the last few years, astaxanthin has gained considerable exposure nationally. Many in the scientific community recognize it as one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. To give you an idea of its power, natural astaxanthin is 65 times more effective at combating free radicals than Vitamin C.
Your entire line is carefully and gently crafted in such a fashion that if someone were to solely you all your products, they would end up with amazing skin. Sometimes, we end up using one cleanser, then a different moisturizer, and then a different serum altogether. How does the cleansing oil work with the super couple serum, pressed balm, and waterless balm in order to create such a seamless and simple regimen for even the most sensitive skin types?
We looked at each product necessary as part of a streamlined skincare routine individually – and asked ourselves how can we make this product the best it could possibly be, so that it would really deliver on its promise. It was our intention to create a minimalist line in which each product worked, and worked exceptionally well. We realize that people are hectic as can be, and as much as we can simplify a person’s routine makes us happy — unless of course, one delights in the ritual of a multi-step routine and if they do, that’s a wonderful thing. But for the most part, our goal was to create a luxurious streamlined nightly ritual that could be performed quickly… Where customers could either luxuriate in the sensory experience of cleansing or moisturizing their skin if they wanted to.. or do these steps very quickly. We also don’t mind one bit if people want to use other cleansers or oils, we are just honored to be a part of their lives and provide comfort and efficacy. It’s a real honor when people welcome you into their homes and have your products on their shelf. We never forget that.
You have just launched an exciting new product called the: The Super Blend – Pressed Serum
Brightening Moisture Concentrate! It’s pure wizardry! Can you tell us what inspired you to create a pressed serum and what makes it groundbreaking?
First, thank you! I love Harry Potter, so the thought of being called a wizard – especially around Halloween makes me feel positively gleeful. I first heard of pressed serums from Korea – where they always seem to be ahead of where beauty is trending. I loved the idea of combining the steps of a serum and a moisturizer into one item. And then I became absolutely obsessed with making it a high-performance moisturizing concentrate that was different – really different from other products and one that would make a real difference in the skin of our customers.
We put a lot of thought about how we could make the Super Blend as high-performance as possible, yet gentle and deeply nourishing. I spent countless nights deep in the Internet vortex reading about all kinds of ingredients and how those ingredients work together. I also talked with many chemists and formulators to discuss the ingredients, clinical studies, etc.
So, the product called the Super Blend, it has supercritical chia (but of course : ), natural astaxanthin (which is 65X stronger than Vitamin C), Vitamin C Ester, — interestingly enough, studies have found astaxanthin enhances the antioxidant actions of Vitamin C. Sweet White lupin seeds restore resiliency to firm and smooth the skin (in an in Vivo study of this ingredient conducted on 25 volunteers spanning 45-69 in age for 89 days: 92% of volunteers noticed improved firmness of the skin and 72% noticed reduced sagging of the facial contour)**, Coenzyme Q10 helps reduce the depth of wrinkles and neutralize free radicals, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline (is an Eco-Cert-approved ingredient – an ingredient also supported by 3 separate in Vivo tests) that firms the tissues by stimulating the contraction of collagen fibers, by protecting the skin fibers from enzymatic lysis or breakdown and scavenges free radicals. We also included traditional/ancient skin healing plants including (among others) Yarrow Leaf Extract, Sage Leaf Extract, Horsetail Extract, Nettle Leaf Extract to deeply calm, nourish and reduce inflammation. All of this is an exotic blend of various butters consisting of babassu oil (which sinks into the skin immediately on contact), kokum butter and shea. It has a subtle soothing smell consisting of cardamom, vetiver, neroli, absolute jasmine, rose geranium and more.
What is your skin care regimen and what are your top 3 must-have products?
My skincare regimen is super streamlined – I cleanse, exfoliate (a couple times a week — Goldfaden MD makes an amazing high-performance clean beauty scrub), and nourish my skin with one of our face oils or the Super Blend. I find the less you do to your skin, the more you feed it with topical nutrition, the better the results will be.
What are a few of the most important lessons you have learned from the Maya people of Central and South America about life?
I love this question, and it’s one that I’ve never been asked before. The Mayas have been oppressed for hundreds of years – and continue to be. At one time, they were a strong and powerful civilization, with such far advanced thinking to their credit.
Now, many of them do not have anything – and have very little opportunity for success because they are not educated and do not have a way to be. But this can change. There are amazing organizations, such as Adopt-a-Village in Guatemala like the one we work with, which is doing amazing things at the grassroots level to provide these people with an education and a way to make a living. It’s inspiring.
Even though many of these people have nothing – according to many standards – these same people are the most grateful for the “small things” in life – and have such immense gratitude and joy. If there ever was a people that can be labeled with a broad swath as kind and beautiful, with an irrepressible spirit, they would be the Maya people.
What do you ultimately hope for people who use Maya Chia? Improved skin? Unique user experience (e.g. makes them think of childhood)? That Maya Chia is all you will ever need for incredible skin?
I designed this line for people with the idea that I wanted to reduce the stress and anxiety that people have about what to use on their skin. I wanted to make a promise, and deliver on that promise and then some. To delight and surprise and exceed the expectation of our customers, who we love. That’s what we wanted to do. I knew that chia seed oil, natural astaxanthin, and other ingredients would feed and nourish their skin in a really powerful and gentle way.
Again, I know I’ve said this before, but it’s a gift to us when people buy our products, it’s an honor of the highest order, and we try never to take that for granted.