Clean Beauty: Meet Kristi Blustein, Founder of KHUS + KHUS

What is the story behind your brand?

The conception of the brand came from my Ayurvedic practice. I had just finished my final internship and set off to start a donation-based clinic called Bala Ayurveda. It became clear early on that I was having compliant issues with my patients. They would not comply with taking the dry herbal formulas called churnas. but I had no issue with them practising the daily lifestyle routine of Abhyanga, daily massage with medicated oil. Ayurveda has definitive oils and herbs used for each Dosha, so for a while the concept was in the Ayurvedic paradigm, but once I started Western herbalism school and aromatherapy classes I began to merge the disciplines together. Hence the name KHUS+KHUS. It’s a play on the ruh khus aka the vetiver plant, revered in India for its spiritual and detoxification benefits, and modern herbal fusion.

Substance, Style, Soul. How does your brand put these three concepts into practice?

Substance: we do this by taking the conversation from the peripheral to the deep. I like to get to the heart of things. My passion and purpose lies in healing, and I feel we need to talk about real issues that are impacting the health of our society. I believe strongly that the influx of synthetic chemicals into the average person's bodily system is one of the main causes of metabolic issues and imbalance.

Style and Soul: I like to call us the anti-brand brand. We put our emphasis on the plants because they are really the most important aspect. To encourage people to research and learn more about the benefits of these mighty healers, we keep our message of love and self-realisation simple and straightforward with our messages on our packaging. At the end of the day, we are teaching people how to heal themselves through the pillars of our plant allies and daily self-care routines. This is the premise of Ayurveda, Yogic and Vedic philosophy and where we really begin to access our infinite healing potential.

What makes your range unique?

I think what makes us unique is that we are concerned with the integumentary system as a whole. We take a holistic approach to skincare; this is why we have as many body products as face care products. We see the skin as a manifestation of what is going on within the body and also what is happening on a mental emotional level, as the two are intrinsically linked. All of our formulas are created using ancient herbal design based on compounding chemical constituents to drive a particular action into the body. We use herbs well known and studied to calm the nervous system so the formulas have multiple actions: skincare, nervines in herbalism known to calm the body and mind, and anti-inflammatory.

What are your top five ‘can’t live without’ beauty products?

Honestly, I can’t live without BLOSSOM face serum, SURYA body wax, cocofloss, Davids peppermint toothpaste, Vapour Beauty luminous foundation, and Rituel De Fille forbidden lipstick. I could survive for weeks with just these products.

What is your current self-care routine?

I’ve been a Yogic and Ayurvedic practitioner for many years so I’m pretty established in my routines. I practice meditation and yoga asana just about every day. I do a dry brushing twice a week and abhyanga, tongue scraping, eye wash with organic eco-cert rose hydrolat, and neti pot with Himalayan salt every day. These are very common lifestyle routines well known as kriyas in Ayurveda and Yoga. I use essential oils through a diffuser by my bed at night and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep. I’ve been eating an organic whole food diet for 18 years and have been a vegetarian for 12, going vegan most days. I never drink soda, only water, kombucha, herbal teas and coffee in moderation. I take adaptogens mostly in a mushroom source like reishi, cordyceps and chaga. I take turmeric and a few times a month take liver cleansers like dandelion and milk thistle before bed. I only take herbs 4-5 days a week as to maximize uptake of the chemical compounds. I always have a glass of room temperature water prior to any coffee, which I do drink but it’s best to alkaline the body prior to taking in any circulatory stimulants. And of course relaxation, sound therapy, massage and just laying in savasana for 20-30 minutes to release stress from the body and mind. My yoga teacher Sri Dharma Mittra always says relaxation is the best antidote for impurities in the mind and body.

Who is your current beauty muse, and why?

I don’t know that I have a specific muse. It’s more of a way of evolved living. I aspire to find balance and peace, and I like to create products that do so. The plants are the muses, all of them.

The concept of “ethical beauty” is garnering more awareness, what does this mean for (the future of) your brand?

I would think it would mean good things.

We as a society are becoming more aware and this is beautiful to witness. 17 years ago I was called a health nut and was considered a radical because I ate organic food. So we’ve made tremendous progress with diet and now we are transitioning to what we put on our skin; it’s the natural unfoldment of connecting to plants and an evolution of our collective consciousness.  

What is the cardinal rule of beauty?

It is not possible to have beauty which is linked to health and vibrancy if you lack connection to plants through diet, smell and skin.

Where do you source your ingredients from, and how you determine which ingredients will actively work best together to produce the desired result?

When it comes to sourcing, only organic or sustainably wild-harvested ingredients need apply. I do prefer eco-cert hydrolats; they are sourced from Provence, Cote d’Azur, except for the vetiver and frankincense which are sourced from India. I sometimes use a UK based co-op for myrrh and German chamomile. I only work with reputable companies that test all their oils and provide proof of testing.

As for how I determine which ingredients work together it’s called herbal compounding and is the premise of holistic formula design. We know certain chemical compounds have particular actions within the body. It’s about identifying like constituents and creating herbal synergy. I generally start with a chief herb and use other herbs that contain a similar profile to assist the chief, and we use the carrier oils as the dipana (carrier into the system). This layering effect creates a balanced outcome because you don’t have competing constituents confusing the body.