Blog: Skincare / Our Philosophy
There’s a book sitting on my desk. I had taken it out from the library a few weeks ago and, yet, still haven’t felt called to read it. Instead, I have opened it at random moments to random pages seeking a sign, confirmation, inspiration.
The book is called If Women Rose Rooted, and the page I opened to this morning begins with words from D.H. Lawrence:
“Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and equinox. This is what is the matter with us. We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars…”
And then the chapter begins, titled, “Reclaiming Our Stories.”
I’ve been wanting to tell the tale of my skincare line, and I think it begins here, with a reminder of our lost roots. With the tragedy and grief of forgetting our source.
In writing any tale, we must begin with why this story deserves to be told. And what do we hope our readers will take from it—how will it grow them?
So I have posed this question to myself: why do I create skincare products? Why have I chosen this as part of my purpose, my mission here on the planet? We have such limited time to accomplish what we are here to accomplish so, if I have chosen this, I must have chosen it because it is important.
And it is hard for me to answer the question, not because I don’t have reasons or a sense of purpose, but because (pun intended) the answer is not merely skin deep.
In my mind when I try to answer, responses whirl about the soul, about our soul’s beauty and being who we are, and about being stewards of our planet.
And then, most resounding, is the answer that speaks of our connection: to ourselves, to each other, to our planet, to our god or our source.
We are bleeding at our roots. That’s why I started this line. One reason, at least. I wanted to discover, together, how to attach us, again. How to stop the bleeding and land our feet on the ground, in the soil, in the earth.
I wanted to remember that we are aligned with the planets, the sun, the stars.
That our skin, our beauty, is somehow an expression of all of this.
That we are not alone. So we must honor our bodies in ways that announce our connection. And we must honor each other.
We are linked.
There are some oil wars going on out there—face oil, that is. Some skincare brands (not mentioning names) are marking their territory, saying “my oil is better than yours.”
Instead of knocking each other down, trying to one-up each other, we should be celebrating: growing access to safe self-care products means greater awareness, greater health, and a cleaner, more sustainable planet.
In this case, more competition is not a downer.
After all, we’re all rooting for the same thing (right?): wellbeing, stretching from our heads to our toes and down into the soil.
I’m in this fight (to save our health + our planet) because it matters. Because the products we use on our skin and the food we eat shouldn’t be poisoning us. Because being mindful of the legacy we leave to future generations is not only good sense, but morally unequivocal.
Do I want you to buy my oil? Of course.
Do I think it’s the best? It’s pretty damn good.
But am I going to (even humorously) start hash tagging #oilwars? Hell no. There are real oil wars going on, and the language we use (even to sell skincare products) matters.
As we grow, we must give ourselves away. This must be our ritual.
You see, we are placing a tremendous burden on the earth—our population growth is unchecked and, as we produce more and more people, we add more concrete, more roads, and more houses that cover the earth which needs to breathe. We have created environmental havoc, economic instability, and spiritual problems of epic proportions. We need to lighten the load.
And this begins by giving ourselves away. Despite the challenges we face individually and as a collective, each of us have been given some knowledge of how to live life differently—better. Our mission in life is to discover that knowledge within us and use it. We are here to share what only we can bring.
Give of your possessions, your words, your thoughts, your kindness. Give away your knowledge to students, young and old. Share whatever it is you’ve got. Even the slightest actions make a difference.
The purpose of life isn’t to leave a physical footprint on the earth, but a lasting impact in hearts, minds, and spirits. When you give yourself away joyfully, gently, and freely, you do just that. And we can begin doing this at any age; the gift of who we are is enough.
When we do this, not only will we lighten the burden the earth is carrying and become more mindful of our presence on it, we’ll begin raising the vibration. When you give of yourself freely and joyfully, you spread love, peace, and joy to everything you touch. It’s those small acts of giving that spread the most joy. Our world, our earth, our neighbors, and our companion creatures need compassion. Let’s begin now.
It’s time to spread our light. Pass it on.
I imagine skin as this living, breathing hub, this place of exchange and connection, where what’s inside us meets the outside world and vice versa. . . . Life happens where our skin meets the world; change happens. Transformation happens. The truth is that our skin does not isolate us from the world: because it is permeable, it binds us to it. There is no life without this exchange.
I believe that we deserve to know our own beauty & worth.
I believe that we are always in process & that showing up as we are is one of the most courageous things we can do.
I believe it is time for us to reclaim our stories & reclaim our bodies—to bare them with truth & love & compassion. When we let our beauty exist, naturally, we offer ourselves as teachers: I am not afraid of this body that I have, we say. I will not hide it or shun it or tell it it’s not enough. I embrace my beauty. By embracing our beauty, we free others to do the same.
I also firmly believe that we need to lose the language of “anti-wrinkle” & “anti-aging.” Imagine if those words suddenly went missing. Overnight, our skincare products would transform, leaving empty spaces where “anti-wrinkle” & “anti-aging” were once boldly displayed on boxes & plastic bottles.
Not a single person would utter the words in a face cream commercial & all of those fountain-of-youth advising books would suddenly find gaps in the middle of their sentences.
Poof. The words, everywhere, would disappear.
But it’s not just the words. Imagine what that would mean, a world where we could never speak the language of “anti-aging” again.
It would mean we would finally allow our bodies the chance to be seen as they shape-shift & change—as they enter the flow of time and grow marks & scars & lines; we would not hide the truth of ourselves. By bringing our bodies into the open as they are, we would celebrate them for showing the richness of our lives; they carry our stories.
The more adamantly we try to reverse time, the more we fight our own strength and beauty: as we expand with age, we rise up, rooted in our intuition & our wisdom. To chase the fountain of youth is to forget what a blessing being an elder & a seer is. We do not sacrifice beauty by aging; no—we sacrifice only when we resist age’s flow, hushing our innate powers.
DO NOT PLAY IT SMALL, MY SISTERS. DO NOT HIDE YOUR BEAUTY.
Knowing your worth & your beauty is not a privilege, it is why you are here: to express your fullness—to express your passions, your purpose, your love.
Sisters, root yourself in the Grandmother Spirit. Set your intuition aflame and swell with your own wisdom.
We need you, exactly as you are.
Before I created my skincare line, I did lots of research: I explored each oil, I studied mind-body-spirit integration and holistic nutrition because what we put on our bodies and in our bodies mutually affects us on physical and energetic levels. I researched and experimented, starting with myself, and gradually extended the circle of willing participants to my family and friends. But, now, when I create a new product or a custom oil, I rely mostly on that small voice within me, the intuitive guide that resides in my body and connects me to source. I listen to my body as I smell each aroma and take in the energetic essence of each essential oil and I’m guided by this one question: how does this oil or combination of oils make me feel?
I believe the best work we do is channeled, inspired. It moves through us and connects us to our original purpose, why we are here.
When I created this line, I used deeply spiritual language to describe it: I spoke about the essence of the feminine and the goddess. About our skin being the medium through which we experience the world and how that made caring for our skin an intimate and urgent need. About being embodied and valuing the transcendence the body makes possible. Because our spirituality or our consciousness is rooted in our bodies. It does not end there, of course, but it resides there, it finds its footing. We commune with each other and the world through our bodies and when we dance and sing and move, our bodies become an expression of our souls.
And I am writing this today because I want to return there, to that place of describing skin nourishment as a spiritual practice. As part of a ritual of self-love and celebration.
Because, to me, my skincare line feels homeless when it’s not rooted in the deeper poetry of heart and soul and body. It feels uprooted, and I cannot serve you—body or spirit—without two feet firmly on the ground. Without feeling grounded in the richness of our ancestors, our earth, and the wisdom of the whole: body, mind, and soul are all integrated.
As many of you know, I have a pen pal, Britney, who is incarcerated in Texas. As she does most weeks, she sent me a prayer the other day and, on the bottom, included a quote: “Don’t forget in darkness what God told you in the light.” This is my remembrance, a return to what lights me up.
Let’s reclaim the light together, the light of our bodies and beings. Because you are so worthy of this love and nourishment; may you shower it upon yourself with absolute freedom. And may you delight in tending to your body because pleasure is your birthright.
BY ASHLEY ASTI
My products are at the forefront of my work and I want to ensure that they're rooted in wellness and healing. That they nourish your body and support you in living well—healthy, vibrantly.
But I also believe that when you buy a product, you don't just buy the product; you buy everything that company stands for. So, when you buy ASHLEY ASTI products, I want you to know that you're also buying a commitment to sustainability.
And you're buying a commitment to compassion and oneness. Giving back is an inextinguishable part of our mission and we have a handful of nonprofit partners who are rooted in serving with gentleness and kindness and peace. This is inseparable from our mission and I cannot imagine offering you a product that doesn't also serve our planet and our two-legged, four-legged, or winged communities.
Our skin is magical. It is a living, breathing organ, the largest organ in our bodies.
Under the name of my skincare line, I often place a double-pointed arrow, expanding limitlessly in both directions, like this:
I choose this because what inspires me about skin is that it is an organ of communication; it literally connects what’s inside of us to what’s outside, and what’s outside to what’s within.
In other words, our skin is not a solid barrier, guarding us from everything outside and never allowing anything inside to come out. Just think about how we sweat out toxins through our skin or how we soak in medicines through patches, like nicotine patches or birth control patches. Our skin is a porous barrier.
We’ve often heard the expression you are what you eat. Meaning, the food we take in literally becomes us: it becomes the protein in our muscles and our hair, the collagen in our skin. One of the most intimate relationships we can have is with our food: when we open our mouths and swallow, what we take in forms us. With every bite we take, we have a hand in creating ourselves.
But the expression, “You are what you eat,” doesn’t go far enough. We are also everything we put on our skin. Because our skin is a porous barrier, the majority—upwards of 60%—of what we put on it is absorbed through our skin and into our bloodstream. Our skin eats, too.
This matters. Because, in every moment, our bodies are new. Our skin replaces itself every month, our stomach lining regenerates every five days, and our livers are new every six weeks. What this means, so powerfully, is that though our bodies appear statuesque and unchanging, they are continually building and rebuilding themselves. So, if we are what we eat and we are what we put on our skin, with everything we take in, we get to choose whether we want to build our bodies up or break them down. In other words, we have a tremendous responsibility to understand the impact of our food and our self-care products on our bodies.
Since we know that our skin eats, too, and what it eats affects our wellness on the deepest levels, we must be just as mindful about what we put on our skin as what we put in our mouths. In other words, if you wouldn’t eat it—if you can’t pronounce the ingredients in it because it’s manufactured and modified in a lab rather than grown in the earth—should you really be putting it on your skin?
When I create skincare products to nourish your body, I believe there is no other option but to choose ingredients that are sage and natural healers grown in our soil. I choose plant-based. And I feel a responsibility to choose organic.
When we spray the earth with pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides, covering the land we live on, and the food we eat, and the herbs that will become our skincare products, with poisons, we must remember we are spraying ourselves.
Until we recognize this truth—we are the earth, our connection to it irrevocable and undeniable—we will know neither health nor peace. What we do to our natural abode, we do to ourselves. For earth’s sake and for our own, we must choose consciously.
Because choosing organic or caring for the earth is not just about the health of our children’s children, but our health right now. We are plagued with chronic illness at such high rates that we have forgotten how unnatural it is. No, to suffer chronic pain, to be so frequently tired that coffee must be around every corner, to have such unimaginably and devastatingly high rates of cancer, to have heart burn and indigestion always, and to be so chronically unhappy is not ok. Our birthright is luminosity.
We must understand that we are the co-creators of our lives and of this earth. I choose organic, vegan, loving ingredients because it is not only our responsibility, but our sacred calling to care for our bodies, our spirits, and our planet.
Skincare is just the beginning.
We’re raising the bar with our new zero-waste options. Because we know that caring for your body also means caring for our planet.
Want to help protect the planet?
Labels require chemically-coated paper, chemical adhesives, and chemical inks, all of which burden the planet.
It is with great responsibility that we choose not to turn a blind eye to this burden, which is why we’re now offering you the option to go label-free.
When selecting a product from our online store, save $1 by choosing the “without paper label” option. This means we’ll send you your product without a label, just a simple, zero-waste glass jar.
Let your bottle bare it all to save money and protect the planet from unnecessary waste.
We understand that opting out of the label isn’t always possible when you’re ordering two products with the same jar and top, but we urge you to drop the label when you can.
Caring for the earth is our responsibility—and it’s intimately connected to our own health. When the earth is sick, we get sick, too.
Together, we can be the change.
The first commandment of ASHLEY ASTI:
i. We do not believe that poisoning the earth or the animals that live upon it is an option. To create a beautiful world, we must create with peace. We promise products of pure and peaceful intentions.