My daughter and I recently took a trip to Los Angeles to visit family, where we were told, "you have to meet Maggie". Boy were they right! Maggie was so knowledgeable at her profession of creating natural beauty products, that our short meeting could have easily turned into a half-day adventure. After a warm greeting in her home, she walked us to her backyard studio apothecary where she creates all of her exquisite products. The moment she opened the door to the studio, it hit us! The good energy and incredible scents - it was heavenly.
Read about my visit with Maggie where she answered a few questions on her skincare line and her work with aromatic plants. Then, find her recipe for her Fragrant Jasmine Tea linked below.
1. First, please tell me about your last name, I love the sound of it. What does it mean? It means "beloved".
2. And Lalun? Lalun is the name of my skincare line that I am currently rebranding. The name comes from a village in the Alborz mountains in Iran where my parents had a piece of property. I grew up in Iran and left when I was sixteen. That village was the symbol I was trying to capture in my skincare line. It was an idyllic place, a very beautiful place at the end of the road, in the mountains, with flamingos flying over on their way to Africa. That aspect of my past, without trying to be sentimental, but trying to keep that past alive through the products and what I am making - the sensuality of it, the seasonality of it - that is what I try to capture.
3. When did you realize your passion was going to become your work? Well, I am an architect by profession, but I started making skincare in the mid-nineties. Skincare was a way for me to take care of myself because I was working long hours, with lots of deadlines. The office work was taking it's toll on me. During that time, I was trying to nurture myself, however, a lot of the products I was trying were giving me terrible reactions. It was at that time I went back to my Persian roots of using rosewater and other natural ingredients for my skin. I found myself constantly wanting to be with plants and wanting to be working with the essences. They calmed me and they did so much for me! Many years later, pregnant with my second daughter, I had to be on bedrest. It was a blessing in disguise. I had to slow down. That was when I said, "That's it, this has been my hobby for years and years, what if this became my new work?".
4. Your skin glows. Besides using your products, can you share with me one of your beauty secrets? Never ever wash your face. I've always promoted the idea of using oils to cleanse the skin, even though people thought I was crazy. Washing changes the pH. Washing removes the oils from the skin. Once a week I bathe the Persian way, which is the hammam. I do a full hammam - exfoliating the whole body with a "sefidab", which is a traditional cleansing washball made with fats and earth. You use it on a coarse-woven mitt by wetting the mitt and gently rubbing your skin with the clay substance. All of the dead skin cells come off leaving you with glowing skin.
5. What would you love for me to smell this morning? I have some dried pink peppercorns. It's a hearty plant that grows well in this climate, originally traveling up from South America. There are a lot of aromatic plants in this area, which means you also have to be very careful because some of them may have certain characteristics or chemical compounds that when tinctured, can be...well you just have to be careful! It's a double edge sword (laughter). I've had some experiences with the plants, and they made me very respectful of them. But this one you can tincture very nicely.
6. Your space has such a good energy. How is that energy transpired into your product? I like to sing blessings to my plants and thank them for their gifts, asking them for permission before I collect them. I then do my best to blend my products on the new moon or during the full moon. Now let's step outside to pick some jasmine blossoms for our tea....
Before picking jasmine blossoms for our tea, Maggie shared a song from her daughters' Waldorf school in which the children learn a little blessing to sing before their snack time. She said the first time she heard it, she thought it would be the perfect little prayer to sing before picking her plants.
Blessings on the blossoms
Blessings on the roots
Blessings on the leaves and stems
And blessings on the fruit
Thank you for your gifts