Yasmin Sadikot is the Founder of OmVeda International Pty Ltd and the pioneer in traditional Ayurvedic Beauty treatments and home care products in Australia. A practitioner of Ayurvedic herbology and treatments, Yasmin started OmVeda in 1997 introducing Ayurveda in the form of a cosmetic brand in Australia. The concept behind this brand is wellness, beauty and health, addressing the inner workings and balance through the skin. Sadikot’s phrase "if you cannot eat it, do not put on your skin" was the launching pad for OmVeda, giving therapists and consumers alike an understanding that it is purely herbal and that the herbs used in the products have the same efficacy as that prescribed internally.
In this conversation, she sheds light on the growing importance of Ayurveda in global cosmetic markets and the opportunities that lay ahead.
What is Ayurveda to you? What led you to be interested in it and its discovery?
Ayurveda is a way of life and an ancient system of medicine arguable the first ever written. It integrates many modalities like internal and external treatments, nutrition, yoga, herbology. Its uniqueness being individualization – meaning every being is unique and is treated accordingly. In other words, not one medicine or treatment is generic but rather created for that individual.
I was led to learn more about Ayurveda as I attended a seminar and it became obvious that many things that I had experienced since I was a child was in fact Ayurvedic. Even the simplest of habits like hair massage, being careful what to eat in the different seasons, home remedies for colds etcetera. Though I was not born in India, being of Indian origin, my interest in Ayurveda started to give me a connection to my culture and an understanding of traditions that have been carried through generations.
How did you conceptualize the idea of OmVeda as being the “first traditional Ayurvedic care company” in Australia?
Personally, I have always had very sensitive skin, and when I was visiting India I discovered there was such a thing as Ayurvedic skin, hair and body care. This was as far back as the mid 90’s. I brought some back to Australia and found them to be quite different from what was readily available and my skin did not react and in fact improved greatly. On another trip I started to investigate how I could create my own range. It seemed it was meant to be as everything fell into place. It was not an easy journey because when I first started you could not even google a herb and there were not many books available on Ayurvedic herbs. Neither had many people heard of Ayurveda in Australia. My determination drove me to study and learn. We had to educate the market, write articles in both consumer and trade magazines to get our message across. I was determined to keep the range herbal and made to traditional methodology, to support small farmers and artisans who have worked on their farms and crafts for generations. For many years I kept learning and created treatments and a retail line of products. It feels like we were doing the job for the market to expand. Today, Ayurveda is highly competitive and has created a big global market. Being the first is not an easy path but a rewarding one.
What is the process that goes behind formulating a unique OmVeda Ayurvedic cosmetic product?
We work with Ayurvedic doctors and cosmeticians in India and our philosophy has always been to stay as close to the texts in the combination of herbs used in formulations. Some of our products are a combination of herbal powders that have to be made into a fresh paste before application, and others are made to use straight out of a jar or bottle. One has to find a balance between the two that offers the convenience of use without deviating from one’s values. The Ayurvedic texts provide benefits of herbs for many skin and hair conditions and we work on understanding each of these possibilities, that are eventually reflected in our product composition.
Yasmin Sadikot, Founder of OmVeda, Australia
In times when the markets are flooded with cosmetics and wellbeing products, what are some trends that make Ayurveda and Indian wellness unique?
Traditional Ayurveda is totally natural, not tested on animals, microbead free, wild harvested and crafted, vegetarian or vegan, all of which are values that people are trending towards. Furthermore, traditional formulations do not have alcohol or chemical irritants and can be used by sensitive skin. In a country like Australia where the sun is very strong inflammatory skin, particularly in summer, is quite marked. This makes the skin very sensitive to product applied. The feedback we often get is how amazed people are to see improvements in their skin having tried many products. There are many natural products in the market largely formulated with essential oils, but the strength of the right combination of herbs can greatly improve the complexion and help with many scalp conditions. In essence, Ayurvedic skin and hair care have medicinal values – after all, Ayurveda is a powerful system of medicine. It is a growing market however like everything else there has to be unity and support in all the different modalities that are practiced whether it is yoga, internal medicine or external treatments. There are so many different types of Yoga today, but, in my opinion, even yoga asanas in the traditional sense are individualised and not one fits all.
How do you see the future of Ayurvedic enterprises and their role in promoting traditional forms of wellness?
Ayurvedic Enterprises are growing both within India and Internationally. There are increasing opportunities for researching and generating knowledge on individual herbs that creates a better understanding of how products work effectively. It is not sufficient to say this works on a problem, but people need to know why and how. Also, there need to be united standards that are in line with international protocols. Whether it is manufacturing, ISO standards, or more research on herbs. There has been some research on herbs like Amla and Ashwanghanda, but more has to be done and it is also important that educational standards are set internationally for practitioners. The benefits and learnings have to be more readily available in a simplified form.
It makes it easier for companies manufacturing Ayurvedic products – either for internal or external use to promote their products worldwide and grow the market. One of the trends - Vegetarianism and Veganism – is growing at a tremendous rate globally and people are trending away from mainstream or earlier patterns of food consumption. Similarly, Ayurveda will continue to grow as people experience the benefits of this traditional medicinal science. Ayurvedic products can create a niche in a growing market that wants – natural, results and authenticity in its values. It is important that the enterprises preserve and promote these age-old methodologies and knowledge, and not dilute these values by using modern quick methods to mass manufacture and reduce the effectiveness.