health & beauty

KHUS+KHUS: An Interview With Founder Kristi Blustein

bottle of KHUS-KHUS laying on a bed of hemp leaves

To say I am impressed with Kristi Blustein and her organic botanical skincare line, KHUS+KHUS, is an understatement. From the moment I opened the box, the product resonated with me. Maybe it was the mysterious Miron Violet Glass bottles she uses that conceal her carefully procured oils, or the aromatic liquid gold, hidden inside & emanating ancient plant wisdom, that drew my curiosity. I wanted to know more.

Switching gears

This piece was originally going to be part of my Herbs 101 series. But, after formulating Kristi’s interview questions (which I found difficult to settle on since I was a bit intimidated!), I decided it only right to honor Kristi’s answers with a piece solely featuring her interview. You can do a simple Google search and find in-depth information on CBD oil, but, since I was lucky enough to be able to pick the brain of Kristi, the extremely experienced and knowledgeable creator behind KHUS+KHUS, I jumped at the chance.

Personally, I have always been fascinated, and I’ll even say in love, with the marijuana/hemp plant. Granted, I was lucky enough to be raised in Northern California, where this typically controversial plant is widely cherished & accepted for its myriad uses. To me it is the epitome of love, nourishment & regeneration. Though I was unfamiliar with the vast array of “healing” properties it concealed within its ornate leaves & buds until a few years ago, I’ve always known it was a force to be reckoned with.

The Highlights of CBD

marijuana leavesBefore we get straight to Kristi’s words of wisdom, here is a brief breakdown on CBD: the stand-out ingredient in KHUS+KHUS SEN facial oil:

  • Hemp and cannabis are members of the same plant species
  • CBD or Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive vs. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is psychoactive
  • CBD exists in both the cannabis and hemp plant, though CBD levels in hemp are considerably higher
  • CBD is more permeable to the skin than THC
  • Binds to CB2 receptors, activating the endocannabinoid system
  • Adaptogen
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-aging
  • Encourages cell growth
  • Induces relaxation

The Interview

Before KHUS+KHUS you spent years as a Realtor. What was the turning point & inspiration that first took you down the “conscious path?”

 I was actually practicing real estate in the midst of my spiritual journey. I spent time at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas in 2008, where I began the practice of Yoga. I had such a profound experience there that I knew what I had been searching for was going to come through the science and discipline of Yoga. It was the right path for me at that time in my life. I had always lacked a certain level of commitment, and Yoga offered me the chance to rid myself of imbalances in the mind and body.

After my time at the Sivananda Ashram, I began an intense daily practice of asana, meditation, reading Vedic books on Self-Realization and pranayama, and adopted an organic plant-based diet. Prior to Yoga, I had begun the process of using natural products and eating organic food for about six years, and this daily undertaking was the next evolution of my journey. I was on a mission to find happiness and balance, and I knew enough at that time to recognize that I needed some tools to help me to become more dedicated.

It’s been a long journey, and I will be on it for the rest of my life. Ayurvedic lifestyle can be a rabbit hole of self-discovery, but once you’re on it there’s no going back…and really, why would you want to? My suffering was the catalyst to my Self.

KHUS+KHS seamlessly blends both the aromatherapy and healing properties of botanicals. Can you explain to our readers the importance of the mind/body connection?

 In the beginning of an Ayurvedic journey, we require a certain level of healing. Creating a practice of ridding the mind of the entanglements of unnecessary thoughts and worry, especially when we play back past experiences over and over in the mind, is a first step. I recognize this is not a big step for everyone. Some of us are fortunate to have had generally happy experiences in life. But for some of us, learning to relax and release the mind from these patterns of thought, which tend to be on the negative side and also manifest in the body, is greatly needed in order to attain a certain level of balance in the body.

Relaxation is extremely important for releasing impurities from the body, and our botanical friends, especially nervines or herbs are particularly effective in calming the nervous system. We can see that with mental stress overtime most people will begin to feel symptoms in the body. Botanicals are a tremendous aide in calming the mind by translating vital information internally in the body through the hypothalamus part of the brain. 

In addition to your extensive aromatherapy studies, you also have a formal education in Ayurvedic medicine, yogic and Vedic science, & Eastern and Western herbalism. Can you tell us a bit about this incredibly healing path you have chosen & how you incorporate it all into KHUS+KHUS?

Initially, someone might look at these different fields of study and think they are separate, but from my perspective after spending time studying all of them, you find that they are all very similar. I teach Ayurveda and often tell my students that after a while, everything is Yoga. All of these paths lead to self-healing, balance, accountability for your own health, the study of the mind, using plant medicine and Self-Realization.

I incorporate the understanding of energetics into each formula. I like to focus on particular actions in the body. I’m really obsessed with nervines (herbs that specifically support the nervous system), because I feel our society has created a world where stress is overwhelmingly affecting our mental and physical state. This stress then manifests as imbalances.

I’m also looking for proven skincare benefits, as well as aroma. Everything I formulate must be pleasing to the olfactory system. When I produce a product, it is multifaceted based on my understanding of elements within the body and botanical energetics. This comes primarily from classical formula design, which I studied during my Ayurvedic training. If you study the immense level of healing that comes from herbs, you begin to understand that they are all working on an internal and energetic level.

The unique ingredient in your SEN facial serum is CBD. The use of this cannabinoid is starting to gain recognition & popularity in the mainstream. How does SEN differ from other similar products in its contents, manufacturing, testing, & so on?

SEN facial oil on KHUS+KHUS bag and marijuana leafConstituents of the cannabis sativa plant have been understudied especially in the U.S. due to laws. Research about the plant’s actions on the body is minimal. I can reference almost any herbal information in my library of herbal books, and there is almost no information about cannabis plants. It’s almost like it was wiped off the map of plant medicine. We turned to PubMed (a source for biomedical literature) for the latest research on CBD extract and found that there was a great deal of research and study on the effects of the plant in skincare.

I wanted to enhance the qualities of the CBD so I added supporting botanicals to assist in amplifying its skin benefits. The result is a really fantastic serum with a plethora of skin healing capabilities. I don’t think there’s a product on the market that has incorporated such a vast combination of plant material in support of the CBD, which is the chief herb in the formula.

I identify the outcome I want along with the main herb to achieve that and then look for supporting herbs that will assist in enhancing the desired quality. We tested the product on various people over the course of three months and found that overall skin texture had improved, as well as skin plumpness and appearance. We also saw an improvement in fine lines and skin tone.

What are the benefits of using CBD oil & what is the best way to incorporate SEN into our skin care regimen?

CBD is a nutritive powerhouse providing deep anti-inflammatory cellular healing. It’s a known tonic so it rejuvenates the skin. The best way to use CBD product SEN is after you wash your face with a mild cleanser, then spray your face, neck and chest area 3-4 times with the SEN hydrolat and then add about a half a dropper full of SEN face serum to the top of your hand (less bacteria than the palm) and spread the oil evenly over skin with fingertips. This should be done twice daily. The hydrolat adds a myriad of healing modalities while moisturizing and hydrating the skin; it also preps the skin to receive botanicals and allow for more even, smooth application of the serum.

If you could share one bit of advice regarding plant based skincare, ritual and/or overall self-care, what would it be?

 My advice would be to start purging anything you currently have that isn’t safe to use on your skin. It’s important to understand that when we use essential oils it’s equivalent to pharmaceutical level herbalism. Skincare products aren’t just topical. These ingredients are absorbed into the blood stream so you want to be using products with high quality herbal ingredients to supply the body with herbal healing information. Self-care requires that we make time for ourselves. We might have to wake up a little earlier to add the practice of abhyanga (self massage with oils) to our daily routine in the morning. But try to think about this, when we allow time for this practice we are not only translating all of that herbal information into our bloodstream we are also signaling to the mind and body self-love and compassion for ourselves.

This is the essence of healing. This is the core of vitality. Balance and health starts when we make ourselves a priority. Not in the egoic sense, but rather opening to the idea that we are capable of healing. When we start to shift our awareness to the fact that some of the things we introduce to our bodily system are not supporting our health, we can develop routines that incorporate healthier practices and products. Some form of herbal medicine is very beneficial to our overall well-being.

How do you balance the “mindfulness” & “business mindedness” that comes into play during the conception & development of your products?

 I am in the business of wellness. My primary objective is to introduce botanical medicine in a form that resonates with people and that people enjoy using. I want to assist in creating healing and balance for my customers. I would never make a product that was in any way harmful; sourcing quality ingredients is really important to me. I do my best to be aware of the brand’s environmental impact as well. Our packaging is carefully thought out; we use recycled shipping boxes and packing material.

The products come in beautiful Miron Glass bottles that can be reused and we use cloth bags instead of boxes for packaging, which are also reusable and less wasteful. All of the KHUS+KHUS ingredients are sustainably wild harvested or organic, 100% botanical. We compost and recycle anything we can. This is how I live in general in Boulder, Colorado and the community is very supportive of this type of conscious living.

I believe that a certain level of ethics has to be integrated throughout the entire business. I can’t just say do something healthy or use my products, and then on the other side of business and development not take steps to be conscious however possible and have less impact on the environment. Nature is providing the ingredients to support my company. I’m not going to apply harmful practices that would impair Mother Earth. Plus, on an energetic level, I believe that my treatment of nature and the world around me is translated into the ingredients. I only want good vibrations going into my products.

What does the future hold for KHUS+KHUS?

 If I knew the answer to this question, maybe things would be very different! You would think with all this practicing I’ve done I could tell the future but that gift hasn’t been bestowed upon me, yet. I’m manifesting the idea that in the future skincare will be herbalism in a bottle. I want the conversation to shift from what’s happening outside on the skin to, more importantly, what’s going on internally.

I hope that the future for all green beauty shifts to the understanding that plant medicine can come in many forms and is incredibly healing. I hope interest into self-care practices continues to grow and that KHUS+KHUS can help lead the conversation and education of the evolution of a new way of looking at skincare.

It’s a mistake to market herbal products in such a finite way as just skincare, so I plan to push the message of herbal products as offering us so much more in terms of wellness. I’m also always sourcing new ingredients and experimenting with new formulations. We’ll have a new body serum, WORSHIP coming out in March that I’m really excited about.

You mention using more than one face serum & alternating to capitalize on a mix of botanicals. Why do BLOSSOM & SEN pair well together?

 SEN and BLOSSOM facial oils by KHUS+KHUSI often recommend using an array of our products because each ingredient has such a plethora of beneficial qualities. I like this combination in particular because of the wild carrot seed oil in BLOSSOM. Carrot seed oil is very supportive of other botanicals and offers its own multitude of benefits. Carrot seed as well as the Rhododendron in the SEN take action on the liver, making them excellent sources for cellular regeneration, improving complexion and revitalizing the skin. Carrot seed oil is one of the most revitalizing oils. CBD extract helps maintain the basal cell life cycle by creating cell turnover and providing cell proliferation and a high level of antioxidant protection. The two strong revitalizing powerhouses really offer a perfect combination, though each product also works well on its own.

Think of our products as an herbal apothecary with the highest ethically sourced ingredients you can find. Some days you might be attracted to using a particular face and body serum combo, the next your intuition guides you to another plant, flower or resin depending on where you’re at on your healing journey. When you start to use these powerful plant allies you will be guided in various ways on an intuitive level and they will provide support for skin, mind and body healing that is profound.

The take-away

I have to say that Kristi’s formulations of the SEN & BLOSSOM facial oils are next level. If I could drench my entire body in them I certainly would. Within a week of using SEN & BLOSSOM simultaneously, I noticed a vast difference in the texture, suppleness and appearance in my skin tone. I have used facial oils for the past couple years, but having the opportunity to incorporate KHUS+KHUS into my daily skincare routine has taken my mind, body & soul to a place of no return!

Please do yourself a favor and splurge on at least one of Kristi’s stunningly intoxicating creations. You will not be disappointed!

Please leave your choices & reviews in our comment section. We would love to hear from you!