Not all essential oils are created equal. Uma Founder, Shrankhla Holecek knows this all too well. Frustrated by misappropriations of Indian rituals and Ayurvedic practices in the beauty industry, Holecek created Uma – a collection of beauty and wellness oils with integrity. Each bottle of Uma oil is the culmination of rich tradition, powerful science, and love.
Perfected over centuries, Holecek continues her family’s legacy crafting extraordinary essential oil blends using botanicals raised on a 100-acre, nutrient rich meadow in India. Uma’s coveted collection has quickly earned a role as a supplier to the world’s most prestigious beauty brands – such as Tom Ford and Estée Lauder, to name a few.
But Holecek’s goals for Uma don’t stop there. Her unparalleled dedication to sustainability, transparency, and global impact puts her in a league that’s refreshingly above and beyond the standards of many modern beauty brands. Read our exclusive interview with Shrankhla Holecek to get her take on essential oil imposters, Ayurveda practices, and the one Uma product she says is a MUST.
Essential oils are often touted as an ingredient in a variety of beauty products. What sets Uma apart from other beauty brands?
Knowing what oils, and in what proportion, extend the performance and efficacy of another is, as much art as it is science. Essential oils are powerful substances – arguably a plant’s most concentrated form – we use our scientific knowledge of each component to determine our oil blends.
Another key differentiator is our “farm-to-bottle” process – we’ve vertically integrated the entire oil production pipeline, from organically growing and harvesting our ingredients, to extracting them and crafting them into specialized blends. This means we have an unparalleled level of visibility and control over our product, and can implement quality control at every level of the production process. Most of our competitors purchase oils from external sources, and have no reliable way to verify their quality – this means consumers may very well be buying diluted essential oil products without ever knowing the difference.
You harvest the ingredients for Uma oils on your own family farm in India! What makes these botanicals so unique?
Our essential oil distillery is uniquely self-sustaining and environment-friendly, with its innovative machinery that converts waste product back into reusable fuel. This allows us to operate with minimal dependence on outside energy resources, while leaving behind the smallest of footprints. The water used for the distillation process is cycled back into the farms, while we also take measures to minimize our dependence on artificial irrigation. Furthermore, fragrant remains of flowers and plants left over after the extraction process are converted into incense – a very popular product for home use and celebrations in India.
Uma oils are created using rich tradition—what exactly is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a system of natural medicine that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It encompasses not only science but philosophy, whereby the whole of life’s journey is considered sacred. (Ayur=life, Veda=Science, so essentially the science of life). Ayurveda draws on a system of scientific and practical knowledge, which is rooted in the ancient beliefs about the constitution of the human body, and its close relationship with the environment it exists in.
We love the way these oils smell! Beyond the calming aromatherapy effects, what benefits do Uma oils provide for your skin?
Especially when looking at it from the Ayurvedic standpoint, the impact of each of our products is very holistic. Sandalwood, a beloved skincare staple lending luminosity to the skin, also has a deeply grounding effect on the mind and body. Believed to regulate the body's limbic function, Sandalwood oil promotes balance and calm while also stimulating a healthy sense of confidence.
Chamomile contains the extraordinary component Azulene (you see this in a lot of blue tansy rich products) that not only repairs skin, but also calms nerves, creating a sense of balance when you need it most. Rose oil has a potent impact on hydration retention, as well as hormone balance. So when creating a truly impactful face or wellness product, one must consider how it impacts the whole of an individual, in my opinion.
You take pride in providing beauty products that are organic and sustainable. How important is it, and what does it mean to you, to be transparent?
I believe that to create a truly exceptional product or service, there has to be a truly exceptional ecosystem supporting it, and I don’t believe it’s possible to do that without transparency and a real commitment to long term sustainability. To me, sustainability goes well beyond the sustainability of our environment - it extends to the sustainability of the community you operate in, the teams you build, and how you develop leaders within your company.
We love seeing female entrepreneurs rise to success. What advice would you have for other women hoping to make an impact in the beauty industry?
Stick to what makes you exceptional, hire well into the other stuff.
Is there an Uma product you MUST have with you wherever you are?
Tough one, I like a few! But if it had to be one - it’d be our Ultimate Brightening Face Oil!
Interested In embracing the beauty of Ayurvedic? Shop all Uma products including wellness + beauty oil blends, cleansers, masks, + more.