Urban Explorer Series: Interview with Kavita Khosa
“When you take a small part of everywhere you go, you take a little bit of it in such a way that you give back to the community by becoming a messenger, carrier or storyteller of that place.”
Our Urban Explorer
Could you please introduce yourself to our guests?
My name is Kavita Khosa and I am the CEO, Creative Director, and Founder of Purearth, which is a skincare and wellness brand with a social initiative to help marginalised women self-help groups in the Himalayas by sourcing fair trade, rare botanicals to create our line of clean beauty products. I practised Law for several years before I found my calling, in which I then moved on to studying alternative healing and medicine. Fast forward 8 years later and here I am with the Purearth brand!
How did you come up with the concept for Purearth?
When I was still practising Law, I had such a strong desire to get back to my roots. I wanted to connect back with the earth, with women, and I wanted my life and work to have a meaningful positive social impact. As the Bible says, “Teach the women to fish and not give them fish”. As a women’s rights campaigner, I wanted to start a social enterprise to offer fair trade, livelihood, and income generation programs for women in need. At the same time, I have always been a pioneer of ethical beauty even before the conscious beauty movement. With my knowledge of the earth, the soil, and what our bodies need, from there arose the Purearth beauty skincare brand.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is that flow coming from kindness and compassion in your approach to life. It is that glow that comes from healthy habits and being always ready to smile. Beauty, to me, is also about craftsmanship. In our era, beauty is something that is rare, pure, precious, raw, pure, clean, and as close to nature as possible. To me, that is beauty.
What does a day in the life of Ms. Kavita Khosa look like?
On a typical day, I wake up at 6AM in the morning. I am excited to jump out of bed because every day doesn’t seem like work! I like to start with meditation and breathing because I believe that breathing is the key to a calm mind. I am continuously mindful of this throughout the day to help bring me back to the center. After my meditation, I will have breakfast and check my emails. I will also check Instagram because we get so many inquiries so it takes me some time to go through all of them. After that, I like to take some time for my own research. It is really important for me to do it in the morning because that is when my mind is fresh. I do at least two hours of research every day on chemistry formulations and discover new techniques and nutrients that may inspire our products. I also overlook the Pure Purpose Foundation, our sister organization, and a tax-exempt charitable foundation established in India that focuses on various social impact initiatives ranging from safe sanitation, period waste, tree plantation, education, and environmental projects supporting biodynamic and organic farming methods, and reforestation. I’ll have lunch at 1PM, and then I just plow away through the day. I am an early eater so I like to eat around 7PM. After that, it is a quiet time for me again to focus on research for a book that I am writing to be published in May. There are so many hats that I am juggling that I feel time-poor! But the important thing is that I love every moment of it.
What does “Urban Explorer” mean to you and how do you think you fit into this term?
To me, an urban explorer is someone that is mindful, respectful, and gives back to the community with what they have learned through their travels. An explorer could be exploring the city through its art, culture, cuisine, and people, but does so mindfully with respect. So, when you travel somewhere, you are respectful of the local cultures, the local eco habitat, and the environment. When you take a small part of everywhere you go, you take a little bit of it in such a way that you give back to the community by becoming a messenger, carrier, or storyteller of that place. For instance, when I go to the Himalayas, it is important that I come back and I talk about how fragile the ecosphere is and how we have to be conscious of our choices because everything on this planet is connected.
Beauty of Life. Beauty for Life.
We love that Purearth advocates for clean beauty and wellness. Could you tell us more about your brand ethos?
Our brand ethos is all about being equal, ethical, and ecological. By “equal”, we mean that there is fair trade and a level playing field with whoever it is that the brand is interacting with, which means fair wages to your team. Whether you are paying your rent, paying your suppliers, engaging in fair trade practices, or purchasing, you are not exploiting. “Ethical” is sort of an umbrella term where everything that you do has to have that sense of ethics. “Ecological” is about being very mindful of how we partake and the processes of enjoying nature’s gifts while preserving the environment.
Purearth takes a holistic Ayurvedic approach when it comes to beauty. For some of our readers who may not know what this entails, could you please explain?
Ayurveda is actually two words, with “ayur” meaning life and “veda” meaning knowledge. To sum it up, it is all about the art of living. How to eat, how to sleep, how to interact with your environment, etc. Once you understand who you are, you will learn how your body reacts to your surroundings at every stage in your life, and abide by the principles of ayurveda. In the context of skincare, with ayurveda there is no one size fits all. It is all about being in tune with your body and in tune with nature; the rhythms of nature and how you are in sync with it.
Most of the ingredients in your products are found way up in the Himalayas. How did you come across this hidden beauty secret?
Over 20-23 years ago, I took a trip to Tibet and it had a deep spiritual impact on me that was truly inspiring. There must be some past life connection because I knew nothing about the mountains but it called to me, so off I went not knowing a soul and just journeying across the mountains for months. It has been 10 years and we have formed such deep long-lasting relationships and partnerships with all of our source points.
In this day and age, there are so many influencers and Instagrammers that believe in a fully glammed-up” more is more” approach to beauty. What are your thoughts on this?
The purpose of make-up should be to have fun with it, enjoy playing with it and not take it so seriously that you are trying to conceal yourself. And today, more and more we are seeing people embrace their natural beauty and imperfect features. If you have freckles, let them shine. If you have a hooked nose, or you have a gap in your teeth, you should embrace it because it is beautiful. You have oriental eyes? It’s beautiful. You have curly hair? It’s beautiful. You have very pale skin? It’s beautiful. There is so much beauty in diversity.
What is your secret to success?
The secret to success is perseverance, patience, persistence, luck, and karma. You should learn to not be so attached to the outcome or the results of your actions. Just do your best, honestly and dedicatedly, and that is all that matters.
How do you find inspiration?
Inspiration finds me. As a yoga teacher, I have done a lot of meditation, spending decades introspecting. One may ask themselves “Where does a thought come from?” You actually have no control of where your thoughts come from. I believe you are not the doer. I believe that your script was written well before you were born. You are just enacting your script out when you are living. To answer honestly, there really is no answer to that question. There is just a sense of wonder and amazement.
What is your beauty routine for getting that perfect glowing skin?
My idea of a skincare ritual is about following the rhythms of nature. I wholeheartedly advocate going to bed with naked skin. Your skin is intelligent and your body is intelligent, so it knows how to take care of itself. Having a sensible diet is also very important for good skin. Another thing that I love is facial massage. On a daily basis, I will massage my face with a kwansha facial beauty coin (a special metal alloy handcrafted by master artisans in the art of “kansa” metal making, designed to bring balance and symmetry to the face and help lift, tone and shape the facial contours) for half an hour. It is absolutely amazing!
What do you love most about your job?
I love the magic of creating alchemy. It’s like playing Alchemist; the magic of creating things of beauty.
What beauty trends do you foresee in the coming year?
Facial massage, as I said, is a secret and not many people have become acquainted with this ancient knowledge and wisdom. Of course, there are many other trends out there, but for me, facial massage really does the trick!
Travel Inspiration Managing your own business can be quite fulfilling as it allows you to see different parts of the world. With that said, how often would you say you travel for work? And for pleasure? (In a pre-pandemic world) I just love going to Po Toi Island, getting away on a boat, as well as exploring new restaurants. I have also been taking long walks and hiking up beautiful trails in Hong Kong. Another thing I enjoy doing is people watching! Just sitting at a coffee shop in Kennedy Town and observing my surroundings can be quite interesting. What other destinations are on your bucket list? I would love to visit Machu Picchu in Peru and hike up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. I would also love to go and just live in the Amazon Forest for a whole month to be at one with nature! In 3 words, how would you describe Hong Kong? Home, Vibrant, Efficient