Health & Wellness

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Natural beauty: From the pantry to the beauty cupboard

Oddly enough, Sevi Kay’s interest in natural bodycare started with her dog. It was around 1997 when Kay’s beloved German Shepherd, Mundo, was overcome by severe allergies. The failure of prescription creams to heal Mundo led Kay to try herbal remedies with ingredients found in her own kitchen pantry. And it worked! Mundo’s itching and redness disappeared.

By 1999, Kay launched her own business selling natural, handmade pet-care products. But her customers were so impressed, they began wanting products for themselves. “They were asking, ‘can you make this into a lip balm—can you do this and that,’ so I took the same formulas and made them for people,” Kay says.

Today, she owns and operates the Baltimore-ebased body care brand sevi: eco vegan apothecary with her husband, Prayas Chaudhary, pictured. “I choose ingredients that, like my food, are as whole as possible,” she says.

All of their products are formulated with locally grown herbs and botanicals and vegan waxes. With conditioner made with pumpkin seed, moisturizer mixed from chia seed oil, and body wash blended with olives and mandarin orange, sevi’s products take on the literal meaning of, “You are what you eat.” And Kay is living proof that plant-based products do work.

Diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder and rosacea, Kay tests the formulas on herself to ensure efficacy. But she cautions that, unlike most trends, results aren’t instantaneous. “You won’t immediately get rid of your acne, but over time, you’ll realize, ‘I don’t have to wear makeup!’”

She also notes that finding the right products can take some self-education. Kay warns that synthetic ingredients and dangerously high concentrations of essential oils can end up hurting more than helping.

“The benefits are long term,” she says, adding that whole, natural ingredients offer better, longer-lasting results. After 20 years in the business, Kay is thrilled that the natural movement has caught on. “It’ll give you the best chance to stay healthy and vibrant,” she says