The newest brand to join the Lux & Eco skin care line is Valia, an east-meets-west skin routine for life. Co-founder Mario Kimball shares his story on how Valia came to be and what we can learn from the brand.
Sometimes it seems that the art of conversation has been lost and replaced by the tactic of networking, as we’ve discussed before; human interaction is so focused on mutual benefits, we forget that camaraderie, a benefit itself, can unintentionally lead to success. Afterall, what’s a business without partners who get along? The story of Valia, founded by Mario Kimball and Takako Niwa, is one of spontaneity, chemistry, and friendship – it begins and ends with taking what we see on the surface and finding out what’s underneath.
Mario had an opportunity to travel and chose Japan, a place he had always dreamt of for its lush landscape and deeply rooted culture. One day while sitting in a cafe he bumped into Takako, a stranger at the time, and struck up a conversation. After the formalities, their chat soon turned to skin care. Mario had grown up in California and, though he didn’t hate that he missed out on the east coast polar vortexes we New Yorkers are used to, wasn’t exposed to seasonal changes the way people in many other regions are. Suddenly in Japan he was living through 4 seasons and suffering through 4 phases of skin irritation. Humid summers left his skin oily and irritated, only to turn dry and sore in the winter. The spring time was okay, but he needed a new routine to maintain that glow all year. It just so happened that Takako’s father – the son of an organic farmer – was a renowned holistic health expert specializing in skin care. What were the odds?!
Through Takako and her family, Mario learned that it wasn’t as important what he put onto his skin, but what came out of his skin from within his body. Most beauty products in the US are quick fixes that require constant use, and there’s always a newer, better version coming out. The result: we switch back and forth from temporary remedy to temporary remedy, and never address the underlying problem of unhealthy skin: our overall health.
Culture in Japan is founded on historic rituals that are only passed on, never altered. Why? Because they work. This eastern ideology, a new concept to Mario, focused on harnessing the best ingredients for optimum health, not for profit. Your skin is with you for life and will only require more care with age. Just as you are committed to sustaining your life, your skin deserves equal commitment, and the regimen for both should be a collaboration.
Using plant-based ingredients and natural oils, and taking with them the knowledge of Takako’s family as well as the rituals of her heritage, Mario and Takako brought their idea of a lifelong, trusted, healthy skin routine back to the US and Valia was born. The combination of ingredients they use falls somewhere between the heavy products manufactured in the US and the sometimes too light, all-natural (think right out of the garden) and sometimes inefficient remedies used in Japan. (Note: the beauty routines used by many in Japan are efficient in maintaining health skin when combined with healthy diet and other lifestyle choices; they are ineffective for some when the skin is already problematic.) Valia is the perfect balance of nature and nurture and the solution for all skin types.
Aside from incorporating a healthy and regular skin care routine into your life, what advice does Mario have? Watching your diet. “Beauty starts from within,” he explains. “You bloom from what’s inside. If what’s under your skin is healthy, that radiates through your skin. That is what I call ‘beauty in bloom.'”
Foods to avoid? Mario says:
- Pasta – every now and then is okay, but regular consumption of this starchy carb will bloat and clog your skin.
- Excess Salt – the average salt recommendation is 3-8 grams. To cut your salt intake in half, limit chips, salted nuts and popcorn and most prepared, canned and packaged foods.
For the BEST skin, Mario says:
- Juice Cleansing. BUT, make sure to use a blender so you get ALL the goods
Look for posts reviewing Valia soon, and try it for yourself, available through Lux & Eco.