Insider Interviews: Jasmine Hemsley: Wellness Expert
The author, chef & Ayurvedic entrepreneur on her secrets to living well & the treatments she adores
As a best-selling author, Co-Founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and an Ayurvedic and nutrition expert, Jasmine Hemsley knows a thing or two about staying healthy. Here she shares her tried and tested tips, recipes and the go-to beauty addresses she loves.
Buller and Rice, Stoke Newington. An eco-conscious salon based in East London with a sustainable approach to treatments and products right through to the interiors. From compressed hay stations to the original floor tiling, they even have refilling stations for their green Italian hair care product.
Ralph and Rice, Shoreditch. I’m not really a blow-dry girl but every now and then I treat myself to a refresh after work before heading to an event – dedicated to combining eco-friendly practices with salon expertise, Ralph and Rice is the perfect blow dry stop off and its vintage interiors makes me feel right at home.
Alexandra Soveral, Maida Vale. Whenever I’m in need of a bit of R and R, I head to Alexandra Soveral for her Signature Treatment — the ultimate skin rejuvenation in an hour and a half (or two hours if you want to go all out!). The treatment incorporates sculpting and deep tissue manipulation to release toxins that have built-up in the skin.
Dr. Nigma Talib, Los Angeles. My friend Dr. Nigma is a Naturopathic Doctor who, as I do, believes the key to good skin (and health) begins in the gut. She’s just moved her practice from London to LA and will be missed!
Strala Yoga, New York. I have long been a fan of Tara Stiles and always head to her studio, Strala Yoga whenever I’m in New York. Otherwise, I tune in to her online programme of classes which has hundreds of options to choose from based on how you’re feeling and what kind of workout (or relaxation) you’re looking for. Short and sweet, so if like me you find yourself sacrificing longer practices to get everything done in a day, her short 5 to 10-minute online classes are a must.
The Class, New York. Another New York favourite is The Class. Using simple, repetitive calisthenics and plyometrics, it’s a challenging workout but great for the mind and body. This mat-based music-driven class is the closest I’ll get to a nightclub these days!
RA MA Institute, Los Angeles, New York and Mallorca. A Kundalini haven, founded by my friend Guru Jagat, RA MA offers classes both in-person and online. Don something white, head down and expect an invigorating and energising form of yoga that looks easy but tests you in every way!
Tony Riddle, The Natural Life-stylist, London.Tony is a natural lifestyle specialist who I’ve been working with for many years — as a friend and coach he gives me powerful reminders on the biological norm (i.e. how our bodies are supposed to function!). A session with him involves lots of squats and floor-based movement work and exercises to keep both my mind and body naturally supple and strong.
Ama The Salon, Brixton. I don’t often get my nails done because I use my hands so much but when I do need a manicure this was my local natural nail salon when I was living in South London. The treatment menu features brands that are 90% natural, 10-free, vegan and cruelty-free.
Still London, Dalston. If I’m on the opposite side of London — the East London destination Still is a new non-toxic, cruelty-free, vegan and environmentally friendly nail studio. The treatment menu includes massage, gel manicures and even nail art.
Cranial Osteopath with Paul Kyte at Natureworks, Marylebone. After a session with Paul you’ll leave feeling reset and renewed. Paul will begin by assessing your body with a gentle pressure and then gently release any restrictions he finds allowing the body to function as a “whole” and become physically and energetically aligned.
Bamford Haybarn Spa, Cotswolds. The Bamford Spa has a strong commitment to caring for the mind, body and spirit through its treatments and programmes. The facilities include yoga, holistic massages and facials and delicious food from Daylesford using produce grown on the estate — just walking into the space and breathing in the atmosphere and essential oils makes you feel good.
All-Time Favourite Treatment
An Abhyanga— a full-body Ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic treatments are about treating your mind, body and spirit so, when I’m not in India, I head to Anu at Jivita Ayurveda in Kensal Rise for some Ayurveda love!
I worked as a model for nearly 15 years and quickly learned that what you put into your body and how well you sleep totally reflects on your energy levels, how you physically look and mentally how you feel about yourself. This propelled me to get a deeper understanding of how to eat and live well to be the best version of yourself (especially in a time where highly restrictive dieting and punitive workouts were all the rage, which intuitively made no sense to me for long-term health and happiness) — I was looking to nurture my mind, body and spirit, to feel happier healthier and more energised.
Working closely with family (my partner and sister) has been both excellent and challenging! There is nothing like seeing the reflection of who you are in the eyes of the people who love you, will always root for you but who are also not averse to showing you your weaknesses or not letting your ego run away with you! We’ve made it work by plenty of communication and equal measures of space — modern working methods mean we can be in contact at every moment just as in an office but have our own space to create and thrive.
My latest book, East by West, came about because the ancient Eastern philosophy of Ayurveda has been a big part of my life for almost 20 years. Using the platform I had created, I wanted to show how this ancient understanding of life, which directly translates as the science or knowledge of life, has inspired me and supported my life for the better. Now more than ever it is so applicable to our overstimulated modern lives here in the West. To be able to make this philosophy of living my work has been a gift and to be able to share a more holistic way of thinking through my own journey is a privilege. Hearing how others have been inspired or adopted changes in their own lifestyles is always so rewarding. Through my recipes and experiences, I hope to encourage others to incorporate the principles of Ayurveda into their own lifestyles and operate more in tune with nature and their own nature to experience an easier ride as a result.
For me, eating well means learning to listen to your body and the environment around you in an intuitive way. That’s what the current “trend” of local and seasonal eating is really all about!
Taking care of your digestion is the key to your health – from eating when you’re hungry and until you’re satisfied (but not overly full) to taking the time to appreciate each bite and feeling grateful for the food on your plate. How you eat is just as important as what you eat.
The one piece of beauty advice I’d give would be to look after your insides as much as your outsides. When I started experimenting as a teenager with facemasks made from ingredients such as avocado, yoghurt, honey and papaya my mum said “you’re better off eating it!” Of course using natural ingredients to protect and care for your skin is always beneficial, but it’s important to understand that your skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside, so if you’re suffering with bad skin, dryness, irritation — anything that feels off — then it’s well worth considering your lifestyle and diet and how that might be impacting your health and therefore your skin, the biggest organ in your body. Trying to fix it solely via beauty products is a short-term, expensive (and sometimes ineffective!) solution.
My top feel-good recipe for spring/summer would have to be the Pizza Pudas from my book East by West. For me, nothing says summer evenings like a pizza, preferably eaten in the late afternoon sunshine in the garden. Although an authentic (preferably sourdough) pizza cooked with love is always a good thing, when I’m making them at home I turn pudas — Indian chickpea pancakes rippled with grated veggies, herbs and spices — into a base for my favourite pizza toppings. Easy, gluten-free, protein-rich, cheap to make and even vegan depending on your toppings, they are a hit with anyone who tries them, so much so that they’ve become a bit of a cult recipe and definitely an East by West favourite.
Skincare routine: I oil cleanse with a hot wet flannel or muslin cloth every evening. I try to make it a mindful practice, washing the day (and London!) off my face before going to sleep. During the day, I use micellar water to refresh when I need to and opt for natural, organic make-up brands. Moisturiser-wise, I alternate during the different seasons and temperatures, as I do with my diet, to give my skin what it needs at any time. I gently face and body brush once a week. My best friend Sjaniel (who is a holistic makeup artist and nutritionist) has just introduced me to a new brand, Esse — from South Africa — who do a probiotic super light natural and organic serum, which I’ll definitely use for photo shoots or when my skin needs some help.
Foundation: I’m a big fan of INIKA an Australian brand and use the brand’s compact powder to lightly top up during the day and set my concealer.
Concealer: Absolution Le Multi Correcteur Concealer, a moisturising product that gives a natural-looking finish and can definitely handle the yellow tones of my skin.
Lipstick: Burt’s Bees lipsticks are always a favourite — all natural, affordable and easy to pick up on the high street. In my makeup bag at the moment is Tulip Tide, a bluey pink that harks back to the ‘60s and ‘70s, which I love, and you can enjoy it sheer or really build up the colour. To soften and warm it up a bit I love to add a coral-tinted lip balm called Zinnia, by the same brand, over the top.
Mascara: Mascara is so personal when it comes to formula — and the hardest product to make natural and organic! Ere Perez mascara has become my go-to — I can reapply during the day without any clumping.
Favourite product: TWELVE BEAUTY Ideal Moisture Level Serum. Being a mostly Vata dosha type, as understood by Ayurveda, my skin tends to be on the dry side, but as the seasons change my skin doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing! I love this serum because it’s light but hydrating and is a total refresher — a must-have in my makeup bag.
Biggest Indulgence: Fragrance, facials and massage. Fragrance makes me feel good and creates powerful memories which is why I used to never buy the same perfume twice, and facials and massage are incredibly luxurious and pampering but what we tend to forget is, as good as they are for our bodies, they are also incredibly therapeutic and help put us into a state when we can begin to heal on many levels.
Best Budget Buy: Body oils made from straight-up organic, cold-pressed oils like jojoba, sweet almond or sesame, and quality blocks of natural soaps for washing pits, feet and even hair while leaving the rest of your body to the cleansing power of a hot shower without disrupting the pH and stripping the skin too much!
Signature Scent: Can I have three? Tiger by her Side by Sana Jardin, the world’s first socially conscious luxury fragrance house, Geranium Pour Monsieur by Frederic Malle and Vata Perfume Oil by Wild Grace.