beauty from the sea

Things from the sea, for the most part tend to be good for us. Our favorite fatty fishes (salmon, flounder, mackerel), seaweed, and of course the perfect example, algae (which one of our favorite and beloved brands, TATCHA Beauty incorporates into its skincare line.) We see it in our supplements (blue-green algae, anyone?) and in dozens of products in or coming to market. So yes, we trust mother nature and we’ve jumped on the bandwagon big time.

On to our skin. I discovered VOYA Beauty a few years ago while in London. I was in need of a cleanser (thanks to the typical over-zealous TSA officer) and made the impulse purchase on the brand’s “Cleanse and Mend” facial product. Brilliant name aside, the stuff worked. Really well. Those that know me know I am not in need of a serious anti-ageing item, but this stuck with me. I carried it back to NYC with hopes of finding it again but it wasn’t the easiest to find back then. Years have passed, and now VOYA Beauty is officially available in the U.S. at Ayla Beauty. And thank goodness for Ayla Founder Dara Kennedy and her organic-driven mission to bring us the goods. Not long ago, Dara was talking about masks. Her faves, what works and why. VOYA Beauty’s Maskerade made her cut so I knew it was time to start paying attention again.

I am rediscovering VOYA Beauty and respect the story behind the brand. It is truly a global one, with stockists and treatments in over 150 spas worldwide. Voya founders Mark and Kira Walton are a curious couple who have brought one of the most natural, organic, and eco-friendly brands to fruition. All skin issues are addressed and you know you are getting a clean, gentle and effective product. The reporter in me found them, and excerpts from my interview are below. Next stop, Ireland, to experience their amazing Seaweed Bath Spa and all that the sea and their hospitality has to offer.

Mark & Kira Walton VOYA Beauty

As told by Mark and Kira Walton, July 2013.

The VOYA journey began in 1912, when the doors of the first seaweed baths opened on the Wild Atlantic coast of Strandhill, Co. Sligo, Ireland. In the 1960’s, the last of the original Strandhill bath houses were destroyed by a hurricane and as the tradition had seen a significant decline, they remained unopened for many years. In 2000, the Walton family re-opened the town’s first new seaweed baths in Strandhill and in 2003, Lazy Days, the first VOYA retail product was launched. By 2006, following 6 years of research, development and countless tests, VOYA had developed a full range of seaweed-based organic products and spa-therapies.

VOYA Beauty is based on and developed on components of the sea. Why was this method selected and how does it make the brand “organic”?

Seaweed harvesting has been in the Walton family for generations. Michael Walton was one of the founders of the Irish organic movement in Ireland and one of the original directors of the Irish Organic Trust. So it was never questionable whether or not the VOYA brand would or would not be organic, it just was. Mark Walton, Michael’s son, sits on the European Union’s Expert Panel for Organic standards, as well the Soil Association/Organic Trust Standards Panel. Seaweed is an amazing and fully renewable natural resource in Ireland, a country with a coastline in excess of 5,000 km. Since the 18th century, when scientific investigations of Irish seaweed species began, over 500 different species of seaweed from Irish waters have been identified. Ireland is the least densely populated country in Europe and the West coast of Ireland is the least densely populated part of Ireland. If you add to this that there is no major or heavy industry in the West, it leaves probably the most unpolluted waters in the Atlantic. VOYA has adopted organic and sustainable ways of creating the products. VOYA harvests wild organic seaweed by hand to ensure that the delicate coastal environment is not damaged.

What has proven to be the most popular VOYA product?

Our most popular product is probably Lazy Days, a very unique beauty product which is a take home version of our renowned seaweed baths – a home spa bath experience in a box, if you will! Seaweeds purify and balance the ocean and Lazy Days does the same for your body.  The electrolytic magnetic action of Lazy Days seaweed releases excess body fluids from congested cells and dissolves fatty wastes through the skin replacing them with depleted minerals particularly potassium and iodine.

More to come…check back later this week for the second half of our interview!

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