Beauty starts from within. It’s a saying that rings true especially as more and more consumers become aware of the importance of inner wellbeing. Not only ensuring you look your best on the outside it can also be a huge factor when it comes to your health and wellness. Josephine Musco the founder of Olyxir, a brand that harnesses the power of olive leaf extract talks about her inspiration and the importance of being eco-conscious.
What are you first memories of beauty?
Born and raised in Lebanon, I was constantly surrounded by beauty, be it nature, people, monuments, food. There was beauty everywhere I looked. My gorgeous mother was impeccable at all times, she dressed in fine silks, hair always done, and matched her lipstick to her nail polish. My grandmothers were beautiful too, natural and barefaced, they were so graceful. I remember seeing portraits of their weddings and was like woah, I’m so blessed to have their genes.
Nature. As a child, my family spent three months out of the year at our summer home in Ehden, a small village tucked away in the pristine mountains of North Lebanon. I ran around fields of wildflowers, climbed rocks and fruit trees, listened to birds chirping, and chased butterflies. Nature was my playground. Fragrant bright-colored roses and lavender bushes surrounded our home.
Food. Every Sunday our entire family sat around a long table filled with delicious food, so colorful, so elegantly served and presented, it made me happy just looking at it. The ingredients were all fresh, local, tended to, and harvested with so much care. It emanated good energy and love.
When it was time for me to create Olyxir, it turned out to be a manifestation, a translation of those experiences, that universe. It had to be clean, ethical, healthful and made with love out of the most exceptional and wholesome ingredients. The roses I smelled every day were my inspiration behind the honey lemon rose strip, I toured the country, searching for the right extract, that of rare damask roses.
The juicy peaches I enjoyed off of the tree inspired my ginger peach strips. The authenticity of my childhood’s environment translated into the making of those products. I wanted to give the world an honest product with real ingredients that would benefit them and the planet alike. The antioxidants in Olyxir act as free radical scavengers, meaning they allow your body to dispose of unwanted toxins that may otherwise cause aging. I believe that these mighty creatures have endless benefits when applied topically, as well from sun protection to radiant skin, and that’s the next chapter.
What does beauty mean to you?
To me, beauty means kindness, empathy, compassion, mindfulness, a radiant glow, an infectious smile.
Beauty is also a perspective; it lies in how we see the world.
By means of example, while someone may see the fallen tree leaves as a nuisance and trash, I see them as a beautiful palette of fiery colors that inspire a rebirth just like the Phoenix that burns in flames and is then reborn from its ashes. I see them as a symbol of a phase in the metamorphosis of life. I gather the leaves and make a painting out of them with my daughter. We watch bees dance from flower to flower grateful for their existence. Instead of teaching my little girl to run away from or harm them, I teach her about their vital role in the pollination process and the sustainability of our food chain hence the existence of the human race.
I thrive to install in my daughter that beauty is more of a dynamic phenomenon vs. a shallow idea. I encourage her to see beauty in everything: sunsets, sunrises, an empty cardboard box, the petals of a flower, the dots on a ladybug, the veins of a leaf, the graceful wrinkles on an elder person’s face, lifestyle practices such as prayer and meditation which we do together daily, everything. Beauty is boundless.
Why do you think the world of wellness is on the rise like never before?
There are many factors contributing to this awareness, one of them is virtual globalization and accessibility to knowledge and products through the world wide web. Any person with internet access can go online anywhere in the world and retrieve a plethora of information on any topic they desire and order the products they see fit. The second factor is probably the choice of models and aesthetics that are currently dominating the fashion and beauty industries which lean more towards clean looks, flawless dewy skin, minimal makeup, and vibrant youth.
Also, I do believe that there is a collective awareness rising in the world, a revolution on the old ways that made people sicker than ever. Scientists have been endorsing reversing aging and getting rid of disease through telomere extension by means of proper nutrition, supplementation, and exercise. When one is privy to such knowledge, the perspective about lifestyle shifts, and people start practicing what they know is for the betterment of their lives.
Lastly, social media has most definitely played a substantial role in that arena as well through making beauty, health, wellness, and fitness tips readily available in a fun and relatable manner.
Why did you decide to launch Olyxir?
Going back to the leaves in my previous comment, I couldn’t stand to see the tons of olive leaves being disposed of every harvest season across California, especially knowing that they have healing properties and health benefits. I needed to do something about that and did so through scientifically proving that the leaves contain active components identified through science over the course of hundreds of years to be beneficial to humanity.
Olyxir has very similar benefits to ceremonial Matcha. Olyxir contains the same number of antioxidants without the caffeine, lead, and depletion of natural resources, land, and labor that could instead be allocated to planting staple foods that could be supplied to hunger ridden countries.
Then comes the most important factor of all: to educate the consumer enough where we eradicate post-consumer waste from the tea and flavored beverage industry. Olyxir is a tea strip that easily dissolves in hot or cold water, creating a rich and super tasty antioxidant-infused beverage/tea with zero sugar and zero wrapping/bottles to throw away. Did you know that there are five trillion tons of plastic particles floating across our oceans and that in some areas the plastic to plankton ratio is 2 to 1? Did you know that plastic is making its way into our food chain and is bioaccumulating in our bodies?
Why were you drawn to the power of olive trees?
My Father’s teachings and beliefs were the initial reason for my fascination with olive leaves. He touted them as the holy grail of natural healing, citing them to be good for diabetes, high blood pressure, and as an antiviral. I was always curious to know if that was true or some type of myth. Then, in honor of his passing, I set out on a journey to validate his theories through thorough and trusted scientific research.
My journey lasted a little over three years. I studied the benefits of olive leaves and the optimal processes to preserve them in collaboration with the USDA, as well as some of the most respected scientists in the country. My infatuation with these mighty leaves grew stronger by the minute. I was in awe of how beneficial and powerful they were. At the end of the study, I was granted a patent for the unusually high potency of antioxidants in Olyxir. We identified over six active components in Olyxir namely apigenin-7-glucoside (known to slow down aging, reduce anxiety and heart problems), verbascoside (known to reduce inflammation, colic, and risk of cancer), luteolin-7glucoside (known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation), Oleuropein (known to lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system).
Talk to us about your antioxidant tea strips?
“Tiny but mighty’ and “antioxidants powerhouse” are the best descriptions.
The patent-pending strips come in a slick reusable aluminum case, at ten servings per unit. Each serving (strip) contains 26,250 mcg of stable and bioavailable antioxidants (that’s comparable to eating five packs of freshly picked blueberries minus the sugar and calories). The case is there to protect the antioxidants and other active components from light as well as sudden changes in temperature for optimal preservation of their potency.
The packaging is sustainable, eco-conscious, convenient, easy to carry, store, and use. No tea bags, sachets, or bottles are part of Olyxir packaging. No post-consumer waste. No pollution.
We pride ourselves to have a negative carbon footprint.
What are the other products you’re most proud of?
With the beauty line on the horizon, that’s a tough one! But I must say, you can’t go wrong with Olyxir Powder, a versatile green vibrant powder that one can have as a tea or add to smoothies, cooking, baking, and salads for an antioxidants boost.
How have you made your brand as sustainable as possible?
Just like everything I do and the way I go about my daily life, Olyxir was built around sustainability. Salvaging the leaves from going to landfills to decompose is the first step. The cleaning and drying processes have been optimized to use the least amount of natural resources (water and energy).
Additionally, as mentioned above, the absence of extra packaging such as individual wrappers, tea bags, sachets, bottles leave the consumer with nothing to dispose of. The case itself is reusable, with refills available for purchase exclusively on our website Olyxir.com as well as through our Instagram shop @olyxir.
How do you create a work-life balance when being an entrepreneur?
Living your work is a thing and one could overdo if we are not mindful. That’s why I intentionally allocate a few hours each day to care for my family and myself. On the weekends I take time to catch up with friends, go on nature walks with our dogs, and go to the beach.
My daughter loves painting, music, and ballet, so I plan the week where we allocate at least one hour per day to one of those activities.
Sunset/sunrise meditations and a skincare routine are rituals I like to stick to as it helps me unwind, recharge, and take care of me. Each meditation session is followed by fifteen minutes of yoga to keep me balanced and calm throughout the day.
Dinner time is when my husband and I both put away our phones and laptops to enjoy undisturbed family time. After dinner, I read a bedtime story for my daughter and we do a little prayer.
When you love what you do and are passionate about it, it doesn’t feel like work. Your endeavors become an indivisible part of your life and both worlds merge in a harmonious way.
What’s next for Olyxir?
Harnessing the gifts of nature into a food-grade clean beauty skincare line which I’m really excited about! I have been working diligently on perfect formulations to protect and nourish the dermis: humans’ largest organ.
Our skin has pores on it which act as microchannels to our bloodstream, it is critical to feed it mindfully, nourish, and protect it. That’s why our beauty products will be 100% edible and vegan, no toxic chemicals, no ingredients you can’t pronounce, nothing harmful. Made up of 100% goodness, 100% food ingredients, such as olive leaves, adaptogens, hemp extract, MCT, fruits, natural fibers, and more. Stay tuned!