Meet The Founder

Meet the Founder: Shrankhla Holecek of Uma Oils

Uma Wellness Oils - Meet the Founder

{Cult Beauty} Hi Shrankhla, Uma’s Face and Wellness Oils are described as being Ayurvedic. It’s a term most Westerner’s have heard, but may not full understand. Can you explain the principles of Ayurveda.

{Shrankhla Holecek} Ayurveda is the ancient Indian science of natural medicine, a core principle of which is that ‘mind-body balance’ is key to overall wellbeing. This balance is predicated by the existence of three basic constitution types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. All of us possess our own unique combination of these three constitutions, and generally speaking, one (sometimes a combination of two) dominates. Maintaining this natural – and personal – balance of energy is Ayurveda’s fundamental objective, as when these energies are out of sync, they lead to physical and mental ailments like anxiety, insomnia, and acne. In order to combat these issues and restore balance, Ayurveda prescribes holistic – yet powerful – remedies such as essential oils and lifestyle changes like meditation, massage, and diet.

{CB} What prompted you to start Uma?

{SH} As a child growing up in India, Ayurveda was a fundamental part of the health and beauty routines I was exposed to. However, as I grew older and became more deeply involved in a fast-paced, high-pressure corporate role, I found myself becoming more dependent on synthetic beauty products and over-the-counter remedies to counter the physical and mental toll taken by long nights at the office, constant travel, and exhaustion. As many of these quick fixes stopped working for me, I reverted back to the practices I had grown up with – a clean diet (I’ve been a lifelong vegetarian but I went a step further, and cut out foods that weren’t great for my Pitta constitution type); yoga and meditation; and a beauty routine based on natural remedies.

The results were visible, and dramatic – and as an engineer by trade, nothing speaks more loudly to me than results do. I realised there was a tremendous niche in the market for high-quality skin care and wellness products combining the therapeutic benefits of pure botanicals with generations of holistic wisdom, to address the issues we frequently associate with fast-paced modern life. My family has been the in the business of farming and manufacturing organic essential oils for decades, so it was the perfect opportunity to bring these highly potent, farm-to-bottle botanicals directly to consumers.

{CB} How do you go about developing your blends? Do you identify a common concern and build a blend to address it, or do you fall in love with an extract, and create an opportunity to use it?

{SH} Decidedly, the former – I wasn’t alone in my search for solutions that over-the-counter drugs and topical remedies weren’t providing – and I wanted to create powerful problem-solvers that drove rapid and tangible results for common, pressing issues like anxiety, insomnia, and acne – concerns which plague the modern consumer.

My family’s generations of experience with essential oils and Ayurveda give us a very nuanced understanding of each extract and how it works with the human body – both on its own and in combination with other oils. Each ingredient’s properties can be magnified, or a particular property enhanced, if you know the right oils and proportions to combine with one another. So you can say that we’re in love with all the extracts we work with because each brings its own unique and powerful arsenal of benefits to the table.

All of that said, I wanted to create blends that were compelling for their therapeutic properties, but also deeply sensory and enjoyable to use! That’s why we spent months perfecting the aromas of each blend – so every time you apply our oils, you don’t just fall in love with the results, but you fall in love with the experience as well.


Uma Face and Wellness Oils

{CB} How many oils are typically blended to create an Uma oil?

{SH} For every formulation, we have three key considerations, in the following order of importance: therapeutic value and results, absorption quotient and the experience we want the user to have. On average, each of our blends contains nine essential oils, blended together in exacting proportions to complement and enhance one another’s therapeutic benefits. We actively debate the core essential oils we want to use in each blend well before we discuss proportions. Often we create and test a few final oils over weeks with minor tweaks, and extensive feedback, to ensure we are getting the therapeutic and aromatic benefits we set out to achieve.

A truly potent blend is much more than the sum of its parts – each component harmonises with and amplifies the others. Knowing what oil, in what proportion, will enhance the efficacy of another is as much art as it is science – and that’s where I believe our generational expertise sets us apart.

{CB} All of your ingredients are ‘home grown’ on the Uma farm. What impact does this have on the integrity of the end product?

{SH} When it comes to the potency of natural products, purity isn’t just important – it’s everything. Without complete transparency on where your extracts come from, there are no guarantees as to how impactful the end product will be.

Our farm-to-bottle approach to production means we can ensure an unprecedented degree of purity and potency, as we’re able to control quality at every stage of the creation process – from planting, farming, and harvesting, to extraction and handcrafting. We’re committed to excellence and integrity, so all of our ingredients are farmed 100% organically, and each of our plants is harvested no more than two times before being replanted, as we’ve found the first two yields to be most potent.

{CB} Do you have a favourite blend, or essential oil you consistently turn to?

{SH} I’m not sure I could choose just one, but rose oil (the cornerstone of {Ultimate Brightening Face Oil}) is one of my personal favorites for obvious reasons – the balance it strikes between therapeutic benefit and delightful scent is tough to beat! It’s unparalleled in its ability to rapidly hydrate and brighten skin, and when used for its aromatherapy properties, can have a strong mood and confidence boosting effect. Clary sage is another contender (found in {Deeply Clarifying Face Oil}), as it restores balance for the entire spectrum of skin types, ranging from dry to oily. It’s an incredibly potent alternative to the harsh, synthetic acne and oil-controlling products on the market today.


Face and Wellness Oils Uma

{CB} How does aroma alter our mood? Can you explain a little bit about the ‘science’ behind aromatherapy?

{SH} Absolutely. Essential oils work in two powerful ways, aromatherapy being one of them. The other way in which they work is transdermally, when they are applied directly to the skin, and absorbed into the bloodstream. Aromatherapy revolves around the fact that your nasal passageway is directly linked with the limbic system – the part of the brain that controls emotion, memory, and smell. This means it’s responsible for the varying degrees of positive and negative associations each one of us feels toward particular scents. This means scents can affect our emotional and physical well being in a serious way – and targeted blends of essential oils can curb, enhance, and regulate our physical, mental, and emotional functions to a noticeable degree.

{CB} And finally, what’s next in the ‘Uma’ story?

{SH} Ultimately, we’d love to deliver our customers with a powerful oil blend to meet their every beauty need – made from the purest essential oils in the world.! Whether it’s a body oil, a hair oil, or even an eye oil, our targeted blends and fine botanicals deliver immeasurable benefits for skin and wellness. That’s why our goal is to develop a full line of handcrafted oils for the entire body – so you can reap these benefits, from head to toe.


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...