“The company really came out of me working through a health crisis. Part of the homeopathic treatments and remedies that the doctor put me on was detox bathing. Detox bathing is a way of sweating and detoxifying from environmental toxicity which had caused me to have some issues. After I was completed the bath treatment, I was having positive residual effects that were promising. As a person who had been struggling with anxiety the treatment helped me to sleep better, to relax, and left me with less tension.” — Shannon Vaughn
Shannon Vaughn, Founder of Pursoma
One of the things I’ve always found the most inspiring as a writer is hearing about someone’s passion project in their own words. Whether its an artist, creative, or brand founder, getting the opportunity to see (or hear) someone talk about why they picked up a paintbrush for the first time, finally decided to put pen to paper and write down the stories they’d dreamed up their head for so many years or found a brand that would make a difference in someone’s life.
Last Friday I had the opportunity to talk with Shannon Vaughn the Founder of Pursoma via Zoom. Through our conversation, Shannon shared about why she first decided to found Pursoma after struggling with anxiety, and how detox bathing had not only helped with her anxiety but also led to better sleep and a more relaxed way of life.
Through our conversation, it was easy to see what sets Pursoma apart from other brands available on the market, and how when it comes to creating a quality product that people will want to use on a daily basis it’s not about adding in every ingredient you can, but instead selecting quality ingredients right from their source.
Tell me about your story and why you decided to found Pursoma.
The company really came out of me working through a health crisis. Part of the homeopathic treatments and remedies that the doctor put me on was detox bathing. Detox bathing is a way of sweating and detoxifying from environmental toxicity which had caused me to have some issues. After I was completed the bath treatment, I was having positive residual effects that were promising. As a person who had been struggling with anxiety the treatment helped me to sleep better, to relax, and left me with less tension.
Over the years we’ve done our research into the benefit of detox bathing and there are significant studies around bathing as a human practice where hot water and induction of minerals help raise cortisol, lower hypertension, and reduce anxiety and stress.
We position ourselves as a company that is bath-focused, but we are a wellness company because we believe that the bathtub is a healing vessel inside your home that can help you feel better. We focus on two things…
The Ritual of Bathing
We have a process where you start with exfoliating your body with our dry brush, take a bath, spend 20 minutes in the bath, wrap up in a towel, sweat afterward, and then really relax and go to sleep.
Our Core Ingredients
We use French Grey Sea Salt, which is very different than Epson. We are actually completely averse to Epson salt and we only use raw hand-harvested grey sea salt which comes out of a clay-filled sediment bed in Northern France. I work directly with the farmers there and then we import everything into our facility and we make our product in-house before shipping it to customers.
So there is really isn’t anything between the customer experience and the product. There’s no processing. No dilution of the products, so really they have a pure overall experience that’s close to bathing in the sea.
Where does the name Pursoma come from?
The name Pursoma comes from ‘pur’ – French for pure, and ‘soma’ – an important term in Ayurvedic medicine which is ‘something in and of the body that allows you to access your inner soul’. Soma is an integral part of the transition, whether physically or spiritually.
Tell me about some of the ingredients that are used in your bath treatments.
The French grey sea salt is the core ingredient. I would say it’s the 99 percentile that we use. Another ingredient is French green clay, which comes from a quarry in France. It’s a very potent and much higher quality clay than you would get in Utah which is bentonite clay. Next, we have the raw harvested seaweed seabed off the coast of France. The final ingredient is essential oils that provide aromatherapy.
We use very simple, minimal ingredients. There are usually only three or four ingredients and we source our ingredients as organically as possible. Some regions don’t grow those things organically, but we’re very focused on where they come from and how they are put into the products.
It would be so easy if you walked into our facilities in Maryland (where Pursoma is based) to understand because it smells so good. That is the first thing that people usually say, that it’s really good and fragrant all the time.
There is nothing in our products that you couldn’t put on your child, or would irritate the most sensitive skin. We always try to look at the purpose of the ingredient and then go into the product development from there.
How involved are you in the creation of the products for your bath line?
I’m involved from start to finish. I work on the formulation of each product, and we have a lab at our facilities in Maryland. We don’t work with complicated formulas because I don’t believe in adding a lot of ingredients just to make something better. I think that its a matter of dissecting each ingredient and how complex they are begin with. There can be over 100 trace-minerals and clay built inside of it because where each ingredient is harvested from.
In today’s world I think sometimes we kind of want to flavor mix and combine things, but I think the more simplistic you can keep things, the better.
What are some of the benefits of using the body brush that’s available in your shop?
I love the body brush. Body brushing for me is really just one of those things like brushing your teeth. If you brush your teeth every day you’re going to have clean teeth, so if you body brush every day you’re going to have soft skin.
It took me a long time to find the brush that we have. It’s made with jute fiber that comes from a tree in Asia. It’s very hard to find that kind of material because most brushes are made from sisal (like rugs) and it’s too coarse and can rip at your skin. Whereas jute is soft enough to not scrape the skin, but it’s hard enough to exfoliate.
So I love the brush for mainly the ingredient it’s made from and I also find its an easy product to use every single day. Plus, if you don’t ever get the brush wet, it can last for many years. Overall It’s a very high-quality product.
“A balanced life is rejuvenated by nature.” — Shannon Vaughn
Out of all of the Pursoma products (Detox & Daily Bath Soaks, Hydrating Oils, Body Scrubs, Detox Teas, and Bath Accessories) which products have been your go-to lately?
I love the Après Savasana even though I’m not doing much yoga lately. One of the reasons I love it is because the scent is very calming and soothing.
I made this particular product when I was living in New York because every time I would come out of a yoga studio I would lose my peace and quiet.
It made using French sea salt, chlorella (green algae), and a blend of essential oils. because I wanted something that made you feel like you were in a sort of meditative state, or in a temple in India. That’s why I scented it that way.
For someone new to the brand is there a product in particular that you would suggest they try first?
I wouldn’t suggest one particular product, instead, I’d start off with the Self-Care Sunday Kit. The kit includes three products (Renew Coconut Body Polish, After the Class Post Workout Soak, Après Savasana Soak) which will give you an introduction to the brand. It’s very well priced, so you’re getting a lot of products for the price, the box is beautiful and you’re really getting a full product experience.
It really makes you say to yourself, “I have this beautiful box of products and I’m going to give myself an hour on Sunday, and create a spa experience from the comfort of my bathroom.”
Do you have more products that you are hoping to introduce throughout 2021?
We also released the Self-Care Sunday Kit at the end of last year. We just released our body butter which is a product that you use after the bath and the Wellness Immunity Kit. It has a strong clay detox bath, an everyday bath soak, hand sanitizer, dry brush, and teas.
All images via Pursoma