Jojoba, ylang-ylang, and hydrosol — three words that now circulate in our everyday vernacular thanks to the rise of clean beauty. From oils to lotions to potions, non-toxic skincare continues to rise bringing with it more education around why what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body. We are lucky here in San Diego to have an industry pioneer and all around clean beauty boss building her green empire. Introducing Leah Kirpalani, founder of Shop Good. From her flagship store in North Park (second location coming soon!), Leah hosts community events centered on holistic health, offers product education, and exudes a warm, inviting energy that makes you want to stay and play all day long.
Knowing health journeys are more than just diets and exercise, we met up with Leah herself to learn about her own health journey, how she landed on clean beauty and how she stays healthy while running a business.
Get to Know Leah Kirpalani of Shop Good
Let’s start with your own health story – what has it been like?
My inspiration for Shop Good is the ten years of unanswered health issues I personally endured. Right before starting my first job out of college, my body and immune system essentially broke down. From losing my hair to dealing with horrifying cystic acne to gaining a significant amount of weight out of nowhere, all the way to becoming allergic to basically everything I ate. My eyes burned, my abdomen bloated, my muscles ached and I went without my period and normal bowel movements for years.
After seeing more traditional doctors than I can remember and still receiving zero answers as to why I felt so crummy, I ended up finding solace in the natural health space. Even then, I still longed for a space I could walk into to seek answers with people that understood what I was going through, offering relatable, attainable recommendations and tools that could help me heal and live the life I wanted to live. It didn’t exist at that time… at least not yet. I hope that Shop Good is just that. Not only a clean beauty + wellness boutique (online and in our San Diego store!) offering everyday essentials that are curated and filtered based on the safety of ingredients… but also a safe space where our customers can share their wellness stories / be inspired by new ways of taking care of their bodies. It’s the space I so wish I could visit, back then.
What has been the biggest challenge turned lesson you’ve learned along the way?
My health journey was quite a challenge. I felt like I couldn’t participate in life the way that I ideally wanted to. My relationships suffered, my career slowed and I lived in a constant state of survival.
During this time, all I thought about was being sick. I was concerned with what foods I’d feel safe eating next, I’d research my symptoms until the wee hours of the night, and I let my illness consume every single one of my thoughts. But when I began to take my health into my own hands and study holistic health daily, I learned new ways of healing the body. I realized that I had the power to shift my thoughts. If I thought about health (vs. sickness), I could actually create health in my body. I began practicing visualizations of myself in perfect health on a nightly basis. This was one of the biggest lessons during my illness and I now remind myself of the power of visualization on a daily basis. You have to see it first for it to be true — work on visualizing whatever you want to create in life! It can be the most powerful tool!
What is one beauty product you couldn’t live without?
This question gives me anxiety! How could I pick just one!? If you ask me this week, it’s my Replenishing Oil by Botnia Skincare. This farm-to-face oil is harvested from the maker’s micro-farm in Sausalito, CA and cold-infused with a number of healing and anti-inflammatory botanicals. It’s a great everyday oil for balancing and conditioning the skin, but it also comes in handy when my hormonal breakouts get the best of me — the neem and arnica are equal parts soothing and anti-bacterial!
What is your number one piece of advice for people trying to switch to non-toxic beauty products?
Don’t rush the process. Changing out your products you’ve researched, invested in and become accustomed to for years can be hard. And selecting new products you’re confident you’ll be happy with can be even harder. Focus on products you use at the highest frequency like your face wash or foundation. This will decrease your toxic load at a more rapid rate simply based on times per use! Another example of swapping slow is focusing on the products you are running out of. That way you’re not wasting any product you’ve already invested in! Ultimately, stay calm, be kind to yourself throughout the process, and reach out to Shop Good with any and all questions along the way…WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED!
What is the must-do self-care practice that helps you stay balanced with your busy schedule?
Checking in with myself throughout the day. I have the tendency to throw myself into my work without gasping for air until the end of the day. This bad habit ends up catching up with me… some of my old health symptoms will even creep up when I don’t prioritize myself! Mid-morning and mid-afternoon, I set a reminder on my calendar to simply ‘check in’. I’ll place my hand over my heart and ask: “What’s going on right now? How are you doing? What do you need?”
And finally, what is your favorite Perfect Bar?
I am a full-fledged chocolate lover, through and through. I crave the taste of dark chocolate after or in between meals – it’s so satiating to me! Plus, chocolate’s magnesium levels are off the chart. A win-win! So, I can’t get enough of Perfect Bar’s Dark Chocolate Almond. It’s such a treat while also giving me the energy and protein I need to get me through my busy days!