How Every Drop of UMA Oils Comes from a Laborious Act of Love
Oftentimes knowing the story behind something—say a book's inspiration or a product's creation—causes you to invest in it more deeply. To learn of its ingredients, history, and making is to understand its alchemy—and its contribution in the world. At Uma, we love to tell the narrative of our botanicals. We are so deeply proud of the work that goes in to every one of our products, from the growth and cultivation on our farm in India to the distribution in California. Our Ayurvedic formulas date back five generations. We believe this makes using our oils more than a moment of self-care—it's a practice steeped in history and rooted in the first principles of Ayurveda.
From Farm to Bottle
UMA's botanicals are grown on nutrient-rich soil spread across our 100-acre meadow in central India. Dedicated caretakers oversee the entire organic growth process of every plant, selecting only the finest seeds and harvesting each one no more than twice before re-planting it to flourish again.
Once the plants have been harvested at peak, Dr. Anand Bharadwaj and our extraction team expertly extract the oils. One of the world's most renowned experts in essential oils, Dr. Bharadway uses leading techniques and skilled personal touches to extract and create the most highly impactful essential oils for each of our blends. From there Dr. Tiwari, our Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, concocts our potent formulas based on centuries of Ayurvedic knowledge. Dr. Tiwari has a keen ability to identify core triggers for mind-body imbalances. His expertise ensures that every UMA product has a targeted and lasting impact. We strive to make all of our facial oils rich in essential oils and light in carrier oils to offer the most potent, efficacious blends available.
Every botanical is considered. Our extractors select only the finest raw materials from each crop to use, while our formulators have been known to have intellectual battles over the percentages of oil in each formulation. Every ounce that goes into our bottles is nothing short of exceptional. UMA is the culmination of our expertise, ambition, and love for the art of essential creation, and for the science of wholesome beauty.
The Journey of a Drop
Producing a single drop of oil can sometimes take more than twenty years for some of our most precious ingredients. Consider frankincense. Known as a gift the three wise men brought to Jesus, this highly precious ingredient comes from the dried sap of trees in the Boswellia genus. These trees start to produce the aromatic resin between eight- and ten-years-old Once matured, we cut the bark of the tree and allow its liquid resin to ooze out. It starts to harden when it hits oxygen, forming small rock-shaped crystals. We allow these to form and sit for one to two weeks before we go back to harvest the hardened crystals from the branches. The resin is then taken to the distillery to be crushed into powder, put in an oil and bath, and steam-distilled to extract the frankincense oil. This potent, aromatic oil has long been used in Ayurveda for its anti-inflammatory, soothing, and antiseptic qualities. It is prominent in our Absolute Anti-Aging line for its ability to aid cellular turnover, revitalize the skin, and minimize the appearance of scars and wrinkles.
Now consider rose oil: It takes 1,000 rose petals to get a single drop of rose oil—and they can take one to two years to grow before our first harvest. The conditions must be just right in order for these flowers to flourish to their full potential. Roses require full sun and soil packed with organic matter. We have to ensure they have plenty of room to breathe so the air can circulate freely to keep the leaves dry, preventing pesky fungal diseases from taking over. Regular watering and fertilization are also key to the growth process, along with occasional pruning and spraying. From there our team handpicks and sun-dries the flowers. We store the petals while they await the extraction process. Due to its fragility, roses have a complicated distillation process. Steam is used to break down the cells of the flower, which releases the gorgeous essential oil.
Lastly, let us look at sandalwood essential oil. This gorgeous aromatic oil comes from wood of a tree that takes ten to twenty years to mature. The environmental conditions required can be quite tricky. Because sandalwood is a parasitic tree, it must be surrounded by other plant species in order to obtain nutrients. The most highly prized oil comes from the heartwood in the roots of the tree. This takes a team of fifty to sixty people to harvest.
The overall oil quality is dependent upon the quality of the wood, the length of distillation, and the experience of the distiller.Our expert distillers use steam distillation in a process that takes approximately one month. This process allows heated steam to pass through the powdered wood, releasing the essential oil that’s locked in the cellular structure of the wood. Their skilled handling and personal nuances result in the highest quality sandalwood—with zero adulteration.
We include sandalwood in a large variety of our products, from our Beauty Boosting Day Face Oil and Anti-Aging Eye Oil to the majority of our wellness oils, for its unparalleled moisturizing properties.