• Jessica

This Ayahuasca Hair Oil is Like Self-Care In a Bottle

The hair oil is a 'holy grail' beauty product in the truest meaning of the word.

In January 2018, I interviewed Stefani Padilla, hair stylist and founder of the haircare line La Tierra Sagrada. My original article ran on my old blog, but as it's one of my favorite articles, I wanted to republish it here. Before you read-on, I want to reiterate that this is concoction is pure magic — and not in the way you're thinking. Applied to the crown of the head, it soothes the nervous system and brings insights. I'm 100% serious — it even worked on Tom! That's why I consider it to be self-care in a bottle. Enjoy!

There are so many reasons to go green with your haircare, most notably the fact that your scalps absorb everything. Holistic experts point out that your skin is the largest organ on your body, and the proximity of our scalps to, well, our brains makes choosing clean products extra important.

Yesterday I spoke with Stefani Padilla, the creator of a totally clean, green, and non-toxic haircare line called La Tierra Sagrada. I was fascinated by her background in shamanism, and the incorporation of non-psychoactive ayahuasca in certain of the line's formulas. (If you know me, you know that fascinated is an understatement.)

I have been strangely spiritual from a young age, researching esoteric traditions like Kundalini and shamanism a ton in my 20s. Because of this, I already knew that in an ayahuasca tea ceremony, the beverage is crafted to unleash a potent hallucinogen called DMT. When taken with spiritual purposes in mind, the short-acting, intense hallucinogen is said to unveil the secrets of the universe to the recipient. (Secrets of the universe? COUNT ME IN.)

I already knew I had to try the products. The day of the interview, my own bottle of (non-hallucinogenic) ayahuasca-infused jojoba hair oil arrived. After speaking with Stefani, I'm absolutely hooked. Here's why.

During the course of our conversation, I learned that La Tierra Sagrada was created the using shamanic wisdom that came from Stefani's own healing journey. She learned from the source, spending years apprenticing with an Amazonian shaman.

Stefani was already a successful hair stylist, working in the industry, on sets in New York City. But by the time she was 28, she found herself in a state of health crisis. Her over-taxed adrenal glands (from the stress of the "go-go-go" NYC lifestyle) had left her depleted. This lead to the discovery of an autoimmune diagnoses, making a health-conscious lifestyle-overhaul necessary to her well-being. (Much like the one I experienced before becoming a writer!)

You might not know this, but the traditional shamanic path often includes a health-crisis. In reflection of the inner process of "ego death," the outer breakdown of your health necessitates an intentional reconstruction of your lifestyle. The uncanny thing is, as you rebuild your inner-persona, your outer world also transforms. The integrated world-view that you emerge with guarantees that your life will never be the same.

Experiencing it for yourself is one thing, but you can witness how Padilla lived it.

The underlying lesson is that high-stress lifestyles are simply unsustainable, especially for sensitive souls. An insufficient self-care practice exacerbates the problem.

Understanding this, it was Padilla's concern over the deleterious effects of stress — not to mention, the negative health impact of constant exposure to toxic beauty ingredients — which led to the development of her first three hair-healing products. They eventually became the La Tierra Sagrada Treatment ($44), Jojoba Oil ($42), andSalt Spray ($30).

When she shared them with friends and clients, all noticed the resolution of their hair ailments and wanted to be able to buy them. While treating dryness and healing damage from unclean beauty products, they noticed thicker, fuller heads of hair, as well as stimulated growth.

Padilla had already gotten started on the shamanic path of healing and plant medicine. After a two-week sojourn in the Amazon, which she had intended to make her new career, she had a change of heart. She resolved to move back to the states and make her extensive plant wisdom available to the public. She did just that through the creation of La Tierra Sagrada.

I love to call this hair oil shaman-approved. It's true — the recipe for her hair-healing products came to her while in ceremony. In spiritual-speak, this would be understood as the message conveyed to her from ayahuasca, through it's very essence. 

A quick note: Her product line is not hallucinogenic. The products whose labels have leaves on them are the ones that incorporate the healing, nurturing, and protective essences of ayahuasca's stem. (It's ayahuasca's root that contains DMT.) This combines with other skin and hair superfoods, including oils like coconut, jojoba, and rosemary, as well as sunflower-derived vitamin E.

Alongside the Amazonian wisdom, the line makes use of other functional herbs from the Ayurvedic and Chinese herbalist traditions and steam-distilled essences. Even the products that don't contain ayahuasca are made to be good for hair and scalp. Her must-try Dry Shampoo ($30) contains veritable strand-superfoods. (Most are notoriously drying.)

You can use the hair medicine to hydrate, soften, and heal irritated skin and damaged hair. But to get the full effect of the jojoba oil, begin by massaging it onto the crown of your head.

The significance lies in the fact that our chakras, our subtle energy systems, culminate at the crown, representing our ethereal connection to the universe. According to shamanic tradition, the plant's healing takes place simultaneously on all levels of being. This means that as you are physically soothed from without, your body absorbs the oils and you benefit within.

The subtle effect of the bodily healing works at the vibrational level, and I feel it most potently applied to the crown. If you're sensitive like me, you might notice a calming effect on your nerves that keeps you mellow — but not tired — for the rest of the evening.

That first day, I doused myself in the oil. But now I sample so many products that I only reach for it on days when I need some extra support and self-care. Tom is a litigator, and the high-stress attorney's lifestyle can weigh on him. On a morning before a hearing he was nervous for, I applied the oil to his crown to see if he would notice its chill-inducing potential.

Sure enough, he called from the courthouse. What Tom reported back actually gave his mom chills! Instead of spiraling into anxiety, frustration, or anger, Tom felt a wave of gratitude and calm sweep over him before arguing the case. Not only did Tom get to experience a little dose of shamanic healing, but he actually won the motion — one he had completely expected to lose.

Padilla was also gracious enough to provide these tips on creating your own self-healing "hair-emony" (like a ceremony, just with hair). This ritual can help to maximize the full potential of the products. She notes that they are especially potent practiced in conjunction with the moon's cycles, massaging the oil into your scalp as a form of self-care while you connect and reflect on your inner truth. 

In order to sync your hair-emony with the lunar cycle, remember the following advice for New Moons versus Full Moons:

  • On New Moons, set your intentions and manifestations. Communicate with the universe by identifying what you would to attract. as part of your hair ritual.

  • On Full moons, symbolically visualize what you'd like to let go of. If there is anything you would like to see pass, in any domain of existence (i.e. physical, emotional, spiritual, etc.), the full moon is the perfect opportunity to make it official by telling it to the cosmos.

While you don't have to incorporate the spiritual element of healing into your use of her products, this practice will vibe with spiritually-attuned individuals like myself. With raving testimonials like, "These products healed my hair and my soul!", why would you ever pass up such multi-dimensional benefits?!

I walked away from our conversation certain that Stefani Padilla is a teacher. (Although, she defers to the ultimate teacher: ayahuasca.) Padilla is making the sacred wisdom of shamanic plant-medicine available to the public in a way that has never been done before. Through her fabulous hair-emonies, she is also yielding demonstrable community-building impact — itself a form of systemic healing — while teaching us all the value of connected introspection.

Padilla is quite literally a pioneer in living the path of your personal truth. In accordance with the notion of "Healer, heal thyself," she provides each of us with the tools to heal ourselves on our own personal journeys inward and onward. No matter your background, lifestyle, or "ethereal orientation," she reminds us that in looking within, we each meet our own greatest healers in ourselves.

That same day, after liberally applying her jojoba hair oil, it served as a reminder to stay connected to my truth. I had been making an effort to live a more wellness-centric lifestyle, and the resolution stayed with me for the entire evening afterward. At the same time, my irritated, dry scalp eczema was being soothed by natural plant-healers. I was so stoked that I even put tiny dollops of the oil on top of my dogs' itty-bitty crown chakras, and massaged some oil into Tom's hair.

The entire experience left me with gratitude and inspiration; I was moved then, and I am moved now. La Tierra Sagrada's ayahuasca-infused hair oil is a 'holy grail' beauty product in the truest sense of the word.

P.S. If you want to find out more about shamanism, there's a great documentary available to stream called The Last Shaman. If you want to learn more about the hallucinogen in the plant's root, you can watch DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Oh, and Chelsea Handler also featured ayahuasca on an episode of her Netflix show!

Have you tried a hair oil? Tell me on Instagram!

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