Maya Chia: Chat with Founder Susanne Norwitz


Angie Omata

Co-Founder / Creative Director at simplyWORKOUT
Angie Omata

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Superfood Chia has become increasingly popular in recent years.  Rich in protein. fiber, and omega-3s and with proven antioxidant benefits, it’s no wonder why Chia has become a breakfast go-to.  When I first came across the Maya Chia skincare line (recently featured in Teen Vogue), I knew I had to give it a try.  I was already sold on consuming Chia for its health benefits, but was intrigued by the implied benefits of applying Chia Oil to the skin.  I was lucky enough to get my hands on Maya Chia’s Super Critical Omega-3 Chia Oil several months ago and have since added it to my skincare rotation.  This 100% Chia Oil formulation goes on very smoothly and feels light on the skin imparting a beautiful glow.  A little goes a very long way.  

I had the chance to ask Founder of Maya Chia, Susanne Norwitz, a few questions about Chia Oil and her product line:

What brought you to begin your own skincare line?

My background was in communications, not cosmetics. But I love beauty and skincare, always have. My litmus test for finding your calling/passion is that when you go to a bookstore, you experience a gravitational pull towards the section that really fires you up. A number of events in life pointed me in the direction to be honest with myself, cast any fears about failure to the wayside, and just say, it’s now or never, lady!

What drew you to Chia Oil?

I heard about Chia three years ago through a detox. I picked up a bag of chia seeds at my local health food store, and I started to read the back of the package and was really amazed by the health benefits. I thought, “if this is so good for you to eat, it must be fantastic to use topically on your skin”.  Chia is the richest known botanical source of skin-loving omega-3 fatty acids, which means it far exceeds the omega fatty acid levels in other oils. Any doctor will tell you that eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is wonderful for the health of your body, including the largest organ in your body — your skin.

Chia also has a high concentration of antioxidants. In fact, the Nutritional Science Research Institute tested the nutritional value of chia seed and said it contains “the highest amount of antioxidants we have ever measured” and cited chia as one of the most powerful whole food antioxidants we know. Because chia oil is rich in antioxidants, it does wonders in fighting those dreaded aging free radicals.

Our chia oil is also really lightweight. So while other chia oils may feel greasy and take a while to absorb, our supercritical chia is ultra light and rapidly absorbs into the skin. And that’s because Maya Chia uses a unique, patented process to extract the oil called supercritical extraction. The gentle oxygen-free, solvent-free process results in oil with a total absence of chemical residues and impurities, and one that most closely mirrors the chemical profile of the plant. What that means for our customer is that they get the best, purest, most stable, effective, and potent chia oil available. It’s also worth noting after a short period of time other cold-pressed chia oils on the market go rancid or lose their efficacy. Maya Chia Beauty has a shelf life for two years, at least.

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How did you come up with the name, Maya Chia?

Chia has been a staple for thousands of years in the Maya culture. As a child, my father used to travel annually over the course of two decades to perform cleft lip & palate surgeries on the Maya people — and rather coincidentally my stepchildren are of Maya descent. So it’s a culture I feel connected to, in a very real way. Ten percent of the net profits from sales go to giving back to the Maya people. So the name is kind of a tribute to the amazing culture of the Maya people.

What are your thoughts on the growing natural skincare market?

I think it’s awesome, but I’m admittedly prejudiced on that point. I do feel that it’s a very positive trend that people are becoming more conscious about what they put in, and on, their bodies… People are realizing their skin is the largest organ of their body, and ingredients they place on their skin are readily absorbed into their blood stream. Having a newfound level of awareness about skincare and toxic chemicals to avoid is an awesome thing, and can only be a step in the right direction towards increased transparency – which is awesome.

Do you have any skincare advice?

Just how critically important what you eat and how you live impacts – not only your inner health, but how you look. In my mind, there’s a direct correlation. I know that when I’m more virtuous with my diet, I can literally see the effects. Of course, every now and again, you just have to grab that Kit Kat and have at it. As hackneyed as it sounds, balance is key.  Also, you don’t need to suffer with harsh and abrasive chemicals on your skin to have amazing skin and great results. More often than not, nourishing your skin/feeding your skin with nutrients, and being kind/gentle with your skin (and yourself) — will get you the glowing results you’re after.

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