Meet Katya Slepak of Malaya Organics. Not only does she make small-batch and organic beauty products out of her small Brooklyn studio she also worked in the beauty industry for over a decade, has a degree in music therapy and has studied dance, yoga, kung fu and kitesurfing! Katya kindly took time out of her wonder-woman schedule to share her extensive knowledge of natural ingredients and the ins and outs of starting a beauty company.
After struggling with her own skin for many years and being dissatisfied with many of the costly products on the market, Katya started Malaya Organics. She uses herself as a guinea pig and says if it works for her sensitive skin it can also work for others. She only uses organic, wildcrafted, ethically sourced ingredients and goes through local distributors as much as possible. Even then she does further research to insure that there aren't any hidden preservatives. To get an idea of how detailed the process is Katya spent three years perfecting the recipe for her Face Serum which is made up of twenty all natural oils and herbs. Furthermore, since she's planning to distribute her products within the EU she had to follow the International Fragrance Associations guidelines to ensure the essential oils used were acceptable for skincare application. She told us that even a seemingly holistic ingredient like lavender can raise a red flag since it may also be considered an allergen.
Katya also makes some luxe Bath Salts and gave us the 411 on all the salts she uses. Just like our English Rose Face Scrub, she uses Himalayan Pink Salt which is naturally anti-microbial, provides over 80 essential minerals and elements and increases circulation. She also uses Epsom Salt to gently detox, Ibizan Salt that is rich in minerals and elements and Solar Salt to ease aches and pains. To top it all off she uses lavender essential oil for it's soothing properties and vanilla absolute which is skin toning. Katya's summer beauty regime? Add the bath salts into a hot bath, fill up a muslin bag with dried herbs and let them infuse the water, soak, then use the muslin bag to sluff off dead skin before lathering up in a body oil. We seriously can't wait to try this. Katya shares more about her business and beauty go to's below!
I Make...100% natural, organic luxury beauty products.
First maker memory...I made body butter for my very troubled dry hands. It was really difficult for me to get this formula to the texture I wanted. So I toiled and toiled until my hands were happy. After giving my friends and family a try, I couldn’t make it fast enough!
Makers that inspire you...Quero weavers. The women of that tribe create the most beautiful tapestries. Each design has a meaning that tells a story of ancient wisdom. Visiting the Andean mountains and meeting the women who weave was one of the most inspiring maker encounters of my life. I am also infatuated with perfumers. Natural perfumery is an incredible art form that demands being fully present, connected and deeply inspired.
If you weren’t making beauty products and building my brand, you’d be making music (recording vocals for my husband’s electronic compositions); getting advanced yoga training; spending a year in India, oh yeah, and babies :)
Favorite tool of the trade...Glass beakers and bowls. I love to work with them. They make me feel like an alchemist concocting a magical potion.
Material(s) you want to work with...Ayurvedic herbs. I really want to study Ayurveda and incorporate it into my formulas.
Top Places to Source...I source only organic, wildcrafted ethically sourced ingredients from reputable suppliers that are obtained directly from farms and growers as much as possible.
Something you wish you could make...Jewelry and Clothing! I have so many ideas for what pieces I want to wear but I do not have the slightest clue on how to use a sewing machine or manipulate precious metals.
Favorite place in Brooklyn to snack....Union Pizza Works in Bushwick. It’s become my second home :)
Favorite place in Brooklyn to get your drink on...Barbes in Park Slope. I love their Slavic Soul Parties!
Favorite shop in Brooklyn to blow your paycheck at...People of 2morrow
Favorite song at the moment....Burning by The Whitest Boy Alive
This month we're giving our subscribers the materials to make their own salt scrub. What household or common ingredients would you recommend adding to a salt scrub?
Coconut or Olive Oil for hydration; Vanilla Extract for an exquisite scent.
Summer time means days spent out in the sun. What are your tips for healthy all natural ways to protect and soothe skin from the sun?
Coconut and Jojoba oil both naturally have SPF 4-6 so they are great for gentle daily sun protection. All of my skin formulas contain Jojoba so I wear them on my skin for daily outings as well as after sun exposure. My Body Oils, Face Serum, Hair Oil and Lavender Lip Savior have tons of skin and hair loving ingredients that help regenerate and nourish after sun exposure, increase elasticity and lessen the effects of sun damage. My skin and hair usually stay super hydrated even after extreme sun. When sun bathing I use Coola SPF 30 for face and body.
Aside from Malaya, what other beauty products are on your top shelf?
Dr. Alkaitis Cleanser and Soothing Gel, Acure Shampoo and Conditioner, Dr. Bronner Castile Soap in Peppermint and Baby Soap Bar, Alima Pure mineral foundation powder, blush, bronzer and eye shadow, Ilia mascara, Bite lipstick.
Our founder Janet Crowther spotted you and your goods at the Fox Fodder Farmer's Market in Vinegar Hill. Any other markets you'll be vending at this season? Renegade Craft Fair in Williamsburg, Indie Beauty Expo, Axis Show, ID Pop at the Chelsea Market.
We want to thank Katya for welcoming us into her studio and sharing her beauty knowledge with us and our maker community. Make sure to check out her website and to follow her on Instagram @malayaorganics.