Glow Bar founder, Sasha Sabapathy, on the best self-care routine to undertake during quarantine
Facials, in itself, are designed to leave skin feeling recharged, renewed, and rejuvenated. In an ideal world, you'd leave a spa or salon feeling how your skin looks — but the reality is, there's a high likelihood that your mental state and wellbeing won't reap the same benefits. After all, a hydrating facial doesn't work as a massage would, and vice versa. This brings to mind the question: what does it take for us busy folk to feel fully rested in terms of complexion, body, and mind?
That's where Glow Bar comes in. Regarded as the ultimate wellness destination in London, the cafe-come-spa-come-herbal-shop is a one-stop space that promises to grant a glow to 'em cheeks and a skip in your step. This is accomplished through infrared sauna pods, adaptogenic herbs, and even libido-boosting elixirs, if you can believe it. Talk about a whole new approach to self-care. It seemed only fitting that we get founder, Sasha Sabapathy, to dish the dirt on how she's looking herself amidst quarantine, how you can do it, and more.
Glow Bar has a really unique philosophy. How did you come up with it?
It was quite organic really. I was really lucky that I grew up around natural remedies, and the idea that nature has given us what we need to heal in many ways. When I was 22 and living in New York, I experienced massive burnout and instead of going down a pharmaceutical route, I honed in on this philosophy and discovered healing herbs from Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Over time I adapted how I ate, my lifestyle and started integrating heaving sweat sessions into my routine through hot yoga and, eventually, infrared saunas. When I moved back to London I realised that no one was approaching wellness from this point of view and wanted to launch a brand and space that reflected this.
Glow Bar utilises a lot of natural and herbal alternatives when it comes to their products and treatments. Did you experience any backlash upon deciding on doing so?
I wouldn't say we've experienced any backlash. There have been some operational nightmares in terms of finding payment processors for our website that accept the sale of natural remedies. In terms of consumers, people were perhaps a bit hesitant to start with as consumers in the UK are just not familiar with most of these products. We've been able to resolve this through lots of education both via social media and also via workshops that we conduct in our space and in collaboration with other brands.
What are some misconceptions people have about natural alternatives?
The main misconception is that they don't work or are only for a super alternative or hippy folk. This is slowly dissipating after seeing a rise in studies that show how these remedies work. As well as this our brand, both through design and tone of voice, is quite modern and relatable.
What is your opinion on clean, sustainable beauty?
I think it's the future! People are so conscious these days about what they consume and put in their bodies. We work quite hard to package as much as possible in glass and when we use plastic we offer a recycling service for free. Our products are processed as little as possible and we never use additives or fillers.
Tell us about your own self-care routine.
For me, self-care is all about balance. Typically, I do a workout every day that is both fun and releases endorphins — usually Soul Cycle! I spend time every morning and evening alone without a screen, reflecting on the day to come with a herb-spiked matcha latte or moon milk. I love cooking, it soothes my soul so I feel that counts as self-care, and I also paint and do pottery. I also do an infrared sauna 1-2 times a week where I listen to meditative music. Having these moments amongst a generally pretty hectic week helps me feel calm and balanced and that's really what self-care is about.
Has your self-care routine changed ever since you entered quarantine?
Definitely! I'm just as human as the next person and quarantine has been a massive struggle for me. Not being able to do my regular workouts has been difficult, however I recently invested in a peloton bike which is helping! Plus, my usual moments of calm at the start and end of the day have been hard to keep up with as I'm home all the time without much to reflect on. I have, however, been cooking more and spending more time doing pottery, so it's these things that have helped to keep me feeling calm and balanced.
How do you think readers can self-care safely at home?
Self-care is so personal. If I had to be prescriptive I would set the following "guidelines." Firstly, sweat every day — find a workout you love or a sauna to visit, if spas are open in your area. Sweating helps to release endorphins that keep you happy and helps you sleep better. Secondly, find something to do that keeps your hands and mind busy. Cooking, art, woodwork, playing an instrument, or even an active sport like tennis. These are all great examples. Keeping your mind and hands busy helps you to stay in the moment and feel grounded.
Thirdly, implement healing herbs into your diet to help reduce anxiety and adapt your body to stressful situations. There are so many herbs out there, and our website is a great place to start. Fourthly, have some alone time without a screen — meditate or read or reflect during this time. Don't sweat the small stuff. Worrying about the pasta you ate or a bad joke you made is just a waste of energy. Try to stay positive.
What is one Glow Bar product you wished people knew more about?
Our Moon Shakes! They're vegan, grain free, adaptogenic protein powders. We launched them last year and honestly it is the best protein I've ever had. They are based with pea protein and a high protein seed called Sacha Inchi that I sourced in Thailand, together they create a really creamy texture. We included four herbs for anxiety, mood, focus and inflammation — they are amazing and you feel wonderful after a shake. We even included a prebiotic that helps with bloating and tummy issues.
Name one Glow Bar product or treatment you've always dreamed of doing, but haven't got around to yet.
We have been dying to launch crystal facial massages for some time. We did construction work and recruited an incredible natural aesthetician earlier this year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has meant that we've had to pause this.
Lastly, what do you hope to see from the beauty industry in the next five years?
More inclusivity. Unfortunately, wellness and beauty is still very homogenous, and I hardly see any black, brown or asian faces amongst editors, founders, influencers and models. I cannot wait for this to change.