Coming Up Roses

Actress-turned-wellness expert Shiva Rose opens up about the holistic movement, the lost art of rituals and how her fledgling beauty empire had its roots in her dreams Writer Kavita Daswani

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Actress-turned-wellness expert Shiva Rose opens up about the holistic movement, the lost art of rituals and how her fledgling beauty empire had its roots in her dreams Writer Kavita Daswani

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It may have been Saturday morning, but life is busy at Shiva Rose’s home. She’s ordering fresh organic coconuts, before heading for a week-long retreat to run natural beauty ritual workshops. Her daughters rush in and out, while the Belgian Shepherd Luna greets visitors, and the family’s rescue tabby, Fig, jumps on the kitchen counter.

But it’s time for a break. She pours hot tea in her house in the Pacific Palisades, California. This morning, Rose wears a flowing dress, her dark hair and pale skin the fortuitous result of her part Iranian ancestry. Devotional music plays softly in the background, almost an antidote to the hum of activity around her. 

Rose was among the first, about seven years ago, to start a holistic blog. Now, stands out among the sea of wellness sites because, while she writes about turmeric milk and one-off tie-dye print silk dresses, there is a luxurious sensibility to her coverage. She is in many ways, the precursor to natural living sites like A few years after launching the blog, Rose developed a skincare line that now appears in high-end boutiques. Between planning photo shoots and interviews for her blog and handcrafting products from scratch, Rose is also a popular speaker and workshop leader on the holistic and wellness circuit.

She’s the first to admit that a circuitous path led her here. “I was an actress for many years,” she says, guest-starring in shows like CSI: Miami and Las Vegas. “Then I realised that I wasn’t being fulfilled.”

The realisation coincided with Rose’s divorce from The Practice actor Dylan McDermott. She was dealing with health issues and wanted to simplify her life. She found her Pacific Palisades home which, with its tranquil lush gardens, feels very much like a sanctuary. “I began to grow my own food and didn’t want to act as much anymore.”

A grim diagnosis from a Beverly Hills physician during Rose’s mid-20s had already set her on a path to natural healing. She was diagnosed with lupus, scleroderma and rheumathoid arthritis – all autoimmune disorders. She was in chronic pain and the doctor told her she had a year to live.

Instead of relying on the drugs she was prescribed, Rose saw a Sikh holistic doctor, who conversely told her she would start feeling better in six months if she followed a protocol of herbs, vitamins and minerals.

“It’s been a journey, and I tried many different approaches, both Eastern and Western. It was a process of elimination, of trying new things to see what works best for me.” Her recovery was slow – and it certainly took a lot longer than six months for her to even begin to notice a shift in her well-being. But over the past several years, she says, “I’ve been feeling good.”

This is where came in. Constantly fielding questions from people eager to learn more about alternative well-being practices, Rose figured that establishing a site where they could find recipes for curried cauliflower soup or how to make a honey-yoghurt mask at home would serve as a window into her world. “As I did that, I realised how toxic a lot of the products are that people put on their skin,” she says. “The chemicals, parabens and phthalates can lead to serious health conditions.”

It was during her daily practice of kundalini yoga and meditation that she envisioned her eponymous skincare line. “I saw the whole thing,” she says. “The packaging, the essence. I really felt drawn to it and started with a basic rose oil. Then I saw there was a market for it and I became inspired.”

The offering now includes several products, like a Celestial Rose Body Butter comprising shea butter, macadamia and kukui nut oil and rose, and Rose Moon Sea Salts with salts culled from the Dead Sea mixed with pink Himalayan salt scented with frankincense and juniper. She is soon to release a facemask, in a range that is elegant, luxurious and yet grounded in the purity of its ingredients.

Now that Rose has found what works for her – what keeps her healthy, grounded and clear – she is eager to share. She is a great believer in the lost art of rituals. “How much time do you have?” she laughs, when asked what her daily regimen is.

Typically Rose is up at 6am and starts the day with oil pulling, the Ayurvedic technique that involves swirling oil in the mouth to help whiten the teeth, destroy harmful bacteria in the mouth and remove toxins from the body. Then she enjoys a cup of a medicinal Taiwanese tea and meditates as she drinks it.

“It’s a lovely way to start the day,” she says. That’s followed by kundalini yoga, spending time with her daughters and feeding the animals; she has chickens, bees and mice. Breakfast might be organic oaks soaked overnight in raw milk and sprinkled with walnuts, cacao and berries. She’s almost entirely vegetarian, although sometimes enjoys eggs from her chickens, or a nourishing bowl of bone broth if she’s feeling depleted. Otherwise, it’s lentils and rice, vegetables from the local farmer’s market roasted in coconut oil with quinoa with beans.

If there’s one thing Rose has learnt, it’s that while she’s found a nutritional and exercise protocol, it’s equally important to experience different things. “When I go out I’ll eat pasta and bread, maybe have some wine. Everything has to be balanced. You have to enjoy life too. You can’t be so holy about it that you miss out on the world.”

“Everything has to be balanced. You have to enjoy life too”

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