How a health crisis inspired the former model to create Pursoma, a potent line of skin detoxifiers.
Written By NATALIA GARDUÑO
In a new series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit.
Pursoma founder Shannon Vaughn was going about business as usual when she collapsed. "One day I was on my bicycle, when I experienced the worst pain ever,” she recalls, “I later learned it was an ovarian cyst.” She was 32 years old at the time. A demanding modeling career and tumultuous life abroad led to an avalanche of stress, anxiety, PTSD, hormonal disruptors, and poor nutrition. When it all came crashing down, doctors offered two solutions: surgery or birth control. Unsatisfied with either course of action, she took matters into her own hands.
“I worked closely with a nutritionist and biochemist to formulate potent, effective detox treatments that left me feeling vibrant and alive and gave me a sense of internal peace,” says Vaughn. Together they crafted a detoxification program and 60 days later the cyst was gone. Vaughn’s newfound interest in alternative medicine sent her around the globe to learn about detox, ancient healing systems, and yogic philosophy. Her studies and self-care practices inspired her to help others combat the effects of urban toxicity, environmental stressors, and technological radiation. She launched Pursoma—a range of detoxifying treatments to make you look great and feel good, too—in 2014.
Named after French and Greek words meaning “pure” and “of the body,” the Pursoma line is made from hand-harvested and sustainably organic ingredients sourced from France. They aim to rid the body of heavy metals and radioactive materials. Since launching, the brand maintains a philosophy that adheres to words spoken by Sophia Loren, “There is a fountain of youth.” Turns out this fountain is your bathtub.
While serious bath time is not ingrained in American culture—think Julia Roberts rocking out to Prince in Pretty Woman or Doris Day’s phone convo in Pillow Talk—the brand’s Digital Detox Bath is sure to make you a tub devotee. It’s packed with minimal rich sea salt and natural clay to help you relax, detox, and unplug. “This is not a bubble bath,” says Vaughn, “You’re not going to take your People magazine in the tub with you.” Despite our Netflix addiction, this is a wellness ritual we can all get behind, because after all, having time for yourself is the ultimate luxury.
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
I’m lucky enough to have two, so I can experiment! I live in NYC and on a working farm off the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. My bedrooms are polar opposites.
New York City fosters maximum chaos, so my bedroom there is quiet and calm. It is colored all in greige tones, like French Clay, with elements of natural wood on the floors and framing, organic linens, and deeply textured upholstery. I keep devices to a minimum in my bedroom, and I have a diffuser in which I put an air detox essential oil blend from Dr. Schulze.
My bedroom in Maryland is vintage country and more colorful, with a collection of new things in addition to heirloom collectibles and quilts from my family and friends. It’s scented of India because I often do a moonlight meditation just off the bedroom. I love to retire to my room while the rose incense trails in curls.
Please describe your bed and your favorite thing about it.
In NYC, my bed is huge and always made up tight as a cadet’s cot; very spartan. My favorite quilt is at the bottom of the bed from Matteo organic linens, in my favorite shade—again, griege! Ok that no description of MD bed? Both beds have organic mattresses, and I love them.
What time do you wake up?
How many hours of sleep do you require?
Eight, but I have to make do with six.
Any bedside beauty essentials?
My oil diffuser, Weleda Skin Food, a book (right now it’s Disconnect, by Devra Davis), a notepad and pen, and my daughter’s baby journal. I’m keeping it through age 5 (she is almost 2 now), and then she will take over!
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
I quit coffee several years ago, and when I had my daughter I was extraordinarily tired, so now I do decaf with goat milk and maple syrup: super indulgent and super delicious! When I am on a cleanse, I switch to green tea. I eat breakfast around 11 a.m., after I work out, and then get to work. Or I have a green juice around 9 a.m.
Do you work out in the a.m.?
Yes, that’s what sets the tone for my day. If I don’t exercise in the morning, I feel tired all day. I used to exercise in the evening, but I felt like it made me too energetic before bed. The morning is definitely best for me. I also like to reserve my evening time for family, and then right before bed I take a Pursoma mineral soak.
What is your morning skincare regimen?
I wash my face and apply Floracopeia Nectar of Immortelle.
What makeup and products do you use on a daily basis?
I don’t use makeup at all, except on my lips. I am allergic to mascara, so I just curl my lashes and use clear eyebrow gel or a brush, and I use Ilia or Vapour lip color.
What’s your hair situation in the a.m.?
It’s always braided at night, so I brush and rebraid. Or I put my hair up in a ponytail when I work out.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
I do pranayama breathing or mediation, and if I need an extra push I will use an app on my phone. I love the inscape app. Then I read my emails.
What business do you conduct before 10:00 a.m.?
As much as I can get done between 7 and 7:45; I exercise at 8 a.m.
What time do you head to your office?
Depends. I am not an in-office person because my job requires me to take many offsite meetings. Beyond that, I’m out sourcing ingredients, testing products, giving speeches and interviews, and meeting with people face to face, which doesn’t require an office work commitment.