Growing up in Malaysia, Two Birds Beauty founder Jessie Gurunathan subconsciously absorbed Ayurvedic principles, including the use of Kansa metal, from her grandmother.
In Tamil tradition, it’s believed there are marma points all over the body that correspond to the seven chakras (energy centres).
There are many types of massage tools made from Kansa metal (including the Kansa face wand) that are used to stimulate these points.
Kansa is the Indian name for bell metal and pure copper which is registered at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material, reinforcing its suitability for use in wellness and beauty rituals.
The magic of Kansa
The first time Gurunathan saw a Kansa face wand being used was on a trip to Ubud, Bali, where she had a Panchakarma treatment at an Ayurvedic centre.
“I was getting a Kansa massage and they brought out the Kansa face wand and as soon as it was used on my face I was hooked,” she says.
Due to its alkaline properties, when used for facial massages, Kansa metal helps to balance skin pH, soothing skin suffering from sensitivity, premature aging, inflammation and acne. Massaging the skin on your face with a Kansa wand aids with lymphatic drainage, removing built-up toxins and providing better circulation and fresh oxygen to the skin. Kansa metal is also believed to help firm skin and calm breakouts.
Through targeted application to the marma points in the face, the Kansa wand can alleviate stress, relax muscle tension and improve energy flow within the body.
Gurunathan looks forward to using her Kansa wand in the evening. “For me, it’s a true ritual … I find myself sitting in front of the TV or listening to a podcast while using the wand on my face, it’s so comforting and soothing,” she says. “I love that it aids to relieve tension, and often use the wand on my hands and neck too, to relieve ‘tech neck’ after a busy day.”
She recommends using an oil with the wand, so that it easily glides over the skin.
“An oil helps to reduce friction and prevents the wand from pulling or tugging the skin. The ‘glide’ effect is what you want when using the wand. Make sure to use only high-quality oils,” she says.
There are several marma points on the face where we tend to hold tension.
“The wand allows you to provide targeted and safe pressure to the marma points for release and to promote drainage,” she explains. “Some of the points include [the] middle of the forehead, the temples, [the] centre of the chin, [the] centre of the cheek bones and more.”
Producing a Kansa wand
Drawing on her Indian heritage, Gurunathan wanted to produce a Kansa wand that was both beautiful and safe to use.
The Two Birds Kansa wand is made from FDA-certified, quality Kansa and sustainably grown Sheesham wood.
“Kansa is a very sacred metal comprised of a very specific balance of predominantly copper mixed with a little tin,” she explains. “Many knock-offs are now being made with materials like lead and there have been reports of fake Kansa wands causing all sorts of skin reactions and issues. It was important to find a producer that could guarantee the quality and efficacy of their Kansa. We managed to locate one of the only companies in India that manufacture FDA-certified Kansa.”
Self-funding the launch of her skincare range Two Birds in the middle of a pandemic posed some challenges for Gurunathan, who launched with a single product in 2020: Replenish & Repair Bio-Retinol Serum, which contains ethically sourced Bakuchi (Bakuchiol, which has been used in Ayurveda for centuries). However, she’s found that people have really responded to the brand and its values in a positive way.
“Truly it was first born out of frustration,” says Gurunathan. “As a WOC, the beauty space in New Zealand had been so one-dimensional. I was tired of the lack of representation and I was sick of waiting for brands to start being more inclusive. I was also a woman in her mid-thirties whose skin concerns and needs had evolved. I wanted skincare that I could use every day that had a more conscious and mindful approach to beauty, was cruelty-free and more importantly, was actually efficacious.”
Gurunathan had developed acne rosacea and as a result, highly inflamed and sensitised skin, in early 2018.
She counts herself lucky that one of her mum’s oldest friends, who’s like an aunty to her, happens to be a talented cosmetic chemist. Gurunathan had dreamt for years of getting to work with her but the timing was always wrong.
Last year, it just all fell into place and Gurunathan’s mum’s friend began creating products in her lab to help with Gurunathan’s newly sensitised skin and rosacea. Her skin couldn’t get enough of it. “That’s when I knew in my heart that everything just felt aligned, and Two Birds Beauty was born,” Gurunathan says.
She is proud to introduce New Zealanders to the Kansa wand.
“It’s a beauty secret that has been passed down for generations,” says Gurunathan. “There is something sacred and soothing about knowing that the same mindful beauty ritual of rolling the Kansa wand over my face was performed by many of my ancestors before me. So many beauty trends come and go, but this one is steeped in history.”