It's our pride and joy to call Monique Foy a friend. She is a girl boss, a spiritual creature and most of all, just a joy to be around. Enjoy a peek into her magical world.
First thing first, we’d love to know the story behind your brand. What inspired you to launch Cosmic Dealer? What inspired you to invest in such ancient, ayurvedic rituals?
Tongue cleaning has been part of my morning ritual for about 9 years now – I don’t think I’ve ever missed a day. I am so obsessed with this tool!
Every time I went to India I used to bring back loads of them and give them away as birthday presents. It was the perfect gift: something nobody already had, and a great conversation starter. But the quality was never that great, and they often came in plastic packaging or with plastic handles that would fall off.
I had wanted to start my own brand for a long time, and one day I woke up and just knew: this was it! It was something I loved, there was a need, the results of using a tongue cleaner are so immediate, that everyone I had given one to had converted to the ritual, so I knew there was something to be done.
Despite all the weird-ness that I anticipated would come from quitting a great job to start a tongue cleaning brand (!), I believed in this product so much that I knew it was the right move.
I actually discovered tongue cleaning during my first Ayurvedic retreat. I had been living in Paris for a few years then, working in the fashion industry, and the fast-paced urban lifestyle was starting to take a toll on my health. When modern doctors just shrugged their shoulders, I started down the path of ancient holistic philosophies and fell headfirst into the amazing world of Ayurveda. I found a retreat happening in Spain and signed myself up. It was an insanely eye-opening experience. Not only did I learn about this whole other vast wellness system that has existed for thousands of years, but I felt its effects first-hand: I realised what it was like to feel at the top of my game. To be truly rested, nourished, relaxed yet energised.
At the end of the retreat I remember our teacher announcing: “if there is one thing you take away from this retreat, it’s that you should scrape your tongue every morning, because it will literally change your life.”
And indeed it did!
Can you explain to our Muses & Heroines how you transitioned from the Ayurvedic Tongue Scraper to 100% raw cacao bars?
Quite simply they are my two favorite wellness products in the world and I wanted to share them with as many people as possible!
When I started to use the tongue cleaner all those years ago I became acutely aware of how much sugar I was eating - as the color and consistency of what you scrape off your tongue changes if you have a diet high in sugar. It was from that moment that I connected the dots between what sugar was doing to the rest of my body too - digestive issues, bad skin, hormonal imbalances, weight gain. But quitting sugar is a very big challenge! It wasn't until I discovered the magic of 100% dark cacao that I found a tool that truly helped me quit: research has found that consuming bitter foods shut down the receptors in our brains that drive us to desire and consumer sugar.
In Ayurveda food is also the basis of healing, and sugar is such a prolific problem in our modern diet that I really wanted to help people address this as one of our first products. So I guess even if the two products seem very different, for me they represent really important tools that helped me make big shifts in my own health.
Why is an excessive consumption of sugar so unhealthy for our physical and mental health?
Excess sugar is what causes visceral fat to build up around your belly, surrounding your liver and other organs. This is the dangerous kind of fat - that we can have even if our overall weight is otherwise normal. It's the type of fat that has been linked to diseases like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Research has also found that sugar is at the root of some hormonal imbalances, premature skin aging and wrinkles, not to mention bad skin, oral disease, insomnia, anxiety and energy fluctuations.
Our bodies are designed to be able to process small amounts of sugar. But sugar today has become dangerous for a few reasons. The first is that it's now in virtually everything. It is on average added to three out of four of the products found on grocery shelves, making it seemingly impossible to avoid.
The second is that sugar can damage the part of your brain that releases hormones telling you that you are full. So if you eat excess sugar over a prolonged period, you may develop a reduced sensitivity to feelings of fullness, and thus be able to eat more and more of it without your body being capable of telling you to stop.
The third is that it's highly addictive. French researchers found that laboratory rats chose sugar over cocaine – despite the fact that they were addicted to cocaine.
Put those three things together: the fact that it's everywhere, that we can eat a lot of it without feeling full, and that we can become quickly addicted to it - and you have an explosive combination. As a consequence, on average we are eating 4 to 5 times the amount of sugar per day that is recommended by the World Health Organisation. Intaking 5 times the recommended dose, every day, ends up having a big impact on your health.
Reducing or removing excess sugar in our diet has so many benefits and within a matter of weeks your taste buds can realign to their natural state - appreciating the taste of 'real' food again! Your energy levels increase, your skin clears up and your mind is suddenly clear of brain fog. Even just those small shifts can make a big difference in your daily life.
A big part of your self-care philosophy is that each small change makes a very big difference. Can you explain why?
I do think it’s often these tiny changes we make in life, that end up leading to big shifts. My teacher telling me that a tongue cleaner would change my life seemed like such a strange thing to say, obviously an exaggeration, right?
But looking back, seeing that thick yellow slime come off my tongue every morning started to make me much more aware of what I was putting into my body. I would notice the consistency and colour of what I scraped off my tongue change, when I ate more sugar or had had a few drinks. So I started eating less sugar, drinking less. And then these small habits started to inspire other good habits. In the end when I look back and try to pinpoint where my wellness journey really started, the tongue cleaner was actually the catalyst to finally prioritizing my health.
So my wellness strategy is, start with the easiest habits, and with what shows results. Then stack win upon win. When you start to snowball good habits, one day you’ll look back and realise that you might have just..changed your life!
Ok, so we have learned why your tongue scraper is very important too. But, we’ve noticed that you put a lot of effort into branding and packaging. Why is it so important? And most importantly, how did you manage to make a tongue scraper so damn beautiful?
Even if tongue scraping has existed for thousands of years, and remains very common in some eastern countries, I knew that bringing the traditional copper tongue cleaner ‘back’ into a modern context would take a lot of education, and it needed to be attractive. I wanted packaging that would appeal to me as a consumer, and that would say; “hey there is this weird-looking object inside, that does something kind of gross (but awesome) – don’t be scared” haha!
What is your approach to a holistic lifestyle?
I have a realistic, less purist approach to wellbeing and holistic lifestyle. I try and keep a balance that tilts very far towards the ‘good’ but that still accommodates the ‘bad’ by learning to listen to my body. Working out what’s ok, what’s not ok, and when my body needs resting, healing or movement.
We all have vices, I just choose mine carefully and make sure I really enjoy them! For example, I love that I can get up and do a whole Ayurvedic morning ritual before 9am, but then perhaps go out for a cocktail at night. Or that for most of the week I’ll be eating according to my dosha (Ayurvedic profile) but that when pizza calls, I will damn well enjoy it. There are other things that I know just do more harm than good to me, like sugar, that I try and stay away from altogether.
Constantly checking in with your body, communicating with it, listening to the signs it’s giving you, I think is the best way to make choices that are right for your own unique wellbeing.
Ok, now it’s time to dive deep into your beauty routine. What is your daily beauty regimen?
I don’t cleanse my skin in the morning, I just spray some Thermal water on my face and dab with a reusable cotton wipe. I then massage my face, including my jaw, and apply Susanne Kaufmann’s Face Fluid Line F. I apply sunscreen, some light foundation, mascara, some cheek tint and that’s it!
I dry brush my body before my shower and then apply coconut oil: applying the oil pre-shower helps lock in the moisture from the water.
At night I cleanse thoroughly with an oil cleanser, apply a night face oil, and massage the pressure points in my face.
An expensive-but-worth-it beauty treatment?
Acupuncture and facial rejuvenation with Elaine Huntzinger in Paris, or any Shirodhara session (an Ayurvedic treatment where warm oil is poured on your third eye).
What do you do to relax?
I put on incense – the scent instantly transports me back to my favourite yoga shalas in Bali and Sri Lanka. Then I put on some Ravi Shankar music on Spotify.
Whatever I’m doing in that moment is instantly chilled-out by the combination of incense + music.
Describe your ultimate night-in self-care wellness ritual!
After a long day I love to do a short session of ecstatic dance: it’s a form of free movement that is a really great release. I have a playlist I’ve made - and I just let loose!
After the ‘high’ of ecstatic dance I do an Ayurvedic self-massage technique called Anhyanga: its calming and very grounding. I also sometimes do this in the morning before or after the shower. I follow that with a bath of magnesium salts, surrounded by candles and incense before bed.
Are there any beauty secrets that your mother or grandmother passed down to you?
I’ve got to say that my mum was pretty militant about sunscreen. I’ve worn it every single day (dead of winter included) since I was a child. I grew up in Australia and have fair skin so…good call mum.
Get ready for our very own quickfire round. Go! Name three beauty products that you always have in your handbag.
A water bottle
Herbal tea bags for when I’m travelling
These count as beauty products – right?!
What is the last thing you do before going to sleep?
I know you’re not meant to look at a screen just before bed, but if I’ve had a really stressful day and my head is still buzzing with thoughts, I’ll look at puppy videos on Instagram. So weird, I know, but when it’s stressful thoughts vs. puppies, the puppies win every time.
And the first thing you do in the morning?
Wake – scrape!
The very first thing I do in the morning is clean my tongue. That’s when you see the best results. Bacteria accumulates on your tongue overnight when you sleep due to the fact that there’s less saliva in the mouth. The moment I wake up I feel the sensation of the gross bacteria in my mouth and need to scrape it away asap!
Ultimate Parisian breakfast: what would you order and where would it be?
I try to always have a savoury breakfast, so I don’t start the day with sugar.
My favourite is at Hotel des Grands Boulevards in their hidden central courtyard. They have a little buffet made up of gorgeous produce: I make myself an ensemble of brown bread, salted ricotta, salad, smoked salmon and pepper.
What is your favorite spot dans la Ville Lumière?
To run: early morning along the Seine, before the boats have started up, when the water is still and glassy
To yoga: Le Tigre, Mirz Studio and Om Studio
To eat: Frenchie wine bar Pigalle
To think: the garden of the musée de Montmartre
Your bathroom: more is more or Marie Kondo?
I like to try new things in skincare, but I’m not very adventurous with makeup, so I’m going to say Marie-kind-of-Kondo.
My pantry; overflowing with superfoods, supplements and teas however is definitely not-so-Kondo.
Most-worn piece of clothing?
For Activewear, Lululemon Align high-waisted leggings are #life.
For ‘real’ clothing, a terracotta-coloured wrap jacket by one of my favourite brands Rejina Pyo.
What is your advice for looking – and feeling, beautiful inside and out?
I know this is the part where I’m meant to say something inspirational. But I’m going to be a little more practical. If you’re someone who is really addicted to sugar, like I was – find a way to quit! Life after sugar is so much sweeter.
Credits Ph: Monique Foy