A Mindful Conversation with Tanja Gruber, co-founder of Max & Me
Max & Me was born a Love Child. Hand-crafted in fresh micro batches in Vienna with utmost care, this ceremonial Collection of purely organic, high-vibe treats is the fusion of skincare and energy work for founders, Tanja & Max.
Each brings a unique set of skills to their multi-awarded Garden Studio in Vienna, allowing this line to blossom from a desire to also touch the soul and the spirit behind the skin – letting you shine in all your beauty.
Hello dearest Tanja, and welcome to our little corner of the Internet. We are delighted to have you here. When it comes to your creations, ingredients play a massive role. Where do you source them from? What are your favorite ingredients to formulate with?
Speaking to the potency of our treats also means sharing the ethical methodology behind the sourcing of our treasured high vibe ingredients. Revering indigenous healers, organic, multi-generational farms and inspiring ingredient experts, we source from a very small handful of growers worldwide that are passionate, dedicated and holistic. The vibrancy of an ingredient is nurtured by the subtle energies of the surroundings but also by the practices of people who harvest each ingredient. It’s our privilege to work with such incredible humans around the world who trust us with the continued life cycle of their sacred plants.
We meticulously search the most pristine soils of sacred lands for organic or consciously wild-crafted ingredients from dedicated, unique and sustainable sources that harness traditional knowledge to cultivate or procure vibrant, potent ingredients. By intentionally sourcing from such partners, we are honored to be able to support a diverse community of people around the world including small multi-generational farms and distilleries, native tribes like Amazonian WaiWai Indios and women’s cooperatives in Morocco.
Each sourcing journey is an opportunity to expand our awareness of the plant world even more and to stretch beyond the buffers of perception.
Here are some of our favorite sourcing examples in that respect:
1) Rose essential oil; the family that run the distillery donates 61% of their annual income to the local orphanage, founded by the family’s grandfather and town patriarch. The whole family is passionate about safe harboring children from trafficking and slavery, and equally, keeping the community free of opium production by focusing the community of farmers on organic rose production.
2) Palo Santo essential oil and hydrosol; this unique distiller uses his foraging initiative to actively engage with the Ecuadorian government to map protected areas of rainforest. In addition, he focuses on how to organically re-forest other areas that have been impacted by negative human interference. The results of his efforts to protect the forest and engage with locals to forage Palo Santo, resulted in the distillation of the most potent and vibrant source that we could find.
3) Argan oil; our source of Argan oil also has a beautiful story to it, as it sustains women cooperatives in Morroco ensuring poor rural women independence, a way of socializing and supporting eachother and taking pride in what they accomplish.
4) Murumuru Butter; as with all the highly vibrant ingredients - which Max and I meticulously search all over the world - there is a special and incredibly beautiful story to our raw MuruMuru Butter which is the most extraordinary Murmuru butter we have ever laid our hands on. Our MuruMuru Butter is collected wildly in genuine biodiversity hotspots in the Amazon Rainforest thanks to the secret knowledge of our indigenious partners. Being healers for generations their recipe for this precious butter is not written but handed down from grandfather/mother to father/daughter to son/daughter. They only extract what the forest allows them to take. So, before harvesting, the Indios perform an ancient-old ceremony, asking permission from the tree. Only then will they gather the fruits with love and gratitude, always leaving behind nuts for the tree, and for the animals as a healing source of food. By supporting the Indios in their work we also help them preserve their culture and stay on their land and not to be expelled by large scale companies which would exploit the rainforest.
There is no such ingredient which I use repeatedly, intentionally, if ingredients pop up more often in my formulas, then rather because that special product called for them.
But there are always core plants which I identify with strongly which spark the idea for the formula of the respective product. I see plants in a very holistic way. I believe that only when we manage to build a deep relationship with a plant, it will open up to me and give insight into its secrets, into its healing potency. It is the same as with close friends, the more time you spend with each other the more trust is build up, the more you open up and the better you are as a team.
For example, when formulating The Intuitive I wanted this Botanical Facial Mist to be a great energy worker and also a skin transformer. What first sparked was Palo Santo, its spiritual meaning, strong protective forces, sacred character and incredible skin healing properties, its ability to support heightened energy in the body, elevating soul and spirit, deeply resonates with our high-vibe philosophy.
5) Another ingredients that sparked a whole Collection, namely the sweet serenity Collection is Immortelle. With more than 600 species and subspecies Helichrysum bears a secret: there is an extremely rare species on the island of Corse which by far exceeds the healing talents of all the others and which is unique in this world, acknowledged for its special powers. We took our kids and travelled.with them to the charming French island of Corse. After discovering the island's mountainous areas where Helichrysum grows wild, softly dancing in the breeze, we finally found our distillery: a family owned business, small, dedicated and deeply connected with the plants. Standing next to the extraordinary head distiller, watching as miracles unfolded, we knew, we had found our treasure. We were instantly falling for the beautifully high vibration and the rich, herbaceous, wildflower, honey-like bouquet of this exceptionally beautiful Helichrysum.
Unbelievably rich in active ingredients Helichrysum italicum is renowned for its tremendously healing impact on any hard-to-treat skin issue as well as on sunburn, acne, couperose and rosacea, hyper-pigmentation, scarring, traumatized skin & traumatized souls, while boosting collagen also benefiting maturing skin.
What is the holy grail product of your line?
While this question can feel a bit like choosing between children Mask & Wash wins without question. Deeply calming, intensely hydrating, incredibly brightening this multi awarded transformative Raw Manuka Honey Hug is a rare Get-together of luminary plant teachers.
This yummy skin treats bounding forth with its vivid color and beautiful aroma holds magic for each and every skin condition in its jar. Even the most troubled find ease and elation with this calming master healer mousse. This yummy Manuka Honey Hug boasts high potency ingredients: Revel in intensely hydrating, incredibly calming and brightening 600+ Raw Manuka Honey (one of the most potent, enzymatic rich, bioactive honeys in the world), detoxifying Kaolin Clay, super antioxidant-rich Balinese Cacao, anti-inflammatory Thai Mangosteen and sun-drenched Corsican Helichrysum.
Mask&Wash is coupled with a rare blend of comforting butters, exotic powders, soothing oils and the signature Sweet Serenity high-vibe bouquet, all swirled into an abundant, lush mousse. Dive into its delicate healing symphony to tame inflammation, deliver deeply calming hydration whilst restoring and brightening the complexion. Mask & Wash specializes in stressed, traumatized and dehydrated skin, also helps to boost collagen and manages sun damage. This honeyed skin dessert with its chocolaty flair is ready to reveal your most radiant, vibrant complexion ever.
Your range is a blend of skincare and Energy Work. Can you explain this inspiring connection?
Max and I are really passionate about offering each and every piece of our line as a vibrational tool in your hands to also touch the soul and the spirit behind your skin. This next level fusion of skincare and energy work comes to life with high vibe ingredients.
The body speaks in the language of energy and is tuned to look for the signals of high and elevated vibrancy. It is these frequencies that feed and nurture, illuminate and harmonize you. Each and every cell hungers for these signals. They are literally skinfood of the finest and highest order. These encoded light frequencies are continually available through our Collection to your body’s energetic field. The body hears the message they have to bring and attunes to their vibrancy with pleasure. One high vibe application at a time touches and nurtures also the soul and the spirit behind the skin and lights up your body from the inside out. This is medicine.
Each ceremonial piece infuses you with light and love, regulation and balance, allowing the re-alignment of cells and tissues, improving overall tone, texture and appearance of the skin. This nurtures self-healing and has a pronounced effect on all cellular and biochemical processes in the body. The benefits can also be strongly felt emotionally and mentally, reinvigorating joy along with inspiring expressions of creativity, releasing overthinking and tension - letting you shine in all your beauty.
Skincare and Beauty can be a transformational, empowering ritual for many. What are your views on the healing power of beauty?
It is so important in 2020 to look for beauty. All that you find beautiful gives tremendous nurturing to you, it then flourishes and sets off a ripple of healthy vibrating cells within you and then out into the atmosphere, the earth and everything else is being fed with that one positive interaction of perceiving something as beautiful.
On another note, this is the magic of it all - everything is connected, all is closely entwined, beauty and health, skin and soul. As high vibrations suffuse all your bodily and your energetic systems, they have a huge impact on your overall regulatory systems, on harmonizing not only your skin but all that is you. In so doing high vibrations beautifully and powerfully transform skin's overall beauty, health and appearance and also help you to live freer, lighter and in vibrant health – strong enough to face all the challenges to come and flexible in your thinking mind to see all paths open to you.
What is your self-care approach?
My most treasured self-care is my skincare ritual. My skincare ceremony, practiced as a ritual each and every day holds space for conscious breathing, cultivating positive thoughts, deep nurturance and high energy. This sweet selfcare will send reassuring impulses to my every cell, boosting my immune system, helping me to stay strong.
No matter how short, also 5 minutes suffice. The how, the intention set, is more important than the time spend.
What do you do to relax?
I love to mist the Intuitive around my head and take some deep breaths.
Other than that II love to read good books, I am a forever student and find so much delight in it, also meditating and walking the studio’s garden are so relaxing.
Name three beauty products that you always have in your handbag.
What is the last thing you do before going to sleep?
Kiss Max Good Night.
And the first thing you do in the morning?
I cultivate my thoughts to create bright and positive manifestations for the day. Only then I hop out of bed and do my sun salutations.
Your favourite holistic destination?
Nearby: The Vienna woods, I love forest bathing.
Faraway: Maui and a soft spot somewhere at a beach there, watching the waves rolling in.
Your favourite healthy meal?
Any vegetarian Thai peanut curry dish. And as a dessert either Papaya with lilikoi and lime or an avocado blueberry mousse!
What is one dream you have that you have yet to accomplish?
I am living my dream. I feel so grateful and lucky.
And last but not least, tell us one of your personal best kept pearl of wisdom.
There is only so much I can whisper into your ear with great delight: my pearl of wisdom will be the namesake of the next Max and Me Collection to come. So stay tuned!