Valérie Grandury is a survivor.
In 2004, while living in LA, the Parisian transplant was diagnosed with breast cancer; the prognosis was not good. Her immediate impulse was to reinvent her lifestyle. Thus, she embarked on what wound up being a “beautiful and fascinating” journey to health. And also a somewhat miraculous one.
First, Grandury detoxified her environment and adopted a raw food diet. She quit her film industry job and dedicated her time to studying the healing powers of plants, while training as a health and wellness coach.
She soon discovered that personal care products are among the most toxic elements in women’s lives. Each of her lotions and potions from expensive French beauty brands was comprised of chemicals—including known carcinogens!
That’s when Grandury decided not only to create her own organic skincare line, but also to make it fresh with expiration dates—or “Freshiency Dates”—for when the active properties lose their efficacy. She approached skincare like food, prioritizing the freshest raw and pure ingredients from around the world. Thanks to its virtuosity and visible results, her line, Odacité (a French play on “audacity”), was an instant success. She also co-founded—with partner Romain Gaillard—LA green beauty destination, The Detox Market.
Grandury has long loved researching ancient remedies at the Bibliotheque Nationale on trips home to France and recently discovered information about less common oils with significant benefits. Thus, she recently launched targeted Pure Elements Boosters oils, designed to be added to existing skincare regimens with just a couple drops.
Here, she describes how a quest for pure health and beauty, inside and out, led her to find more enduring happiness:
Live The Process: Have you always been interested in wellness and healthy food and products?
Valérie Grandury: I grew up in France with relatively healthy eating habits, but what really triggered my passion for health and wellness was my diagnosis of breast cancer. This event was a major wakeup call and I realized that, if I wanted to heal, I had to change everything about my life. I embarked on a total detoxification: I quit my job in the film business, adopted a raw vegan diet, started daily yoga and meditation and went back to school to become a heath and wellness coach.
LTP: When did you start Odacité and what was the original concept?
VG: In my quest for zero toxicity, I realized that skincare products are filled with a lot of toxic ingredients, some directly linked to breast cancer!
Not finding something I felt was both effective and pure, I started making my own products—first just for me and my coaching clients. Word spread fast in LA about my fresh formulation and I quickly started blending custom products for high-profile clients.
Then, a friend of mine convinced me to take it to the next level. We partnered and launched Odacité in 2009. The concept is simple: we make products fresh for each client. This fresh preparation ensures that each ingredient gets delivered to the skin in its most effective state, without having to use any preservatives. All products are shipped directly from our California lab to our clients’ homes. Today we ship to 30 countries.
LTP: What does your wellness routine include and what are the challenges?
VG: Balance between work and health is the most difficult thing to achieve. In order to stay healthy, I schedule my wellness routine in my calendar, just like a business meeting. And I rescue dogs who keep me on a tight hiking regimen.
So, I wake up at 5am, hike for an hour with my three dogs and watch the sunrise. I follow the hike with a huge green smoothie and I'm in the office by 7am. I practice restorative yoga three times a week from 8pm to 9:30pm. I find that the best way to calm down from a crazy day and get a restful night.
On Saturdays, I get my fresh products from a local farm in Topanga Canyon and plan all my meals. (With raw food, you need to plan ahead.) This way, I'm sure I have healthy food in my fridge all week.
On Sundays, I try to unplug and stay away from any screens for one day (not an easy task). The dogs and I head for the beach. We walk for two hours, swim and do a 30-minute meditation. I follow that with my Sunday ritual: I read The New York Times with a cup of Matcha tea.
LTP: What advice would you offer people who would like to live more purely, but aren't sure where to begin?
VG: Go vegan at least one meal a day; you will notice a huge difference.
Clean out your personal care products. According to the Environmental Working Group, on average women expose their bodies to more than 280 chemicals every day from personal care products alone.
Spend time in unpolluted nature.
LTP: Can you tell us a bit about your latest launch?
VG: We are all unique, evolving and spirited and so is our skin. With the Pure Elements collection, I wanted to create skin boosters that are easy to include in your existing skin routine to restore perfect complexion through all its cycles and changes. The collection includes eighteen ultra-targeted skin remedies that treat eighteen different skin conditions including hyperpigmentation, deep wrinkles, cell energy, pimples, sagging skin and more. All you need is to add two to three drops in your dose of moisturizer morning and night. Whether your skin is mature, sensitive, devitalized or fighting pimples, there is a perfect formula for you.
LTP: How do you define beauty personally?
VG: A “je ne sais quoi” of fabulousness. Be yourself and cultivate your own sense of style. First work on your inside glow: be happy, love and be loved. Tackle the outside glow by pampering your skin, as it is what you display to the outer world. To quote Coco Chanel: “You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.”
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
VG: Cancer was a big teacher when it comes to being happy. Before I got cancer, my happiness was fragile because it was dependent on achievements and goals I had set for myself. I easily wavered with the first problem. This form of happiness is gone and so are my expectations of the “perfect" life. Instead, I have found another form of happiness: deep, solid, constant. This happiness is based on the gratitude to have a second chance at life. Today, nothing prevents me from being happy, even if life is not perfect.
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
VG: Be the change you want to see in the world. Walk the talk, inspire people, never try to teach. My family and friends thought I was crazy when I changed everything about my life. Now they ask me for advice every single day.