Women's Month: Dr. Mia Chae Reddy

Women's Month: Dr. Mia Chae Reddy

We are honored to spotlight Dr. Mia Chae Reddy, founder of DEHIYA Beauty, a plant-based vegan and sustainable skincare inspired by Moroccan beauty rituals.

After living abroad and studying under a 4th generation Moroccan herbalist, Mia created DEHIYA to celebrate African ritual beauty. Designed to evoke feelings of self-celebration and overall well-being, DEHIYA champions minimal, modern beauty rooted in ritual, individuality, and inclusivity. 

Your doctorate was in American Studies, with a focus on researching women of color, particularly Black women. How does the knowledge and insights gained from your research inform the development of your beauty line? 

DEHIYA is a love letter to African queens, ritual beauty, and cultural continuity. My doctoral expertise is in black female representation and brown girlhood (coming of age). Self-creation is one of the most important processes we go through as women and my intention was always for the products to serve as a vehicle for larger conversations around beauty and identity. Beauty is not superficial, it is a tool for self-expression and when we understand how the traditions of the past inform us presently, we can infuse our modern sensibilities while remaining culturally connected.

As an ethnographer (fancy word for storyteller), I am extremely conscious of how easily appreciation can become appropriation and feel honored to be in a position to share these time-honored ingredients, processes, and rituals. DEHIYA creates minimal, multi-use products using ethically sourced, highly-active native and wild botanicals from throughout the Diaspora that support simple, daily rituals rooted in Ancient beauty traditions.

What are some common misconceptions about skincare that you encounter, and how does Dehiya address them?

That it needs to be complicated and overthought. That there are “rules” to how you do beauty. That Black-owned beauty brands are only for Black people. We promote self-creation and doing what feels good. Our range is mindfully curated with all the skincare essentials to create micro-moments or a full-blown royal ritual. Skincare is for everyone. At DEHIYA, our focus is on promoting bright, hydrated skin at every stage. Our products are for everyone who has skin. 

Tell us about the women who have shaped your understanding of femininity as it evolved from childhood to adulthood, particularly with the founding of your skincare brand.

I grew up around a lot of feminine energy. I was the first grandchild and girl on my mother’s side of the family which meant I was well-loved on. My mother, maternal grandmother, and great aunt all shaped my early ideas of femininity—nurturing, creative, soft and compassionate. In my later years it has been a curated collection of artists and their works—Alice Walker, Erykhah Badu, Toni Morrison, and Naomi Wolf to name a few.
Growing up in the 80s and 90s, women’s rights and gender equality were hot topics and there was a certain sense of needing to prove we could hang with the big boys and shatter glass ceilings. We were working against common tropes and stereotypes, like the Mammy (desexualized), Jezebel (hyper-sexualized), and Sapphire (emasculating) for Black women or the Cult of True Womanhood for White women, more often than not, we felt we had to shrink ourselves to fit a male-dominated world.  I love that that notion is shifting and women are realizing our feminine energy is a Superpower. 
The feminine is creative and magnetic, it’s balanced, and pulls you into alignment. I think we all need that—a balance of male and female energy. In terms of beauty — I’m all about a sensorial experience — the look, scent, and feel. Men need to experience the feminine as well. It’s what you feel when you are at rest, after a warm bath or facial massage. When you feel soft. At the heart of it, DEHIYA is slow, intuitive, ritual beauty and I don’t know if you can get much more feminine than that. 

What are some ways you practice self-care and mindfulness? Any words of advice or guidance for individuals who are just starting? 

Meditation, movement, and breath work are essential for me. I need the serotonin and dopamine fix. I was one of those people who says, “There’s no way I can meditate,” “I can’t sit that long,” “I’m not a runner,” or whatever. Meditation is exercise in being still. Like any other exercise, you need to work up to it over time. I treat meditation like I treat my running schedule. When I’ve been away from practice for too long, I start with five minutes a day. Five minutes of stillness, five minutes of continuous running without stopping. Then, the next day I work up from there until I reach my goal. I currently try to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes and run 3 miles, 4 times per week. Breathwork is amazing because it is so instant. I use it to ground myself, to reset, to calm my nerves. It’s a keeper.

Put us on! What are some of your favorite women-owned businesses in San Diego? 

My faves for clean, sustainable beauty are Hello Birdie for nails and lashes—they are truly artists and also have their own line of polishes, press-ons and accessories. Shop/Good for all things skin—they have a fabulous aesthetician, carry a great range of indie and hard-to-find, clean beauty brands, and do in-store events often. 

Wearing: Crux Napa