As part of Australian Organic Awareness Month we caught up with The Beauty Chef, Carla Oates.
Official Goodwill ambassador for Australian Organic and natural beauty maven, here at Natural Beauty Expert, we are big fans of both her beauty powders and skin care!
How did you get into natural beauty and health originally?
When I was a child, I had eczema and allergies so I went and saw a naturopath when I was around 12 and she drastically changed my diet. When I took certain things out of my diet and introduced more wholefoods, I saw a dramatic change in my skin. So from quite early on, I had a very good understanding about how food, chemicals and gut health can affect the skin.
Was there a particular trigger for your interest in inside health for outer glowing skin?
When I became a beauty editor some 15 years ago, I was concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare products and I felt very passionate about helping to change the paradigm in the beauty industry. I knew that beauty began in the belly from my own experience; your gut (it doesn’t sound very glamorous, but improving its health will make you more glamorous!) is where everything happens: where we make nutrients, where we metabolise hormones, where we neutralise pathogens, where we make detoxifying enzymes. All of these things if not working properly or in balance, can affect the skin profoundly. Also, the skin, hair and nails are the last places to get nutrients that go to more vital organs first, so if you are not getting enough nutrients, they literally starve.
Tell me about the formula for the Beauty Powder, my personal favourite product. What are the key ingredients that make it so effective?
My lacto-fermented inner beauty powders work on so many levels for the skin. When you lacto-ferment, the ingredients are pre-digested by the bacteria, so the nutrients become supercharged and more bio-available for the body to use. When we eat conventional food, we digest between 12-25% of it, when fermented, we digest up to 85% of it. It is like a UV infusion of nutrients into the body. It’s supercharged food and nutrients.
Fermentation also helps to neutralise any anti-nutrients such as phytic acid found in legumes and grains and doesn’t degrade vitamins (like cooking for example), in fact it increases their levels. It also creates natural bio-available pro-biotics which help to balance digestive health. More and more studies are showing the link between skin issues and gut health. For example low levels of hydrochloric acid in the gut is linked to rosacea and acne and lactic acid bacteria (like the bacteria found in my fermented powders) help increase levels of this acid. Lacto-fermenting super foods turns them into super duper foods! From the natural to the super natural.
Why was going certified organic so important to you? Especially with Australian Certified Organic?
Because it is better for our skin, our health and the environment to choose organic food and skincare. It is a win-win for you, the environment and everything living in it.
We believe plant-based organic skincare is super ‘active’ and the best option for rejuvenating the complexion. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and needs to be fed pure ingredients to stay healthy – so applying lotions that are neither natural nor organic is tantamount to absorbing small amounts of toxicity! Plus more and more studies show that nurturing your skin’s natural flora with gentle ingredients, not only helps your skin, but also keeps your immune system healthy.
Eating organic food is the best prescription for health and glowing skin alongside using organic skincare products, so it’s important to have a two-pronged attack, not only so your skin radiates with health, but so your body does, too.
You make amazing skincare from waste created by the super food products. How did you discover the left over ingredients could be formulated into super food skincare? (I think that’s the most genius formulation I’ve ever heard of!)
Probiotic Skin Refiner is a bio-active whole food extract made from the lacto-fermentation of The Beauty Chef powders; from grasses, greens, algaes, fruits, vegetables, spices, seeds and herbs.
It seemed so wasteful to dispose of the bio-active liquid separated from the solids after the fermentation process. So I studied it to see how we could use it in the range. I used it on my skin as I knew it would be rich in goodness from the fermentation of all the beautiful, nutrient dense whole foods plus I knew it would have to contain lactic acid from the lacto-fermentation process. I tested it to find that it contained a significant % of lactic acid and when I used it topically, my skin felt incredible, soft and rejuvenated. I tested the pH which is 3.5 every time – perfect for gently refining the skin. At this pH it also self-preserves, so there is no additives in it, only the goodness. I gave it to friends and family who became obsessed with the amazing benefits for the skin. So then we put it out on the market and we have had such a positive response. Our customers love it because it works!
What do you feel is more important, amazing gut health, or the right skincare?
At The Beauty Chef, we believe beauty begins in your belly. Digestive health is key for healthy, radiant skin. Our gut is where 70% of the immune system lies, where we metabolise hormones, where we make detoxifying enzymes and where we make nutrients, and so much of what goes on in our digestive system can impact our skin. The skin, hair and nails are the last places to receive nutrients, as they go to more important organs first, so nutrition is important for glowing skin, and fermented foods give you dense, super charged nutrition. This is important, but good skincare follows and looking after your skin both internally and externally is very important.
Name one beauty product you can’t live without.
Would have to be The Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm, my favourite all-purpose balm, I use this on my lips, hands, elbows, knees – even on my face if there are any particularly dry patches. The balm also contains my favourite fermented ingredient, fermented coconut water, which is rich in amino acids, electrolytes, vitamins and minerals!
Thank you so much for being our September cover on Natural Beauty Expert!