June 19, 2019
When Founding Editor of The Grace Tales, Georgie Abay, agreed to be a part of our “On Beauty” interview series I was chuffed. I’m a huge fan of Georgie’s writing and her passion for storytelling shines through in the numerous features that fill the website’s pages. Georgie regularly interviews women from around the globe, sharing their journeys through motherhood and recently published her first book, Grace Mothers.
Once deputy editor of Vogue, Georgie left to find balance in her life, raise her daughters and pursue a career outside of print media. Launching The Grace Tales seemed like a bit of risk at the time but Georgie’s hard work and passion ensured its success.
In this interview, we talk to Georgie about her career, her take on beauty and how hard it is to make time for yourself as a working mum.
Q. Could you tell us how you got into journalism?
I knew I always wanted to work in magazines, but I never thought it was going to be as a journalist. I dreamt of being a photographer or a stylist. I wasn’t the top of my English class at school – quite the opposite. We were taught to write in a very formal way. You’d never begin a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’. Somewhere along the way, I discovered that writing for magazines was far more colloquial than the writing I had been taught at school. I also discovered I was quite good at it. It was like writing to a friend – the style is very chatty. I ended up doing media and communications at university and started writing on the side – I’d regularly pitch my stories to various magazines. My first ever published story was in Country Style magazine. I was working as an assistant at the publishing house that published Country Style and I still remember nervously walking into the editor’s office and pitching her a story. She said yes. And that was that. Many more stories in various publications followed. You’ll hear “no” time and again throughout your career, but it’s what makes hearing “yes” so powerful. One “yes” and off I went.
Q. You gave up your job as Deputy Editor of Vogue Australia to focus full time on The Grace Tales. Was this a hard decision to make at the time?
Not at all – I’m a big believer in not having to do the same thing your entire life. Wouldn’t that be utterly boring? I think so. I had a fantastic career in magazines and at VOGUE and am so grateful for the experiences I had. But motherhood pushed me in a different direction and I’m grateful for that. I left print at the right time and forged a new path in digital media.
Q. What do you love most about your job as Editor of The Grace Tales?
I love that for the most part, it doesn’t feel like work. I spend a lot of time working and have made a lot of sacrifices for this business, which I wouldn’t have made if I wasn’t so passionate about what I do. I love connecting with other women, sharing their stories, learning from them. Most of all, I love story-telling. I love that our platform inspires and connects women all over the world.
Q. You’re a business owner, wife, daughter, friend and mum of two gorgeous girls. When do you make time for yourself?
After the birth of my first daughter I didn’t exercise for two years. When I finally started again, I wondered why I hadn’t done it earlier (probably because I was so sleep deprived!). I need exercise to function. Some weeks are easier that others – we’re wrapping up an intense eight-week book launch so my trips to the gym haven’t been as frequent as I’d like. Now our girls are a little older, it’s easier to get time to myself. Often, an entire Sunday morning will go by and they’ll happily play in their room together. That said, they’ll also happily fight with each other all morning!
Q. Working with the beauty industry in magazines and now online for some time now, and meeting many women along the way, I’m curious to hear your take on beauty. What does beauty mean to you?
The most beautiful people are kind, funny, generous and thoughtful. I love people who can make you laugh. You know the kind of laugh, which is so joyful, it’s infectious. A dear friend of mine, photographer Julie Adams, has the most fantastic laugh and I still remember being in a restaurant with her and a couple from another table commented on what a fantastic laugh she has. Laughter is beauty. Of course, there is physical beauty, but for me, nothing can beat wit and charm.
Q. What do you look for when choosing skincare products?
My mum has always taught me to look after my skin and I wish I listened to her advice earlier. I think the older you get, the more conscious you are of everything from skincare to what you eat. When you’re younger, you think you’re invincible. As I get older, I’m far more conscious of what I’m putting on my skin – the ingredients in my skincare.
Q. What are some of your favourite beauty products and why?
I don’t wear much make-up but I do have my brows feathered and also get eyelash extensions. If I’m putting on makeup, I love Chantecaille foundation – it makes my skin look fresh and dewy (no easy feat). Nars eyeliner (I have lash extensions so this finishes off my eyes quickly). For skincare, Clémence Organics, of course. The Clémence Organics Ultimate Biome Spritz is a great pick me up throughout the day. Clarins and Dermalogica are two skincare brands I’ve used since I was a teenager and still love.
Q. Top beauty tip?
This one is from my mum and it’s something she has drilled into me from when I was little. Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen. Wear a hat. She even wears gloves when she drives to protect the back of her hands. It might sound extreme, but she’s aged beautifully. If it’s a sunny day and I give her a call, she’ll always ask me if I’m wearing a hat!
June 14, 2019
Cancer is such a sensitive subject and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by it. For me it’s something that I talk about on an almost daily basis. Why? Because it’s part of my story and part of why I do what I do. Here’s a little bit more about my background and the natural product I found to be helpful in cancer treatment.
As you may already know my Dad was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2008. I was in the last year of my Naturopathy degree and so felt in a good position to support him with complementary therapies. I prescribed herbal tinctures, nutritional supplements and made him a balm to ease any potential radiation-induced dermatitis (otherwise known as radiation burn). I felt very fortunate that I had knowledge and some experience to help him.
It was the balm that I made for his radiation burn that helped shape what I do today. Unlike the invisible effect that the tinctures and supplements I was prescribing were having, the difference between his radiation burn and other patients on the same oncology ward was so evident. But it wasn’t just a visual reduction, it was a pain reduction. And when you’re dealing with cancer which can cause pain in so many ways, any kind of reduction is a good thing.
The balm that I made was based primarily on one ingredient, calendula. I chose calendula because in my studies I had known it to be a highly effective anti-inflammatory herb and also extremely gentle. The research that I undertook to establish its use in radiation-induced dermatitis also showed that it had been proven to be effective.
After completing my degree and going into private practice, I started to play around with the calendula balm and see what else I could add to improve it. I formulated in other anti-inflammatory herbs including chamomile, lavender and rosehip. I also wanted to make it even more nourishing and so added jojoba oil, shea butter and cocoa butter. And I wanted to increase the skin-healing benefits and so included evening primrose oil and vitamin e. This balm was eventually named Ultimate SOS Balm, so-called for its ability to calm, soothe and nourish pretty much any skin upset.
Since perfecting this product, it’s gone on to win awards and many 5 star reviews. But it wasn’t until the weekend just gone that I saw physical evidence of how it is able to help radiation burn for the first time in a long time. This was provided by a very brave woman named Lily who had been gifted the Ultimate SOS Balm by her Aunt to use whilst she undertook radiation for post-operative breast cancer. I openly wept at the memories raised and then with pride. It reminded me that this is why I do what I do. I love not only that it helped reduce the pain and redness for Lily (in fact there was no redness at all – see images below), but that there were no chemicals, preservatives or unnatural ingredients entering Lily’s body that could potentially further compromise her health.
Cancer is complicated but if you can make just a few small changes, choosing natural and organic wherever possible, you might help to ease the burden, and maybe even shorten the cancer journey.
May 19, 2019
Supercharging your diet with a diverse array of nutrients can be one of the best ways to enhance the wellbeing of your skin. While nutrients such as vitamin C can help the skin to appear much firmer, other components such as selenium and vitamin E can protect our skin cells and increase skin repair. The best part? Most foods contain these essential vitamins and minerals in amounts consistent with our body’s needs.
By enhancing the quality of food that we’re eating, we won’t only be improving the health of our skin, but our entire wellbeing. It’s a win-win! Here are 4 recipes to get you started on the path towards healthier skin.
Yoghurt With Berries
Berries are nature’s sweet treat, delivering plenty of nutrients that can enhance not only our wellbeing but also the health of our skin. Fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are valuable sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, and a variety of other antioxidants. They’re also effortless to incorporate into the diet. Simply add them to your breakfast cereal, snack directly from the punnet, or mix them into yoghurt. Try this easy yoghurt and berries recipe from Everyday Health.
– 3/4 cup of yoghurt (try coconut yoghurt for a delicious dairy-free alternative)
– 1/2 cup of mixed berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.
– 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed.
– 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts
1. Scoop the yoghurt into a bowl.
2. Stir in the flaxseed and berries until the mixture is well combined.
3. Sprinkle the yoghurt with walnuts.
Grilled Salmon With Tomato And Basil
Salmon is full of an array of skin-promoting nutrients, including omega 3, selenium, potassium, and more. To top it off, it can be enjoyed in a variety of styles, whether it’s smoked, grilled, roasted, pan-fried, poached, or anything in-between. Try this grilled salmon recipe with tomato and basil.
– 1 x salmon fillet
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/3 cup of sliced basil
– 1/4 cup of sliced basil
– 2 x tomatoes
1. Mash the garlic and salt until a paste is formed, and place this mixture into a bowl. Stir with oil.
2. Remove the bones from the salmon, if necessary.
3. Place the salmon, skin down, on a piece of foil coated with cooking spray. Spread the garlic paste over the salmon, with the 1/3 cup of basil on top. Overlap the tomatoes on top and sprinkle with salt.
4. Transfer the salmon to the grill and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.
5. Place the salmon on a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining basil.
Iced Green Tea
Green tea is a skin-nourishing delight. It’s packed with natural antioxidants, protecting our skin cells by preventing the production of cell-damaging free radicals. Jessica Gavin’s Iced Green Tea recipe is a refreshing treat and is perfect for those looking for a healthy alternative to fruit juice and soft drinks.
– 1/4 cup of lemon juice + 2 slices to decorate
– 1/4 cup of lime juice + 3 slices to decorate
– 2 cups of boiling water
– 3 cups of cold water
– 5 x green tea bags
– 1/4 cup of honey
– Mint leaves
1. Boil 2 cups of water.
2. Add the green tea bags to the hot water in a jug.
3. Steep the tea bags in accordance with the brand’s packaging. Generally the water shouldn’t be above 80 degrees celsius when you add the tea bags and don’t steep them for too long.
4. Remove the tea bags.
5. Pour the lime and lemon juice into a jug.
6. Add honey and stir.
7. Add the cups of cold water and mix well.
8. Serve with ice cubes, lime/lemon slices, and mint leaves.
Similar to salmon, avocados are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, helping to protect our skin from sun-induced inflammation. To top it off, the fruit also contains vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, various B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. This avocado-hummus recipe via Taste is a simple way to not only add more avocado into your diet, but also a handful of veggies, including carrot, tomato, broccoli, and more.
– 2 x avocados
– 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
– 1/2 a cup of lemon juice
– 2 x tablespoons of tahini
– 2 x crushed garlic cloves
– A pinch of smoked paprika.
1. Heat the virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add 1/4 cup of the chickpeas and stir occasionally over the course of 3 to 4 minutes or until golden.
3. Remove the frying pan from the heat and leave to cool.
4. Process the left-over chickpeas in a food processor alongside the avocado, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic until the ingredients are combined. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
5. Place the hummus into a serving bowl, topped with chickpeas, the oil in the pan, and paprika.
6. Serve the hummus alongside an assortment of chopped vegetables, including carrots, red bell peppers, celery, tomato, etc. Wholegrain pita bread is also an ideal option.
*Makes 2 and 1/2 cups.
May 10, 2019
Bridget’s Note: Sometimes a simple gesture can change your life. When I offered to drive Charlotte Smith home to the Blue Mountains after an event in Sydney we had both been attending, I was granted the pleasure of spending 2 hours alone in her company. As Charlotte told me all about her extraordinary life and her phenomenal fashion collection, I was blown away. How did I not know about this incredible woman who lived only 15 minutes from me? Here is just a glimpse of her story.
For the second in our special interview series “On Beauty” we’re talking to Charlotte Smith, custodian of one of the world’s largest fashion collections, The Charlotte Smith Fashion Collection. This historic collection was bequeathed to her by her American Godmother, Doris Darnell, and came complete with accompanying letters, photographs and stories that linked the pieces to the original owners and the occasions to which they were worn.
Now containing some 9000 pieces, Charlotte exhibits this fascinating collection around the world, enthralling her audience and proving that fashion is so much more than fabric.
Q. You have an AMAZING fashion collection (even that feels like an understatement!). Do you have any favourites or is it way too tough to choose?
Rather than having favourite garments, which is too difficult to choose from, I have two decades I love.
I find 1900 – 1910 fascinating. It was at the turn of the 20th century we witnessed the immergence of the Modern Woman. This was a time of feminists and suffragettes, women who were changing the way society regarded women.
With women’s changing roles, what they wore was changing too. Gone were the corsets and restrictive undergarments and in came practical clothing that allowed women a new freedom. I have many garments and accessories from this period. I am in awe of the women who wore these clothes and thank them for their determination in changing society’s perception of women and how women thought about themselves.
I also love the 1970s when women travelled, ran companies, were mothers and wives, were pioneers and inventors, could dress as hippies, as executives in pantsuits, dress like movie stars, or wear pastel coloured polyester jumpsuits and long hostess gowns. Fashion in the Seventies was about convenience as much as style. There was so much choice! I wear a lot of Seventies dresses. They are long, polyester, colourful and very individual.
Q. This collection has allowed you to travel the world, meet a broad spectrum of people and educate others on the history of fashion. What have been some of the highlights?
Inheriting a vast collection of fashion from my American godmother totally changed my life. As you point out, it has opened doors to exciting opportunities – from writing books to appearing on television. It has led to introductions to fascinating people, has allowed me to visit remote towns in Australia as well as exotic countries around the world, and it has motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and learn as much as I can about the culture of fashion.
Three highlights spring to mind.
The first was an afternoon tea and timeline-of-fashion parade I held at my daughter’s school in the Blue Mountains several years ago. We invited the local community, including residents of local retirement villages and nursing homes. It was wonderful to see so many twinkling eyes as many of the older guests’ regaled us with their stories. I am passionate about bringing together people of all ages and firmly believe storytelling is the way to unite people and cultures.
A second highlight was in Las Vegas when I curated and presented a 50 year timeline of fashion history for American computer software company, Gerber Technology, at Caesars Palace. I had 5 local models wear garments from the Collection dating from 1940 to 1980.
Gerber organised a fashion design competition with American fashion schools (who use their software) and the winning student garments were paraded on stage alongside the originals from my Collection. I co-hosted this with Tim Gunn, presenter of TV hit, Project Runway. It was an incredible feeling being in Vegas at one of the most iconic hotels on the Strip and talking about how fashion’s past creates the present and inspires the future.
And the most recent highlight was the 1 month cruise I just did as an Enrichment Speaker on Viking Sun’s world tour. I embarked in Sydney and cruised the south coast of Australia before an 8 day crossing of the Indian Ocean to the Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique and Durban, South Africa where I flew home.
Q. What are your upcoming plans for the collection?
In the immediate future, I plan to de-accession half of the Collection and curate a more focused look at the culture of fashion by concentrating on ‘Multiculturalism in Fashion’ as a theme and reason to collect.
After my Viking Ocean Cruise experience, I want to expand on my role as a ‘globetrotting fashion anthropologist’. I love the idea of travelling, telling fashion’s history as an Enrichment Speaker and showcasing the museum-quality pieces from my Collection. It is an extraordinary resource.
Q. You have a daughter who has recently completed high school. Is she interested in fashion? What does she teach you about the way the youth of today approach fashion?
My daughter loves fashion and has cultivated a very individual look. Her look is all about layers, made up of clothing made from natural fibres in soft greys/browns/beige and blue. It’s a classic look combining Ralph Lauren, Audrey Hepburn, and English country life. Each year, she buys a few expensive wardrobe staples and builds her outfits around these. So for her, it’s quality over quantity.
Seeing what my daughter and her friend’s wear, I realise there are no uniform looks anymore, which means everybody has the opportunity to create something bespoke, which tells their personal story.
Q. Fashion and beauty have close ties. Having spent many years working in the fashion industry, what does beauty mean to you?
I believe beauty comes from within. A woman who radiates youthfulness (spiritually and mentally), compassion, a woman who is vivacious, interested in and aware of everything around her, no matter what age, is going to be far more alluring than a woman who might be conventionally beautiful, but boring to be around.
I have met many women who are so vivacious that I am instantly bowled over by them. Often they are not conventionally beautiful.
I remember watching an English television series about women and beauty. Apparently, the Greeks came up with a mathematical equation for a classically beautifully woman based on ration – where the eyes, nose, mouth were placed and their proportions to the size of the face. An expert, interviewed on the show, used this ancient formula to pronounce that the English actress Elizabeth Hurley had the perfectly proportioned face and was a true classic beauty.
If you are not Elizabeth Hurley (or Elizabeth Taylor, who in her heyday was the most beautiful woman on earth, in my opinion) beauty reflects your state of mind. If you are feeling great about yourself then you feel beautiful.
Q. You’ve begun embracing natural and organic beauty in your skincare regime. What made you want to transition to this type of skincare?
To be honest, the transition to natural and organic beauty products was motivated by cost.
When I lived in America and England, I used La Prairie products. My skin loved them, but trying to continue using exclusive products, coming from overseas, became difficult to source and prohibitively expensive.
So I started experimenting.
Six years ago, I was on the road travelling a lot around Australia and whenever I saw locally made skincare products for sale in a city in which I was working, I would buy them to sample. At this time, natural and organic skincare was just emerging as mainstream, and the more I thought about it, the more I realised I wanted to use as many natural ingredients on my skin as I could.
My aim was to find something that gave me the same results, if not better, as La Prairie did for my skin. I tried two different Australian skincare brands before I came across Clémence Organics and I am incredibly happy with the results. Clémence products are superb. And to top it all off, I couldn’t get more sustainable than the 15km distance from Clémence’s office to my home.
Q. What are some of your favourite beauty products and why?
Clarins Beauty Flash. I have used this for years, actually since it first came on the market in Paris in the late 1970s where I was living and studying as part of my university year abroad. What’s interesting is that Clarins was the first beauty brand to be plant based and I remember the slightly puzzled, but intrigued interest around this concept at the time.
Estee Lauder’s red lipstick ‘Envy Boldface’ #332. I feel as if I am not properly dressed if I am not wearing my red lipstick when I go out in public. When it’s a special event, applying it is the final stage in getting dressed to go out. Sometimes, getting ready is the best part of the whole evening.
Foot pumice stone. I use this on my feet every evening in the shower. It’s like having a mini pedicure every day and keeps my feet feeling soft and looking good at no cost.
Clémence Organics Repair Face Serum. I love the sensation of the serum soaking into my skin after I exfoliate. There is nothing nicer than to touch soft skin. I have also noticed that my eyelashes have grown much longer since using the serum!!
Q. Top beauty tip?
For the past 30 years, after every bath or shower, I have always slathered myself with rich, moisturising body lotion. I feel it has paid off because my skin is (still) soft and supple. I have always feared the day I wake up to dry, wrinkly skin. I don’t think it hurts to begin a body lotion routine from an early age.
May 09, 2019
When I was creating my range of skincare products, looking after the health of my customers came first and foremost. So when I thought about what I would use to create healthy skincare, I thought of clean, pesticide and chemical free ingredients, and absolutely no added nasties. And there is no better standard of healthy skincare than certified organic. With September being Australian Organic Awareness Month, I wanted to take a closer look at certified organic skincare and what makes is so special.
The formulation of any certified organic skincare product is based on a blend of organic oils, butters, waxes and extracts. These must come from certified organic origins and make up at least 95% of the formulation. This is what makes certified organic skincare products so good as most commercial skincare products tend to be primarily water and non-active fillers.
The great thing about certified organic botanicals is that they are incredibly potent. Organic plants contain a higher percentage of antioxidants, essential to fight free radical damage which can cause fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation. A higher percentage of vitamins and minerals have also been found in organic botanicals, the most relevant to skincare being vitamins A, C and E.
When you decide to go certified organic, you are severely restricted as to the other ingredients you can use in your products, including preservatives, emulsifiers, and fragrances. This is a good thing because preservatives and other ingredients used in commercial skincare products can undermine a product's key benefits. For example, it’s all very well when a face cream contains great anti-ageing ingredients, but its effectiveness can be reduced when other ingredients in the same product are counter-productive. Take parabens for example. Parabens are a commonplace skincare preservative which act as broad-spectrum antimicrobials. But they have been shown to interact with UV rays and potentially increase DNA damage and signs of ageing.
Not only can ingredients found in commercial skincare products potentially undermine its benefits, but they may also be detrimental to your health. Commercial skincare products can contain a wide variety of synthetic ingredients and chemicals. The long term use and safety of many of these ingredients is yet to be established (look at the recent Johnson & Johnson talc product law suits) and some with questionable safety are still in use e.g. formaldehyde which can be found in shampoo, soaps and nail hardeners. Formaldehyde is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer. This means that it is a chemical known to cause cancer in humans. Certified organic skincare is also gentler on the environment.
Organic farming of botanicals means less chemicals in the soil and cleaner waterways. Why do I love certified organic? Because it allows me to create skincare that is gentle on the environment, beneficial to health and great for overall beauty.
Here’s to all the Australian brands advocating for better products that don’t hurt your health or the earth!
April 12, 2019
We’ve had lots of inquires lately from parents asking which products are most suitable for their teenage daughters and sons to help with their skin. Some want to help improve their teenagers’ skin to give them more confidence and others are concerned about starting them on a healthy skincare regime early (which I wholeheartedly LOVE). And so I thought I’d write a post about this, sharing what has worked in my experience, including dietary, lifestyle and skincare recommendations.
What’s going on with my skin Mum?
I won’t delve into the science too much here as I’ve already talked about this in a previous post (see How hormones affect your skin – Part 1 Puberty & Acne) and so I’ll just give you the basics. Hormones are raging in puberty, particularly growth and sex hormones, and this fluctuation can have a direct effect on the skin. Too high an influx of hormones (androgens in particular) and your skin starts over-producing sebum, the lubricant that keeps our skin moist. Too much sebum can lead to acne.
Diet, Hormones & Acne
Dietary choices can play a role in influencing our hormones and our skin in multiple ways.
Probably not what you want to hear at Easter but yes chocolate can give you pimples. Dairy foods (particularly milk) and high GI foods (e.g. white bread, rice, sugar) have an effect on our insulin levels which further stimulates androgen production. So if you’re reaching for that chocolate egg this Easter, try to make it dark chocolate and low sugar or sugar free. Carob is great!
Generally teenage years are a time when food intake is mixed and haphazard, and so it doesn’t help that when the skin is most susceptible to dietary influences, diet is often at its least nutritious. Becoming aware about healthy eating and the benefits for skin as young as possible is really helpful when making food choices. A healthy skin diet should contain mostly low glycaemic index foods, reduced milk solids (milk and ice cream), and is high in anti-inflammatory foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (fish and other seafood, most nuts and seeds).
Have you ever wondered why when you’ve got a big event coming up (e.g. exams, hot date) you tend to break out? There is a link!
The key stress hormone, cortisol, plays a role in our skin’s health in 2 ways. Firstly, it has a direct effect on sebum levels, increasing production when cortisol levels rise. Secondly, cortisol has a dampening effect on the immune system, which means that infections are more likely to take hold when you’re stressed.
Exercise is probably the easiest and most effective way to manage stress but you could also consider mediation and other relaxation methods (e.g. breathwork, yoga).
There are plenty of skincare options out there, with some aimed specifically at teenage skin. Unfortunately they’re not all good and some can make the situation worse. Foaming cleansers strip the skin of oils which encourages the skin to produce more oils. Harsh chemicals designed to stop acne often cause reactions and can lead to redness and dry patches. All together it can be a very frustrating time which not only affects your confidence but your wallet!
Firstly, you need to choose products which do not exacerbate sebum production and in fact calm it down. You also want to reduce any inflammation and infection present. The skincare regime that I most commonly recommend for teenagers is as follows:
This simple skincare regime will take 5 minutes and should be performed once daily. Together these products gently cleanse skin, calm inflammation and provides natural antiseptic properties.
To make it easy, we’ve put these 4 products together in a simple, cost-effective pack called ‘3 Steps to Healthy Skin‘.
By becoming aware early about how to maintain healthy skin using diet, lifestyle and skincare choices, you’re setting yourself up for good skin for life.
April 11, 2019
As the years go on, our skin tends to wrinkle - it’s just a fact of life and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many of the lines on our face tell of our experience and our wisdom. However, sometimes wrinkles are a sign that we’re not looking after our skin, whether it’s UV damage, smoking, or our diet. That being said, we aren’t out of total control, as there are plenty of daily habits we can adopt to slow down the process and maintain our skin health over time, ranging from the use of certain products to sleeping on our backs.
Wondering how to prevent wrinkles naturally? Here are 5 natural tips to help soften lines and keep skin healthy.
Plenty Of Antioxidants
Though we unfortunately can’t see them at work, antioxidants are magnificent for protecting the skin. While free radicals can damage our skin cells, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots to arise over time, antioxidants work to neutralise them and lessen their effects. Nifty, right?
The best place to get your fix of antioxidants is through the diet, with fruits and vegetables offering a wide assortment. Some skin-loving foods include blueberries, kale, pecans, strawberries, walnuts, artichokes, cranberries, and dark chocolate, just to name a few.
If you’re interested in adding more antioxidants into your diet, click here to check out our article, Recipes for Skin Health. Many skincare products are often infused with plenty of nourishing ingredients and antioxidants. Some worth keeping an eye out for include vitamin C and vitamin E (hint: the Clémence range is chock full of them).
Smoking can negatively impact our health in many different ways, and our skin is no exception.
Since our blood vessels towards the skin begin to narrow as a result of smoking, less blood is able to reach and nourish our skin cells. Not only can this cause premature ageing, but also wrinkling, skin sagging, and an uneven skin tone.
To avoid these effects, kicking the habit altogether would be ideal - not only for your skin’s sake, but also for general health.
Don’t Forget The Sunscreen
When it comes to preventing wrinkles early, sunscreen is a must. After all, it protects us from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can otherwise lead to wrinkles and fine lines over time.
Before heading outside for any prolonged period, be sure to lather up with sunscreen. For everyday use, a moisturising sunscreen is perfect for providing the skin with protection while also delivering some hydrating benefits in the process. (Hint: we may have one of these coming very soon…) For some extra protection, reach for a wide brim hat and some sunglasses.
Sleep On Your Back
When it comes to skin health and stopping wrinkles in your 20s, there’s more than one reason to ditch side or stomach sleeping. This nightly habit can cause friction on the skin and sleep lines, which can lead to an uneven skin texture over time.
Sleeping on your back is a simple way to fight off this effect and achieve a smoother complexion over time. It may feel slightly awkward at first, though there are plenty of ways to make the transition seem as comfortable as possible - whether it's by getting more pillows to support your neck and lower back or reinvesting in a new mattress altogether.
It may seem like an insignificant step, though it can go a long way to reduce wrinkles later down the line.
Keep Skin Hydrated
Hydration is key to reducing the appearance of wrinkles. When skin dries out, it loses its form and plumpness, and this is often when lines become visible. Over time, if skin is left consistently unhydrated, these lines will become more fixed and harder to soften.
You can reduce this by keeping your skin hydrated with a constant supply of moisture, inside and out. Inside, we recommend 1-2L of water throughout the day. Herbal teas are also a great substitute for water, and can have added benefit. Read our article here on: Herbal Teas your Skin will Love.
Outside, we recommend using a nourishing range of natural skincare products that won’t dry out skin, but in fact keep it hydrated all day long. The Clémence Organics range does just this, and is particularly effective when used in combination as a routine. Particularly suited to dry skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles are the Refining Cleanser, Ultimate Biome Spritz, Repair Face Serum and Ultimate Face Crème. These products are all aimed at restoring hydration and most can be found together in the Ageless Beauty Collection.
Though wrinkles and fine lines are a natural part of life, there are many things we can do to soften them and keep skin in optimum health - whether it’s by investing in natural skincare or readjusting our sleeping style. By adopting these daily habits early on, we can create the ideal circumstances for our skin to thrive as time moves on.
April 05, 2019
For the first in our special interview series “On Beauty” we’re talking to Oscar winning make-up + special effects artist Elka Wardega.
Elka won an Oscar in 2016 for her amazing work on Mad Max: Fury Road and has worked on many international hit films including Moulin Rouge, The Matrix, The Great Gatsby and The Hobbit.
Elka shares with us how she got into the make-up and special effects industry, career highlights, her view on beauty and her favourite products to use (hint: one of ours might just feature in here).
Could you tell us how you got into the make-up and special effects industry?
I was a bit of a wayward teenager and dropped out of high school earlier than everyone expected (sorry mum!). I don’t know what I was thinking but it wasn’t long before I realised, I needed some direction. I looked in the paper at what jobs were on offer and I noticed some ads for make-up artists. I already had an interest in beauty make-up and at that time I was watching lots of fantasy/horror and sci-fi films. Some of my all-time favourites were The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth and I wondered if there were any opportunities in Australia to learn how to create such wonderful characters. After conducting some research, I found a two-year course in Sydney that offered training in make-up and special effects. At the end of my second year my teacher was working for Bob McCarron, Australia’s pre-eminent special effects make-up artist at the time. Bob needed a junior workshop assistant for a couple of weeks, and I was asked if I would like the job. I jumped at the opportunity and that decision changed my life forever. I worked with Bob for the following 8 years, he became my mentor and is still a close friend. Looking back, I guess it was part being in the right place at the right time, and part showing initiative and ability that helped propel me into the industry.
What do you love most about your job?
So many things! I love that every job is different. I am constantly challenged and forever growing as an artist. I love researching new projects, interpreting the vision of a director, designer or client and seeing thoughts and ideas become a reality. I love working together with others to achieve a collective vision.
Winning an Oscar in 2016 for your outstanding work on Mad Max: Fury Road must have been a career highlight for you. Did this international recognition change your career in any way?
Thank you. Yes, it was an incredible time in my life and such a team effort. It’s an honour to be recognised by your peers for the work that you do especially in such a public way! It was a truly humbling, surreal and somewhat daunting experience.I wouldn’t say winning an Oscar changed my career in the way one might expect. Our film industry here in Australia is small and the availability of jobs on big feature films are few and far between. I haven’t been flooded with job offers, the work just isn’t here. If I wanted to work full time in the feature film industry, I would have to set up overseas either in the US, Canada or England. I enjoy working overseas but I couldn’t make that transition permanent. I love living in Australia and I’d miss my family and friends too much to do that. I am content with the career I have built here.
One thing that has changed is that I feel more comfortable spreading my wings and trying something new. I am currently pregnant with my first child and in the process of setting up a bridal make-up business (Belle Blue), in the Blue Mountains. I don’t think I would have the confidence to branch out and do this if I hadn’t earned that recognition.
You have worked with a huge array of people, both in Australia and internationally. You’ve applied make-up and prosthetics to hundreds of faces and been very much up close and personal most of this time. With this experience in mind, how would you describe beauty?
Great question! Yes, being a make-up artist puts me in a very privileged position. There is a lot of trust required. The art of applying make-up to someone else can be an intimate experience for anyone sitting in my make-up chair, especially if it involves sitting for three hours every morning at 4am (which is not an unusual start time for a prosthetic make-up). It’s difficult for beauty to exist at this hour! I am involved in complete transformations as well as subtle enhancements. Whatever the final look may be, my aim is to always let the person in my chair shine through. If I can help build trust and confidence, then beauty will also shine through. Beauty is subjective, it is both a feeling and an illusion, it’s ever-changing and difficult to describe. It truly comes from within.
You’ve begun embracing natural and organic beauty in your work. What made you want to transition to this type of skincare?
I have always gravitated to natural and organic beauty. In my own personal routine, I follow an ethos which makes sense to me, what is on your skin sinks in. I want my body to be as healthy and free of unnecessary chemicals and toxins as it can be. Every item we own, and encounter is made up of different materials which can be both harmful and helpful to us, to society and to the planet. If I can make a choice in my skincare that is helpful, then this will always be my preference.
What are some of your favourite beauty products and why?
Anything that makes me feel good! Being pregnant, I am not drinking coffee or alcohol, I’m remembering to take my vitamins and drinking a lot of herbal tea and water. I feel great and my skin has never been so clear!
When I use up make-up in my professional kit, I have been trying to replace it with an organic/vegan/cruelty free product. I have a rule that I can’t buy new make-up unless I have run out or really need it so it’s a slow process and one of trial and error as I get used to how these products perform in a professional capacity. Some of my favourites so far are the Clémence Organics Ultimate Face Cream which is one of the most hydrating I have used in a long time. Skin prep is very important for make-up application. If you have clear skin, and are well hydrated, you hardly need any foundation and what you do put on, looks even better.
I’m also enjoying using Ere Perez lipstick, RMS luminizers, Charlotte Tilbury colour chameleon eye pencils and Eye of Horus mascara. I like to use creamy make-up products rather than powders; creamy products tend to sink into the skin rather than sit on top and I prefer beauty make-up to look like it’s coming from within. I’m trying to be patient while I finish up my current products, but I can’t wait to try the Ellis Faas and Kjaer Weis ranges! I love Ellis Faas for her colour concepts and Kjaer Weis for her use of sustainable packaging. There are so many fantastic brands that are trying to make products in a more thoughtful way.
Top beauty tip?
Be yourself, be kind, strive to be happy with the way you look without make-up, embrace ageing with pride and walk with confidence.
March 28, 2019
This week on my travels to Japan I spent a lot of time picking up skincare products and reading ingredient lists. Okay so it’s kind of a habit for me with my job but I’m constantly surprised by what I read.
Probably the most surprising is the expensive stuff. And the best place to check out expensive skin care is the duty free department.
While scanning the aisles of products in Sydney duty free I came across a pretty bottle of face cream that was selling for $535. Now you would think for that kind of money you would be getting liquid gold or perhaps the most expensive and best ingredients money could buy. Short answer is no. In fact, I was horrified. The first five ingredients were listed as follows:
3. Isotridecyl Isononanoate
This horrified me because I know that these ingredients are inexpensive to purchase, making the product ridiculously overpriced. I was also appalled because the synthetic nature of these ingredients limits their benefits for the skin and would irritate the heck out of anyone with sensitive skin.
Perhaps more worrying were some of the other ingredients listed including:
• Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate – UV absorber (commonly used in chemical sunscreens) that has been shown to disrupt hormones.
• Parfum (fragrance) – this pretty little word can describe all manner of synthetic chemicals, most commonly known to irritate skin and inflame allergies.
• Colours including CI 15985 – a synthetic dye produced from either a petroleum base or ground cochineal bugs.
These ingredients do nothing to support the health of the skin, never mind the health of your body or the environment. They are synthetic ingredients that do more harm than good.
When you’re shopping for a new skincare product please take the time to read the ingredients listed on the packaging. If you see any of those listed above, run. If you’re not sure if the ingredient is natural or not, there are a range of online databases you can use to search including:
Primarily your concern should be the ingredients and what effect they could have on your skin, your body and the environment. But I think it’s also worth considering the company that you’re supporting. Does that company’s values align with yours? Are they putting their money where their mouth is?
I like to think that’s why our customers choose Clémence Organics.
March 05, 2019
We get sooo many questions about skin and our skincare range that I thought it was worth sharing our most commonly asked with you.
“I’ve just switched to Clémence Organics, so why is my skin breaking out?”
Some people experience a break out when switching to our range for 1 main reason: over-cleansing. Most people previously use a foaming cleanser which strips the skin daily, forcing it to produce extra sebum and skin oils. When you change to our Refining Cleanser (which is cream based) it takes approximately a week for your skin to adjust and slow down the extra sebum and oil production. Once your skin has adjusted, your skin will settle and break outs will be a thing of the past.
“Can I share my products with the man in my life?”
You most certainly can! Our range is unisex and lightly scented to suit the most sensitive of noses. We find the favourite shared products in our range include our Ultimate Face Cream, Ultimate Lips and Ultimate SOS Balm.
“What’s the difference between the Ultimate Biome Spritz and the Tone + Hydrate Spritz?”
The Ultimate Biome Spritz is more potent than Tone + Hydrate Spritz and designed to protect and improve the health of the skin where the biome may be compromised. Because of the Vitamin C content it is also helpful for boosting your skin cells’ defence against free radicals (caused by pollution, too much sun, stress etc.), and stimulating collagen and hyaluronic acid synthesis. It also provides more hydration than the Tone + Hydrate Spritz because of the addition of hyaluronic acid. It’s basically Tone + Hydrate Spritz on steroids!
Currently I’m using my Ultimate Biome Spritz of a morning to help protect my skin during the day, and then my Tone + Hydrate Spritz at night for general anti-inflammatory and toning benefits. Both definitely have a place in my skincare routine.
“How often should I use my 2 in 1 Face Scrub + Mask, and how long should I leave it on for?”
I personally use mine every second day, but I would recommend a minimum of twice weekly. Because I’m all about multi-tasking, I leave my mask on for as long as it takes for me to wash my hair (approximately 3 minutes). So my (every second day) shower routine currently runs like this:
1. Shampoo hair & apply conditioner (am LOVING O Way Organics at the moment)
2. Apply 2 in 1 Face Scrub + Mask
3. Shave armpits or legs if necessary
4. Wash conditioner from hair
5. Wash away 2 in 1 Face Scrub + Mask
Have any questions you want answered? Feel free to email us at email@example.com
You can also check our FAQ page for other commonly asked questions.
February 22, 2019
I started making products for babies when I was pregnant with my first born because I was horrified at the ingredients found in most baby skincare. Seriously, I trawled every baby shop, health food store and pharmacy looking for truly natural and organic options and there just weren’t any.
I wasn’t going to put anything on my baby’s skin that wasn’t 100% natural and organic because I wanted to cherish my baby’s health. You might ask what skincare has to do with baby health. Turns out it can have a huge effect on it, starting at the microbiota.
What is microbiota and what has it got to do with my baby?
Our skin is colonised with a diverse ecosystem of microorganisms including bacteria, yeasts, viruses and fungi. Collectively, these microorganisms form what’s called microbiota. This colonisation begins at birth when a baby is exposed either to a mother’s vaginal bacteria and/or a mother’s skin bacteria. This ecosystem develops with age, and forms a protective barrier which contributes to the health of the skin.
The condition of a baby’s microbiota varies according to how a baby’s skin is treated, with some soaps and creams significantly affecting the skin’s microbiota. Too harsh cleansing, anti-bacterial agents, and steroid creams, can detrimentally impact the microbiota and increase the likelihood of a baby developing eczema and other dermatitis’.
Why is organic skincare important for babies?
Baby skin is much more sensitive than adult skin because of the underdeveloped microbiota and also the thinness of it. This means they’re more likely to react to skincare products, particularly those containing chemicals and artificial preservatives. Their skin is also far more absorbent than adult skin and takes in the majority of what you put on it.
By choosing organic skincare for your baby’s skin, you’re much less likely to upset the microbiota and cause a reaction. You’re also not putting anything harmful into their bloodstream.
How should I cleanse my baby’s skin and what should I put on it?
When my kids were babies I bathed them every 2nd, 3rd or 4th day depending on how grubby they got. When I did bathe them I used our gentle bamboo washers and warm water. If they had a major poo explosion and some extra cleansing was required, I used a little organic castile soap (olive oil based). After bathing I would apply our Ultimate Baby Oil during massage and then the Baby + Mum Balm to their nappy area.
I think it’s important to note that if we look after our baby’s skin from the get go, we’re helping to set them up for better skin health in the long term. Healthy skin microbiota in infancy will contribute to healthy skin in childhood, teenagehood and adulthood.
NB: These naturopathic recommendations are for general baby skin health. Individual cases may require specific treatment measures so please seek medical advice if symptoms persist.
February 15, 2019
Most skincare products come with a recommendation as to how to store them so as to keep them safe and in top condition for as long as possible. Ours say ‘store below 30°C’. We go into further detail on our FAQs page:
“We recommend that products are stored away from direct sunlight and below 30°C. In warmer climates and in hot summer conditions we recommend that you store your products, particularly those in jars (Ultimate Face Cream, 2 in 1 Face Scrub + Mask), in the refrigerator.”
Refrigerator you say? That’s where mine have been these past 10 weeks to keep them as cool as possible. This summer in Australia has been extraordinarily hot and humidity has been at an all-time high. So how does this affect your skin care products?
We recently had a customer return a product to a stockist after some mould grew in the base of the jar, several months after opening. When I discussed this with the stockist I explained that we have had our products stability tested against mould and other common microbes, and they held up. So why would it still grow mould?
Once jars are opened and fingers go into them, products are introduced to a broad array of bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi. Add to this poor storage conditions (kept in a space that goes above 30°C and/or gets direct sunlight) and you compromise the preservative system. So why not use stronger preservatives?
There are preservatives and there are preservatives. The list is long and it goes from very mild (fermented radish root), all the way to killer (formaldehyde and other carcinogenic nasties). Because our products contain 100% natural and organic ingredients, we have chosen a preservative system that upholds these standards but also creates a safe and gentle product that is shelf stable.
We also do this because we want to keep our products fresh and as close to natural as possible. Skin care should be treated like a food in some respects. Products contain oils, butters and gels that are extracted directly from plants. These ingredients are then blended to form a skin care product. This product is food for your skin, containing vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to improve the health of your skin.
I am always concerned when I see a skin care product that looks and smells exactly the same as it did when it was first purchased years earlier. Alarm bells should be ringing! It’s like the McDonalds experiment where they sit a hamburger on a shelf and it looks and smells the same several years later. It can’t be good!
You don’t expect your food to stay fresh forever, especially when it’s not kept under the right storage conditions, so please take the time to look after your skin care. Kept cool and away from sunlight, your Clémence Organics will last as long as you can stop yourself from using it all up!