Five Minutes With: ecoture australia

We know you love online shopping, and you know we love sharing our favourite ethical stores with you. This week we’d like to introduce you to ecoture australia, an online beauty and fashion destination created by mother and daughter duo Rebecca Dow and Caitlin Clark. After struggling to find fashion and beauty products that were not only gorgeous but also ethical, sustainable and cruelty-free, the pair took matters into their own hands and launched ecoture australia – a premium online shopping destination for people who want real style – but not at the expense of the planet and its human and animal occupants. Here ecoture australia co-founder and brand manager Caitlin Clark shares the store’s journey with THE ECO EDIT.

THE ECO EDIT: What prompted you and your mum to create an eco-focused shop?

Caitlin: I became vegan in 2015, which led to extensive research into where everything I bought came from – and it was a truly eye-opening experience. Then after I had a leather-free handbag destroyed by an exploding smoothie, it became clear that there simply weren’t enough places to buy a range of products that I was confident were both ethically produced and cruelty-free. So that’s when we decided to create a site that had covetable fashion and beauty products that we were also personally comfortable about stocking.

Caitlin, right, with mum Rebecca

Why are natural and ethical cosmetics important to you?

For me, it’s driven by the fact I’ve always had troublesome skin and so I’m very careful about the ingredients I use on it. The products are often just nicer, they feel and smell better, and introduce a bit of luxury into every day. When it comes to ethics, I can’t justify needlessly exploiting the Earth or its animal inhabitants for what is essentially my vanity.

I can’t justify needlessly exploiting the Earth or its animal inhabitants for what is essentially my vanity…

What role do you see ethical and sustainable products playing in the future of society and retail?

They’re already rapidly increasing in popularity, which is fantastic. But I’d like to think that ethical and sustainable products are more than just a trend. With so much information at our fingertips, more brands are being transparent in their operations, so I think ethical and sustainable products are the promising future of retail. I look forward to the day that they’re the norm.

Can you please describe who the ecoture australia customer is, and what they’re looking for in their products?

We like to say the ecoture customer can be anyone. Many come to our site specifically looking for ethical or organic products, however we’re increasingly seeing customers that are simply looking for quality – clothes that are made well and beauty products that work. There have also been more men buying from our site lately, which is encouraging too.

What are your fave beauty products you stock?

1) Jasmine Lotion from Earth tu Face – it smells absolutely divine. I always get so many compliments when I’m wearing it and it’s beautifully light on the skin.

2) La Crème Gommante (Natural Organic Gentle Cream Exfoliant) from Absolution – it’s a lovely, fine scrub that removes impurities but is gentle enough for even my sensitive skin. I use it twice a week, it’s an essential for me.

3) Natural Nail Colour Remover Wipes from LVX – these wipes are amazing! They have a natural, plant-based formula that removes nail colour so easily but they actually leave your nails looking healthier after use.

What’s next for ecoture australia?

We have an exciting expansion coming up but can’t give away too many details at this stage.

Five Ways To Use Coconut Oil In Your Beauty Routine

Coconut oil is one of the most versatile beauty products on the market, and helps prove that Mother Nature is undoubtedly the best beautician you’ll ever meet. From skincare to nutrition – and even whiter teeth – there’s very little this miracle oil can’t do. Read on to discover five fantastic ways to incorporate this natural wonder into your daily beauty regime.

1. As A Pre-Cleanser

If your regular cleanser isn’t cutting it when it comes to removing stubborn mascara and eye makeup, coconut oil could be your new bestie. Simply warm up a level tablespoon of coconut oil in the palms of your hands and massage it into your face in circular motions like you would with any cleanser.

Do make sure that you keep your eyes shut tight while cleansing with coconut oil, as any type of oil in your eyes is a big no-no as it can be irritating. To remove, use a warm face cloth or muslin cloth and gently wipe over your skin, and then follow up with your favourite cream cleanser.

2. As a Hair Mask

Coconut oil is incredibly nourishing for your hair because it’s loaded with hydrating and frizz-fighting vitamin E. It’s also great for soothing an irritated or itchy scalp courtesy of its natural antibacterial and healing properties.

Treat your locks to a weekly mask by heating up two tablespoons of coconut oil (more if you have super long hair) and working it into your scalp and strands. Allow it to soak in for half an hour while you read a magazine or have a cuppa, and when you rinse it out your mane will be extra glossy and silky.

3. As A Skincare Supplement

Coconut oil is a fantastic beauty supplement when used in cooking, and serves as a great alternative to olive oil or vegetable oil. It’s packed full of healthy fats, which help to hydrate and nourish your skin from within, so your complexion glows like never before.

“It can tolerate high heat during cooking, making it a safe oil to cook with,” says nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel. “It’s also a good fat, made of medium-chain fatty acids, which keep you full and satiated after meals and provide the body with energy over a sustained period of time.”

4. For Oil Pulling

Oil pulling, which involves swishing a teaspoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 10-20 minutes, is a natural way to help whiten your teeth and reduce toxins in your mouth. It might sound weird (and admittedly it can feel a little strange at first), but it’s a tried and tested technique for a whiter, healthier smile.

“Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurveda therapy that draws out toxins, and it’s a great cleansing remedy,” agrees Jessica. In addition to the more superficial benefits, coconut oil contains natural antibacterial properties, which can help to reduce plaque build-up that can lead to tooth decay. Want to give it a whirl? Try Keeko Coconut Oil Pulling kit in Morning Mint.

5. As A Face & Body Moisturiser

Thanks to all the healthy fats it contains, coconut oil in an incredibly effective natural moisturiser that helps to replenish dry, cracked or flaky skin. When used as a daily moisturiser, it can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps to plump up your skin.

Coconut oil also contains antioxidants, which help to combat skin-ageing free radicals, so with continued use it can work wonderfully as an anti-ageing treatment. Just be careful to avoid getting any oil in your eyes, as we mentioned previously this could cause irritation.

A Note On Fair Trade Practices

When shopping for coconut oil, it’s important to purchase brands that support fair trade practices. Many commercial coconut oil brands out there have been know to manufacture their product in mass quantities, and have been linked to worker exploitation and unsustainable practices. And while ethical and sustainable coconut oil might cost a few dollars more, it tends to be purer, healthier, so you get more bang for your buck.

“I think commercial coconut oil brands have enjoyed making a lot of money and exploiting fair trade practices, and more people are starting to realise this,” says INDAH’s Teisha Lowry. “We really noticed this when we stopped making our coconut oil for a period because we thought people wanted the cheap stuff, but we were pleasantly surprised. We had such a big callout for it to come back, because people really want what’s best for their health, our environment and humanity.”

Our favourite coco-nutty beauty buys:

These gorgeous products are either made from organic coconut oil, or use it as a key ingredient:

Survive Silly Season With These Five Beauty Essentials

The festive season is well and truly upon us, and with it comes a barrage of parties, catch-ups, stressful deadlines and endless commitments. And while the family-related meltdowns and champagne headaches that are bound to accompany silly season might prove overwhelming, you can still manage look pretty as a picture with a little help from these five beauty essentials…

1. Kjaer Weis Cream Blush

The festive season is incredibly hectic, so a timesaving multi-tasker like Kjaer Weis’ beautiful Cream Blush is a godsend at this time of year.

This little stunner gives your complexion a healthy-looking flush and also hydrates your skin with nourishing ingredients like jojoba and rosehip oil.

There are plenty of colours to choose from, but if you’re looking for a universally flattering hue, we suggest the gorgeous shade ‘Blossoming’ (pictured below).

Simply dab a little cream onto your lips and blend into the apples of your cheeks and you’re good to go.

kjaer-weis-cream-blush-blossoming

2. Lily Lolo Pedal To The Metal Eyeshadow Palette

No party look is complete without a smoky eye, and Lily Lolo’s Eyeshadow Palette in Pedal To The Metal is your ticket to captivatingly pretty peepers.

This dazzling mineral makeup palette features eight highly pigmented metallic eyeshadows that blend together beautifully.

There are soft browns and shimmery beiges for a subtle effect, along with dark grey and black for dramatically shimmering lids.

Nab yourself one of these beauties quick though, because it’s limited edition and bound to sell out before silly season is over.

lily-lolo-pedal-to-the-metal-eyeshadow-palette

3. Vanessa Megan Prebiotic + C Brightening Exfoliator

Your skin can tend to look dull and lifeless when life gets busy and your diet slips, so a brightening exfoliant like this beauty from Vanessa Megan is a fantastic solution.

Combining the pure organic ingredients with natural actives from yoghurt, grapefruit and rice enzymes, this clever exfoliant helps your skin look smoother, brighter and more even-toned in an instant.

Simply pour a little powder onto your palm, and blend with water to form a paste before applying to your skin.

With its gentle yet effective formula, your can use it every second day as an exfoliant, or twice a week as an intensely active brightening mask.

vanessa-megan-prebioticc-brightening-exfoliator

4. WOTNOT Facial Wipes Dry/Sensitive Skin

If you find yourself out partying late at night this silly season, or are simply exhausted after a busy and stressful year, properly cleansing your skin before bed will be right at the bottom of your to-do list.

Thankfully WOTNOT Facial Wipes are here to make your life just that little bit easier – simply pop a pack next to your bed and you can cleanse your mug quickly before getting some much-needed shut-eye.

WOTNOT sell a selection of facial wipes, but we highly recommend the variety developed for dry and sensitive skin.

They’re enriched with all natural ingredients including certified organic aloe vera, sweet almond oil and rosehip oil to restore lost moisture, calm inflammation, and leave your skin feeling clean, smooth, supple and glowing.

wotnot-facial-wipes-dry-sensitive-skin

5. Madara SOS Hydra Recharge Cream

Pair a hot Aussie summer with non-stop partying, sugary foods and booze galore, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for cranky, stressed-out skin.

Replenish lost moisture with Madara’s intensely hydrating SOS Hydra Recharge Cream. This lush moisturiser reduced the look of fine lines and plumps up your complexion for a supple, youthful-looking skin.

This clever cream helps combat the signs of ageing with a cocktail of active ingredients including antioxidant-rich Northern Baltic peony, nourishing linseed, and plumping hyaluronic acid.

madara-sos-hydra-recharge-cream

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10 Eco-Chic Beauty Buys Under $10

Cheap Organic Beauty Products. Impossible?

While toxin-free cosmetics are a beautiful, safe and healthy option, they rarely come cheap. This is often due to the nature of the ingredients used, and the costs associated with manufacturing organic products. But thankfully going green doesn’t always have to cost a fortune, as these natural cosmetics and cheap organic beauty products go to show.

1. EcoCare Organic Apple & Honey Facial Cleansing Wipes, $8.99

ecocare face wipes

Ideal for oily and combination skin, these refreshing face wipes will leave your skin feeling clean, soft, and supple. With crisp apple, luscious honey, and antioxidant-rich green tea, these certified organic cotton wipes nourish and soothe while they cleanse.

2. Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Lavender Soap, $7.95

dr bronners soap

With a soothing blend lavender and lavandin oils, this castile soap bar will calm the mind while it cleanses your body. Lovingly created with fair trade ingredients and organic hemp oil, it won’t leave your skin feeling dry or tight. The product is also 100% biodegradable and features 100% post-consumer recycled packaging. 

3. Sukin Cream Cleanser, $9.95

sukin cream cleanser

This gentle cream cleanser contains a beautiful blend of essential oils and botanical extracts to remove makeup and grime as it nourishes the skin. The sulphate free formula features lush ingredients like rosehip, avocado, aloe vera, and nettle to leave skin feeling clean and refreshed.

4. Vanessa Megan Lip Balm, $9.95 

vanessa megan lip balm

With nourishing certified organic shea butter, cocoa butter and bees wax, this lush balm soothes and hydrates dry, chapped lips. The clever formula seals in moisture and protects your lips from the elements, to ensure your pout looks gorgeous all year round.

5. Essano Gentle Facial Cleansing Micellar Water, $5.99

essano micellar water

If you haven’t experienced the magic that is micellar water, this product is a gorgeous and ultra-affordable way to try it out. Active micellar water molecules latch onto makeup, dirt and impurities on your skin, and gently remove them to leave your face feeling cleansed and refreshed. The formula supports your skin’s natural pH balance, and soothes with certified organic rosehip oil and aloe vera.

6. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer, $9.95

burts-bees-lip-shimmer

Give your lips a subtle touch of colour and a gorgeous glossy sheen with this nifty conditioning lip balm. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers come in a range of flattering colours and are made from 100% natural ingredients. This bad boy will keep your kisser hydrated and happy throughout the day with nourishing ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, strawberry and apricot seed oil, and soothing rosemary.

7. Comvita Natural Whitening Toothpaste, $9.95

comvita toothpaste

This natural toothpaste alternative helps brighten your smile while also cleaning and your teeth. The formula doesn’t contain any nasty chemical bleaches or harsh abrasives – instead baking soda gently polishes and whitens teeth while essential oils freshen your breath naturally. Xylitol, a natural substance found in birch trees, helps prevent stain build-up with regular brushing.

8. PearlBar Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush, $8.95

pearlbar charcoal toothbrush

The perfect accompaniment to natural toothpaste, this 100% biodegradable toothbrush is an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic toothbrushes. The bristles are infused with charcoal, which acts as a natural cleaning, absorbing and antibacterial agent. As well as effectively cleaning your teeth, charcoal also acts as a natural tooth whitener.

9. 100% Pure Bright Eyes Eye Mask, $9.95

100-per-cent-pure-bright-eyes-eye-mask

If you suffer from puffy eyes and dark circles, give this natural eye mask a whirl. Made with organic aloe, plant cellulose, and green coffee, this clever mask helps to de-puff and brighten tired eyes. The hydrating natural formula will gradually absorb into you skin, and it feels incredibly cooling and refreshing on the delicate eye area.

10. LAVANILA Mini Rollerball Fragrance, $10 

lavanila rollerball

For a crisp $10 you can trial LAVANILA’s range of delectable natural scents, which combine warm Madagascar vanilla with pure essential oils. Choose from Pure Vanilla, Vanilla Coconut, Vanilla Lavender, Fresh Vanilla Lemon, and Vanilla Grapefruit.

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Five Minutes With: Beautiful Because Founder Nina Weston

Hailing from picturesque Cornwall in the UK, businesswoman and entrepreneur Nina Weston moved to Australia in 2010 and founded her ever-expanding eco-chic online boutique Beautiful Because in 2013.

Boasting a stunning array of certified organic, natural and toxin-free beauty brands, the store’s fan base grew rapidly thanks to its and unrivalled customer service, which includes complimentary samples and generous reward points.

Here Nina divulges her insights into the natural beauty industry, and shares the story behind her success.

EE: What first sparked your interest in natural beauty?

Nina: I’ve always loved boutique and handcrafted brands, but it wasn’t until I did a makeup artistry course that I really started to question the ingredients listed on the boxes of the mainstream products in my kit.

After years of trying every brand I possibly could in search of the holy grail of beauty, I woke up to the reality that most are tarred with the same toxic brush – and there was no turning back! I no longer wanted to use these products on myself, let alone apply them to others.

How did the idea to create Beautiful Because come about?

In a nutshell, I feel strongly that we shouldn’t have to fear toxins in our skincare and cosmetics, and I became frustrated by mainstream players in the industry falsely marketing themselves – often through celebrity-endorsed campaigns. Upon making the switch to support more ethical, cruelty-free brands myself, I was delighted to discover so many here in Australia with really effective, all-natural formulas.

I woke up to the reality that most beauty products are tarred with the same toxic brush.

I felt compelled to create an educational platform to showcase the finest, together and in one place, and help raise awareness that going green doesn’t mean a compromise on performance. Beautiful Because started as a passionate hobby between jobs, but I soon discovered there was little time for anything else!

Has the swift success and growth of Beautiful Because taken you by surprise, and why?

Yes and no. Natural and organic beauty is growing as an industry, yet I never expected the store to become so popular so quickly. I am very grateful for our loyal and savvy customers who are beautiful because they choose healthy and kind beauty.

What’s been the most challenging part of running your own business?

Expanding the shop while keeping the personalised service our customers love. Juggling many roles in the one day; from helping my staff pack orders on busy mornings, to advising customers, liaising with brands, creative and promotional tasks, etc, etc! Taking work home is all too easy when it’s your own business and sometimes it can be hard to switch off.

And what’s been the most rewarding part?

Working with like-minded people and helping to make a positive difference – be it small – to the lives of our customers and the wider world. It feels good to advocate for brands that are beautiful from the core, and I feel privileged to do so.

What are your top five natural beauty must-haves for summer?

In addition to one of our natural sunscreens (which is of course a must for that strong Australian sun), I will definitely be using the following products this summer:

1. Erica Brooke Deodorant Cream in Neroli & Vanilla

I love this because it works – even in the summer heat. I’m also a fan of its refreshing floral scent.

Erica Brooke Deodorant Cream in Neroli & Vanilla

2. Madara Sunflower Tinting Fluid

This mineral tint blurs the line between makeup and skincare. It provides great antioxidant protection with a beautiful flawless tint to boot.

Madara Sunflower Tinting Fluid

3. May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon

This is a real treat for skin in need of some extra TLC this summer. A highly nourishing and nutrient rich balm, it envelops skin in a cooling wave of azure blue goodness.

May Lindstrom The Blue Cocoon

4. Axiology Lipstick in Devotion

I adore this ethical lippie brand that proves eco-friendly beauty can be luxurious. My fave shade is Devotion, which gives your that perfect “my lips but better” natural look.

Axiology Lipstick in Devotion

5. INDAH Coconut Oil To Go

Coconut oil is the minimalist’s multitasking beauty essential. It gives you glowing skin and strong healthy hair, and it doesn’t get purer than INDAH’s cold-pressed extra virgin oil that comes in funky portable packaging – making it superb for using on-the-go.

INDAH Coconut Oil To Go

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Routine Mane-Tenance

It goes without saying that lush, glossy, healthy-looking hair is on every woman’s wish list, but finding the right natural hair care products to meet your individual needs can be tricky, and not all products are up to the task.

Below we reveal a selection of our favourite natural and organic hair care products whose high-performance formulas and nourishing natural ingredients will help vanquish your most common hair concerns and transform every day into a good hair day…

YOU WANT: VOLUME & BODY

If your hair is naturally straight and fine, your hair might have a tendency to look a little stringy and lifeless – particularly on hot, humid days.

To prevent your hair from falling flat, work some volumising mousse into damp, freshly washed hair before blow-drying, and then spray a little dry shampoo onto your roots (we love Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo, $42.95) and then work it in with your fingertips.

Another one of our top product picks for fighting the good fight against flat, lifeless hair is Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo and Conditioner, $38.95 each. Containing a slew of volume-enhancing ingredients, essential oils and natural extracts like seaweed, nettle and rosemary, this clever duo helps boost your hair’s body while also lowering your carbon footprint and spoiling your senses with a fresh, delicious scent.

Yarok Feed Your Volume Shampoo Conditioner

YOU WANT: FRIZZ-FREE LOCKS

If the slightest hint of humidity makes you reach for the nearest wide-brimmed floppy hat (or paper bag on a seriously bad day), frizz is the likely culprit.

It occurs when the cuticle layer of your hair is raised, allowing moisture to penetrate and swell the hair strands. If you’re prone to frizz, avoid over-washing your hair (two to three times a week is plenty) as this strips away natural oils from your hair and scalp that help nourish your hair cuticle and protect it from frizz.

Another great tip is to try smoothing down the mid-lengths and ends of your hair with a little leave-in conditioner, which will keep your hair happy and hydrated throughout the day and help prevent any frizz flare-ups.

We love Al’Chemy Lavender & Anthyllis Intensive Moisture Leave-in Conditioner, which you can nab online for around $18 – $20. This nourishing formula is chock-full of vitamins and antioxidants that work to protect your hair from the elements while also boosting moisture levels.

Alchemy Leave In Conditioner

YOU WANT: SHINY, NOURISHED HAIR

A glistening, gorgeous, glossy mane is something most women lust after, but alas not everyone is blessed with naturally shiny locks.

People with blond, grey or silver hair are particularly prone to dullness because these shades reflect less light than darker, more pigmented hues like brown and black.

Dull, flat-looking hair can also occur when the hair cuticle is damaged as a result of colour-processing and frequent styling with hot hair tools like blow-dryers, straighteners and curling irons.

To enhance your hair’s natural shine and gloss, start by smoothing down the hair cuticle and nourishing each strand from the root to the tip. Do this by using a rich hair mask once a week and incorporate a repairing shampoo and conditioner into your hair care regimen as well.

Acure Repairing Shampoo & Conditioner, $16.95 each, is the perfect choice for boosting your hair’s shine-factor and contains rich, nourishing organic Argan oil, seabuckthorn oil and pumpkin seed oil to leave your hair looking gorgeous and glossy.

Acure Repairing Shampoo Conditioner

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