Five Minutes With: Hanako Therapies Co-Founder Rachel Holm

Essential oils are not only beautifully aromatic, but are also known for their ability to promote physiological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. They can have an incredibly powerful effect on our emotional state, and also encourage us to achieve a more positive mindset. Hanako Therapies harnesses these powerful natural essences in order to bring balance, clarity and tranquility to the lives of others. Here we chat with Hanako Therapies co-founder Rachel Holm, a woman whose courage, resilience and kind spirit paved the way for a truly beautiful brand to take form.

EE: How did Hanako Therapies begin?

Rachel: Many things came together to lead to the creation of Hanako Therapies, but at the time it really felt like it came out of nowhere. I never sat down and thought ‘right – I’m going to start a business’ – it just happened organically after we decided to take our little family on a year of adventure and move to the USA – my husband’s native land. Finding ourselves in LA and completely out of our comfort zone, life got very interesting. Back home in Sydney I had my usual go-to people when life felt a little shaky – people like my acupuncturist, massage therapist, and healer – but here I was yet to find my new people.

Having finished a diploma in energetic and spiritual healing two years prior and in the midst of studying aromatherapy and Kundalini yoga teacher training, I knew what I could do to support and nourish myself during this time. I also have a love for natural perfumes and was yet to find one that I really liked, and so I began blending my own – not just for scent purposes, but for an all over energetic effect. Using my knowledge from my studies and my intuition, the blends started coming together. In the end, I had crafted 34 products for my own personal use – but I would also use them when giving healings, and my clients kept asking ‘what is that and where can I get it?’ – and so began the journey of Hanako Therapies.

Tell us a little about the Hanako Therapies product range…

We have the I AM… aromatherapy elixirs, a natural perfume range that helps to raise your spirits and energetic being; not only through scent but the energetic properties each ingredient holds. We also have the Meridian Blend range that were carefully created to complement the 12 main lines of energy that flow within our energy anatomy known as the meridian system. These aromatherapy blends get placed onto specific acupressure points to encourage harmony, flow and balance within.

In addition we have Hanako Essences; under-the-tongue remedies that help support emotional wellbeing and encourage transformation, soul development and growth. There is also an easy to use range for mums and bubs that are soothing, calming, nourishing and balancing, and we have a stand-alone product called Happy Tracks, which is a natural remedy for upset and anxious tummies. The overall message is to intuitively choose what you feel you need most now in your life, and then mindfully use it as a daily ritual to help set a beautiful self-caring space for yourself and for the day ahead – or alternatively to shift and transform your current personal challenges.

What’s the most popular Hanako Therapies product?

We have two top sellers and they are I AM…Inspired and I Am…Bliss. I AM… Inspired is a great unisex scent that contains the pure essential oils of sandalwood, bergamot and lemon verbena along with five other pure essential oils. It is clean, refreshing, stabilising and uplifting, and it encourages a deep sense of peace, clarity of thought and lightness of spirit.

Then we have I AM… Bliss, which is great for people that tend to feel overwhelmed and anxious, and also fantastic for new mums. It’s a fresh floral scent that encourages you to come back to your heart space and live in the present moment – the only moment that counts. We get so many lovely emails from people that have been using these or even trying them for the first time and saying that as soon as they sprayed it they immediately felt a shift in their mood. I think what most people like about them is that they’re fresh and light and just make you feel good.

What’s your favourite Hanako blend?

My personal favourite is I AM…Faith. It’s very feminine yet a little mysterious and musky in scent – a good one for bathing in your Divine Goddess energy and creativity. I spray this one throughout the day over the crown of my head, on and around my body and into my hair. You’ll always find this one in my handbag!

What makes essential oils so powerful and effective?

While perfumes and fragrances may smell nice, only pure essential oils have the power to shift and change our brain waves and to have a therapeutic effect on body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of pure and natural essential oils. These oils are concentrated extracts from flowers, plants, trees, shrubs, resins and seeds.

When applied topically, essential oils absorb into the skin and enter the bloodstream. This action promotes healing properties to work inside as well as out. Inhaling essential oils can have many positive effects on the body, mind and spirit as well. As you inhale, particles of the essential oils travel down the windpipe and enter the lungs, and are then carried into the bloodstream, allowing the healing properties to take effect.

It also takes just a few seconds for scent to influence the limbic system, part of the brain that is also known as the ‘emotional brain’ where we contain our stored memories and emotions. This also connects to the parts of the brain that control blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels, hormone balance and breathing.

Each Hanako Therapies blend is carefully created using only pure essential oils, gem and flower essences, and crystal-infused water. Each one has also been bathed in a different ancient mantra from start to seal. Every ingredient used for each different blend has its own unique natural healing power, energetic vibrational frequency and quality that are congruent with the overall intention whether it be grounding, balancing, uplifting or supporting.

On top of all that, we then place on the bottle an affirmation that can be repeated silently or aloud when you are using the product. Affirmations create conscious control of our thoughts and can restructure and rewire the brain. This can help us break the patterns of negative thinking and promote the process of healthy change. When you use Hanako, you are not only hit with a beautiful scent, but also invisible energetic forces that help create balance.

What are some of your favourite essential oils?

With all the oils that I have and use, I still have an absolute love affair with sweet orange oil and lavender and often combing these two together at home to diffuse our space. With two little ones running around, both of these pure essential oils are winners! Lavender is beautiful, calming and relaxing and works on balancing the auric field, while sweet orange oil is uplifting, balancing and joyful. It’s a nice and simple blend that’s refreshing and peaceful in the home, and leaves me with a feeling of ‘aaaahhhhhh’. Benzoin is also another beautiful oil that I love; the consistency is a thick and rich – a little like honey – and is so warming, uplifting and nurturing.

Hanako Therapies supports Bears of Hope. Can you tell us a little bit about this charity, and why giving back is so important to you? 

We knew when we were creating the brand that we wanted to give back to the community, and we chose Bears of Hope due to our own personal journey after losing our firstborn to stillbirth. We were very lucky to be given the care that we received when we found out the life changing news two days before our little Angel’s due date.

The Hospital we were with were incredible and made our short Earth time with this precious little soul very special, even given the devastation of the circumstance. We realised that not all those that will unfortunately travel this path will receive the same level of care. Bears of Hope offers leading support and exceptional care for families who experience the loss of their baby.

They seek to provide crucial information and embrace families during their difficult time of loss, and beyond. Bears of Hope guide families through their choices when saying hello and goodbye to their much-loved baby. As a registered non-profit organisation, they are dedicated to the care of others.

After getting through our own experience, I knew that whatever I did in the future I wanted to be able to help others that will also share this path. For us Bears of Hope was our first choice. If we can help just one person that must travel this path and contribute to making this devastating time a little easier, I’m humbled and grateful.


Click here to learn more about Bears of Hope and donate to this worthy cause.

Ginseng: How It Can Transform Your Skin

Ginseng is an incredibly potent natural ingredient. Know for its invigorating, rejuvenating and revitalising properties, ground ginseng root is a popular health supplement that can boost lagging energy levels to help people function at their best. Read on to learn more about this natural super ingredient, and discover how it can work wonders for your complexion as well as your health.

ALL ABOUT GINSENG

Ginseng, which grows predominantly in east Asia and north America, has long been heralded as a natural way to reduce anxiety and increase mental clarity, and an extremely important component of traditional Chinese medicine. “Ginseng is an adaptogen, which means it can help to reduce the negative impact of stress,” says naturopath, presenter and author Emma Sutherland.

There are three main varieties; Siberian ginseng, Indian ginseng, and Korean red ginseng. “Korean red ginseng is the most powerful of all the ginsengs,” says Emma. “It’s the perfect tonic for fatigue and enhances both mental and physical health. Korean red ginseng actually protects our mitochondria – the batteries of our cells – from damage.” Healthy mitochondria results in better cell repair and reduced cell ageing and degeneration.

GINSENG IN SKINCARE

When used as an ingredient in skincare products like moisturisers, cleansers and face masks, ginseng can help boost healthy skin cell activity. “It increases skin cells’ ability to heal and repair by supporting the mitochondrial health of the cell,” says Emma. “Ginseng also increases skin hydration and collagen production and helps protect the skin against the effects of pollution and UV.”


Ready to incorporate this natural wonder ingredient into your skincare routine? Read on to discover our top product picks…


Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream

Boasting 99.6% natural ingredients, this incredibly hydrating, plumping and replenishing moisturiser is a total game-changer for masstige brand Kiehl’s. They’ve chosen to forgo artificial thickeners and emulsifiers, opting for plant-based ingredients instead – and the quality shows in the cream’s luxe, indulgent texture. Korean red ginseng and Manuka honey are the heroes of this nourishing moisturiser, and together they work to leave your skin looking fresh, radiant, smooth and plumped.

ginseng in skincare

Vanessa Megan Cryo Facelift Ice Cube Treatment

This unique treatment instantly leaves your skin looking brighter, more toned and refreshed. The kit consists of individual serum infusions encased in mini containers which you pop in the freezer prior to use, along with a muslin cloth which is used in to apply the frozen serum. To use, simply pop out one frozen serum from it’s container, wrap it inside the muslin cloth, and massage onto your face, neck and décolletage until completely absorbed. Containing active natural ingredients including ginseng, hyaluronic acid, quandong and green coffee seeds, the treatment feels amazingly soothing on your skin and helps to combat puffiness and dehydration while promoting a radiant, luminous glow.

ginseng in skincare

La Mav Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser

This is one of all-time favourite cleansers here at THE ECO EDIT, and while as a rule we generally prefer cream cleansers, this foaming cleanser is the perfect choice for those with oily or combination skin. Formulated with ginseng, sugar cane and papaya extract, this gentle foaming cleanser removes makeup, oil and impurities to leave your skin looking bright, clean and fresh. It also contains nourishing goji berry, antioxidant-rich Kakadu plum, refining and soothing Witch Hazel, along with soothing rosemary and marshmallow extract for an extra dose of nourishment for your skin.

ginseng in skincare

Nature’s Own Korean Ginseng 500mg Capsules

Combining a ginseng supplement with ginseng-based skincare is a great way to increase the potential benefits of this unique ingredient. Nature’s Own sell a ginseng 500mg supplement, which is one of the most potent options you’ll find at your local chemist. This supplement can help enhance stamina and endurance and may be particularly handy during times of stress. It could also help to boost and maintain a healthy immune system. We recommend taking this particular supplement in the morning – if you take it at night you can potentially experience some sleeplessness.

ginseng in skincare

How To Get The Best Skin Of Your Life

Radiant, glowing and beautifully healthy skin is something most women covet – but often it can feel out of reach. If you struggle with adult acne, dullness or temperamental and sensitive skin, you understand just how frustrating and demoralising it can be when you look in the mirror and aren’t happy with what’s reflected back at you.

And while genetics, hormones and environmental factors play a big role in how our skin behaves and looks, there are some simple lifestyle and dietary changes you can make – along with a selection of nourishing skincare products you can use – to help boost your skin’s health and create a complexion you’d be proud to show off to the world.

Healthy Skin Starts From Within

Just like your eyes are windows to your soul, your skin can be a proverbial mirror that reflects your internal health. “Your skin is most closely linked to your digestive, immune and endocrine (hormonal) systems,” explains naturopath, nutritionist and BioCeuticals Practitioner Educator Emily Seddon. “If your gut is not absorbing nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, fats, proteins and antioxidants, or if it’s being irritated by problematic foods, this can be reflected in the appearance and quality of your skin cells.”

The gut and skin are also similar in that they are both eliminatory systems. If you body isn’t eliminating toxins properly, it’s pretty near impossible to have to have healthy skin. “Issues with elimination organs like the liver can set off a chain of events that may cause the skin to become itchy and inflamed,” says Emily. Your hormone levels can also have a huge impact on the appearance of your skin. Ever noticed an extra pimple or two on your chin that pops up to say hi right before your period’s due? Fluctuating hormones are the likely culprit.

Ready to start balancing your internal health so you can begin healing and nourishing your skin from within? Here’s how:

  • Avoid highly processed foods. “Start by cutting out processed foods and avoid anything that is packaged,” advises nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel. “If you don’t understand the label, don’t eat it.” Jessica also advises giving up soda, cutting out artificial sweeteners, and avoiding foods labelled ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ – these are often loaded with sugar or are highly processed. Instead, opt for a variety of healthy wholefoods with a focus on fresh organic veggies and lean protein.
  • Reduce your consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can be quite dehydrating and irritating to your internal systems, with alcohol in particular affecting the appearance of your skin. “Excessive alcohol intake can cause trouble by dehydrating the body and skin and increasing inflammatory markers in the body,” says Emily Seddon. “This can result in irritating dermatitis, and an overall red appearance of the skin.” This doesn’t mean you have to cut out alcohol and caffeine altogether – just keep your consumption sensible; one coffee or tea a day, and a glass or two of wine on a Friday or Saturday night is completely fine.
  • Up your intake of antioxidant-rich foods. Foods that are high in antioxidants – such as brightly coloured fruits and vegetables – help to combat oxidative stress and cell damage, which are linked to premature skin ageing. “Some antioxidants, like zinc and Vitamin C also play a large role in wound healing,” explains accredited practicing dietician, nutritionist and BioCeuticals Practitioner Educator Natalie Bourke. Up your intake of antioxidant-rich foods like green tea, blueberries, green leafy veggies, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, carrots and sweet potato. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough antioxidants in your diet, Natalie suggests you talk to your healthcare practitioner for a recommendation of a high quality supplement.
  • Eat more essential fatty acids. While we’ve often been taught to avoid fatty foods, our bodies actually need certain types of healthy fats in order to function properly – our skin in particular craves these healthy fats. “Fat is found in our subcutaneous tissue, which helps to provide the plump and smooth appearance of our skin,” says Natalie. “Beneficial fatty acids, like omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and chia seeds, have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body as well. Taken internally, they may help to reduce inflammation, redness and itching of the skin.” In addition to salmon and chia seeds, walnuts, mackerel, tuna, eggs (the yolk in particular) and flaxseeds are also great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A supplement like fish oil liquid is also a great way to up you intake of omega-3.
  • Add probiotics to your diet. Probiotics are very important to your overall health and the appearance of your skin because they curb inflammatory processes that would otherwise go unchecked in your gut, which has a flow-on effect throughout the body. “Probiotics attune the release of ‘substance P’, which plays a huge role in several skin conditions,” says Natalie. “In fact there is research to suggest that probiotics can affect sebum production…one trial showed that 54% of acne sufferers had significant changes in their gut micro-biome.” Here at THE ECO EDIT, we love The Beauty Chef’s probiotic-enriched supplements, along with natural kombucha fermented tea.

healthy skin - The Beauty Chef Glow

  • Drink more water. This one’s pretty obvious, but adequate water intake is something that’s very easy to overlook on a day-to-day basis – and it plays a huge role in having healthy skin. Our skin is over 60% water, and it loses liquid very easily when the weather is dry or hot, or when we sweat. Drinking between 1.5 – 2L of water a day is ideal, as it will help to keep your body and your skin properly hydrated. If you struggle to drink that much water, you can also count healthy non-caffeinated beverages like coconut water and herbal tea towards your daily quota.

The best part of a healthy diet is that your skin won’t be the only thing that benefits. In addition to improving your overall health, you’ll feel more energised too. “When I feel healthy I feel like I can do anything,” says nutritionist and wellness coach Jessica Sepel. “When you embrace a healthy lifestyle, you realise that nothing feels as good as being healthy. I have more sustained energy, better quality sleep, my sugar cravings subside, I maintain a healthy weight, and my hormones stay balanced.”

Nourish Your Skin From The Outside

While your diet, overall health and genetics will play a critical role in the health and appearance of your skin, topical skincare also plays it part. Cleansing twice daily and replenishing your skin with nourishing, hydrating natural moisturiser is one of the best ways to ensure your complexion looks it best. This entire site is filled with information and recommendations for fantastic natural skincare products, but if you’re after some quick, fuss-free advice, we’ve included some of our favourite product picks below:

  • If you’re in need of a new cleanser, we recommend Mukti Hydrating Cleansing Lotion, which is ideal for all skin types and extremely gentle and nourishing. Generally speaking, we advise using cream cleansers rather than foaming cleansers or gels, as they tend to be gentler on your skin and are less likely to impair your skin’s natural barrier layer.
  • Exfoliating is also important as it removes dead skin cells, reduces congestion, and helps promote a healthy glow. The trick is to not overdo it – twice a week is plenty, and don’t apply too much pressure to your face when using an exfoliant. Try Madara Oil-To-Milk Exfoliating Scrub, which is gentle yet effective.

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Five Minutes With: Fairlings Founders Michael & Masa

Here at THE ECO EDIT, we love discovering fresh, thoughtful, and ethical new businesses that are governed not only by a stylish brand vision, but also a strong moral compass and sense of responsibility to consumers and the environment. Fairlings readily meets each and every one of these criteria with its dedication to the best products and sustainable business practices.

Operating as an online essentials store that curates fair trade, vegan, organic and eco-friendly products, Fairlings was created in 2015 by Canberra-based husband and wife team Michael and Masa. Frustrated with a lack of high quality and ethical cosmetics, toiletries and day-to-day essential items in one centralised place, Michael and Masa decided to take matters into their own hands.

Here the minimalism-loving entrepreneurs reveal what prompted them to launch Fairlings, and what guiding principles they follow in their daily business practices.

THE ECO EDIT: What led you to open an online store?

Michael & Masa: As ethical minimalists ourselves, we have very high standards when making purchasing decisions. Inevitably we grew tired of wasting our time and money testing a bunch of natural products from a dozen different shops until we finally found one that worked.

It’s the combination of performance and ethics that is hard to come by. That’s why we created Fairlings – to help eliminate that decision fatigue and enable our customers to shop freely with a clear conscious. We do all the hard work for you through our selection process.

Why are natural and ethical cosmetics important to you both?

Natural products are extremely important to us because the general public aren’t aware of the toxic and unethical nature of mainstream products. The big brands are solely interested in increasing their profit margins and as a result, they do damage to the environment, animals, workers and our health.

We’re living in an exciting time where we have courageous and passionate entrepreneurs who a making amazing products that are as close to nature as possible. We feel like we have an obligation to make people aware of these alternatives and hopefully shift the demand of ethical everyday essentials.

You prefer to stock just one of each type of product – why is this?

Again, as minimalists, we hate clutter – especially mental clutter. What we found when we were trying to buy products at health food stores was the pain of deciding between 11 different natural deodorants. Masa is an obsessive label reader and it was excruciating process to decide which product to buy.

Ultimately, we didn’t want to buy a product that didn’t perform. We all know that feeling right? You’re in two minds of whether to push through and use it anyway (even though you don’t want to), or leave it to collect dust on your shelf, creating more clutter in the house. Other alternatives include throwing it out, or re-gifting the products to friends – none of these options seems like the right thing.

We thought it would be so much easier if the stores put their best foot forward and stocked what they thought was the best brand in a particular product category. We didn’t see that model anywhere, so we decided to start it ourselves.

A lot of retailers claim that they curate the best natural products but they still stock multiple brands per category, which mind you doesn’t always end up the healthier option. We’ve taken a more polarising approach by attempting to stock only the best.

Sure, there’s a risk of perhaps not being suitable for everyone, but it’s a risk we are willing to take in order to create a more pleasurable and simpler shopping experience for our customers.

Who the Fairlings customer is, and what are they looking for?

At the extreme end of the spectrum, our customers are minimalist vegans. We’re talking about the hardcore label readers who don’t want to create any excess waste or clutter in their lives. Our goal is to serve the strictest of customers and this is what we initially set out to do.

What we’re finding however is a large chunk of our customer base are women who are realising the harm that their current products are doing to their bodies and the environment. They’ve recently started their natural product journey and are finding what combinations work best for them.

They look at our products and read about what we do, and feel like they are in safe hands. They don’t have to read every ingredient and double check the products for safety. These customers used to have the perception that natural products are nice in theory, but they wonder, “do they actually perform?” We aim to debunk this myth and shift the paradigm with our handpicked range.

How does minimalism fit into your lives, and why is it important to you?

Minimalism to us means keeping what you deem as essential and eliminating the rest. We were mentally weighed down and overwhelmed with life. Minimalism was an outlet for us to detox our minds.

We started by decluttering our physical environment. We soon realised that minimalism is much more than decluttering your house – it’s a mindset. You start looking at your calendar, your inbox, your friendships, your mode of transport, pretty much everything, differently.

The question of, “is this essential?” aids of all our decisions. And it’s extremely liberating. The combination of minimalism and veganism has heightened our level of consciousness like we could never of imagined. It’s through this lens that we are now able to live a fulfilling, purpose-driven lifestyle each and every day.

What are some of your top Fairlings product picks?

It will be hard to pick only a few, as we love everything! Truly, that’s why we stock them. But if we had to pick our personal favourites as well as the ones that our customers are loving, here they are:

1. Mukti Hydrating Cleansing Lotion, $54.95

The best quality cleanser we’ve come across. It not only keeps your skin feeling clean, soft and nourished, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry like many other cleansers.

fairlings mukti

2. Vanessa Megan Organic Blood Orange Foaming Hand & Body Wash, $54.95

We love the 2-in-1 aspect of this product, both a hand wash and body wash. Smells AMAZING, leaves your skin feeling fresh and soft. This was one of the trickier items to find that was reasonably priced, felt great and contained quality ingredients.

fairlings vanessa megan

3. The Divine Company Organic Peppermint Tooth Mousse, $19.95

Probably our favourite product. Cleans your teeth without the nasties! Has a wonderful flavour but an interesting texture because there is no plastic particles like most conventional toothpastes have.

fairlings divine company

4. One Seed Organic Perfume Sample Set, $37

A perfect gift or a great way to try a few different scents before committing to a bigger bottle. Organic perfume is a must if you love perfumes, conventional ones are super toxic!

fairlings one seed

5. Moonrise Creek Organic Vegan Mascara, $29.95

A beautiful vegan, organic and handmade thick mascara that will last you all day.

fairlings moonrise creek

What’s next for Fairlings?

Our focus for 2017 is simple. Continue to find and work with amazing brands and build a community around our products and ethos.

More specifically, it’s our goal to bring on at least one new brand a month and to develop our community through our Ambassador Program.

We’re currently testing a brand that makes certified organic house cleaning products. This has been extremely hard to come by, especially in Australia, so we’re excited about that!

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Five Minutes With: Endota Spa’s Melanie Gleeson

With over 90 day spas operating across the country, endota spa is one of Australia’s biggest beauty industry success stories. We spoke to founder and CEO Melanie Gleeson to discover what prompted her to enter world of natural beauty and wellness, and what’s in store next for the beloved franchise.

THE ECO EDIT: What led you to create your own day spa, and what was your vision for endota?

Melanie: After spending some time overseas working as an au pair after school, I came back home to manage a small day spa in Eltham. This foray into the industry helped hone my business skills, and ignited my passion and drive to open my own day spa.

I saw firsthand, a physical and emotional change in women from when they entered the spa to when they left. I knew I needed to be a part of this in a bigger way. The endota spa story began in 2000 when as a 26-year-old I took a risk and followed a dream and left behind the security of a full-time job.

My vision and passion was and still is to help women be their best, so they can live their best life. The ethos of the brand was fuelled by my personal belief in the power of positive sharing and inspiring others to reconnect.

The Mornington Peninsula where I grew up was the inspiration for endota spa. The Mornington Peninsula is a place of light expanse and stunning natural beauty inspired by the energising properties of the sun and calming effect of the water.

Every endota spa aims to transport the client to a similarly euphoric space that ignites calm, invites relaxation and rejuvenates the spirit.

Did the fast growth and popularity of endota surprise you? 

I opened one of the first day spas on the Mornington Peninsula in Australia, at a time when few people even knew what a spa was – and fewer recognised the importance of investing in wellbeing.

Fast forward to today and there are now almost 100 spas across the country, and endota spa is Australia’s leading day spa. We employ 1000 people, 90% of whom are women, and 500,000 people visit our spas annually.

I often have to pinch myself and acknowledge how far endota spa has come. I am humbled by the growth and feel so blessed to be doing what I love, and to have people walk away after a treatment physically and emotionally replenished.

What do you believe are some of the key reasons for endota’s success?

We all lead such busy lives and are consumed constantly by noise. Social media, computer, TV, radio, the internet and smart phones…we are always connected to a device. We encourage our clients to leave their everyday stresses behind and turn off their phones.

A spa is one of the very few places left where this is required.

I think people – especially women – crave this time to replenish their energy levels, mental wellbeing and physical health. And while I don’t believe enough women make their health a priority, more and more are starting to realise they should.

endota spa interior melanie gleeson

Many women struggle to put their own needs first and therefore rarely pamper themselves with a spa treatment. Why do you think women should place more value on ‘me-time’?

Wellness is good for the soul, and as women we are so busy running around looking after everyone else that we often forget ourselves. But in order to be able to provide the best for others, or give our undivided attention to our children, work, family or friends, we need to take time out for ourselves.

When women arrive at the spa their tension and stress is palpable. Their shoulders are raised and their body tense. When they leave, their shoulders are relaxed and down.

Wellness is good for the soul…

The key message we want to communicate to women is that visiting a spa shouldn’t be considered a luxury treat; it should be a healthy habit. A part of a woman’s wellness routine, like a yoga class, or going for a walk; a massage is relaxation for the mind, body and soul.

It recharges you and makes you feel good about yourself from the inside out.

Along with its beautiful spa treatments, endota is known for its natural beauty products. How did you go about creating your skincare and body care range?

endota spa OrganicsTM was first launched in 2006 and has gained a loyal customer base. After nearly 10 years in the market we decided it was time to review and reformulate the range to harness the latest developments in the scientific skincare industry.

Last September the range was relaunched, combining the best of science with the power of nature. This offers consumers a range of certified organic and natural products that address skin concerns unique to Australians – dehydration, pigmentation and ageing.

The inspiration for launching an organic and natural skincare range ties back into the brand’s ethos. It was important for us to ensure that this heritage range used the very best in Australian native ingredients to help enhance and protect skin. Even back in 2006 when we first launched the Organics range, we believed in the power of using nature for healing.

We use native Australian ingredients, called the endota spa Bio-Active Plant Complex. It contains three exotic Australian rainforest fruits: Davidson Plum, Lilly Pilly and Lemon Aspen, which help to moisturise, rejuvenate and protect the skin by delivering a boost of naturally occurring Vitamin C.

We believe in the healing power of nature…

We are lucky to have such a powerful range of natural ingredients here in Australia that are highly effective and won’t harm skin.

We work with a skincare laboratory and leading pharmaceutical chemists to help develop and test our products. These experts specialise in premium, holistic, natural and organic ingredients and they have helped create a range of skincare formulations that address Australian skin concerns.

Each of the products has been certified as either natural or organic by the ACO and COSMOS and contains; no parabens, mineral oils, sulphates, SLS/SLES, PEGS, synthetic fragrances and dyes, GMO’s or silicones and is proudly not tested on animals.

There are a total of 33 endota spa OrganicsTM products for the face and body in the range today.

What is your favourite endota skincare product at the moment, and what do you love about it?

My absolute favourite bathroom essential is our endota spa OrganicsTM Coconut and Grapefruit Melting Body Balm. It contains natural rapidly absorbed oils and butters to deeply nourish and provide an intense moisture boost. This is perfect for summer when my skin gets particularly dry.

melanie gleeson - her favourite endota product

My favourite product from our face range is the Multi Vitamin Treatment Oil, which is high in anti-ageing properties and deeply hydrates skin to smooth fine lines. I apply this oil morning and night under the Nourish & Repair Night Cream for a noticeably smoother complexion.

Do you have any exciting new product launches or developments in the works that you can share with us?  

This is such an exciting time for endota spa. We are going through a growth phase and have a number of new initiatives, products, treatments and franchises opening.

We have just launched two brand new treatments to our menu, which is really exciting. The first is our New Age Light Therapy Facial which uses LED light to deeply hydrate and stimulate cell regeneration by boosting collagen and elastin production. It is non-invasive, like all our treatments, but it delivers instant results.

We have also created a new signature massage named the Deep Recovery Massage. This treatment uses jade stones, which are believed to help facilitate self-healing. We will be adding more exclusive treatments to our menu next year as well, so stay tuned!

After many years of research and development we launched our first cosmetics line in July this year. The premise behind the range is about enhancing your natural beauty – not covering it. We use native ingredients in the range such as Kakadu Plum so that it applies like makeup but treats like skincare.

We have also just launched an anti-ageing skincare range, NEW AGETM elements; that contains potent ingredients to treat skin concerns associated with ageing, such as loss of collagen, dehydration, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. We have worked with skincare specialists from Italy and Australia to develop this range and will be adding to it with more products next year.

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10 Eco-Chic Gift Ideas For People You Love

With Christmas just around the corner, now’s the time to get those festive season pressies wrapped and under the tree. But if you’re stuck for gift ideas, don’t fret! We’ve put together a list of gorgeous natural beauty products, kits and treatments that will ensure you’re in everyone’s good books.

1. Madara Happy Skin Essentials Pack

This cute little kit from holistic skincare brand Madara is the perfect treat for all skin types. Featuring Madara’s award winning Micellar Cleansing Water and their innovative Oil-To-Milk Exfoliating Scrub, this set would put a smile on anyone’s dial.

gift ideas madara

2. Lily Lolo Iconic Eye Collection

Who wouldn’t want pretty peepers for Christmas? The Lily Lolo Iconic Eye Collection features the brand’s cult favourite Laid Bare Eyeshadow Palette along with a must-have Black Eye Pencil Natural Mascara for long, fluttery jet-black lashes.

lily-lolo-iconic-eye-collection

3. Frank Body Babe Island Kit

Perfect for the gal (or guy) who likes to have silky smooth and tropically scented skin, Frank Body’s cute-as-a-button Babe Island Kit includes a delectable Coconut Coffee Scrub and lush Coconut Body Balm.

gift ideas frank body

4. Endota Spa Gift Voucher

Handing out one of these beauties will make you a firm favourite this Christmas. You can select from a range of treatment options when ordering a gift voucher – we highly recommend Endota’s New Age Light Therapy Facial, which combines active natural skincare with the latest LED technology for gorgeous, glowing skin.

endota-spa-gift-voucher

5. Pai Instant Calm Discovery Collection

This beautiful skincare pack is the perfect gift for people with sensitive skin. This exquisite kit features Pai’s Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Lotus & Orange Blossom BioAffinity Skin Tonic, Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream, plus an organic muslin cloth.

pai-skincare-instant-calm-discovery-collection

6. Inika Limited Edition Discover Kit

This lovely kit is the perfect pressie for a friend or relative who is keen to try mineral makeup. The set includes some of Inika’s hero products including their Certified Organic Pure Primer, Certified Organic Liquid foundation, Certified Organic BB Cream, Mineral Foundation, plus a Kabuki Brush.

gift ideas inika

7. Acorelle Absolute Tiare Eau de Parfum

This heavenly scent will make for an enchanting gift this Christmas. The fresh floral fragrance features top notes of orange and tangerine, a heart of ylang ylang, jasmine and tiare, and a sensual base of vanilla.

acorelle-absolute-tiare-perfume

8. Vanessa Megan VM Men Citrus & Spice Natural Cologne

Any self-respecting bloke who takes pride in his appearance and grooming habits will appreciate this crisp cologne. With a warm, spicy blend of mandarin, patchouli and clove, this chic scent is uplifting, alluring, and 100% natural.

vanessa-megan-men-citrus-spice-cologne

9. The Beauty Chef Cookbook

Looking for great gift ideas for the domestic goddesses and green juice junkies in your life? They’ll adore this beautifully photographed cookbook that’s jam-packed with delicious, nutritious, and complexion-enhancing meal ideas. With over 150 gluten-free, dairy-free recipes, this clever cookbook promotes gut health and boosts beauty from the inside out.

gift ideas the beauty chef

10. Essano Limitless Luxuries Pack

Containing an array of beauty boosting plant extracts and natural ingredients like rosehip and Argan oil, New Zealand brand Essano is a truly gorgeous range that captures nature’s essence. This affordable travel bag includes Essano’s cult favourite micellar water, moisturiser, eye cream, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner.

essano-limitless-luxuries-gift-ideas

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Five Minutes With: The Beauty Chef’s Carla Oates

As an organic beauty and health expert and a former beauty editor, Carla Oates knows more about the secret to great skin than the average gal.

Carla is an avid naturalist and product formulator, and she has spent the better part of the last two decades creating beauty products using foods from her kitchen and herbs from her garden, which resulted in the development of her successful beauty supplement and skin health range, The Beauty Chef.

Carla was kind enough to take five minutes out of her busy schedule to chat with us and reveal her secrets for a healthy, radiant complexion.

EE: When did you first develop an interest in nutrition?

CARLA: I had eczema and allergies as a child, and I went to a naturopath when I was a teenager who put me on a diet. From eliminating certain foods and eating others, I noticed a big difference in my skin and wellbeing.

I was working as a beauty editor around 17 years ago and was concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare, and because of my own personal experience, I understood that radiant, healthy skin comes from within. So I made it my mission to help educate people on healthier skincare options.

I made it my mission to help educate people on healthier skincare options

I wrote a book published a book called Feeding Your Skin, and over the last fifteen years I have written hundreds of articles on natural beauty and health and researched the benefits of plant-based foods for our skin.

My daughter had eczema as a child, and so around 10 years ago I was researching gut health, lacto-fermented foods, and probiotics. I started making lacto-fermented foods and noticed a big difference in her skin and wellbeing.

I created quite a demand, and that demand grew to friends of friends – so it seemed a natural progression to launch The Beauty Chef. Glow Inner Beauty Powder was my first product – containing 24 bio-fermented, skin-loving super foods.

Glow Inner Beauty Powder

How does our gut affect the way our skin looks?

At The Beauty Chef, our ethos is ‘beauty begins in the 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.

So much of what goes on in our digestive system can impact our skin – more and more research shows this link. For example, those with healthier gut microbiota have a better fatty acid profile in their skin; meaning their skin is more moisturised and hydrated.

Those with dermatitis have been shown to have a disruption of normal gut microbiota. Where there is gut inflammation, there will be skin inflammation.

What are some of the biggest nutrition and health hurdles women face today?

The prevalence of processed and high human intervention foods in the average diet. I also believe that an overload of synthetic and questionable chemicals in our food, personal care and skincare is problematic to our health, which is why I recommend buying certified organic food, skincare and personal care products wherever possible.

Also stress! Stress and a lack of sleep. Stress robs the body of nutrients and increases stress hormones that can be as problematic to the body as refined sugar. When we sleep we release important antioxidants and youth hormones. A lack of sleep raises stress hormones, interferes with hunger regulating hormones, and depletes us of anti-ageing antioxidants, melatonin and human growth hormone.

What does a typical day on a plate look like for you?

When I get up, I drink our Glow Inner Beauty Powder in water with a splash of lemon juice. This is usually followed by a breakfast of eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes and salmon, or a buckwheat, miso, apple and date porridge.

For lunch I’ll have a big chicken or salmon salad with nuts, sprouts and avocado. For afternoon tea I’ll have a cold pressed juice, or perhaps a black bean and cacao protein truffle made using The Beauty Chef Chocolate Body Inner Beauty Powder.

Dinner is usually light – mostly salads, veggies and a protein source, like lamb or barramundi. In general I eat lots of carrots, nuts and fruit and drink two litres of filtered water throughout the day.

I love curries, slow cooked soups and stews with bone broth, lots of vegetables, herbs and spices – these are easily digested and great for gut health. We have some great recipes available on our website thebeautychef.com.

You recently launched a topical skincare range – what prompted this?

I became concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare and cosmetic products. I believe that many of those harsh chemicals can not only compromise the skin’s protective acid mantle and therefore the health of the skin, but may also be absorbed into the blood stream.

One of my favourite products from the range is the Probiotic Skin Refiner, which embraces fermentation for the same reasons we use it with our inner beauty range. Research is showing that by supporting the flora on the skin topically, you can boost your immune system – so there is a direct relationship between what you put on your skin and your immune system.

Harsh chemicals not only compromise the skin’s protective acid mantle…but may also be absorbed into the blood stream

I love the fact that lacto-fermentation is a completely natural biological process. It breaks ingredients down (natural bacteria pre-digest the ingredients), making the nutrients more bio-available. We don’t need to make super-duper synthetic ingredients in a lab (which may send our skin and health into imbalance) to create ‘active’ ingredients.

Here, we have this incredible process that turns natural ingredients into super-natural ingredients that are active, balanced and rejuvenating – and it’s all done by nature! I love our Probiotic Skin Refiner as it is a skin hydrator, exfoliant and collagen booster – all in one.

Probiotic Skin Refiner

What’s a surprising fact about our skin that people might not know?

The skin, hair and nails are the last places in the body to receive nutrients, as they go to more important organs first, so nutrition is important for glowing skin.

What’s next for The Beauty Chef?

We’re launching The Beauty Chef Cookbook*. It contains more than 150 gluten-free and dairy-free recipes including healthy spins on traditional dishes, special occasion treats, simple family meals and time-honoured ferments.

*The Beauty Chef Cookbook by Carla Oates, $49.95, is available from October 2016 from thebeautychef.com and leading bookstores.

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The Great Skin Diet

When it comes to having an amazing complexion with radiant, glowing skin, the fact is that anti-wrinkle cream and illuminator can only do so much. Your diet plays an integral part in both the function and appearance of your skin, and if you arm yourself with a little know-how and a nutritious pantry, you will nourish you skin from the inside out and be rewarded with an amazing complexion.

“Our diet provides us with nutrients to nourish our skin, including zinc, vitamin A, vitamin C and bioflavonoids to name a few,” says respected Sydney-based nutritionist and naturopath Tania Flack. In addition to nourishing our bodies and our complexions, our diet also also provides us with a range of antioxidants that help us fight the ageing process by combating free radicals (molecules which are a leading cause of skin stress, inflammation and accelerated skin ageing).

“If our diet is poor and we are eating processed foods that contain a high level of chemicals, additives, herbicides and pesticides, then this accelerates the ageing process,” says Tania. Continue reading to discover more of Tania’s top nutritional tips, and learn how you can eat your way to gorgeous, glowing skin.

BEWARE THE SWEET STUFF

While we all worry about that chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate syrup going straight to our hips, it turns out that it could be contributing to our crow’s feet as well.

“Sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains and are part of a healthy wholefoods diet. However, extra sugars added to the diet are associated with accelerated ageing,” says Tania. Accelerated skin ageing can be caused by a number of things like sun damage and smoking, but one of the major causes is glycation.

Extra sugars added to the diet are associated with accelerated ageing

Glycation is a natural process that occurs within our bodies, and it involves protein molecules linking up with sugar, which triggers an inflammatory and oxidative process that damages the collagen and elastin within our skin.

While this process is normal and natural, an excessively sugary diet will intensify glycation, which will in turn speed up the ageing process – hence why sugar is one of your skin’s biggest enemies. “Ideally we should all try to avoid added sugar in our day-to-day diets and use it as a treat occasionally for special celebrations such as birthdays,” says Tania.

DAIRY – A FACTOR IN ADULT ACNE?

If you’ve well and truly left your teenage years behind but still struggle with acne and blemishes, reducing your dairy intake might help you on your way to a glowing, spot-free complexion.

“I do see significant improvements in skin when people eliminate dairy from their diet as part of a detoxification program to improve skin,” says Tania. “In clinic I have observed that dairy consumption seems to be associated with skin congestion, however the reasons for this are unclear. It is possible that the milk proteins including casein and whey may cause problems for some people and impact gut function.”

Impaired gut function can cause a whole host of problems for you and your skin, as it can ultimately interfere with your body’s detoxification processes, which will in turn put more pressure on the eliminatory function of your skin.

If you do decide to ditch dairy in an effort to reduce skin congestion, it’s important that you still consume plenty of calcium to keep your bones healthy and happy. Eating foods like canned salmon and sardines, kale, bok choy, watercress, almonds, calcium-fortified soy milk and tofu, chia seeds and sesame seeds will help boost your calcium intake.

EAT YOUR WAY TO GLOWING SKIN

Upping your intake of fibre and wholefoods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds will give your diet a massive nutritional boost and ensure that your skin (and body) is getting the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it’s craves.

In addition, eating the healthy fats will also improve your complexion. “Essential fatty acids found in fish and seafood provides an array of benefits for the skin. They are strongly anti-inflammatory and help to slow the ageing process,” says Tania.

Essential fatty acids can specifically help your skin by nourishing cell membranes, which will in turn strengthen your skin. Essential fatty acids have also been shown to support healthy hormone balance as well, which is a fantastic added benefit for women.

Great sources of essential fatty acids include fresh sardines, mackerel, salmon, prawns and scallops. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, all isn’t lost – foods like avocado, coconut oil and chia seeds will help boost your intake of the good, skin-loving types of fat.

H20 TO THE RESCUE

We’ve all heard the old ‘eight glasses of water a day’ adage, but does your daily water intake actually play that big of a role in how your skin looks? According to Tania, the answer is a resounding yes.

“Dehydration can cause skin to look dry, and we should aim for a minimum of 1.5 litres of water per day and avoid excess alcohol and caffeine, which accelerate dehydration.” If you can’t part ways with your daily cup of tea or coffee or that cheeky glass of pinot on a Friday night (hey, we get it), make sure you have an extra glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you drink.

In addition, if you’re exercising you should aim to drink an extra two glasses of water for every half hour of exercise you do.

SUPPLEMENT YOUR SKIN

While supplements should never be used as a substitute for eating healthily, they can help give your diet and your skin a helping hand.

One of our favourite supplements for amazing skin is The Beauty Chef’s Glow Inner Beauty Powder. This tasty berry-flavoured powder combines a blend of organic and natural ingredients that are bio-fermented for gut health and packed full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and amino acids, which nourish your skin from the inside to help give your skin a healthy glow on the outside.

The Beauty Chef’s Glow Inner Beauty Powder

Another supplement we love is Amazonia Raw Prebiotic Women’s Multi. Not only does this wholefood-loaded supplement boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, but it also contains fermented ingredients that act as powerful pre- and probiotics that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Healthy intestinal flora help your body extract maximum nutrition from the foods you eat, which in turn boosts your overall health and wellbeing, and can also improve the appearance of your skin.

Amazonia Raw Prebiotic Women's Multi.

We know that antioxidants are one of your skin’s best friends when it comes to anti-ageing, but ensuring that you eat enough antioxidant-rich foods to create a noticeable improvement in your skin can be a tricky task (how many blueberries can one person eat in a day, right?). Enter Matcha Maiden Green Tea. Made entirely of stone-ground organic green tea leaves, this vibrant green powder contains the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of antioxidant-rich green tea, which helps your body combat age-accelerating free radicals.

Matcha Maiden Green Tea

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