Delve into the thoughts of “The Beauty Chef’’, the skincare expert who has developed a range of organic beauty products to ensure beauty is more than just skin deep.
With a decade of experience as a writer and fashion stylist, Carla Oates switched to the creation of natural skincare made from organic foods and plants in response to the industry’s lack of transparency when it comes to the ingredients found in commercial beauty products.
At present, The Beauty Chef includes a range of inner and outer skincare products that are scientifically-formulated, certified organic, and dense with healthy ingredients, including whole foods, prebiotics, and probiotics.
She is also the author of the best-selling book, ‘Feeding Your Skin’, and has published another book that features over 150 gluten and dairy-free recipes that provide nutrients to the skin from within.
As the need for organic beauty products become more recognised, it’s good to know that the requirements of users are addressed with beauty and skincare remedies from experts like Carla Oates–The Beauty Chef.
Carla Oates, The Beauty Chef
Your brand name, ‘The Beauty Chef’ sounds interesting. Can you share with us the story behind it?
My philosophy has always been that ‘beauty begins in the belly’ and The Beauty Chef brand name reflects that. Where possible, we source all of our ingredients from Certified Organic or Biodynamic wholefoods, celebrating bio-fermented, whole food probiotic nutrition for a healthy gut and glowing skin. I also love combining the joy of cooking with the science of nutrition – this is what inspires the way I cook and also how I develop all of our inner beauty products.
There is a strict process followed in formulating organic beauty products. Would you consider it a more challenging process than what goes through with their designer counterparts?
Yes, it is far more challenging as they are way more expensive, so organic formulas will also have a much lower profit margin than when working with conventional ingredients or synthetics. From a superficial performance perspective, organic ingredients are not as refined as those that have been heavily processed, which means the physical experience of consuming them or applying them may not be as smooth or palatable for some people. However, the real performance from a health and beauty perspective, when using nutrient-dense organic wholefoods is way more profound.
One of the things that make your products stand out is its bio-fermented property. Can you share with our readers an overview of your FloraCulture™ process?
Our products are bio-fermented using our unique FloraCulture™ bio-fermentation process, which involves introducing a mother culture made up of a variety of Lactobacillus strains and beneficial yeasts into the ingredients to ferment for a period of 6–8 weeks. The bacteria break down the ingredients, making the nutrients more bioavailable – when we eat food, we digest between 12–25%, but when it’s fermented, we can digest up to 85%. The bio-fermentation process also helps to neutralise any anti-nutrients like phytic acid found in grains and legumes.
As a result, the process also produces a natural, broad-spectrum probiotic – unlike a probiotic you might find at the supermarket which may only carry a couple of strains, our products offer multiple, natural strains. Lacto-fermented foods not only produce probiotics, they also act as prebiotics – which feed the probiotics in your gut. Both are important for helping to balance and boost gut health.
What inspired you to create skincare products from foods?
Many years ago I worked as a beauty editor for a mainstream newspaper and I became concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare. I had always been interested in holistic health and beauty, so I started researching the benefits of looking after the skin with clean ingredients and plant compounds that rejuvenate the skin from the inside, out. I also had eczema as a child and when I was a teenager, I saw a naturopath who dramatically changed my diet. This had a profound impact on my skin so early on, I began to understand the link between gut health and the skin.
Then, about 10 years ago, my own daughter began experiencing similar skin issues so that led me to research what might be causing them. After investigating various studies that looked at what we eat and how food affects the gut as well as our skin, I put my family on a gut-healing protocol. As part of this, I started including probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented wholefoods in our diet regularly. This had a huge impact on my daughter’s skin and the wellbeing of the whole family. My friends also started asking me why my skin always looked so ‘glowy’ so I realised the power of the gut/skin connection. I began experimenting with lacto-fermenting superfoods in my kitchen at home and this is how my first product, GLOW, was created.
What we eat has an incredible medicinal effect on our bodies and glowing skin is basically a reflection of healthy cells and what’s going in our gut, so by nourishing ourselves from within, we can experience a radiance that no amount of cosmetics can replicate.
In connection with the previous question, what food ingredient is your favourite to work with and why?
Fermented foods of course!
A lot of people are already showing great interest in organic and when it comes to that, wholefoods remain as a popular choice. What do you think is it about whole foods that make it a suitable beauty ingredient?
I think that more and more people are becoming aware of the amount of toxins and chemicals that we’re exposed to every day and are going back to basics – organic wholefoods, chemical-free skincare, and personal care products.
The skin is our body’s largest organ and also our first line of defence against environmental toxins and pathogens. So, in order to be strong and healthy, it’s important to nourish the skin from the inside, out. Wholefoods – obtained through our diet – are the best way to support skin health. Our skin requires a diet rich in good fats, plant nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to be strong and healthy. But equally, what we choose to use topically is just as important. If we’re nourishing ourselves with delicious organic whole foods and then applying chemical-laden skincare, we can be undoing all our hard work.
Our body is an ecosystem that needs to be nourished. I see the body and skin as one big ecosystem and they work in synergy with each other. New studies show that the bacteria that resides on your skin can affect your immune system. Which is why it’s so important to nourish the microbes on the surface of the skin like you do the microbes that live in the gut. You can do this with nutrient-dense, whole food probiotic skincare – that is free of harsh chemicals that won’t cause disruptions in the skin’s ecosystem and therefore potentially compromise your health.
Based on expert insights, what do you think will be the next beauty trends in terms of organic beauty?
I think both in terms of inner beauty and topical skincare, the use of probiotics as an ingredient is a trend that is continuing to gain momentum. While they have been a bit of a buzzword in the health and wellness world for a while, the beauty industry is definitely taking note of the building research which highlights the benefits of probiotics for our gut and skin health.
Like our gut, our skin is a complex ecosystem with its very own microbiome. Our Probiotic Skin Refiner, for example, is designed to feed and fortify the skin and strengthen its immunity. The result is clear, glowing, healthy skin.
Do you have any plan to expand your beauty collection? Are there new products from The Beauty Chef that we should watch out for?
As a brand, we’re constantly evolving and innovating and new product development is a big part of my role as Creative Director. So watch this space!
If you will be asked to recommend only one product from your collection, what would that be?
If you’re new to the world of inner beauty or The Beauty Chef, I recommend starting with GLOW Inner Beauty Powder. This is your essential daily beauty blend and you can think of it as your inner beauty moisturiser. It contains 24 Certified Organic bio-fermented superfoods, which are designed to work synergistically together to support gut health and promote radiant, glowing skin. It also has a delicious berry taste so you can enjoy it simply stirred through water or popped into a smoothie – or mixed with one of our inner beauty boosts, which are your inner beauty serums and help to amplify the benefits of GLOW.
Lastly, can you share a few words of advice for the women who can’t seem to squeeze a beauty routine into their busy schedule?
My advice is to keep things simple but to also think of your beauty routine as an act of self-care, rather than just another task you need to tick off your to-do list. Create small rituals for yourself – whether that means sipping on GLOW each morning, or taking a few minutes in the evening to massage some coconut oil into your skin – it’s important to take the time to nourish yourself.
Did you find useful information from our exclusive interview with The Beauty Chef? Learn more interesting insights from beauty influencers by regularly visiting our lifestyle magazine.