What is your approach to beauty?
It’s quite French. I’m French on my mother’s side and although I searched through and tried on different beauty ‘masks’ metaphorically speaking in my twenties, I arrived in my late 20’s at the idea that beauty is an inside job from which we radiate. Do the inner work and you will feel and be beautiful for the most part. In terms of exterior beauty it’s not about lots of makeup and complicated routines, but it’s also not about letting yourself go and losing a sense of wanting to put your best foot forward. My baseline daily is a light mineral foundation powder, a subtle blush, a good mascara and a pink lipgloss. That baseline ‘look’ after a little yoga, a meditation, a cup o’ tea and a shower in the mornings, is my way of saying to myself “I’m showing up for myself and the world with my best foot forward today” and it really brings a generally beautiful mindset along with it, that basic commitment.
We know you like to go low tox on personal care products, why did you decide to go down this route?
The very first turning point was finally being sick of my own BS with chronic tonsillitis. Antibiotics weren’t working anymore and I needed a new solution. That’s when a friend suggested a naturopath and that naturopath fixed it with herbs and a 3 day broth/carrot/brown rice fast and suggested I quit gluten - that was 14 years ago before it was common so as a half-Frenchie I was horrified! I mean, croissants were a Sunday ritual, quiche!?!? BUT, I decided to give it a go and that’s what meant I had to - for the first time in my life as a 28/29 year old - read labels on packets and not only did I realise I had to look for wheat, rye, oats or barley, but so many bizarre food additives like natural flavour, hydrolysed protein and more. That then got me thinking: What the heck is all this other stuff in there? And so it started, eliminating most processed foods (I’m not a purist. I love a good salty chip when offered!) And switching to a produce-heavy, organic diet. I then went about researching the home and body areas in the same way, and realising the amount of ingredients that showed either carcinogenic potential or endocrine disrupting potential I was like: Wait, WHAT!? I couldn’t believe I’d been through the education system at a wonderful school, followed by a university degree and not known about what I put on or in my body and how it affected not just me, but the planet. My mind was blown. My life was changed. The rest is history and here we are!
What benefits have you gained since going low tox on beauty products?
The benefits were massive. No more tonsillitis. Clearer skin. Healthier hormones. Unfortunately a few years later we moved to an apartment with severe water damage that we didn’t realise was slowly eating away at my health again. That was tough but the blessing has now to be able to support people in making the connection between their health and mould, as it’s a massive issue for so many. It’s just another confirmation that it’s not just what we buy but what we’re surrounded by in our homes that makes a big difference to our health.
What ingredients do you make sure are NOT in your personal care products and why?
There are a whole list of 'top nasties' to avoid in my book, Low Tox Life, but already choosing fragrance free / natural fragrances with essential oils is a great start and then avoiding parabens, synthetic fragrance / parfum and sodium laureth sulfate on the label will get you a long way to a safer option because if something’s going to be high tox, you’ll usually see one of these culprits in the label/ingredient list. On the body front, I'd also insist that you examine your personal hygiene products and switch to organic cotton tampons or menstrual cups made from silicon. Then switch out the deodorant and ensure it's aluminium free and synthetic fragrance free at a minimum. We are meant to sweat. and blocking our sweat blocks a detox pathway and that's not ideal. Lastly on the body / beauty front in terms of priorities, I'm a big fan of switching out your pillow and getting a good quality water filter (actually, not lastly at all… they’re top of my list when I give talks!) You sleep with your face pressed to that thing - you don’t want to be breathing in micro plastic dust and dust mite poop, and then with water, you’re ingesting it by the multiple litres per week, you want that thing filtered well and full of good minerals. That’s a good list to keep people going!
How can we lower endocrine disrupting chemical levels around our homes and in our beauty products?
Best way is to ditch the synthetic fabric softeners, candles, reeds, plug in air fresheners and timed ‘systems’ and switch to beeswax candles, essential oils to perfume and subtly light the home, and then a 1/2 cup of bicarb and 1/2 cup white vinegar as your fabric softener. DONE. And when it comes to beauty products, you just want to look past the ingredient list for the word “Parfum” or “Fragrance” and switch to brands that use natural essential oils or nothing. Very rarely although there are a couple of examples, will you get a synthetic fragrance that doesn’t contain endocrine disruptors.
What are your personal tips for living a low tox life?
I think if you really want to do it you’ll find a way. We all have 24 hours in a day, so if you’re not making those changes yet, it’s usually because you haven’t truly committed to doing it - OR - you aren’t fully connected to how important the WHY is. So, if you’re feeling frustrated by change not happening as fast as you’d like: Connect to something you’re really really frustrated about not having changed yet. Watch a documentary or read a book about that issue / that type of product and sit with your WHY. Usually I find once that’s been done, change is easy and people are super motivated to just make it happen however they can. It doesn’t need to be perfect - perfection doesn’t exist anyway after all, but making a start means you’re on your way and it’s less of a ‘big thing’ to tackle then, which is good for morale.
What does your morning routine look like?
I’m not a strict routine person. I have a child and a business and sometimes the morning isn’t what you want it to be. BUT I always, always, always do these things just for a super short time some days when indulgence in the full program can’t happen. A few stretches and sun salutes and a few minutes meditation.A good tongue scrape with the Black Chicken Copper tongue scraper (honestly, it will change your life!). A pop out to the balcony for some fresh air and a glass of water, whatever the season. Tea and a good hot breakie or smoothie depending on the mood Shower. Natural make up (see first answer). Ready to rock.
What do you look for in an SPF product?
A good zinc based product without the carcinogens and iffy nano tech ingredients.
Do you always pick a physical SPF over a chemical, If so why?
Yes. There’s research to suggest that some of the chemicals often present in sunscreens in the mainstream, can have carcinogenic properties. That makes zero sense to me when you can protect yourself safely from the sun.
What’s your favourite DIY skincare recipe?
That’s easy. I absolutely love my coffee body scrub. You can check it out on the blog. It’s years and years old but it’s just the best, cheap and takes a couple of minutes to make.
What do you do when your body needs to recover after a busy week? What is your beauty hack?
First step for me is to acknowledge that it is a busy and stressful day (or week!) ENDS, and at the end of it, you have to let it go. It’s all going to be fresh tomorrow. I feel like the acknowledgment that it’s not forever, gives some perspective and allows me to see the temporary stress as a good response to help me through the situation / day.That said, a few things I do: 1. I make myself a Pukkah Tulsi Clarity Tea. Tulsi is the cure all plant of Ayurveda and it’s my cure all. Calming, anti inflammatory, adaptogenic - it’s got it all for a stressful day. 2. I take a few deep breaths as long as I need them. 3. I bounce on my mini trampoline or go for a walk to get the blood going and the stress hormones lowering.My idea of self care is having enough solo time. In that solo time I might read a book, write, walk along the beach, walk or do a yoga class so nothing particularly fancy, but as someone who speaks and teaches for a living, I know that for me to have the energy to do that, several super calm, solo moments need to happen through the week to replenish my stores.
Do you have an evening wind-down ritual?
My brain works best at night so not working / writing at night means very little writing at all… so, I ensure I have my Flux app programmed to switch off the blue light on my laptop at 7pm and that my phone is on nightshift, too. I wear sexy blue blocker glasses, too - Blue light is the enemy of melatonin levels naturally rising, so if you’re a night owl like me, don’t feel you have to stop being who you are, just accommodate your body’s natural rhythms with what you can do and relax about it. I spent years trying to not be a night thinker and basically became really uncreative. Then before sleep, I read a long form article about something completely unrelated to my work. I give myself a little foot massage with the supremely settling Young Living Copaiba and Vetiver oils. I do all the toiletries stuff. And I head to bed.
Best health advice you’ve ever received?
From Dr Terry Wahls: Whenever you’re experiencing a health challenge ask yourself “What is it that I want my health FOR?” Your why keeps your hope alive and keeps you focused on solutions. As someone who’s been through mould illness/CIRS these past few years, there were times that question needed asking daily to remind myself to keep showing up, doing my best, and remembering what I was figuring out this very complicated puzzle for!
What does ageing gracefully mean to you?
Embracing your lines and marks as memories and badges of honour. I really think ageing needs a big mindset shift - what a darn privilege it is to get to grow, evolve and age on this beautiful planet and keep fighting for it.