Welcome to Take Note – a weekly rolodex of all the best in skin, wellness, and makeup from industry insiders. Each week, we’ll profile one woman who’s privvy to beauty, covering everything from recommendations to routines. Today, we’re chatting with Carla Oates, gut health expert and founder of leader Australian ingestible beauty brand, The Beauty Chef. Carla started out as a beauty editor, but a complicated relationship with skin and gut health led her down an alternate path, namely into the world of fermentation.
Fast forward to now, and The Beauty Chef is an esteemed international brand, stocked everywhere from Sephora to Net-A-Porter. While the signature Glow Powder (recently updated to an even better ‘supercharged’ version) is still the hero, the product range covers everything from sleep to topical skincare. The key Beauty Chef difference is though, that Carla’s products all contain bio-fermented extracts designed to soothe, nourish and feed our microbiome (whether that’s in your gut or on your face). And if you haven’t tried the range yourself, Carla’s glowing complexion will be all the convincing you need.
Here, Carla takes us through her entire beauty routine – one that favours inner beauty practices, ritualistic skincare and minimal makeup. Her recommendations are considered, researched and naturally, all heavenly to use.
Find Carla’s complete interview below.
GRAZIA: What does your morning skincare routine look like?
- Cleanse: I always cleanse in the mornings and believe it’s an important step that a lot of people skip. I make my own oil-based cleanser using a mix of essential oils and organic coconut oil then remove using a muslin cloth.
- Nourish + Protect: I layer Marie Veronique Protective Day Oil under sunscreen for additional anti-ageing protection. I love that the formula includes a great range of essential fatty acids which are crucial to building and maintaining healthy skin and helps prevent inflammation.
- SPF: It can be hard to find an organic facial sunscreen that doesn’t give off an unflattering white cast but this COOLA one really works for me. Applied under makeup, it feels feather-light and helps to nourish my skin with natural antioxidant-rich ingredients such as Red Raspberry Seed Oil & Prickly Pear Extract.
- Inner Beauty Moisturiser: Before consuming anything else, I always start my day with GLOW mixed into a glass of filtered water. I created The Beauty Chef around the philosophy that ‘beauty begins in the belly’® and I passionately believe our gut health can impact everything from our skin to our physical health to our happiness. The newest iteration of GLOW is amazing for your complexion, it’s so much more than just a skin supplement. Containing a powerful selection of bio-fermented wholefoods, prebiotics, probiotics postbiotics, fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants and so much more, GLOW is a true multitasker, designed to elevate your wellbeing, nourish your gut and help you to glow ever brighter.
GRAZIA: And evening?
- Inner Night Time Repair: I commence my nighttime routine by taking SLEEP one hour before bed, mixed into a warmed glass of nut milk with a little manuka honey if I’m craving something sweet. This product has been scientifically formulated to soothe your nerves and deepen your sleep. It contains natural sedatives including passionflower and lemon balm – traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to soothe and calm nerves and relieve restlessness. Alongside sour cherry which is naturally-rich in sleep-giving hormone, melatonin.
- Cleanse: Repeat as the morning. At nighttime I switch up what oils I use, choosing a calming scent like lavender or rose.
- Exfoliate + Tone: It’s actually estimated that every square centimeter of your skin is home to at least a million bacteria along with an array of fungi, viruses and even mites. (Yes, mites!). So, applying probiotics topically as part of your skincare routine will actually help to replenish, feed and fortify your skin’s ecosystem, which is your immune system’s first line of defense. The Beauty Chef’s Probiotic Skin Refiner is made from the bioactive liquid that is a by-product of our bio-fermentation process. When we ferment algae, legumes, herbs, spices, vegetables and grasses, the result is an incredible naturally-produced lactic acid which helps to synthesise collagen, refine the complexion and boost skin cell turnover.
- Restore: I find the Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum really helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines as it contains natural neuropeptides + hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, leaving it feeling plumped and smooth.
- Eyes + Lips: The Beauty Chef Flora Fix Balm is a bio-fermented super balm! With bio-fermented coconut and herbs to nourish the skin, as well as anti-inflammatory and hydrating fatty acids from camellia, rosehip oil, as well as vitamin E, this deeply moisturising balm is perfect as dry skin moisturiser or soothing salve on dry hands, lips, nails, heels, knees or elbows.
- Soothe: The MV Organic Skincare Rose Soothing & Protective Moisturiser is super nourishing – excellent for people who have dry, sensitive skins.
GRAZIA: If you were heading to a deserted island, what three products would make the cut?
GRAZIA: Favourite SPF formula?
Carla: COOLA Classic Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50.
GRAZIA: Treatment you love?
Carla: I love to mix up fresh papaya and yoghurt to make the most incredible face mask for brightening, exfoliating and refining.
GRAZIA: Skincare cheap thrill?
Carla: Plenty of sleep!
GRAZIA: And splurge?
Carla: My greatest investment is having regular facials at ONDA salon in Paddington, I love the Signature Facial in particular. And the facialist Nicole Manning has beautiful, nurturing hands. So it’s so much more than just a facial. It’s a truly holistic skincare experience and an indulgence I look forward to. My skin is always so plump and luminescent the days following I don’t feel the need to wear any makeup.
GRAZIA: What’s your go-to method for treating a pimple, fast?
Carla: After washing your hands and cleansing, use a cotton tip (not your fingers) to dab a small amount of tea tree oil on to the blemish then leave it alone. Tea Tree Oil has rich anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
GRAZIA: Do you have a makeup muse?
Carla: To be honest I am not a huge fan of make-up, so my make-up muse would be someone who wears less rather than more and embraces the health and beauty of their skin. Lauren Hutton is iconic for her natural and timeless approach to beauty.
GRAZIA: What’s your go-to makeup look?
Carla: I like to keep it fresh and simple – it’s all about the skin. I’ll press on a little natural foundation and concealer using my hands to warm the products, helping them meld seamlessly. This is followed by a light swipe of mascara and lip tint in an earthy neutral shade to bring out the natural colour of my lips.
GRAZIA: Holy grail foundation?
Carla: SAPPHO NEW PARADIGM Essential Foundation. This brand is one of my new favourites! I discovered it while on a work trip to the US late last year.
GRAZIA: And most used lip colour?
Carla: Bite Agave Lip Mask! Such a unique product! You can wear it during the day or sleep in it overnight as a recovery mask. It really helps to replenish and hydrate the lips. I sometimes apply a little before or after lipstick for added moisture.
GRAZIA: Best ever mascara?
Carla: SAPPHO NEW PARADIGM Vegan Mascara. This never smudges!
GRAZIA: How do you shape and fill your brows?
Carla: For the most part I leave my brows as they are, simply combing them into place with a spoolie brush.
GRAZIA: Makeup trend you’ll never try?
Carla: Winged eyeliner – it’s much too precise for me. I prefer makeup I can apply using my fingers like a cream blush for a natural flush of warmth or a lip tint.
GRAZIA: Signature fragrance?
Carla: A combination of essential oils. Rose, tuberose, sandalwood & patchouli.
GRAZIA: What does your vacation makeup kit look like?
Carla: I leave the makeup at home and ensure I’m reapplying SPF50 every 3 hours!
GRAZIA: Favourite shampoo and conditioner duo?
Carla: BRIOGEO Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo. I love this shampoo because it infuses Binchotan charcoal to draw impurities from the scalp and hair follicle to provide the foundation for optimal scalp health.
GRAZIA: Can’t live without styling product?
Carla: Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer – life changing!
GRAZIA: Tip for styling hair of your texture?
Carla: I like to use Melrose Organic Apple Cider Vinegar as an in-shower treatment product. It’s perfect for balancing the hair and scalp as well as reducing frizziness.
GRAZIA: Who cuts and colours your hair?
Carla: Diane Gorgievski from KODA Cutters in Bondi Beach. I also love Kelly and Bec from TONI&GUY in Bondi Beach.
GRAZIA: In a sentence, what’s your approach to wellness?
Carla: I am a big believer that beauty is wellness and wellness is beauty. If you look after your gut, your skin will not only be healthier, but your body and mind will be too. Beauty really does begin in the belly.
GRAZIA: What’s your philosophy when it comes to food?
Carla: At The Beauty Chef we believe in a predominantly gluten-free and plant-based diet, while recognising that there are animal-based products that can be healthful, for some people. While our products are predominantly vegan, our recipes do include meat – although we remain passionate about encouraging people to choose organic and grass fed meats, as well as sustainable, clean seafood options, where possible. We also opt for fermented dairy, as conventional dairy is linked to inflammation. These choices reflect our dedication to not only improving the health of humans, but also our environment.
GRAZIA: What are some common meals in your food repertoire?
Carla: I usually start my day with GLOW Inner Beauty Essential and COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost in a big glass of water. While sipping, I’ll prepare breakfast for myself and the family – it’s always healthy and nutrient balanced like poached eggs with spinach, tomatoes and avocado or some sort of porridge.
If I don’t have any meetings, I’ll make myself a healthy lunch – usually salads and vegetables with some form of protein. Most days that means salmon, only wild caught.
An ideal dinner would look like organic, free-range protein (making up 25% of my plate), with a colourful salad or vegetables (making up 60% of the plate), drizzled with organic olive oil and lemon juice; healthy, low GI carbs (making up 15%). A family favourite at the moment is my Spiced Middle Eastern Lamb Koftas from The Gut Guide. Middle Eastern cuisine is one of my favourites; I really enjoy cooking with an array of aromatic herbs and spices.
GRAZIA: How do you love to move your body?
Carla: I walk three mornings a week along Bondi Beach or at Centennial Park. I find it meditative. Moving my body, provides mental clarity and really helps to set me up for the day. I also go to Pilates twice a week.
GRAZIA: What would your final meal be?
Carla: Crab Curry!
GRAZIA: What tricks do you put in place to ensure you get a good night’s sleep?
Carla: Sleep routines are very important as we are more attached to our screens than ever and this can interrupt our ability to wind down. So I try to avoid screen time at least one hour before bed and instead like to read a book whilst sipping on my favourite nighttime tonic – warm nut milk with The Beauty Chef’s SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder. Just like you would apply your night cream, SLEEP is a great way to help promote good gut health and glowing skin. While you sleep your body and skin repair and rejuvenate on a cellular level. Our formula contains natural sedatives, passionflower and lemon balm as well as sour cherry which is naturally rich in the sleep-giving hormone, melatonin. It also contains a potent blend of bio-fermented pawpaw leaf and turmeric, with 1.5 billion probiotics per serve. When we sleep, we release hormones that act as skin and health-protective antioxidants so anything we can do to support a good night’s sleep will not only benefit our skin but our overall health as well. Right before bed, I dim the lights and do a sleep meditation.
Shop Carla’s Edit Here:
The Beauty Chef Glow Inner Beauty Powder Supercharged, $65. shop now
The Beauty Chef Omega Elixir, $59. shop now
The Beauty Chef flora fix balm, $25. shop now