Take one look at model and Block alumni, Elyse Knowles, and the first thing you’ll notice is that hair (and the bod, of course). Knowles is known for her long flaxen locks; her hair as much a part of her brand as the big blue doe eyes and cheese-grater abs.
For the model-turned-reality-TV-star, looking after this (and her skin) comes down to a good, holistic regime and a dose of diligence in the boudoir and bathroom. It’s an ethos which transcends the vanity, with Knowles championing a relatively clean lifestyle across all aspects (she barely drinks, in case you were wondering).
Over a cup of hot chai, GRAZIA chats holistic haircare, weights over cardio and why transparency is important in everything – from beauty to the butcher.
GRAZIA: You recently went on an amazing trip to India with Aveda. How was it?
ELYSE: Aveda has its roots in India, but what I learnt that is how hard it is to get a license for beauty brands in India. Aveda very much lives and breathes Indian culture, the holistic feel and Ayurvedic style where they care about the body from the inside out. It’s not just a haircare fix your hair, it’s haircare that will fix your scalp and helps with such things as hair growth. All of the Aveda products care for your wellbeing, and that starts from the inside and shines on the outside. We learnt a lot about the Ayurvedic styles over there, also the ingredients and how much time and effort Aveda put into sourcing the right ingredients that are natural and that all the farms are sustainable and eco-friendly. They actually go to these farms regularly and make sure they are living up to the standards they’re putting on paper. Aveda are cruelty-free as well.
GRAZIA: your love of animals is well-documented. How important is it to you endorsing products and using products that are cruelty-free?
ELYSE: 100%. Nowadays, I’m very lucky I can be selective on the jobs I want to do. I only select things that I’m passionate about and where we have the same views, such as caring about animals and the world we live in. I absolutely adore my two dogs and every other animal. Aveda have the same values as me and it’s really important to believe in what you’re promoting and I’ve believed in the brand for such a long time; it was an organic collab and partnership. They saw that I was in love with everything they believed in, and vice versa.
GRAZIA: This holistic Ayurvedic philosophy, does it apply to your own life as well?
ELYSE: Yes, and I think as you get older and educate yourself more on what we should be doing you approach it differently. I believe that you’ve got to look after yourself internally first, whether that’s the mind or body, it’s so important to look after that part so you can be the best person you can, whether it’s health or shining bright on the outside.
GRAZIA: From an aesthetic point of view, I feel that transcends to your skin, hair and physique. In terms of your hair, what kind of things do to look after it?
ELYSE: I have to protect my hair a lot because it’s blonde. I get it coloured every now and then, but it gets curled, it gets straightened, it gets teased, it gets brushed. So many people don’t care for their hair properly and then wonder why they loose hair, for example. I use the Aveda Damage Remedy on my hair; the Restructuring Shampoo, Restructuring Conditioner and the Daily Hair Repair after I get out of the shower. My hair feels amazing after it; so silky and just full again, full of protein. I also us the Thickening Tonic. I’ve got dead straight hair and it literally sticks to my head so I need body, so I dry that into my hair.
GRAZIA: Do you towel dry it in?
ELYSE: Both. Sometimes before I go to bed, I’ll put it in and let it dry in naturally, or if I have to dry it in the morning, I use the hairdryer. And I use the Shampure Dry Shampoo. It’s a really light, non-aerosol powder and gives me volume, it’s so awesome. I’ll even use that on freshly washed hair, I’ll put it in and feel like I can leave the house and feel great.
GRAZIA: Aside from haircare, do you use any Aveda products?
ELYSE: I actually do. I use quite a lot of the skincare products. I use the Tulasara™ Radiant Oleation Oil, which you can use night and day, and it smells beautiful and really sinks into your skin. I use the Botanical Kinetics™ Purifying Creme Cleanser and the Tulasara™ Wedding Masque Overnight, which I love.
GRAZIA: Do you meditate? Or what do you do to take some time out?
ELYSE: I don’t meditate – I’m not one to sit still! So for me, it’s walking. It’s my time out.
GRAZIA: You spoke about the gym, what do you do?
ELYSE: Everyday is different. Because I travel so much I never know what I’m going to be doing, but if I am at home I try to do quite a lot of weight classes. Two upper body weight classes; it’s like a group of eight girls and we’re all pumping the guns, and lower body as well . Then I do ‘Energised’ classes to get the heart rate high. It’s like a HIIT class, but it’s more focused on weights so your heart rate’s high because you’re doing quite intense weights, it’s not like running.
GRAZIA: there is still such a misconception that weights will make girls “bulky”. Do you lift heavy weights?
ELYSE: It took me a while to realise you don’t have to do full-on cardio to burn calories. I was still doing Energiser every morning because I thought, “No, I need to burn calories”, and I thought I’m still working my muscles. But a trainer told me to stop doing that and put that time into weights. And then when you’re in a weight class you think, “Oh, I’m not doing as much,” but then two days later you’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t move!” And then, “Oh my God, my butt looks amazing!” It’s just changing that mind frame to: “Okay, I don’t need to do high intensity everyday,” and “Yes, weight training does burn longer.”
GRAZIA: You’re drinking a Chai Tea now. What do you do in terms of diet? And what does a-day-on-your-plate look like?
ELYSE: I change it up, but in the mornings now I always have eggs. I have two to three eggs, spinach, avocado, cheese, pesto. I always have that when I come home from the gym and I make myself a nut milk chai because chai’s my favourite thing; I don’t drink coffee, although sometimes I wish I did! I’m always travelling so I try to keep it quite basic with a lot of veggies, a lot of fish. I eat meat but I’m trying to eat less and really pay attention to where it’s coming from, to be conscious of going to the market, knowing your farmer and knowing you’re butcher and making sure they are doing it right. Ask a butcher what they do. They should have signs up saying we care for our animals, or this is done this way. You will pay more but you’ll feel like a better person knowing you didn’t just go to the supermarket. If Josh goes to the supermarket last minute, I’m like, “I’m not eating that you can have it for your lunch tomorrow!” And I’ll just eat veggies.
GRAZIA: That kind of philosophy aligns itself with Aveda, in terms of transparency and knowing where things are coming from. Do you find we as a society are seeking this kind of transparency more and more?
ELYSE: Yes. People want to know and if you don’t tell them then people will become weary of you’re doing something wrong. And that’s the same with farmers, if you don’t say what you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong.
GRAZIA: OK, finally. You’re throwing the ultimate Aveda sleep over. Who would you invite, what would would you do and where is it?
Elyse: I would throw everyone in the deep end and say we’re going camping. We are rolling around in the dirt, we are going to make a fire and we are going to cook our food on the fire. Just all my girlfriends.
GRAZIA: not josh?
Elyse: Nah, not Josh! Just the dogs. [laughs] Joking, the boys can come. They can cut the wood up, they can do the dirty work. Actually, I can do that.