Carla Oates, known as ‘The Beauty Chef’, is a naturalist who is passionate about nature and the profound synergy we share with it. Based in Sydney’s Bondi Beach, Carla has been researching, writing and teaching about organic beauty and health for the last fifteen years.
She believes that organic skincare and food is the most sustainable choice for the health of both the individual and the environment. An avid beauty chef and formulator, she has spent the last fifteen years, creating beauty products from foods in her kitchen and herbs from her garden.
She has combined her knowledge and passion to create The Beauty Chef, the world’s first Living skincare range. Carla works with a dedicated team of chemists, naturopaths and nutritionists on her formulas that are based on her own unique recipes. We were lucky enough to sit down with Carla and ask about her journey along with some burning questions we had about getting glowing skin.
Where did you start in the beauty industry?
I started as a beauty editor for a mainstream newspaper around 15 years ago. Straight away I became concerned about the number of toxic chemicals present in the skincare I was reviewing and reporting on.
Why did you create The Beauty Chef?
I have always been passionate about creating healthy beauty products for women that worked both on the inside and the outside. I believe that healthy, radiant skin comes from within and beauty begins in the belly. The Beauty Chef was born from this belief.
Tell us the importance of organic skincare?
There is growing concern that continued, daily exposure to the toxic ingredients found in most skincare and personal care products could be producing harmful long term effects.Certified Organic skincare using active plant based ingredients grown without harmful chemicals is a very important alternative to these toxic mass market products for health and wellbeing.
You have developed the world’s first living skincare, will you explain what this means?
Living Skincare refers to skincare that is alive in nutrients, enzymes and probiotics to truly nourish and rejuvenate the skin. Our ingredients are certified organic, cold pressed, virgin, supercharged and fermented; they’re not refined or full of nasty preservatives. Our inner beauty powders are literally alive; rich in beneficial bacteria that rejuvenate the skin on the inside, so it glows on the outside.
How do you develop your skincare ‘recipes’, what is the process?
Each product has taken years to develop as they are very complex formulas or ‘recipes’. I spend a huge part of my week researching different ingredients and their health benefits. Once I formulate an idea and basic recipe I then work with my team – my naturopath and chemist and we converse, tweak, trial. For us it’s important that the product looks good, smells good, tastes good, but most importantly that it is super healthy and super active.
What are some of your favourite superfoods for your skin and why?
Favourite superfoods – now that is hard! I love eating lacto-fermented foods like sauerkraut, or my Inner Beauty Powders. Lacto-Fermented foods are rich in bio-available nutrients (the fermentation process predigests the food, so the nutrients are more available for the skin and body to use) to feed the skin from within and are great for improving digestion as they contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Improving digestion is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy weight and give the skin a healthy glow. They also help boost immunity as 75% of your immune system is in your gut.
Other foods that I love include antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory wonders like dark green leafy veggies, berries and pomegranate which are also packed with vitamin C to support collagen production, help protect the skin from UV stress and free radical damage, plus provide a good dose of fibre for cleansing the bowel and skin. Foods rich in omega 3‘s moisturise and smooth the skin from the inside as well as being anti-inflammatory – these include flaxseeds, salmons, sardines and chia seeds.
Inflammation causes all sorts of skin problems including dryness, pimples and loss of skin tone as it breaks down collagen, so these foods can work wonders. Protein is also very important as it builds collagen and keeps blood sugar levels balanced which is very important for maintaining healthy skin. Good sources of protein are nuts, fish and grass fed meats. Spices are super skin foods too as they are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and rich in skin protective antioxidants. I love my carotenoid rich veggies; carrots, sweet potato, leafy greens, seaweeds etc. Beta carotene or pro-vitamin A helps rejuvenate the skin and promotes cell turnover – it is helpful for helping improve dry flaky skin. Avocado is bursting with skin boosting carotenoids and they are made more available as avocado is also brimming with good fats that are not only super rejuvenating and moisturising for the skin but also help the carotenoids become available to the skin to use as they are oil soluble.
Last but not least I also love my cruciferous veggies; cabbage, kale and brocolli – super rich in sulphur compounds that help detoxify the skin so it is lovely and clear and radiant.
What do you find are the most common misconceptions people have regarding their skin?
The most common misconception is that their skin problems are genetic. While genetics do load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger – its all about epigenetics (the way in which the expression of heritable traits is modified by environmental influences) so while you may be more susceptible genetically to a certain skin condition such as eczema, diet and skincare play a huge role and can exacerbate it, trigger it or heal it.
What are some of the foods to steer clear of to promote good skincare?
Foods to steer clear of are high GI foods or white carbohydrates such as white bread and white rice. Also high intervention foods (HI) – anything that is refined or processed. Stick to clean, fresh, organic wholefoods and grass fed meats.
Your inner beauty powder is a hero product, what remarkable benefits have you seen from people using this product?
Our Beauty Chef customers find that Glow Inner Beauty Powder helps with all sorts of skin conditions such as hormonal acne, dry and flaky skin and uneven skin tone to name a few benefits. Glow Inner Beauty Powder also helps with digestion and tummy problems such as bloating and promotes a feeling of general wellbeing as well of course a lovely glowing complexion.
How do you keep your skin glowing?
Well of course I drink my Inner Beauty Powders mixed into a glass of purified water or in a smoothie with almond milk and fruit. I also drink lots of clean water – purified with The Beauty Chef Inner Beauty Water Purifier). I avoid processed foods and ensure I eat yummy wholesome foods as well as trying to get 8 hrs of good sleep a night and exercising moderately but regularly.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love mixing something that is creative with something that is very research and scientifically based. Art and science are my areas of interest – plus I am a big foodie, so it all works together very nicely. But the best part of being The Beauty Chef is helping people with their skin and health. It is very rewarding.
What’s your favourite breaky bowl recipe with GLOW?
Mmmm, that is hard. – there are so many delicious options for a healthy breakfast using Glow Inner Beauty Powder. I love a chia mousse with coconut and GLOW sprinkled with nuts and seeds.