Natassia Nicolao is on a mission to change the beauty industry, one routine at a time. As founder of Conserving Beauty, she is working towards a more sustainable future for all, from a small team of just five employees. A grounding in social justice, advocacy and planet impact has helped inform Nicolao's perspective, and what she wants to achieve in beauty. Here, the founder and CEO takes us through her beauty routine, her journey so far and what a day in the life of a beauty CEO looks like.
What is your morning beauty routine?
When it comes to beauty, I take a less is more approach. I often find using less products is not only better for my skin but is also more mindful for the planet. On a typical day, I try and get ready in 15 minutes, or 30 minutes if I’m washing my hair, which is twice a week. I’ve been taking WelleCo’s Super Elixir Greens Powder daily for years since I used to work there. I genuinely see a difference in my skin, hair and energy levels when I take it consistently. I have a short two-minute shower straight away, brush my teeth while in there, and use a body salt scrub to exfoliate. I choose not to cleanse my face in the morning because I find it works better for my skin.
I lather my whole body in oil afterwards. At the moment I’m using one from Costa Brazil and it smells like heaven. I apply a moisturiser and 50+ sunscreen. If I’m wearing makeup to work that day, I’ll blend a few drops of our Conserve You Face Oil with a skin tint. It’s perfect under makeup as it doesn’t separate and helps give my skin a dewy glow. I’ll then layer a few cream products on top from Westman Atelier including blush and a highlight, followed by mascara and a loose setting powder. My hair usually air-dries straight but sometimes if I have time, I’ll use my Dyson Airwrap to create a loose wave.
What is your night beauty routine?
My night routine is super simple. I usually come home from work and take my makeup off straight away with our InstaMelt Day Dissolver Wipes. It’s the perfect oil cleanse to dissolve all traces of my makeup and sunscreen. I follow on with our Sea You Cleansing Balm for a gentle double cleanse. I then use a few pumps of Niacinamide Treatment from Fig-1 Beauty followed by their Retinol 1 Night Cream. It’s the only one I’ve used that doesn’t irritate my skin, plus they come in easy to use refills.
Describe what you do for a living? What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m the Founder and CEO of Conserving Beauty. We are a Melbourne-based start-up and small team of five. We create innovative waterless and dissolvable beauty products that are equally great for your skin and the planet. A typical day starts at 5:15am wake-up and straight to the coffee machine. I’ll spend the first 45 minutes of the day slowly waking up with a coffee while reading the news, articles, and checking emails from overnight.
At 6am, I’ll shower and get ready for the day. I’ll usually do some work at home first, make and pack my lunch, then head to our office at 8:30am. My day is then packed with meetings with my team, our supply chain partners, and advisors. We always have lunch together as a team which is really fun. To help us manage workload and priorities, we like using Monday, Notion and Microsoft Teams.
I usually leave the office between 6/6:30pm and go home to make dinner for my fiancé and I. At the moment I have some late meetings in the evening after dinner with the UK as we are planning a very exciting launch. I’m usually in bed around 10:00pm and asleep at 10:30pm.
Sustainability is central to your brand. Have you always been passionate about how beauty and sustainability come together?
I’ve always been involved in social justice, advocacy, and planet impact since early teenage years. I always knew I wanted to create something that could positively impact people and our planet. When I completed my Bachelor of Science, I found myself working in the beauty and wellness industry across ethical sourcing, supply chain, and product development. It was clear to me that the world didn’t need another beauty brand, but it did need a conservation movement that could create change.
I found a way to merge my long-term love for beauty products with my passion for planet impact, using my science background and commercial experience in the beauty industry to start Conserving Beauty. We built a completely traceable and transparent supply chain from inception and focus on responsibly managing our water footprint, carbon footprint, and waste footprint.
What is the chemist beauty product(s) you use and love?
I regularly use the La Roche-Posay Anthelios ULTRA SPF50+ Face Sunscreen For Dry Skin as it’s excellent coverage. I’m currently trying the Ethique Tone It Down Purple Shampoo & Conditioner Solid Bars and really like them plus they help me reduce my personal water and waste footprint when it comes to the shower.
What is your main form of beauty body maintenance? What products do you use on your body?
I really enjoy the ritual of body care, but I keep it minimalistic. I use a salt scrub and reusable loofah every few days in the shower to gently exfoliate. One of my mentors got me into dry brushing as well, which I now do once a week and I’ve noticed a difference in my skin. Usually as soon as I’m out of the shower, the first thing I do is lather my whole body in a light-weight oil – at the moment I’m using Costa Brazil from Mecca and it’s incredible. I also carry a hand cream at all times in my bag or in the car. One of my team members got us all into the LeLabo Hand Pomade and I’m already on my second tube, it’s that amazing.
How do you keep fit and healthy? Does exercise form a large part of your routine?
Exercise plays a vital part in helping me manage my energy levels and my mental health. As much as I would love it to do it daily, at the moment with work commitments, I’m going to the gym around 3 times per week. I love using Classpass to change up different style classes such as Boxing, Barry’s Bootcamp, or Reformer Pilates. I also usually do a few long walks with my fiancé or friends on weekends which I find is my favourite way to exercise.
What do you do when your body needs to recover?
As I spend a lot of time at my desk. I often find my posture is not great – my back can get sore – and my eyes need a break from screen time. There are a few things I do to help my body recover physically or even when I’m feeling burnt out:
The first thing is usually spending more time outside and walking as it helps my body and mind relax. Sometimes I need some additional support and turn to acupuncture, physiotherapy, and remedial massages.
The last and arguably the best, is prioritising sleep. Sleep is when our body spends time regenerating, so doing anything to help improve my sleep quality usually helps me feel the best.
You’re tired or rundown: what is your beauty hack?
Beauty sleep! It is when our body spends time regenerating so doing anything to help improve my sleep quality usually helps me feel the best. I love taking Sleep Tea or Melatonin before bed to help me wind down and switch off from the day.
What is the one non-negotiable in your beauty routine?
Sleep (again – sorry to be predictable!). It really is the best thing I can do to look after myself both physically and mentally. I always feel my most beautiful and confident if I’ve had a restful night’s sleep.
Do you have a beauty icon? Who are they and why?
Both of my grandmothers, Anna-Maria (Nonna) and Bessie (Yiayia). They are two of the most incredibly glamorous, strong, and beautiful people I know. No matter what is going on in their lives or where they are going – even to the supermarket – they always look effortlessly chic and put together. They have taught me so many beauty secrets over the years and the importance of feeling confident in my own skin.
What is the best advice on beauty you’ve received?
Less is more.
What is the best advice on health you’ve received?
When I met my fiancé 10 years ago, he told me if I’m not looking after my own health, I’ll never be able to look after anyone I love as I won’t be well enough to help them.
What is the one product you can’t live without?
Conserve You Face Oil. Haven’t gone a day without it since we formulated it.
What’s your proudest career moment so far?
There have been so many that it’s hard to choose from. One that stands out is building our Conserving Beauty Team. I wouldn’t be able to do anything without the support from the incredible people who help me make the magic happen. Hiring likeminded brilliant people to work alongside our all-female board of directors and investors, has been my roundest achievement to date. Building a culture where we can lead with purpose over profit and make a true impact is why I founded Conserving Beauty.