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Natural born beauty

The Beauty Chef founder Carla Oates knows that having a vision is key but fulfilling one is harder. Oates spoke to RUSSH on going with your gut, learning from your family and treating your skin with nature’s best remedies.

What inspired you to embrace the naturalist lifestyle?

I had been researching the benefits of plants and natural biological processes such as lacto-fermentation for around 10 years and was writing in the area of natural health and beauty for 15 years. During this time I made all my own skincare from scratch from plants and organic foods and was giving them to friends and family to use. I had worked out ways to help my own skin issues and I felt very confident that my protocol would help others.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Having a vision and trying to convince my manufacturers to fulfil it.

Are there any ingredients that have fallen out of fashion for you?

Soy, although fermented can be beneficial. Processed foods have always been out of fashion for me. I really focus on where my ingredients come from and also how food is prepared and eating with the seasons. Soaking grains and legumes, for example, is important to get rid of anti-nutrients. Fermenting dairy eliminates lactose.

“When I first started The Beauty Chef six years ago, the concepts of healing the gut with bio-fermentation ingredients for gut health were a little left of field.”

What shocked you the most in terms of chemicals in skincare? 

That there are so many chemicals on the market without the most basic set of safety data. Also, breast milk [analysis] showed 300 new chemicals that weren’t around 50 years ago; many found in our skincare products. I don’t think that the exposure to one chemical in a single skincare product is problematic, but it’s the cumulative stress on the body with exposure to [a] myriad of questionable chemicals in multiple skincare products, hair products, personal care products, cleaning products, food products etc. 

What are the benefits of fermented ingredients for the skin?

At The Beauty Chef we use a mother culture with 25 years of research behind it to ferment our super foods. It is called flora culture and it is made up of a variety of lactic acid producing bacteria that pre-digest the food to make the nutrients more available to the skin to use. So it supercharges the nutrients, making them more powerful. It also helps neutralise any anti-nutrients in food. Fermentation also helps break down the proteins that can be hard for the skin to absorb.