Founded on the philosophy that 'beauty begins in the belly', we chatted to the Carla Oates about the story of The Beauty Chef, creative process and everyday essentials with Superette.
Carla Oates, The Beauty Chef
When and how did The Beauty Chef come about?
As a child I suffered from eczema and allergies and my mum took me to see a naturopath who dramatically changed what I ate, removing processed foods as well as allergens such as gluten and dairy from my diet. My allergies and eczema subsided, so I experienced firsthand the connection of food as medicine - that what we eat and how it can affect our skin and health.
Interestingly, when my daughter also experienced eczema and allergies, around 12 years ago, when she was about ten, I eliminated trigger foods like dairy and gluten from her diet, but I also started researching the link between gut health and skin health and found some of the studies very interesting. As I explored this link more closely, I decided to put my family on a gut-healing protocol which included eliminating certain foods from our diet but also introducing lots of lacto-fermented wholefoods teeming with beneficial bacteria aka probiotics into our diet. These included foods like sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi.
As I began to experiment in my kitchen at home, lacto-fermenting a variety of wholefoods, I realised I was onto something. Friends and family also took notice, asking what I was doing differently as my skin was glowing - and I quickly became the local beauty pusher and supplier for these fermented foods as they became in high demand from everyone from neighbours and friends and family. They found they had better energy, happier tummies, and healthier, more radiant skin.
From here in 2009, the first iteration of GLOW inner beauty was born, my first inner beauty powder containing 24 bio-fermented superfoods with prebiotics and probiotics for gut health, glowing skin and wellbeing.
Any advice you would give to someone thinking of starting a brand?
I know it sounds cliché, but being successful in business or anything in life requires a lot of hard work and I often say this to my children. So it’s important to do what you love because you may as well work hard at something you wholeheartedly enjoy. Plus, you are bound to be more successful doing something that you have fire, passion and drive for. My mantra is to be gutsy, listen to your gut and follow your gut instinct.
What inspires you when creating new products for The Beauty Chef?
As a brand, we are always looking to innovate. We work with a dedicated team of microbiologists, drawing on the latest research to deliver products that are as efficacious as they are delicious. I am an empathetic formulator and look at what people need, what my friends need, what I need. A lot of my inspiration also comes from my ongoing research into the microbiome and fermented foods.
Do you have a favourite product that you’ve created over the years?
Our latest product launch OMEGA ELIXIR Inner Beauty Boost was a true labour of love that took over 3 years to perfect. Having suffered from eczema and dry skin myself as a child, I really wanted to create an omega based drinking oil that helped to relieve dry and irritated skin and could also help to smooth and soothe inflamed skin as well. This is a very unique formula; there is no other oil supplement available in the market with such a varied profile of skin-boosting omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9 derived from black cumin seed, chia seed and sea buckthorn fruit. The synergistic blend creates a 'matrix effect' to support the omegas’ bioavailability, increasing the amount of essential fatty acids that can be absorbed by the body, to help nourish dry skin concerns from the inside out.
What’s your biggest skincare secret to share?
I’ve always believed that a nutrient-balanced, diverse diet of wholefoods is key to good health and glowing skin. If you’re not getting enough nutrients, or you suffer from poor digestion, your skin might not be getting the goodness it needs, which can affect everything from elasticity and collagen production to tone and texture. As we head into the winter months of the year, it’s also important to be sure to continue eating a wide range of plant foods and consider supercharging your diet with a targeted skin supplement like GLOW Inner Beauty Essential or OMEGA ELIXIR.
What are some simple changes we can begin to implement daily to improve the health of our gut?
Eat gut-healing foods. If you’re looking to heal your gut, it’s essential to consume nourishing foods that are gentle and soothing. Choose foods that aid digestion. Certain foods can stimulate digestion and contain critical digestive-boosting enzymes: bitter greens such as dandelion, rocket (arugula), endive, chicory, and sour foods such as lemon, grapefruit and unpasteurised apple-cider vinegar. Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and miso are also a delicious way to add flavour and aid digestion. They are naturally rich in probiotics and postbiotics.
Eat home-cooked, nourishing meals. While eating at home isn’t always possible, try to minimise how much you eat out, where you have far less control over the salt, sugar, additives and types of fat used in the cooking process.
Choose organic, seasonal and local produce, which is fresher and richer in nutrients. Organic produce is also free from nasties such as herbicides and pesticides, which may compromise gut health. Ensure you wash all produce before consuming it, especially anything that will be eaten raw.
Steam or sauté your vegetables. Raw vegetables and salads can be difficult for the gut to digest if your gut health is compromised, and lightly steaming or sautéing them can help.
Eat a small amount of animal protein. There’s no need to avoid animal protein when healing the gut, but be mindful of your portion sizes and frequency of consumption. To improve its digestibility, slice meat finely and marinate it in herbs and spices or a dressing containing papaya, pineapple or kiwifruit (which contain protein-digesting enzymes). Slow-cooked or braised meats are easier to digest, so drag out your slow cooker.
What are you listening to right now?
Funny you should ask! We’re still currently working from home due to COVID-19, so I compiled a Wellness playlist of some of my favourite tracks I’m enjoying at the moment to share with the team.
How would you describe your personal style?
Refined, effortless and timeless. I don’t follow trends but instead prefer to invest in high quality separates that last well beyond a season and can be interchanged with staple items in my wardrobe to create different looks. I keep my palette fairly neutral, with a pop of tonal prints here and there for colour and interest. Texture and textiles are also important, I tend to favor natural fabrics such as wool, cotton and silk as they breathe better and last longer.
What should every woman have in her wardrobe?
A classic white t-shirt is so versatile. It can be dressed up with a blazer for the office or paired back for a relaxed weekend look tucked into white jeans. A beautiful pair of black leather ankle boots also never goes out of style!
Where to from here, what’s next for The Beauty Chef?
The recent $10 million investment into the business on behalf of Point King Capital will allow The Beauty Chef to accelerate our global ambitions to drive brand growth. We are already sold in the US, Hong Kong and UK across retailers including Sephora, Net-A-Porter, Selfridges and Liberty London. Together with Point King Capital, we are in a strong position to drive product innovation and grow the range to take our brand further across the globe.