Hidden causes of acne

Seriously, how should you wash acne-prone skin?

This is probably one of those questions that has been bugging you for quite awhile. And that’s totally understandable, considering that it’s hard to find the best face wash for acne-prone skin.

Acne-prone skin will greatly benefit from a cleanser that can remove dirt, oil and makeup residues without stripping the skin’s natural oils. Why?

Well, those natural oils are important for your skin’s protection. If they get stripped away, your skin is forced to compensate by producing more oil - leading to more clogged pores and breakouts.

So, find a cleanser that doesn’t contain alcohol and harsh chemicals. Skip scented products since artificial fragrance can irritate the skin.

One thing you can do to find out if a cleanser is stripping your skin’s oil is to feel your face after washing it. If it feels tight, sensitive and taut, consider replacing your face wash.

Of course using the wrong cleanser isn’t the only thing that can cause acne. There are tonnes of acne triggers hiding in your environment, lifestyle and habits.

Check out this infographic. 

 

 

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This entrepreneur is taking the toxic out of nail salons

SUNDAYS SALON

In the heart of Manhattan, a well-polished nail salon, sundays, has opened its doors to manicured applause.

The sundays Salon in New York - in Manhattan’s Nomad neighbourhood - is a zen environment featuring non-toxic nail treatments. The sophisticated lifestyle brand puts user’s health, happiness and wellbeing first with 10-Free Nail Polish - the non-toxic nail polish line that doesn't compromise on a bright, brilliant finish.

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Founder of sundays, Amy Ling Lin, was inspired to create the line after launching a chain of nail salons four years ago. Realising that the salon environment is filled with harmful chemicals, Amy developed the sundays line of 10-Free nail polishes to enhance a health conscious environment for both talon technicians and polish connoisseurs alike.

 Sundays founder, Amy Ling Lin

Sundays founder, Amy Ling Lin

Embracing the less-is-more philosophy, each polish promises purity in a bottle, and every brush stroke delivers an all-natural, unparalleled manicure-pedicure experience.

What is 10-FREE?

sundays professional 10-Free Nail Polish means it’s formulated without the nine hazardous chemical additives commonly used in nail polish. And it’s completely free of animal by-product, making the brand proudly cruelty-free and vegan.

Boasting one of the most pure and simple formulas on the market, 10-Free Nail Polish delivers rich, luxurious color with stunning shine in a variety of timeless hues and fashionable colors. 

“I wanted to create a warm and friendly place for every guest to feel as though they are within a relaxing, cozy home,” says owner and entrepreneur Amy Ling Lin, referencing Hygee – the Danish word for cozy. “It also means enjoying the good things in life with good people,” she says. “We can be most at ease when we are home, and I hope our clients feel this way at our studio.”

In place of the usual padded massage chairs with inbuilt foot baths are the timeless comfort of Blu Dot Chip chairs and oxDenmarq Rama chairs constructed from bull leather and oak wood. As clients recline to the calming sounds of classical music a white spiral stair case, that leads to a second-floor chill-out hideaway, comes into view.

 

 

The 2017 Superfoods You Need to Know

5 Antioxidants and Superfoods Trending for 2017

 

Move over kale, quinoa, matcha, kelp and kefir, there’s a new selection of key superfoods and antioxidants on the wellbeing block. Here are 5 ingredients set to soar in the health and wellness space this year.

 

1.    Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is known to be one of nature’s most nutrient-rich substances. Produced by honeybees to feed their Queen, royal jelly is the reason she lives 40 times longer than worker bees. Royal Jelly contains all three macronutrients; antioxidants; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; minerals; and essential amino acids. Similar to honey, Royal Jelly is used for a number of health reasons including; healthy bone development, immunity support and when applied topically it can help to transform dull skin into a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. You can try using Royal Jelly in its purest form, or if you’d prefer to use it in your beauty products, try Burt’s Bees new Skin Nourishment collection.

2.    Watermelon Water

On the subject of Queen Bee, Beyoncé has invested in a new watermelon water start up. Produced from the fruit's flesh and rind, watermelon water is set to be as popular as coconut water and a major beverage of choice this summer. High in lycopene (a powerful and protective antioxidant found in plants), potassium and electrolyte minerals, watermelon water has numerous health benefits which include regulating digestive health, reducing inflammation and improving circulation and heart health.

3.    Ubiquinol

Ubiquinol is the active (more readily absorbed) form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a powerful antioxidant that is found naturally in the body. Its role is to assist in powering the body’s overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of major organs, including the heart. If you’re feeling drained, Ubiquinol supplements can actually help to support your natural energy levels to function at your prime. Speak with your healthcare practitioner first to discuss your supplement needs.

 

4.    Milk Thistle

Fusion Health Naturopath and Holistic Nutritionist, Erika Morvay, says Milk Thistle is one herb to keep an eye on in 2017. The super-herb contains silybin and other antioxidant compounds that support the health of the liver and may help to protect it from free radical damage.

5.    Hemp

Predicted to be the superfood of 2017 – hemp is a plant-based, rich source of Omegas, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and is also free from soy and diary. Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and are the only food to contain Omega 3 and 6 in just the right amounts to meet our nutritional needs. You might have seen your favourite foodie blogger sprinkling hemp onto smoothie bowls or salads on Instagram, however strictly hemp is still not permitted for human consumption in Australia. If legalised in April this year, Australia will join a legion of other countries already chomping down on hemp, including the UK, the United States, Canada and parts of Europe. For now, you can make good use of hemp in body scrubs and facials as a powerful antioxidant for your skin. 

Summer Skincare

Summer skin needs special care. There's salty air, chlorine, humidity and sun to deal with. 

So I've narrowed down my go-to skincare brands for the season ahead for those of you in the southern hemisphere. 

La Mav

There are so many products to love in this organic skincare range. Every morning after cleansing with the Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser, or even before, I start with a spritz of the Rose Hydrating Mist. It's the perfect wake-up call to summer skin that's dealing with everyday oils, grime and salty air. The alcohol-free toner works to re-balance the skin's pH and diminish visible signs of ageing. Follow with the Hyaluronan Daily Moisture Creme to lock in hydration and radiance. 

Biology Smart Skincare

This genius brand balances the pH in your skin so it holds nutrients and hydrates with an acid mantle that acts as a barrier. The alternative is skincare with ingredients like sulphates, soaps, artificial fragrances.. that strip skin, lead to severe dryness and possibly infection. No thanks.

Typically, healthy skin has a slightly acidic pH balance of 5.6. Biology keeps it that way - neutralising chemicals and bacteria and keeping age at bay. I scrub with the Skin Smoothing Body Buff every other day and indulge skin in the Moisture Therapy Body Lotion after showering. For best results, apply to damp skin. 

Tata Haper

This purifying cleanser is my skin saviour. Gentle and exfoliating it's natural ingredients polish the skin to improve glow while purifying the complexion, ridding dead skin cells, minimising pores and maintaining the skin's natural hydration - a must after a day in the ocean. It's free of soaps, alcohol, parabens and detergents and packed with fresh enzymes, clays and essential oils. 

Get Skintacular Skin that Glows and Glows

Yeah, you know the sun's bad, but did you realise that UV damage alone is responsible for up to 80 percent of the appearance of skin as we age? That's kinda big time, right?

According to David Khoo, Olay's Skin Scientist, there are two main causes of skin ageing – intrinsic and extrinsic.

"Intrinsic ageing has to do with our genetic lottery, the way our wrinkles form as our skin ages is inherited from our mothers" says David. "However, extrinsic ageing factors accelerate this process. For example, UV damage causes wrinkles, uneven texture and dark spots to form more quickly."

Makes good sense to not only stay out of the sun, but to also diversify your skincare routine as the seasons change - like you switch up your wardrobe season to season. Especially if you’re engaging in outdoor activities - whether that be a morning jog or an outdoor wedding. Environmental conditions have a huge impact on the behavior of your skin and even how your makeup wears throughout the day.

 Skin that shines.. Photography by Jay Harrison

It's not only SPF that will aid in a skintacular healthy glow and that much-coveted even skin tone. As well as embracing a morning-and-night cleansing routine, here's my top five tips for age-fighting, younger-looking complexion that'll last the test of time:

Hit up the H2O: A large gulp of water right before bed and a glass when you wake up combats the overnight activity that sees your skin cells’ zapping up to 25 percent of your natural moisture while they work to expel toxins.

Zinc supplement: Take a daily 30mg zinc supplement to combat lacklustre, flakey skin. Zinc is utilised by the body for tissue repair and can also be found in chicken, eggs, pumpkin and sesame seeds.

Superfoods: Indulge in antioxidant-rich beauty foods. Avoid anything inflammatory like sugar and dairy, and add coloured leafy greens and protein to your diet. Health and Lifestyle Commentator Sheridan Buchanan agrees; "Choose foods rich in vitamin E (almonds and kale), vitamin C (berries and citrus fruits), vitamin A (sweet potato and leafy greens), zinc (oysters and chicken), healthy fats (avocado and walnuts ) and omega 3 fatty acids (eggs and wild salmon) to feed you skin nutrients."

Take a Probiotic: For real, a clean and clear digestive system is the skin secret to an oh-what-a-glow complexion.

Exfoliate before you moisturise: Slough away flaky dry skin that’s leftover from the changing seasons with a gentle exfoliating system. Exfoliation is equally as important in summer as it is winter because the dermis builds up oil and sweat and you want to be certain you're removing every last sign of it from your skin to avoid clogged pores. Follow up with a sun-protection moisturiser like Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting UV Cream that offers UVA/UVB protection with an amino-peptide complex that works to help renew the skin’s surface layers and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. RRP $52.99








Chemical-free baby

Talking to Therese Kerr is like talking to your best friend’s mum. The one that makes the tastiest school sandwiches and has your favourite icy-poles in the freezer after a summer Saturday spent cartwheeling in her backyard.

So what if you weren’t cartwheeling with her supermodel daughter, Miranda Kerr, you know the mum I’m talking about. She’s friendly, knowledgeable, interested, advice-driven and maternal. No wonder Therese has launched a line of organic baby products, Divine Baby, to complement her growing range of personal care products including Divine By Therese Kerr, Divine Man and Divine Woman.

Not only are all of Therese’s products certified organic, they’re vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free and chemical-free.

Health Bird chatted to the passionate wellness advocate about choosing health, for you and your baby.

You chose the path of a holistic lifestyle after discovering you had cancerous tumors in your spleen. Has it been hard to maintain?

I choose health. With every choice you are either moving away from health or towards health and I choose health with everything that I do.  Considering the amount of illness and toxicity in the world it’s about making that commitment to yourself and to your family.

Why did you choose to add Divine Baby to your organic range?

I’m about babies been born without chemicals in their bodies. Every day we place a chemical burden on our body with products we use and babies are being born with around 200 chemicals in their little bodies. Divine Baby is about removing the toxicity from your life because one of the fastest ways we detox as a woman is to have a baby. But what we do is we transfer our fat-soluble chemicals to our children in utero. It’s really awful.  And breastfeeding is by far the best thing for our baby however we need to really cleanse first. Fat-soluble chemicals are wreaking havoc on our kid’s health.

How different is the level of toxicity in women’s and baby’s bodies than when you had your children Miranda and Matthew?

Years ago there, Bill Statham (author of The Chemical Maze) said there were around 80,000 chemicals in our world, now there is about 140,000. If I had known about this when I was pregnant with Miranda and Matthew, there is no way in the world I would have used chemical laden products. We just didn’t know. People assume that the products on our shelf are safe.  They are far from safe. There’s over 12,500 chemicals just used in skincare, baby care and oral care products alone, most of which have never been tested for safety. Unfortunately chemicals are used in everyday products on basis they are safe until proven otherwise.

How are your products different to other skincare on the market?

They are all ACO certified, so Australian Certified Organic, that’s the most stringent certification body in Australia.  There’s a huge misrepresentation of the use of the word organic, a company can say something is organic if it has one natural ingredient but it may contain hundreds if not thousands of chemicals. For example someone can claim a can of coke is organic if they put a wedge of lemon in it. That’s how lax the laws are. Just ridiculous.

What ingredients do you include in Divine?

Beautiful, certified organic, natural plant-derived ingredients that support the body. What you put on your skin goes into your blood stream and into your organs. The Environmental Working Group states that our skin will absorb chemicals 10 times quicker by way of digestion and that’s because our skin doesn’t have digestive enzymes available to break the chemicals down. Nor does it have the detoxification process of the liver to further break the chemicals down. If you can’t eat it don’t put it on your skin. All our ingredients are nutrient rich with antioxidants that support the body and don’t harm it in any way.

And that includes Divine Baby?

A baby’s immune system and central nervous system is immature and still developing and doesn’t have the ability to detoxify so you don’t want to put chemicals on it. Children have roughly double the skin surface per body weight of adults so they have more ability to absorb chemicals.

Do you think chemicals are contributing to infertility too?

One in seven women are infertile. We are the only species on earth that are contributing to our own extinction. I don’t want people to get tumors in their spleen or have endometriosis so bad they can’t have children. It’s all about education and providing a healthy alternative that actually works.

Yourself and Miranda are such advocates of this holistic lifestyle. You must be so proud of her range of Kora products too?

Yes, as a family we are committed to providing certified organic products. We have a public profile as a family and we use that. Be a champion for yourselves and your children and your children’s children. Stop buying the products that are causing this.



For the love of OIL

I love nothing more than a nourishing oil to lather all over my skin - whether I'm battling the harsh winter winds of a New York winter, or the drying salty water after a Sydney ocean swim. 

Here's a list of my favourite and of course, Organic, body and face oils to slip into.

Vanessa Megan

Body Beautiful Oil not only hydrates but it nourishes and heals scarred and stretch-marked skin. The 100% certified organic oils such as jojoba, rosehip, coconut and essential oils of tangerine and neroli, penetrate the skin with their unique properties that minimize fine lines, improve elasticity and repair damaged skin tissue. Add to that the delightful aroma and dewy, glowy skin you’ll be left with and this is a must for the beauty cabinet.

Osmia Organics Body Oils

The fine peeps at Osmia recommend you slather this onto wet skin and ‘dance around a little in your birthday suit’ to let it all soak in and nourish your delicate dermis.

Each base oil comprises 11 nourishing oils (9 of which are certified organic) including healing organic jojoba oil, antioxidant kukui oil, powerfully anti-aging and regenerative organic rosehip seed oil, and anti-inflammatory organic hemp seed oil.

Water Lily – is rich and deep scented with notes of vetiver and ginger lily.  Vetiver, a grass from Sri Lanka, enhances your link to the earth and its sacred rituals. While wild-harvested juniper oil and ginger lily add a gentle spice encouraging a scent that will subtly last for hours.

Sunset is sweet and spicy - full of vanilla, coriander, and a whiff of jasmine, but not overly feminine. Organic vanilla and jasmine extracts combine for a warm scent that lasts all day on your skin. The quiet spice of coriander, and the lift of Italian bergamot make this oil anything but plain vanilla.  (The organic bergamot we use has had the photosensitizing element removed, so it will not cause a reaction in the sun.)  It is distinctly possible that you will want to lick your arm while wearing this oil.

Kora Organics

Luxurious Rosehip Oil

If you want supermodel skin, look no further than Miranda Kerr’s organic Kora line. The Aussie mannequin swears she doesn’t leave home without it. Especially loving to lather it on her face during long haul flights. A combination of Noni extract, Jasmine, Sea Buckthorn, Rose and Pomegranate oils and Organic Rosehip oil offer a rich combination of antioxidants and essential fatty acids to combat dehydration, sun damage and signs of aging.

Sodashi

Chakra Balance Oils

Sodashi’s chemical-free skin care range use only ethically-sourced essential oils and plant actives that have helped heal nature. Sodashi is Sanskrit for ‘wholeness, purity, radiance’ and their products not only regenerate your skin but lift your spirit and enhance your wellbeing.

The seven pure plant essence blends that make up the Chakra Balance Oils aim to remove blockages and boost vitality. Perfect for those of us with busy lives looking for an emotional, physical and spiritual balance. 

Healthy life of a New York supermodel

I first met Kiwi supermodel Teresa Moore a few months ago in New York City where she is based and lives with her fiancé. 

Despite the good genes, Teresa is a Paleo eating, green juicing, exercise advocate whose rise to the top is thanks to taking care of herself and maintaining a positive attitude. In fact she says happiness is one of her greatest achievements. How's that for crushing life!

In between globe hopping and modelling for clients like L'Oreal and H&M and kicking off her acting career with roles in Law & Order SVU and The Mysteries of Laura (she sings and plays guitar too!) Teresa took time out to share her top tips for wellbeing in New York. 

And when you're done reading, hop over to Teresa Tastes , Teresa's food and fashion blog that gives an insight into her love of, well, style and eats. 

What's your top healthy dine out spot and what's on the menu? 

ABC Kitchen by restaurateur Jean George in the Flat Iron district is a haven of organic, fresh cuisine in a eco-chic space. It is great for a sophisticated treat that is still healthy and delicious.   

I order: raw nantucket bay scallops, cranberry, apple, orange, and mint 
roast carrot and avocado salad, crunchy seeds, sour cream and citrus 

black bass with chilies and herbs, baby market potatoes and spinach 
sauteed skuna bay salmon, sweet and spicy carrot sauce, roasted carrots and basil 

 ABC Kitchen

ABC Kitchen

What is your favourite organic beauty product buy?

All Natural Shikai hand and body moisturiser - Gardenia or Yuzu are great scents and made with rich and creamy shea butter. 

Renpure Argan Oil Shampoo is low lather and smells great. Renpure Argan Oil Conditioner is rich and creamy, all natural and really revives overworked hair. 

Renpure Originals Amazing Miracle Deep Penetrating Reconstructor is extra creamy and thick. Leave it in for 5-10 minutes to give your hair a thicker softer texture. 

Where would you recommend a friend go to for a yoga or Pilates class in the city?

I used to love SLT Pilates but now to get more variety I go to Equinox and try all the classes there. I like all high cardio classes like IntenSati, 30/60/90 and Deep Extreme which has elements of tribal dance. Super fun. 

When I am away traveling for work I run outside or do a quick Tracy Anderson video. 

 Teresa works hard for the money! Hit the gym pronto if you want a bikini body to rival the New Zealand beauty's

Teresa works hard for the money! Hit the gym pronto if you want a bikini body to rival the New Zealand beauty's

What do you 'healthy' snack on between castings?

Kind Bars, Apples, Mandarins

Please share a Smoothie recipe with us!

I use my Nutribullet and make a quick and yummy smoothie in the morning. 

1/3  washed spinach

1/3 blueberries

1/3 apple 

5 ice-cubes

a dash of water

generous sprinkle of all bran

sprinkle of cinnamon 

Blend and voila! 


Organic Beauty Haven Found!

Want all your organic inner and outer beauty beloveds (and new discoveries) in one easy-to-access place? Of course you do! Well, look no further than The Organic Project.

The Organic Project is the an all-organic and all-Australian online beauty store offering celebrated natural products and new kids on the organic beauty block in the one destination.

It's a haven for the clean potion and lotion obsessed - now. instead of scouring several online and strip destinations, then obsessively breaking down the labels of brands you uncover, you can sleep and breathe easy by shopping at the first all-Australian apothecary.

All skincare, body care and internal beauty products are synthetic-free and safe for your skin and beauty cabinet - especially since they are not stocked alongside other chemically-laden products.

Brands on offer include The Beauty Chef, Indah Organics, DNA Elements, Jacqueline Evans, Aromantik and The Little Alchemist. And from all sales a percentage of the profit will be donated to Opportunity International Australia. OIA provides micro loans to women in developing countries enabling them to start their own small businesses. 

For travelling I love Flight Skincare's Sheer Luxury Milk Cleanser that contains Quandong seed oil. Quandong trees are found in the arid regions of Australia and the oil is a wonderful healing treatment that repairs and soothes skin. The product also contains goats milk, camellia oil, and essential Ylang Ylang to improve blood circulation for a radiant healthy glow. RRP$37.

Surface Skincare's Kakadu Plum & Ylang Ylang Rejuvenating Cream will reduce fine lines and wrinkles in 2-4 weeks. The Kakadu Plum grows natively across the top end of Northern Australia, and is the richest source of Vitamin C known. The Kakadu Plum effectively improves the growth of new skin cells. RRP$54.90.

Here's a preview of the Organic Project team's essentials to give you some ideas to carry you through Spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  

 Emma's Spring essentials

Emma's Spring essentials

Gorgeous, all-natural product loving The Organic Project ambassador Emma Bridge shares her handbag must-haves with Health Bird

I'm a Virgo so there's not much in my bag, I like to keep it light so only my daily essentials make the cut!!  It's all about scents in there today...
Zara faux leather handbag: I love love this bag from Zara, my sunglasses are from there too.
Hanako Therapies spray: There are those moments in the day where I need to stop and take some deep breaths, and spray some of this. I am Bliss from Hanako Therapies is my go to stress reliever... it's great way to clear my mind and re-center.
Notebooks: I'm a bit old fashioned in that I enjoy hand writing some of my life, otherwise I might forget how to write!! So I carry my dairy (pink with green spots) and my daily notebook (white). My diary is from Joanie Loves Chachi in Woollahra and my note book was a gift.
Indah Sari Body Butter: One of my favorite all over body moisturizers and sometimes it make it into my bag as a hand cream. It has a scent of sandalwood and patchouli, two of my favs.
Book: I'm all about love, so there's no surprise that my favorite book of the moment is 'Enchanted Love' by Marianne Williamson. Can't stop reading it over and over again!  It's a bit magical...
Perfume: I've been wearing essential oils as perfume for years, so it was so exciting to find One Seed. I’m loving their perfume called Courage; it smells like heaven with Ylang Ylang, magnolia and rosewood.... it is for integrity, quiet strength and inner beauty...   They are 1000% natural and made in Australia, which I love.
Keys: Key chain from Joanie Loves Chachi in Woollahra.

A Gorgeous Organic Glow

Over the years I've been hearing a lot about natural skincare range Vanessa Megan - created with love in Sydney, Australia. But it was only recently that I actually tried the products for myself.

I opted to shake up my cleansing routine with the Lemon & Rosemary Exfoliating Cleanser, Rose Water Spray and N.E.O. Face Oil Serum. 

Wow! The cleanser manages to soften and moisten skin while it purposely removes dry skin cells. The Rose Water is a fresh spritz the livens up the dermis and smells like a garden and I simply cannot fault the N.E.O. - my dehydrated skin soaked it up overnight and within days I noticed a more even skin tone and morning glow equivalent to a decent eight hours sleep. Something I rarely get!

Then entire range, created by former model and actress Vanessa Gray, is Australian Certified Organic, chemical-free, paraben-free and has no artificial preservatives, colours or fragrances.. in fact the range is free from all nasties and packed full of only natural goodness.

I was lucky enough to interview Vanessa, who excitingly just became a new mum, about the delightful range that promotes a worry-free routine. 

Where did the idea for your brand Vanessa Megan stem from?

Vanessa Megan products were born from my best friend’s phrase: "You should never put anything on your skin that you wouldn't eat''.

Galvanized by this concept, I began investigating the ingredients in my bathroom cabinet and discovering skincare products laced with harmful and synthetic ingredients. I commenced a quest to find a chemical-free product that had all the regenerating and healing properties I was looking for. The search revealed a shortage of truly harmless natural skincare and so in 2001 I started formulating natural face products in my kitchen, studying the effects of various ingredients on my own skin. 

My love of biochemistry resulted in the birth of my own natural skincare brand which I christened: ‘Vanessa Megan’ after the Greek translation of my first and middle name: Vanessa  - ‘Butterfly’ and Megan - ‘Strong’

 Did you experience some hiccups on your journey to becoming a skincare entrepreneur?

My goodness, yes! I have had many hiccups making products that were terrible when I first started, using oils that were awful, conditioners turning to goop... But when it’s come to the business side of things, I have been blessed with great mentors who have helped me build the business that I have today.

 Has the range grown in line with your dreams? Where do you see its future?

The brand has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I mean this was a hobby, something I was going to do in between acting gigs, and now it has become a fully commercially operated business. I see the brand being exported to a few chosen countries, so we can keep the beauty of hand-made, artisan, certified organic products that everyone loves so much.

 Why is natural skincare so important to you - what is the message you are hoping to spread?

When you start going down the rabbit hole of chemical ingredients and what they can potentially do to your body, you understand the importance of using only natural / organic ingredients on your skin. The skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it is a direct entry to our precious internal organs through our blood stream

My best friend who the entire brand was inspired by lost her life to cancer nine years ago. When receiving radiotherapy she was advised not to use any cream or oil products with mineral oils in them. This was enough for me to focus on all-natural ingredients.

Sean Penn has just produced and narrated a very provocative documentary called ‘The Human Experiment’, highlighting the effects of chemical products in our every day life and how they can harm the human body, reproduction, and potentially the neurology of our children. I urge anyone who is interested to watch this film. Naturally Home has brought the film into Australia and you can find out more about it here.

 What are the benefits of the ingredients you use?

Not only are the ingredients we use in our products safe for the skin and body, the healing, longevity, anti-ageing benefits are seen almost instantly. We constantly receive emails from our customers in disbelief of how quickly they noticed improvement in the skin tone, elasticity, texture and overall appearance. Our Nature’s Elixir Oil (N.E.O) is our best selling product because of this reason. It is full of certified organic oils, vitamins and minerals like A,E,P,K and zinc. It really is a must for the beauty cabinet!

 I’ve been using the exfoliating cleanser, rose spray and serum and am delighted with the results, the texture and the scent - what sort of differences should clients see from using your products compared to chemically enhanced beauty products?

As above, customers see instant results and have an instant dynamic with the product, scent and action of what they use. The benefits of using our certified organic products are on a deep level as the products are actually able to penetrate their healing properties deeper into the skins layers. Customers tell us they wear a lot less makeup since using our products, as their natural skin glow returns.

 What are your best sellers?

Nature’s Elixir Oil N.E.O

Essential Blend Natural Perfume

Blood Orange Body Wash (Won Best Body Wash of 2013)

Petitgrain Cleanser

Resuscitate Eye Cream

You recently had a baby. Congratulations! How important is it that baby skin comes into contact only with natural products? What do you use on your baby?

Thank you, I just love being a mum! I always have used only natural products on my skin, but since (my daughter) Winter was born I feel even more strongly about her having only natural products and clothing against her precious skin.

I use our Baby Bath & Massage Oil every night, I use it in her bath and massage her when she gets out. When she gets older and dirtier I will use the Bubba Suds Bath Wash in her bath. I also use the Bum Bum Balm on her bottom and she hasn’t had any nappy rash since she was born. We also use the Bum Bum Balm on our five-year-old’s eczema which helps to reduce inflammation and the itch. I believe less is more, not only for my baby but for our adult skin also.

 Do you live an organic lifestyle in general?

Yes we do. Before I met my fiancé, Grant, I ate really well, but I didn’t have the time (or I thought I didn’t) to eat as organically as I could have. When we moved in together he guided our family unit to local organic produce, and I guided it on the cleaning product side of things.

We shop at our local farmer’s market on Saturdays in Bondi where we buy locally made yoghurt, locally produced meat and veggies. Mid-week we have two local organic shops we buy from and our local butcher sells only grass-fed meat. My stepson who is five has allergies to gluten and dairy, so we have to be mindful of what we cook for him also, which inspires new recipes and cooking. I have to urge people who are on a budget, that organic shopping does not have to be expensive and it tastes 10 times better.

BOTANICAL BEAUTY

I've fallen in love with FIG + YARROW - a delightfully botanical-based line of handcrafted organic health and vanity products made in Denver, Colorado. The face, body, and hygiene range is made using advanced formulations of vibrant roots, leaves, flowers, oils and mineral elements and trust me, it is a treat for the body and feast for the senses! Fig + Yarrow's use of nature's raw beauty with their wild-crafted ingredients inspires vitality and heightens the body’s senses. 

These heavenly-scented products (I'm in love with the Pink Love Salts) are the creation of apothecary artisan, Brandy Monique, who as a young girl was always playing in nature amongst plants and creatures great and small. Later she studied Herbalism and Plant Spirit Medicine which lead Brandy on a Shamanic journey in which she was able to speak to the plant spirits. "This came very naturally to me," says Brandy. "I began doing a tremendous amount of research on the efficacy and effects of natural ingredients for physical health and beauty." Brandy's research confirmed the guidance she would receive in her journeys and from there she was encouraged to start the Fig + Yarrow line using always natural and never synthetic ingredients. 

Choosing natural beauty products crafted with organic and wildcrafted ingredients is one very significant way in which we, as consumers, can collectively influence how the land, people and other creatures at the most basic level of our product chains are treated.

I firmly believe we receive the most benefit from natural products by approaching the plant and minerals respectfully and utilising their gifts responsibly.
 Founder, Brandy Monique in the Fig + Yarrow studio

Founder, Brandy Monique in the Fig + Yarrow studio

Part of FIG+YARROW’s mission is to educate consumers on how to apply products so they feel the true benefits of the organic line. Watch a step by step to use the Cardamom and Coffee Anti-cellulite Body Scrub

 

Read about the benefits of paraben-free skincare

She's Got Hart

Model Ashley Hart’s (in case you’re wondering, she’s a Mambo GoddessSwisse Vitamins ambassador and little sis to model Jessica Hart) current fave green juice recipe.

She’s crushing on celeb nutritionist Kimberly Snyder and shared with me her very well-read copy of Kimberly’s book, ‘The Beauty Detox Foods’. Every morning Ash adapts Kimberly’s recipe for the Glowing Green Smoothie…

‘My latest is blending kale, spinach, romaine, with water and lemon juice,’ says Ash, who was in New York shooting the Mix Apparel campaign in New York’s Central Park when we caught up. ‘And you can put an apple and pear in there – I never thought you could mix fruit and vegetables because your body uses different enzymes to break them down… But it’s easier to break down when blended or juiced. By blending you get all the fibre and I find it’s super-filling. I have a variation of that every morning.’

Ashley combines going green with 20 minutes of meditation day and night and daily kundalini yoga classes which she says, ‘focus on consciousness and the spiritual muscle. ‘It takes you through a lot of mental blocks and you learn to breathe through the moment.’ Is it any wonder this girl radiates happiness? I find she’s truly inspirational when it comes to ‘self wealth’.

Health Birds should check out kmyoga.com for yoga and meditation workshops in Sydney. And Kudalini Yoga East in NYC. I can’t promise you’ll look like Ashley but you might just start to feel as good!

 Ash and I getting high on life in Central Park, NYC

Ash and I getting high on life in Central Park, NYC

Beauty Detox

You need this book!
Green smoothie, yogi and meditation lover, Ashley Hart, had a well-thumbed copy of Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Solution stuffed into her very divine Celine luggage tote (sweet, glowing, fashionable.. Sigh) when I met her in New York last month.
Ashley was adamant that celebrity nutritionist Kimberly’s Glowing Green Smoothie was the key to daily happiness. In fact, many a celeb/model/fashionista/blogger is spruiking this green magic and I’ve joined the craze.
Start your morning blending and believing in a plant-based diet and you’ll notice immediate changes. Brighter skin, renewed energy and weight loss are just three of the benefits.
‘It’s so easy; it’s so simple; it has worked for all my clients, from Hollywood stars to busy mums and school teachers,’ Kimberly told Popsugar.

Catwalk-worthy chocolate!

Not only is Abigail O’Neill an in-demand model and busy mum of three, she’s a passionate raw, vegan and vegetarian cook and the author of Model Chocolate

The delicious cookbook, which features over 80 mouth-watering chocolate recipes, is a must-have for any superfood lover. 

Thanks to healthy chemicals and antioxidants in the cacao bean, like flavonoids and theobromine, there are many benefits to enjoying raw chocolate – such as reduces cardiovascular disease, (dark chocolate) reduces cravings for sweet, salty foods, reduces stress hormone levels, a great source of magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, potassium, and zinc, AND we all know chocolate mends broken hearts.

 Choc On!

Choc On!

Health Bird spoke to Abigail about her love of the dark stuff and why we should all enjoy a little chocolate in our day. She also generously shares her delicious recipe for Mint Fudgies!

How is Model Chocolate different from regular chocolate? Model Chocolate is a way of creating your own chocolate, without sugar, dairy, gluten, and in a some recipes, nuts. Making your own chocolate isn’t hard, I’ve made the recipes super-easy, no tempering, no fuss and you can use organic, fairtrade ingredients which help to make the world a more wonderful place. The best thing about making your own raw chocolate is that you can make a slab of it to last a week for the price you’d pay for one serving over the counter. And then there’s all those extra health benefits! 

When did you first discover you had a knack for chocolate? About 7 years ago, I was playing around with raw cacao instead of carob. For years health nuts like myself only used carob, as there wasn’t the widespread info on cacao. Needless to say I fell in love instantly. 

How did you perfect it? I spent a lot of time alone, in my kitchen, with only ingredients and my mind for inspiration. I didn’t look at any pictures or recipes online, anyone else’s stuff, you know. I’d think up a flavour, and try to create it in as healthy and simple a way possible. 

Do you get input from friends? Yes!.. my Raw Tiramisu. I was driving with a friend on the way home from a day of modelling work and throwing out the question I’d ask everyone to her ‘What’s your favourite flavour’? It’s one of the ways I’d get ideas on what people may like to find in a recipe. She said she was obsessed with Tiramisu, one problem, I’d never tried Tiramisu. I know! Just too much sugar, and whatever else in that one. So I asked her to describe it in detail. I had tasted coffee, and sponge, and biscuit, and liquor. So I set out to make a raw version which would taste every bit as decedent as the real thing. We served it at the launch party for Model Chocolate, it’s exquisite. I’d serve it to anyone.

What is your favourite flavour? I do obsess over my Love Me Bittersweet Chocolate Pie. The Goji Ginger Healer, and the Choc Mint Mousse. Realistically though, I love too many. There are 84 recipes in the hard copy, and too many are my favourites, for different moments of the day/year.

Is this guilt-free chocolate?  Yes, certainly 100% guilt free chocolate. It’s what I like to refer to as ‘real food’. It’s not just a treat, it’s nourishment. It’s also super-satisfying so you won’t be craving other guilty foodstuffs which in turn keeps making you feel wonderful.

What are you working on next? More raw food recipes? I want to share so much. But for me just now, lots more with Model Chocolate, still connecting the dots. 

Have you considered leaving modelling behind to concentrate on food and wellbeing? I can’t see that stopping for a while. I’m always working part time. I love it, and (no doubt due to my high cacao consumption) I’m not looking any older, one day I might even enjoy some travelling in Europe with my hubby. 

Can you share a recipe? Love to! I’ll share with you my Mint Fudgies. They’re super easy, minty goodness that doesn’t require melting, is rich in calcium, and is sweetened only with raw honey. 

MINT FUDGIES 

Chocolate and carob create a wonderful synergy when combined. You won’t taste the carob but it will enhance the benefits of the raw cacao. These rich raw fudgies are super easy, super tasty and so nutritious!

⅓ cup solid raw organic coconut oil

½ cup raw honey

6–8 drops peppermint or spearmint essential oil

¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder, optional

2 tablespoons tahini

¼ cup organic carob powder

⅔ cup raw cacao powder

2 tablespoons extra raw cacao powder, for flouring

Cream together coconut oil and honey, beating well with a small whisk until it becomes smooth. Add everything else, combining well, until mixture becomes chocolate dough. Scrape out onto a cacao-powder floured chopping board, coating mixture with cacao to prevent sticking, and cut into pieces. Put the board with fudge nuggets into the freezer to chill until they become firm before transferring to a sealable glass container to store in the fridge. 

Note: this is one recipe that works better with solidified coconut oil. If oil is liquefied and mixture seems runny, set mixture as fudge in a baking-paper lined dish.

Makes 20 or so Fudgies in less than 10 minutes. 

 Mint Fudgies

Mint Fudgies

  Loving delights from Abigail’s book,   Model Chocolate

Loving delights from Abigail’s book, Model Chocolate