Beauty Boss: How the World's First Living Skincare Line Changed the Way We Think About Beauty

Carla Oates
Photo: Courtesy

Welcome to Beauty Boss, a reoccurring series in which we spotlight the power players driving the beauty world forward. Consider this your chance to steal their get-ahead secrets, and grow from the real-life lessons they’ve learned on the job.

After Australian beauty Carla Oates spent years fighting skin allergies of her own, she was determined to create a product line that helped correct the problem from within. Thus Beauty Chef, the world’s first living skincare line, was born. Just a few years after launching solely in Australia, she’s now found global success and has a cult following from those looking to attain that head to toe glow. Below, she shares how it all came into fruition.

What is your background?

When I started out, some 17 years ago, I was working as a beauty editor and became concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare products and I felt very passionate about helping to change the paradigm in the beauty industry.

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, and one thing that really stood out was the difference in my and my family’s skin and people's skin was when they ate my lacto-fermented vegetables. People were addicted to my fermented veggies and kefir coconut water! As I result, I started experimenting with lacto-fermenting different blends of skin-loving ingredients, and the result was my Inner Beauty Powder, now named Glow, which promotes skin radiance from the inside out.

How did you fall into beauty/wellness?

When I was a child, I had eczema and allergies and I went and saw a naturopath and she drastically changed my diet. When I took certain things out of my diet and introduced more whole foods, I saw a dramatic change in my skin. So from quite early on, I had a very good understanding of how food and gut health can affect the skin.

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Due to my skin problems and also my daughter’s (who also suffered from allergies and eczema), I have spent the last ten years focused on researching and teaching and creating products that focus on gut health and experimenting with and researching lacto fermented foods (which produce natural probiotics). This has made a huge difference to my skin and also my daughter’s. I know it doesn’t sound very glamorous, but beautiful, glowing skin does begin in your gut. If you're working toward more radiant and glowing skin, you might be surprised to know that the answer lies more in your digestive tract rather than on how much you're spending on creams and cleansers.

When I created The Beauty Chef, it was with the intention of educating women that glowing skin comes from within, which means feeding your skin from the inside out. And more specifically that ‘beauty begins in the belly” – good gut health is vital for healthy, robust, radiant skin.

What makes Beauty Chef unique?

The Beauty Chef was the world’s first inner beauty brand and remains the only living skincare range. Our products are literally alive with beneficial bacteria that help to balance digestive health! If you want beautiful, glowing skin, you need to start with a balanced, healthy gut

What’s the best compliment you ever received?

I’m always humbled when women tell me how much my products have changed their lives. I hear such amazing feedback from my customers with different skin types and problems that our products have helped!

What products do you never vacation without?

Would have to be The Beauty Chef Beauty Fix Balm, my favorite all-purpose balm. I use this on my lips, hands, elbows, knees – even on my face if there are any particularly dry patches.

What is your secret to glowing skin?

One of the best ways to help balance gut flora is to take probiotics - beneficial bacteria that help to keep your gut in good health. Our gut is where 70% of our immune system likes, where we metabolize hormones, make nutrients that contribute to collagen formation, make anti-oxidants, make detoxifying enzymes, neutralize pathogens – and all of these things can profoundly affect the skin. Studies show where there is gut inflammation there will be skin inflammation. Studies also show that people who have a healthier gut microbiota, have a better fatty acid profile in their skin – meaning their skin is more hydrated, moisturized, plumper.

Each Beauty Chef Inner Beauty product is formulated for different skin and health benefits, but each is designed to improve gut health and digestion, and promote healthier, glowing skin from the inside out.

What do you do when you are feeling in need of a detox?

When I’m feeling quite toxic and needing a good clean out I take my Cleanse Inner Beauty Powder, which is designed to help detox and purify your body on the inside, promoting smoother, clearer skin on the outside.

The skin is the body’s largest elimination organ, so if our detoxification processes aren’t running smoothly, then this is the first place for it to show. If your complexion looks clogged or congested, chances are your liver is, too. To help your body realign either during or after times of excess - the alkalizing Cleanse blend features 45 certified organic and bio-fermented fruits, vegetables, seeds, roots, algae, grasses, plant fiber, purifying herbs and digestive enzymes.

I also up my intake of cruciferous veggies, like cabbage, kale, and broccoli, which are super rich in sulfur compounds that help detoxify the skin so it is lovely and clear and radiant. As well as increasing my water intake. Filtered water is essential. I don’t eat any processed food, but I do drink a little red wine, so I will give this a break as well. I also love to use an infrared sauna to help assist the detoxification process. I find this very helpful.

What’s one mistake most women make when it comes to skincare or internal beauty that they could easily fix?

For beautiful glowing skin, I recommend taking all the processed and packet foods out of your diet and add some lacto-fermented foods instead! Lacto-Fermented foods are rich in bio-available nutrients to feed the skin from within (fermentation predigests the food, so the nutrients are more available for the skin and body to use) and are great for improving digestion as they contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Great examples are sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi, or try The Beauty Chef Glow Advanced Inner Beauty Powder. Also, drink lots of filtered water - water is important for every biological function in the body.

Walk me through your morning routine.

My beauty routine starts at night because this is when all the good stuff happens and the skin can truly rejuvenate without the interruption of environmental assault. First of all, I gently cleanse my face using coconut oil and a muslin cloth to wash away the day’s grease and grime. Oil is very effective for lifting dirt from the skin and coconut oil boasts both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it the perfect cleanser. I then dab a little Probiotic Skin Refiner onto a cotton-wool pad and swipe it over my face to gently refine my skin, balance the skin’s natural flora and stimulate collagen production (thanks to the natural lactic acid). Then I apply a few drops of Dream Repair Serum and massage it into my face (light on my oily T-zone, however), neck and décolletage. This is brilliant for infusing both skin protective antioxidants and skin-nourishing essential fatty acids (omegas 3,6,7 and 9) into the skin as well as rejuvenating the skin with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, P and K. Then I apply a little Beauty Fix Balm under my eyes, on my lips and any dry patches - and off I go to bed.

In the morning, I go for a run along Bondi Beach, and when I come home I drink a glass of Glow Inner Beauty Powder in purified water – because beauty really does begin in the belly!

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