6 Ways to Transition to a Natural Beauty Routine

Interview with the founder of natural skincare brand VATÉA

Making the transition to a natural beauty routine can be as much of a lifestyle choice as going meat-free or cutting off all your hair.

We chat with founder of Australian natural beauty brand VATÉA, Elizabeth Johnston, on ways you can transition your beauty routine from not so natural, to 100% green.

Natural Beauty Brand Founder Elizabeth grew up in a family of skincare specialists, so skincare was always a passion. It came to fruition when she realised how many people suffered from irritating skin conditions caused by harsh chemicals found in a lot of skincare.  

“My own misdiagnosis of asthma as a child which was cured with the guidance of an Integrative Doctor and a holistic approach to health triggered a further fascination overall in both internal and external health with skincare,” 48-year old Elizabeth explained.

Married and with two daughters aged 11 and 13, Elizabeth understands the importance of paying attention to the ingredients going into your body and onto the skin.

Her father, Russell McMurray was a Pharmacist by trade and co-founder of Dermatech, a dedicated dermatology skincare brand, and created Dermaveen, a clinical skincare product that treats eczema and other skin irritations. Dermaveen was so successful, he then changed the name of the company from Dermatech to Dermaveen.

He also developed a number of other revolutionary skincare products under Dermatech including Retrieve, which is a powerful anti ageing product sold by prescription only.   

He sold the business 15 years ago.  

“Aside from my skincare passion, I am also very passionate about art. I created the unique illustrations on the packaging of our skincare products for Vatea before we launched the brand.

The design represents the pursuit of unique, effective scientific formulations, and a love of adventure. All of which shines through in our products”, reflects Elizabeth.

There is a common misperception that making the switch to natural beauty products is a waste of time, and that the products won’t deliver on their promises.

Elizabeth says: “Making natural products that work comes down to extensive research and knowledge. Learning & knowing what works and how it works is vital to understand how natural ingredients can work for natural beauty products.

The irony is, many laboratory, ‘patented’ chemicals you see listed in beauty products are synthesised from plants. 

Natural and Organic skincare companies face a lot of hurdles to produce the efficiency of natural products, which is a current problem in the market globally”.

New, small to medium size beauty businesses don’t have the budget to compete with the claims pharmaceutical companies are able to make  about anti-ageing products, for example.

On the other hand, pharmaceuticals invest large sums into patented technologies which can then be registered after expensive, long clinical trials, and the results are used to make marketing claims about efficacy and a wonder product is born.

Natural products cannot be patented in the same way. 

“As plants in their natural state are freely available, there’s no financial incentive to invest in this expensive process, as they can’t be patented, therefore natural skincare companies are legally not allowed to make the same claims, even though the result maybe more effective, less expensive, less invasive, and better for our health,” Elizabeth explains

“I’ve been studying plants from across the South Pacific and formulating with their compounds for over 6 years and we know from our customers that our products work.  

Key plants rich in bio-actives for anti-ageing are Kangaroo Paw with a family of amino acids to aid skin collagen synthesis, and phenolics for antioxidants that help prevent wrinkles. Waratah extracts are enriched with naturally deriving PCA compounds, (Protocatechuic acidand phenolic acid which nourish the skin, calm irregular pigmentation, and any signs of irritation.  

Apricot oil is rich in vitamin C, A, omega 9 and 6, all incredibly rejuvenating and nourishing for ageing skin. There’s also nothing better for ageing skin than regularly exfoliating and we suggest using only natural exfoliants such as ground almond or walnut.  

Willow Bark is naturally enriched with salycins, the source of salycilic acid, ideal for removing tired skin cells leaving skin regenerated and refreshed”.

Elizabeth recommends these easy 6-steps to help you make the switch to a more natural beauty routine:

  1. Engage with likeminded experts in the industry, for example visit wellness or health stores that stock natural beauty,  as at least one of the staff is usually a trained naturopath so will be well informed to help and advise you. 
  2. Be prepared for a different feel and smell. For example, natural products are not as foamy due to the gentle and harmless sulphate free cleansing ingredients that will leave your skin’s natural PH in balance (Sulphate / SLS free).  Natural products don’t have ‘masking agents’ such as perfumes to cover the chemical smell.  They’re either non fragranced or fragranced with essential oil blends, with pure, earthy smells. 
  3. Beware of ‘Greenwashing’, These are companies that will ‘look’ green and natural and happily tell you how natural they are, without the proof or accreditation. At VATÉA, we’re true to our cause by being Certified with Safe Cosmetics Australia and we’ve won an array of Awards with Organic Beauty Brands, Australia, The Beauty Shortlist and Australian Non-Toxic Awards to offer assurance that we’re prepared to be independently judged for the quality of our formulations.  
  4. Natural products might also be a little more expensive due to the high volume of oils and extracts than your average supermarket products.  Cheaper brands might claim plant oils, although a little tip is that when you’re reading the list of ingredients, the ingredients listed are the highest % of ingredients down to the lowest, so if a company is making a claim for a certain plant oil yet it’s at the end of the ingredients list, there’s probably just a splash. 
  5. Ask for the advice of friends and family who already use natural products, who are sustainably minded and value their health.
  6. To help natural products from expiring, keep away from sunlight, keep the lids – or closures closed and store in room temperature or colder is also fine although many oils will solidify when stored below room temperature. 
Rebecca Wilkinson

Beauty Editor

Rebecca is a freelance content creator and beauty editor for Bondi Beauty. She is a pescatarian, who may yet become vegan. She loves all things beauty, health & travel, has a weakness for coffee and is obsessed with cats and yoga. If she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's trying out the latest beauty trend, like massaging crushed pearls into her skin for the ultimate collagen and vitamin boost to skin cells.

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