Meet Carla Oates, founder and CEO of cult wellness brand, The Beauty Chef.
We're long time admirers of Carla's products - regularly stocking up on GLOW over the years - so it came as no surprise when we found Carla herself to be captivating, inspirational and completely genuine (and not to mention, stunning!)
We caught up with Carla to discuss her daily routine for optimal wellness, the importance of time for oneself, as well as her passion for nature and nutrition...
Describe yourself in 5 words:
Happy, Optimistic, Creative, Resilient, Compassionate
You are the founder of THE BEAUTY CHEF, a range of bio-fermented products to optimise gut health and promote glowing skin. Tell us, how did it all begin?
My journey to creating The Beauty Chef really stems from my own skin and gut health issues and that of my family. 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.
As a journalist in my early career I landed a job as a beauty editor for a mainstream newspaper and was inundated with lots of beauty products from mass market brands. My excitement soon dissipated, after researching the ingredients and becoming increasingly concerned about the many toxic chemicals in skincare products. Women from all over Australia were writing into my column and asking what products they should use for their eczema, psoriasis and acne and other chronic skin issues as well as their ageing skin.
I knew looking after your skin properly was an inside, out job from my own experience with eczema, and knew that none of these chemical laden products would actually help, heal or rejuvenate their skin. I decided to make it my mission to help change the paradigm in the beauty industry and help educate women on how to look after their skin in a healthier and more holistic way.
So I left the newspaper, wrote a book with Penguin books in 2004 called ‘Feeding Your Skin’ and became the natural beauty writer for Wellbeing magazine, who I still write for today. I also penned a natural beauty column called DIY beauty for the Sunday Telegraph newspaper for 6 years, and during that time wrote hundreds of articles on natural health and beauty. I was the ambassador for organic skincare for the Biological Farmers of Australia for nearly two decades and was an ambassador for Australian Organic.
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.
What is your daily routine for optimum health, wellness and beauty?
GLOW Inner Beauty Essential, every day of course! It’s the daily allrounder for gut, skin and wellbeing
Exercise, movement is so important for a healthy body and mind - supports a healthy microbiome.
Eating a variety of nourishing wholefoods, so important for the microbiome and nurturing gut health. Bone broth is also a great gut food as it contains amino acids that support gut health, and I love licorice, fennel and peppermint tea at the moment for supporting digestive health.
Sleep - preclinical studies show that interruptions to the sleep cycle disrupt the body’s ability to maintain a healthy microbiome. So getting your zzz’s are super important for skin, immune, metabolic and brain health.
You must have an incredibly busy schedule as the CEO of The Beauty Chef, author of 3 books and regular columnist! How do you unwind?
I walk! I love walking, it is like a natural filing system for my brain, a natural meditation - it helps me solve problems, come up with creative ideas, relaxes me and also is great exercise. Meditation is also a great way to relieve stress and unwind, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy gut. Science is telling us that the impact of meditation on our health extends even further, actually influencing how our genes express themselves, particularly in relation to our body’s inflammatory response.
What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about my children as well as creating delicious and healthy meals to share with family and friends... I love everything around nature and nutrition - nature inspires me everyday - how it looks, how it feels, and what it gives us - including beautiful and nourishing wholefoods and remedies. I am also very passionate about The Beauty Chef, which really feels like my third child - our products, our research, our community and our amazing, talented team.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I love getting outdoors for a walk or run around my beautiful environment in Bondi Beach. The sunshine, nature, fresh air and exercise do wonders for my well being and for clearing the mind and the creative ideas flood in. I also love heading to Whale Beach or Byron Bay for a revitalising weekend with family and friends, especially during these times it’s so important to decompress, recharge, and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, to nurture and nourish your overall health and wellbeing. Taking time for yourself is so re-energising, I find this is when I can truly enter my most inspired and creative zone. I also find reading books (both fiction and nonfiction) which feed my mind, and research into nutrition, health and the gut microbiome very inspiring.
How do you find fulfilment?
I find fulfilment in the simple things because that is where I find the most beauty - in the daily exchanges between family, friends, gardening, making things, being creative, pottering around the house, cooking a loaf of banana bread, drinking tea and reading a book. I also find great fulfilment in my work - in creating content and products that educate and help people to be the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves.
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 favour natural fabrics such as wool, cotton and silk as they breathe better and last longer.
What is your favourite piece from the SAMBAG collection and how would you wear it?
I am really loving the Scarlet navy knotted sandals, they are perfect for weekends in Bondi. I much prefer a leather sandal in the warmer weather vs a sneaker, they are so versatile with any outfit and are a go-to casual-chic look for me.
And our signature question: if you were a shoe, what style would you be?
I would be a classic leather ankle boot, they are so adaptable in any wardrobe – paired with a dress, skirt, pants or jeans. The ankle boot cut gives an edge and pairs perfectly with a linen shirt and tailored pants. Effortless, but with an edge.