‘Strange’ drink behind Meghan’s great skin
We've all heard the saying, true beauty comes from within. But for Carla Oates, it's more than just an expression - she's built a business out of it.
The Sydney-based entrepreneur is the brains behind The Beauty Chef, a range of products that tackle common skincare woes with nutrient-dense supplements made from wholefood ingredients.
First cooked up in her Bondi kitchen, the scientifically-formulated ingestible beauty products are designed to address skin issues such as redness, eczema and acne on the inside, which in turn will improve the outside.
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In the 10 years since the business launched, The Beauty Chef has built up some high-profile celebrity fans, including Victoria Beckham and Naomi Watts.
But its most recent fan is perhaps the most exciting.
Sarah Chapman, a British skincare expert and facialist to the stars, recently let slip Meghan Markle "swore by" the brand's $65 Glow Inner Beauty Powder in an interview with The Telegraph.
Since it emerged the Duchess of Sussex drinks the powdered mix of prebiotics and probiotics, a blend that aims to give skin, hair and nails a healthy "glow", Carla has seen a major effect on sales.
"We saw an increase in sales by 20 per cent on our Australian eCommerce site," Carla told The Beauty Diary, adding the Google Analytics data for "Glow Powder" searches post-February 25th, when the interview went public, had increased by more than half.
Carla, who had the idea for her business after visiting a naturopath as a teenager who successfully treated her eczema by adjusting her diet, said she "never imagined" she'd have a royal fan when she created Glow, the brand's signature item.
"When I created the first product, the concept was very left of field and I was told by numerous people that it was too strange and wouldn't ever take off," Carla said.
"But I truly believed in it, I felt so strongly about what I had discovered - a real solution to skin issues and not just a bandaid - so it is very rewarding for me to see it succeed," Carla said.
She's not alone in her mindset. Studies have shown the relationship between gut health and the quality of our skin is real, causing a huge interest in supplements packed with packed with probiotics or collagen.
The Beauty Chef products are now stocked by more than 350 retailers around the world, with Carla working tirelessly with a team of naturopaths, nutritionists and microbiologists to grow her range into a line-up of 11 items.
"The business is going very well and we are focused on expanding our product line as well as international expansion," she said. "But all I ever wanted to do was help educate people about the connection between gut and skin."
Lots of people rave about Glow and The Beauty Chef's other products, with reviews online so positive, you'd be forgiven for thinking it is paid promotion.
One woman shared impressive before and after photos of her daughter's cystic acne after treating it "from within".
Another showed off her "clearer" skin after successfully treating it with the gut boosting blends teamed with light therapy facials.
Other well-known fans of beauty supplements include the Kardashian-Jenners who are credited with the rise of Sugar Bear Hair vitamins in the US.
Then there's beauty YouTube star Tati Westbrook, mastermind behind Halo Beauty Vitamins, who famously sold 25,000 bottles of her Barbie pink beauty capsules on the day of launch.
Here in Australia the industry is swamped too. As well as The Beauty Chef, there's a range of complexion boosting supplements on the market, such as Beauty Boosters and JSHealth Vitamins.
But despite the ingestible beauty industry booming, with recent statistics showing it is worth $US3.89billion ($AU6billion) according to a Cosmetics Business report, there are sceptics, with Australian skin and nutrition experts saying the lines between efficacy and science are "blurry".
So I've road-tested some of the big skin supplements to see if they live up to the hype. Find out my thoughts below.
THE BEAUTY CHEF GLOW INNER BEAUTY POWDER
Available at thebeautychef.com, adorebeauty.com.au and Sephora
I'm going to be honest and state I have always been a bit sceptical about supplements, as it can be hard to really prove what you're taking is making a difference. But I've used this powder on and off for a few years now (budget dependant) and whenever it's in my life, I always get complimented on my skin. While I don't battle skin conditions like redness or acne, taking this does boost the brightness and my complexion is clearer. The taste of the powder - which I just mix in a glass of water - isn't really my jam if I'm honest. It's faintly berry flavoured, but the liquid can be a little gritty and hard to swallow.
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Beauty supplements are an element of the industry worth more than $6bn. But do they really work? In this week’s #TheBeautyDiary I chatted to @thebeautychef’s founder Carla Oates about her 10 years in the space as well as getting the lowdown on how she acquired a royal seal of approval on the brand’s signature Glow powder. While I can’t say for sure that Meghan Markle drinks hers out of a wine glass, it’s definitely my preferred method. Check out my full thoughts on Sunday over at @newscomauhq #beauty #gutbiome #skincare
An upside is I find it settles my tummy too and I felt less bloated and gross. So while I don't like the taste that much, the results I get from it are surprisingly good so I like having it in my routine when my bank balance allows. Also, I inadvertently discovered that it tastes better in a wine glass which in my head is how Meghan Markle drinks hers every morning - and since then it has got a whole lot easier to drink.
BEAUTY BOOSTERS GLOW GETTER
Available at: Myer and beautyboosters.com.au
As you've figured out from my review of TBC's Glow powder, I'm a bit funny about textures - which is why I like Beauty Boosters, as they come in capsules. I've only been using the capsules for a few weeks and I've noticed a real improvement in my hair. I've been a long time user of hair colour, recently taking it up a notch with a fiery red by Schwarzkopf Professional which involved using a colour remover treatment to lighten it before applying the dye.
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New year, New me, New hair! What a fun colour change for @thisisbex Can you believe that no bleach was using in the colour change ?? I used Schwarzkopf bond enforcing color remover to lighten and remove artificial colour in the hair which then gave me a perfect base to achieve our target shade. By not using bleach we were able to maintain optimum condition of the hair. Swipe ➡️ for before.
My colourist at Prema in Surry Hills did an amazing job keeping the health of my hair, but I was thrilled these capsules gave me an extra boost afterwards. My hair definitely feels thicker and shinier since using Beauty Boosters. I also noticed a difference in my nails too, which were much stronger and snapped less.
VIDA GLOW MARINE COLLAGEN
Available at Myer, adorebeauty.com.au and ausnz.vidaglow.com
My biggest fear before starting this skin, hair and nails powder was wondering whether it will taste... well, fishy? Thankfully it has no taste at all so mixes easily into a morning smoothie or a glass of water. You can even add into a morning coffee as it is totally tasteless. The skin-boosting ingredient in this is collagen, which studies show helps boost elasticity and slow ageing signs of skin, such as wrinkles and hydration. And I have to say, my skin really does feel better when there's a dose of collagen in my life. I've even noticed the fine lines around my eyes seem softer and less visible.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: While I have enjoyed taking each of these products at different times (never together) and feel like I've enjoyed noticeable improvements, I am no scientist and have no real proof other than the way I look and feel. Totally understand people are sceptical, and to be honest, I'm not convinced the effects aren't similar to a placebo. But I enjoy taking the benefits I've listed above and would recommend trying if you have a particular skin concern and haven't had luck with surface products.
This column is not advertorial content. Every review is independent, honest and ad free.
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