Carla Oates, Founder and CEO of The Beauty Chef, is a pioneer of “inner beauty” as one of the first to discover that glowing skin begins with a healthy gut. After spending the first 10 years of her career working in the fashion industry, Carla shifted her focus to beauty writing. Through her research, she found many commercial products contain synthetic substances and toxins and was inspired to write a book about natural alternatives made from plants and organic foods. By the time the book released, Carla’s young daughter started experiencing skin issues such as eczema and allergies. With her acquired knowledge, Carla implemented a “gut-friendly protocol” full of probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented wholefoods causing profound improvements in her family’s skin and overall health.
Eventually, friends and family began asking why Carla’s skin was so “glowy” and she realized the connection between beauty and gut health. As a result, Carla began experimenting with different skin-loving superfood recipes, eventually formulating the best-selling GLOW Beauty Powder. GLOW inspired an entire range of bio-fermented, probiotic-rich wholefood supplements and organic topical skincare products, earning her name – The Beauty Chef.
“I’m passionate about raising awareness of the link between beauty and gut health and hope that my products will not only make your skin glow, but help you feel better, too.”
Read on for Carla’s Q&A with Miranda for more on the link between skin health and gut health…
What was your inspiration behind The Beauty Chef?
The creation of The Beauty Chef really stemmed from my own skin and gut health issues and that of my family’s. 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 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 asking for advice on what products to use for their eczema, psoriasis, acne and other chronic skin issues. 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 regenerate 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.
Interestingly, when my daughter also experienced eczema and allergies, when she was about 10, 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). 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 of these fermented foods as they became in high demand from everyone from neighbours, friends and family. They found they had better energy, happier tummies, and healthier, more radiant skin. From here, the first iteration of GLOW™ Inner Beauty Powder was born, my first inner beauty product containing 24 bio-fermented superfoods with prebiotics and probiotics for gut health, glowing skin and wellbeing.
What is the link between gut health and skin health?
The skin is a great barometer of what is going on inside the body. At The Beauty Chef, we believe that ‘beauty begins in the belly’. Our gut health can impact everything from our skin to our physical health to our happiness.
It doesn’t sound very glamorous, but our gut is where 70 per cent of our immune system lies, it’s where we regulate hormones and detoxifying enzymes, where we make nutrients, neutralise pathogens and make neurotransmitters too. So much of what goes on inside our digestive system impacts our skin, mental health and wellbeing. More and more research shows that where there is gut inflammation, there is skin inflammation. Like there is a gut-brain axis, there is also a gut-skin axis, a profound connection between our gut microbiome, our gut and the state of our skin health.
The skin is also the body’s largest organ and our first line of defence against environmental toxins and pathogens. In order for it to be strong and healthy, we need to nourish the skin from the inside, out. Whole foods obtained through our diet is the best way to support skin health as our skin requires a diet rich in healthy fats, protein, fibre, plant nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
I love your cookbooks! Which gut-friendly recipe is your favourite lately?
Thank you. I am really loving my miso roasted pumpkin and umemboshi plum salad with buckwheat soba noodle salad right now.
As a young female entrepreneur, what advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
To look after your gut, be gutsy and follow your gut instinct.
What Beauty Chef product can you not live without and why?
Glow is now produced in our state-of-the-art fermentation plant that we built three years ago alongside leading microbiologists… And we have added to the probiotic base lots of nutrients and medicinal herbs as well as our exclusive strain of probiotic – Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Gut5y. Glow is your daily essential wellbeing and skin essential and it tastes delicious – like a rich berry drink.
If you were a KORA product, what would you be and why?
I love the Turmeric Mask. It doubles up as both a face scrub as well as a brightening facial treatment to both refine my skin as well as give it a long-lasting, healthy glow.
We are proud to shine a light on Carla Oates and The Beauty Chef, a female-founded brand that prioritizes clean ingredients and natural beauty. Not to mention one that agrees healthy skin is the most beautiful skin.
Pair your favorite KORA products with The Beauty Chef for the ultimate GLOW!
KORA Organics xxx