FOUNDER & CEO, THE BEAUTY CHEF.
Carla Oates created fellow Aussie brand 'The Beauty Chef' in 2009 after healing her family’s skin issues and discovering that beautiful, glowing skin begins with a healthy gut.
Carla spent the first 10 years of her working life as a fashion stylist before turning her attention to beauty writing. But the allure quickly wore off as she became alarmed by the synthetic substances and toxins contained in many commercial beauty products. She began writing about healthier, natural alternatives made from plants and organic foods and wrote her first book, Feeding Your Skin, published by Penguin Books.
By then she was a mother of two small children, who are now teenagers. When her daughter began to experience similar skin issues to the eczema and allergies she herself had experienced as a child, Carla put her family on a gut-healing protocol that included probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented wholefoods. Very quickly Carla noticed a profound difference in her daughter’s skin, as well as the improved wellbeing of the whole family.
When friends and family began asking why her skin looked so ‘glowy’, Carla realised the power of the gut-skin connection and the importance of beauty from the inside out. She began experimenting with lacto-fermenting skin-loving superfoods in her Bondi kitchen and that’s how GLOW—The Beauty Chef’s first inner beauty powder—was created.
The pioneer of the inner beauty category, The Beauty Chef now has a range of bio-fermented, probiotic-rich wholefood supplements and organic topical skincare products. Carla works on her unique formulas with a team of leading microbiologists, naturopaths and nutritionists, employing cutting-edge research to develop products that support gut health and glowing skin—beauty from the inside out.
...at heart, I am a naturalist, a creative and a nerd.
1. Favourite slip® product?
I do love the OG Slip Silk Pillowcase. It’s recommended by dermatologists as it is great for the skin!
2. Juggling motherhood with work, what’s your secret to finding balance if at all?
Finding a perfect balance is hard, but I now know the things that help keep me grounded - time spent with family and friends, walking to organise my thoughts, and weekends away throughout the year to reinspire. When I’m feeling stressed or out of balance these are the things I know will help me realign. And of course looking after my gut health - your gut regulates everything, from your immune health, metabolic health, brain health and skin health, so a diet and lifestyle that suppprts the gut microbiome is essential on a daily basis.
3. Biggest pinch me moment in life so far?
Having my own manufacturing plant was always the dream, albeit as a ‘pie in the sky’ idea initially. From the earliest days of the business almost 13 years ago, I wanted to create our products in a place that belonged to The Beauty Chef. So, I suppose the biggest pinch me moment was opening our very own state-of-the-art, brand-owned, bio-fermentation plant in Sydney where we work with a team of leading microbiologists and scientists to formulate our products. To this date, it is one of my greatest career achievements, and something I am incredibly proud to have accomplished.
4. Who are you at home?
I love being at home and pottering. I love cooking, gardening, doing crosswords, reading and decorating. I also really enjoy spending time researching ingredients and reading nutritional papers on Google Scholar - at heart, I am a naturalist, a creative and a nerd.
5. What do you want to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for being a person who was authentic, spoke their truth and created something that broke down barriers, educated and helped people. Also for being a good cook!
6. Life without your current career - where would you be, what would you be doing? What’s your sliding doors career?
My mum was a fashion editor, so I grew up around fashion, beauty and interiors. I started working when I was 13 on weekends at a cafe and a hairdressing salon so I could buy my own clothes. I would go to a second-hand designer store and buy one-off pieces. One year I bought this beautiful Gaultier dress that had religious icons all over it - I wore it in summer with sandals and then in winter with a skivvy underneath and tights and boots. In my teens I started getting asked by people in the industry if I would style their shoots, so it was a job that felt very seamless and easy. That’s how I ended up working in magazines, as a fashion editor in my early career.
However, I also studied naturopathy in my twenties while working in magazines, but with a full-time job and two young children, I didn’t finish it. My passion for natural medicine has always been very strong and also passion for biomedicine. I have thought alot about being a biomedical/integrative practitioner.
7. One beauty product you can't live without?
It would have to be The Beauty Chef’s GLOW Inner Beauty Essential. It is a truly amazing product. We’ve already helped around 1 million guts and complexions with this product. It has been tried and tested since 2009. There has been so much research and love put into it over the last 13 years. It is now in its third iteration and is better than ever. I’d love to share with you how we make it, so you can see how much goes into its creation. First we create a bio fermented organic and biodynamic wholefood base (70% Aussie grown ingredients) using our exclusive Flora Culture(™) fermentation process. This natural, genius process supercharges the ingredients and helps make the nutrients more bioavailable. It also creates a broad spectrum probiotic as well as postbiotics. And then we supercharge it further by adding more vitamin C, zinc, pro-vitamin A (from natural beta-carotene sources), biotin and niacidamide (from sprouted quinoa), pomegranate peel extract (high in collagen protective ellagic acid) and our exclusive strain of probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Gut5y(™) which studies show have skin, gut and wellbeing benefits.
I take this every day and it is a game changer product.
8. Favourite local restaurant in your hometown?
Lox Stock & Barrel in Bondi is one of my regular go-to spots. I love their fresh salads for lunch and I have their chicken soup at least once a week!
9. What is your morning ritual?
Walking is a non-negotiable for me—it’s something that I like to do every day because it helps me start the day with a clear mind. I love walking along Bondi Beach at sunrise, which is quite close to my house, or through Centennial Park, which is a more meditative route. I describe walking as a natural filing system for my brain—it provides mental clarity, gives me energy and helps to set me up for the day.
10. What is something you are looking forward to?
I'm looking forward to summer here in Australia. My favourite morning routine on a warm day involves a walk with my dog, Wolfie, and a swim at Bondi Beach. There is something so invigorating about starting your day in the water and during the winter I am usually too chicken to jump in!