Carla Cosgrove has seen many different faces of the beauty industry. A former makeup artist, her knowledge of ingredients, products and techniques is matched only by her unique insights on body image, self esteem and inner beauty. Candour Store is the sum of Carla’s experience, offering a beautifully curated range of Australian and international beauty brands, all of which have been tested to fit with her own personal philosophy for non-toxic, ethical and eco-friendly products. Carla is also a prolific blogger, using Candour as a platform to share candid product reviews and beauty tips, debunk green myths and offer positive affirmations to her customers. “Using beauty products isn’t about ‘fixing’ anyone,” Carla says, “it’s about celebrating real, individual beauty, having fun getting dolled-up and showing ourselves some love with daily rituals of self-care.” We couldn’t agree more! Read on to find out about Carla’s vision and her very handy tips for a Spring Beauty Detox.
What’s your business philosophy?
‘Candour’ means to be open, honest and sincere, and I try to bring this sense of authenticity to every part of the business. Honesty around the ingredients in my products is a big part of what I do. Candour’s motto “Be the change. Look damn fine doing it” sums up the rest. I believe that a kinder, more inspired, environmentally and socially conscious way living is the way to go, but that’s no reason for us to stop wearing bright pink lipstick!
What knowledge do you bring to Candour Store from your background in makeup artistry?
My knowledge and love of quality beauty products, as well as my passion for giving people ‘sparkly eyes’ (making people feel good about themselves), have all come along for the ride. Even though I only use non-toxic beauty products these days, I still have that sensibility of wanting my products to perform, look beautiful and feel really luxurious. I think this comes through in the products I select for the store.
Working as a makeup artist, I also learned a lot about people. I listened to so many, (mostly) women – even the most stunning models – give themselves an incredibly hard time about their appearance and was regularly asked to ‘fix’ something about someone’s face. I think a lot of the beauty industry is based around making you feel bad about yourself and creating desire for the unattainable — it takes itself a little bit too seriously sometimes! At Candour Store using beauty products isn’t about ‘fixing’ anyone, it’s about celebrating real, individual beauty, having fun getting dolled-up and showing ourselves some love with daily rituals of self-care.
What inspired you to start your own store?
When the idea first started sprouting, I had already spent a few years on my journey from makeup artist to green-beauty aficionado and wanted to create a space to share what I had learned. During my green-transition, I got quite tired of getting excited about a new site or brand claiming it was ‘all-natural’ only to find out they were anything but. I wanted somewhere I could go where people would just be real with me and stock luxe, non-toxic products I’d actually be excited to use. Long story short, I started one.
Is there a particular strategy you would recommend for people to find eco beauty products best suited to them?
Reading reviews and natural beauty blogs is a great place to start. Paying attention to the ingredients list on products will help you learn which ingredients do/don’t work for you, and reading product descriptions will help point you in the right direction. I think there’s always that element of trial and error though, whether you’re using natural or conventional beauty products.
Are there any beauty products you’d love to see eco versions of, but you think are still missing from the market?
These days you can find great natural versions of just about everything you could ever dream of. It’s a veritable forest of happiness for beauty-nerds like me! The one product that has eluded me so far though is a really bubbly, frothy bubble bath. That would make me one happy lady!
Here are my nine simple steps to guide you through your very own Spring Beauty Detox…
Step 1. Inspect the goods.
Empty your bathroom cabinet, shower and makeup case and round up all those free-range products partying in your handbag. Ditch anything that has changed colour, looks iffy or smells weird. Wash makeup brushes and replace old, bacteria-filled makeup sponges and applicators.
Step 2. Get informed, then switch out products gradually.
Read the labels on your remaining products and it’s likely you’ll discover a whole host of ingredient names you’ll have trouble recognising (let alone pronouncing). Some may be harmful to your health, while others may be code names for bizarre animal-derived ingredients or be contributing to environmental problems (e.g. palm oil). Get informed, then make a wiser choice the next time one of your products needs replacing. Try: “No More Dirty Looks” by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt, $24.95; EWG Skin Deep Database App, Free
Step 3. Brush away those winter blues.
An ancient Ayurvedic beauty ritual, Dry Skin Brushing helps remove dead skin cells, improves circulation and aids detox functions. When performed daily, and followed up with a natural body moisturiser, this new healthy habit will leave your skin looking radiant. Try: Bodecare Tampico FSC Body Brush, $42; Indah “Dreamland” Organic Body Butter, $39; Metta Skincare Body Oil, $47
Step 4. Detox your locks.
Your scalp is one of the most absorbent areas of your body, so it makes sense to pay attention to what you’re putting onto (and therefore into) it. Detox your locks by switching over to lovely non-toxic shampoo, styling, and treatment products and say “Hell-O!” to your shiniest, healthiest hair ever. Try: Shampoo & Conditioner: Yarok; “Feed Your…” range of shampoo, conditioner, styling whip, heat protector and serum.
Step 5. Switch up your shave.
Whether you’re shaving your legs, your face or erhm… elsewhere, there are plenty of healthier alternatives to the chemical bath that is a supermarket shaving cream. A recent influx of natural products for bearded folk means the guys will have no worries keeping springtime bristles looking swell. A simple and worthwhile switch. Try: Prospector Co. “Leg Shave”, $28.95 & “Gwenda Hawkes Leg Toner”, $28.95; Prospector Co. “Burroughs Shaving Cream”, $24.95; Prospector Co. “Burroughs Beard Oil”, $29
Step 6. Ditch your deo.
Conventional deodorants plaster a number of suspect ingredients right beside your beautiful boosies and a number of lymph nodes. Skip the high-risk behaviour and switch to an effective natural alternative. Try: Soapwalla Deodorant Cream, $14.95; Miessence Roll-on Deodorant, $10; Vanessa Megan, $18.95; La Vanila, $24.95
Step 7. Stop smelling the (synthetic) roses.
Common perfume ingredients include known neurotoxins, allergens, and skin irritants as well as asthma and migraine triggers. The answer? Simple. Move on over to a perfume that uses all-natural ingredients and lists them clearly on the bottle. Try: Indah Certified Organic Perfume Balm, $24; Aromantik Perfume Oil, $50; The Little Alchemist Natural Perfume, $60
Step 8. Get that springtime glow.
Revive a dull complexion by exfoliating once a week and indulging in a regular chill-sesh with a facial treatment mask that will both draw out toxins and pamper you with its skin-loving ingredients. A small amount of BB Cream, bronzer and illuminiser will add warmth and *zing* to your look with minimal fuss. Try: La Mav Organic BB Crème, $39.95; Adorn Face & Body Mineral Bronzer, $35; The Little Alchemist Cacao & Banana Face Glow, $65
Step 9. Cultivate an inner glow.
Audrey Hepburn once famously commented that “happy girls are the prettiest,” and that fair lady was spot-on. There’s nothing more captivating than someone who possesses that magical inner sunshine. Cultivate your inner glow by practicing self-love, forgiving things from your past and surrounding yourself with people and influences that lift you higher. Self-care creates greater capacity to care for others and has the wonderful side effect of making you look smokin’. So, make the time for that rejuvenating bath/yoga practice/evening walk. Make it non-negotiable and never ever apologise for it! Try: Corrynne’s “Relaxing” Bath Salts, $13.95; HOLSTEE “Holstee Manifesto” Letterpress Poster, $46.95; Gala Darling, (blog).
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