Julie Mathers is the founder of 100% vegan online boutique Flora & Fauna. In this interview, she shares her expertise on what vegan beauty products are, and why they are so good for your skin, health, and our beautiful planet Earth.
Why did you decide to start your own company and focus on selling 100% vegan beauty products?
I am a planet lover, I love nature and animals and the immense natural beauty in our world. I always have. In 2014, I was buying a lipstick and had no idea what it was made of or if it had been tested on animals. From that day forward, I sought to remedy that situation so people have a place they can shop where products are natural, ingredients are non-toxic and transparent and no animals have been harmed in any way whether it be ingredients or animal testing. Hence Flora & Fauna.
What does the word “vegan” actually means when it’s applied to beauty products?
Vegan means no animal ingredients or by-products are in the products whatsoever, so no carmine, beeswax, lanolin, silk or anything else animal-derived. To us, vegan also means no animal testing is conducted on the product or the raw ingredients.
What is the difference between cruelty-free and vegan products?
Cruelty-free products might still contain beeswax and non-vegan ingredients (so animal by-products). Vegan products contain none of these. Both are against animal testing but you should always check. At Flora & Fauna, everything is vegan and cruelty-free.
Is vegan good for your skin and health?
Absolutely. Vegan also means plant-based in most cases, so vegan products tend to be full of nourishing ingredients like Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter, Rosehip and more. We find vegan products are some of the most natural you can find and they include gorgeous ingredients from Mother Nature. Botanicals often work with the skin so much better than more traditional synthetic products!
Do vegan beauty products last as long as others? Are there any special storage instructions?
They are natural mostly and many don’t have non-natural preservatives so keep cool, away from heat and don’t keep for years. Use them in a reasonable time frame.
Are there any particular ingredients you would recommend to avoid in non-vegan products?
Carmine. It is found in lots of lipsticks and is crushed insects, to put it bluntly. It gives lipsticks the red colour, so avoid.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a general ingredient to avoid. It is a foaming agent and is a known irritant. It causes eye and skin irritation and should be avoided.
Parabens should also be avoided too. Parabens are widely used as preservatives in the cosmetics industry. They are rapidly absorbed and have been found in biopsies from breast tumours – not a good ingredient at all!
Aluminium can be found in many deodorants and is a really nasty ingredient. Please avoid.
Which vegan brands would you recommend to people who are interested in trying vegan products for the first time?
One of the key products to change for your health is deodorant. Traditional deodorants don’t let you perspire so your waste is stored in your body. They also have aluminium in them, which gets absorbed by the body. Both of these can contribute to serious issues, so please change your deodorant. It’s often not easy, but persevere. The paste deodorants like Black Chicken Axilla make the change easy.
I would also change products like body wash and body cream. Your skin is your biggest organ so be careful what you put on it. We have over 100 brands and 1,500 products at Flora & Fauna so a lot of beautiful, safe alternatives.
Two local, small brands that we love and I am going to mention are Desert Shadow and The Physic Garden.
Desert Shadow is a company from Western Australia, and they make amazing, and I mean amazing, natural hair dye. Made from botanicals and henna, they work brilliantly. We and our customers love them.
The Physic Garden is a Melbourne brand and they formulate fabulous balms, deodorants and bath salts. If you want a balm that will help you sleep or a muscle rub, these balms are for you. Charelle, the brain behind The Physic Garden, is a naturopath, so everything is designed with healing in mind.
About Julie Mathers
Julie Mathers is the Founder of Flora & Fauna and an animal lover. Julie is very passionate about our amazing planet and is striving to make it a better place with natural, better alternatives to what we use every day. Julie lives with her husband, 2 cats, and Rosie, her little pig, in the bush in New South Wales.
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