When we see the words "natural" and "organic" inked across the packaging of skincare, bodycare, personal care and makeup products (the list goes on) and to top it off the imagery on their social media pages swoops our mind into thinking I want to have that natural happy smile, sunkissed buns and super soft tanned skin, so we just-totally-must-have-it-right-now and we buy it!

BY: Teisha Lowry Cox

A few days later, the package turns up on the doorstep and we open the parcel, then the bubble wrap, the wrapping paper, the bow or maybe in this case raffia or string, the box, the tissue paper and we finally get the product out, put it on our skin and ohhhhh doesn't this smell amazing, it must work because it says it does and they have over 100k on their Instagram page, so I might as well take a quick selfie whilst and I'm here and them BAM! You get a rash...ouch! Oh but wait, did you read the ingredients on the back? Or was that not disclosed at checkout? Or perhaps you don't know what half of them really mean.

Ok so I may be going overboard here, but my point is: all natural products are not created equal, and a lot of these social media brands who have come out of nowhere and without any skin-caring-big-wig-natural-ceo authority to disapprove otherwise, you - my friend, have been sold a big fat lie.

There was once upon a time where we didn't need all these products to fix problems we didn't have. And now, we are bombarded with choices on what to buy because it's natural and they have lots of followers so it must be good for me and I have all issues they say I have.

A lot of these scrub brands are the biggest liars! Because they sell the idea of a natural product really well, but what goes into them is far from that.

Other than sugar, coffee, refined cheap coconut oil and some other seed oils, these are some pretty basic kitchen ingredients - which you can whip up at home. The rest of it is what makes it dangerous. Which is usually filled with fragrances that smell like we've shoved our senses into a tv commercial of Thailand, and these are not the usual fragrances that are "made by nature".

If they say they use Pure Organic or 100% Pure Essential Oils and are selling it for less than $15 I would second guess whether the ingredients are actually 100% pure or are even organic (certified or not) these types of essential oils that smell like an exotic cocktail are bloody expensive and the product should be sold in the hundreds.

I am always going into stores and trying these products out because it is my job and I also get given these scrubs and things in my goody bags from events that I attend, and I have been making my own skincare for 8+ years so I kind of know what crap these brands are dishing out.

If someone is trying to sell you natural product and then on the ingredient listing they have the following fragrance/s or parfum:

Apple or Apple Blossom, Banana, Pineapple, Strawberry (actually most berries) Frangipani, Gardenia, Magnolia, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Papaya, Sweetpea, Lily, Lilac, Rose (most types), Vanilla and Coconut (huge ones) Musk (if they are it's unethical and derived from animals) and Mango are some of the most popular ingredients that are touted as natural.

Be SUSPICIOUS! Because you cannot derive a pure essential oil or natural ingredient from these plants, and if they do, they wouldn't be selling you this product at that price because - > if they are REAL and some are just impossible to get a real oil out of the seed, stem, flesh or petal, they are usually extracted with the utmost complicated methods using solvents or machinery. In most commercial cases these are synthetic fragrances - unless specified elsewhere in their marketing material, but legally all ingredients must be listed from top to bottom according to potency.

In theory, these products are doing the opposite to what they're telling/selling you. Because if you're sloughing dead skin off the top surfaces and allowing synthetic fragrances such as fake Watermelon into your system and god knows where that comes from and how it's made, then you should ask the company who's selling you this scrub for your money back, because it's just inflaming it and making skin problems worse. It's just there to make it smell good, that's pretty much it.

If all this is all too hard to take in, then just take a low-key approach to beauty and make your own body scrub: use left-over coffee from your espresso machine or buy coffee granules from the supermarket for $4 and just add a bit of olive oil. It's as pure and simple as that, and it's going to be much safer.

If you want to learn more about this stuff, head to Nourish Melbourne as I am doing a hands-on workshop later this month: Saturday 23 July 2016, 1-4pm, One Roof, Southbank.

I take you through a functional approach to discovering true skin health: We will learn about The 4 Pathways and expert skin care advice for clear skin, with tips on what foods to eat, how to detox naturally to reduce the appearance of sun damage, preserve elastin, produce collagen and even skin tone.

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INDAH 4 lifestyle boosters


A simple yet powerful message to live by.

We are part of this Earth, and we are all in sync with its natural cycles: Lightness, darkness, half moon, full moon, seasons and always in a state of flux. Some days we are happy and some days we are sad - and for no reason, but sometimes we cannot explain it. While we love modern life, and the "things" we desire (there is nothing wrong with that) but at the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is: we came into this world with nothing and we will leave with is the truth. Whilst most of us are on our phones and not paying attention or couldn't care less, for those who do care - we must obtain simple living to seek true happiness. We love our glam sessions with the girls, and drinking champagne on the odd occasion, but the thing that we can always come back to is simplicity and living in tune with nature as much as possible. It keeps us happy, calm and without wishing the days would go by because we're in a bad mood.

It doesn't have to be complicated and it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can take living a simple and healthy lifestyle as far as you want, but these four simple lifestyle boosters can be achieved no matter where you are in life and if you are just starting out, the good news is you're taking a massive step to living a life full of contentment:

  1. Eat Healthy
  2. Sleep Well
  3. Breathe Deeply
  4. Enjoy Life

It's as simple as that.

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INDAH INSPIRES // Natasha Mason of Nourish Melbourne

INDAH INSPIRES // Natasha Mason of Nourish Melbourne

INDAH Inspires Natasha Mason Nourish Melbourne

In my eyes, Natasha Mason is one of the most inspiring individuals I have ever met. For one, she is one savvy business woman who founded Melbourne's first and only holistic health and wellness membership program called Nourish Melbourne which connects people to the best health and wellness businesses in Oz. And two, she is a foxy mumma and wellby (wellness warrior) where she shares her entrepreneurial spirit in promoting health and nourishment events around Melbourne.

What do I personally love about Natasha? There are women out there like Natasha who do it all - work hard, exercise, run an empire, be a Mum, wife, positive influence and always-always do it with a big raging smile. I love this girl so much she makes my heart burst into confetti - because this hot mumma deserves a shower of petals when she enters a room. If it wasn't for Natasha, INDAH and TR wouldn't have met most of the amazing individuals in the wellbeing community - what she does for everybody and their business/es is just phenomenal and so inspiring.

Natasha breaks down how she does biz...

On why she started out in business on her own:

Nourish Melbourne is about connecting people who want to live well, with those who want to help us live well – and vice versa! In a time where connectedness and community is somewhat dissolving, Nourish Melbourne brings the wellness community in Melbourne, to one place. The Nourish Melbourne Membership program ties this all together. There is no other Membership like it, and I’m proud of Nourish Melbourne being the first to have such an offering. By being a Nourish Melbourne Member, you save on attending Nourish Melbourne events, and when you access 150+ of our holistic health and wellness services and products (including INDAH and Total Reformation). I guess the ‘why’ comes down to the fact we can only live as well as what we know. With the knowledge we share via our blog, popular seminars, dinner events and workshops and connecting people to the most passionate holistic health professionals in Melbourne, I hope that more people become empowered to live truly happy, and fulfilled lives. Whether your job is in health and wellness or not, or whether you’re a ‘wellness junkie’ or not  – if your mind and body aren’t nourished, you can’t give your best to what you are passionate about, and those most important to you.

INDAH Inspires Natasha Mason

How she does it all including being a fitness freak:

‘Fitness freak’ has probably taken a back seat since becoming a Mama, but you know, it’s made me realise that being at a class every day (or twice a day for that matter!) is not really that important. Although in saying so, I am always excited to move my body and love to try all sorts of workouts! Scheduling time out is so important when you’re a Mum running your own business. If it’s not in the diary it just never happens and self-care is most definitely not selfish. After all, how will a business, or child, thrive and grow without a fully alert, awake, and refreshed driver in the drivers seat?  I’m grateful for a hugely supportive husband, who is always there when I want to book in a massage, acupuncture session, PT session, yoga class, course (because I LOVE learning about all things health and wellness!) a facial or whatever it is. And it doesn’t even have to be scheduling activities such as those above. Free activities also need to be scheduled – time off the lap top and just watching a movie at home, going for a walk, meditating. The simplest of all though has to be the latter - meditation. I’ve been practicing Vedic Meditation for six months now, and it has been truly life changing. I spend 40 minutes a day meditating (20 minutes, twice a day), and have not missed one single day since taking the course. The best thing I like to tell people about meditation, and what I learnt from my teacher, is that it’s not about the eyes closed state (i.e. the act of meditation), but doing it to change our ‘eyes open’ experience.

INDAH Inspires Natasha Mason Nourish Melbourne

It's ok to make mistakes and learn from it:

Oh yeah, so many mistakes. Although look at the word ‘mistakes’ – it’s just a miss take on a situation. Therefore, my lesson is not to worry. Worrying has never ever made a situation better, and there’s not once I’ve looked back at those mistakes, or not so nice surprises along the way, which have happened, where I’m still worrying about them to this day. Not one. So what’s the point in losing sleep over it at the time? Sometimes this is easier said than done, but I make a conscious effort to come back to this sentiment whenever curve balls come my way.

The little things that make her happy:

Good coffee, delicious food, good hugs, sunshine, and giggling with my little miss.

INDAH Inspires Natasha Mason Nourish Melbourne

Fav place to eat at the mo:

I am loving Holy Bowly in Hampton right now. Ticks ALL the boxes for me – delicious and tasty organic food, incredible service, happy and friendly staff, and just an overall great vibe. My last delicious meal there was this ‘Abundance Bowl’, which is full of veg, kraut, avo, greens, tempeh and all things nice. Finished off with a coconut milk golden latte (think turmeric and nourishing spices like cinnamon, black pepper and ginger), and I’m definitely in my happy place! Let’s meet there again soon, please?

INDAH Inspires Natasha Mason Nourish Melbourne

ALL Nourish Melbourne members receive a whopping 20% off their INDAH order, and if you're not a member well good news for you! They are turning 2...

On turning 2:

Following the 2nd birthday of the Nourish Melbourne Membership on the 13th May, we are having our birthday week of celebrations. That means, for any new members who sign up they’ll receive a free gift of their choice. Want to know what the gifts are? Head to this link to find out more and sign up – time to get connected, and be rewarded!

Images by: Kit Haselden 

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INDAH INSPIRES // Laura & Dominique from TWO STORIES

INDAH INSPIRES // Laura & Dominique from TWO STORIES

INDAH Two Stories Laura and Dominique

Who says you can't mix friendship with business? I am very curious as to how that works exactly, so the story goes....there's these two entrepreneurs who've been working together for years, and it all stemmed from fashion to lifestyle and everything in between.

They obviously exemplify the whole wavelength thing on another level and you could possibly say they're like sisters, they have similar views on life and have made it work, that is why it's so inspiring. Here's the breakdown on how they do it and keep the trials and tribulations of Two Stories a successful friend/business/working relationship.

How did you both meet? And why did you start Two-stories?

We meet at high school and have been the best of friends for 10 plus years now.

A lot of people don’t know that the name ‘Two Stories’ came from our first idea of designing and producing two-sided clutch bags that could be worn both day and night, formal and casual (hence the name Two Stories). In the lead up to the launch of our label, we had started to interview social media influencers in the fashion world about their story and the essential items they carry in their handbag. With our busy lifestyle, we had to put the production of the clutch bags on hold. However we really enjoyed interviewing people and the social media side of the business so continued to keep our Instagram and website running.

Now, Two Stories is a platform for us to connect with brands, businesses, and digital influencers to share their stories!  At the moment, Two Stories is a hobby that we work on after work hours, but who knows what the future holds!

INDAH Two Stories

What’s your secret for keeping a sane friendship and working relationship?

I think when you have known someone for half your life you have an open friendship and it keeps your friendship ‘sane’. We don’t always agree with each other and if we do have a problem (which is very, very rare) we confront each other straight away.

Our working relationship works because we compliment each other’s strengths and bounce off each other for ideas. Laura is great on the tech side of things - creating and maintaining the website as well as writing the blog posts. While Dom is good on the marketing side of things – reaching out to people whose stories we want to share and looking after the Instagram account.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

We both come from families who have their own businesses so we have seen the benefits of hard work paying off. However, our biggest inspiration would be Laura’s cousin Lauren Di Bartolo. Lauren is the Founder and Director of Australian Style Institute which provides training, mentoring and support to people who want to launch their own business in the style and image industry. Lauren is a young, driven and motivated person and through her we have seen what can be achieved when you are willing to put in the hard yards and have a passion for what you do.

We are minimalists here at INDAH HQ do you incorporate this kind of philosophy in your lives?

Yes, we sure do – we incorporate this into many areas of our lives. We like to keep our cooking simple cooking with only a few ingredients at a time. We also both keep makeup to a minimum and use natural skin care products. When it comes to our wardrobe you’ll find that we both keep it very basic (white, black, grey and denim are our staples) and add accessories to change it up!

What’s next for Two Stories?

We are currently putting the majority of our focus into interviewing and finding new and exciting stories to share. We hope to also have some guest writers on our website soon too. Stay tuned! 

INDAH Two Stories

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INDAH why you need to love lemons

I like lemons, I like lemons a lot, I use them quite regularly so I thought I’d share with you how to use lemons for hair, beauty and health. Lemons are a great source of calcium, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, minerals and antioxidants that improve the appearance and condition of our hair And SKIN.

In most countries lemons are considered a cure-all particularly for fevers and viral infections, hence these nifty little lifestyle boosters, and they're coming up to peak season in Australia, so here's why you need to love lemons...or more...
The juice contains 5-6% citric acid which (via Wikipedia) makes that sour taste and has been touted by the wellness industry to aid digestion and assist with absorption of minerals with lemon water first thing in the morning. Just be careful, as the citric acid content can exacerbate stomach ulcers, cramps and stomach pains, it really depends on the individual and how what works for you. Try it and see how it makes you feel, if you experience cramping or discomfort you know it’s not right for you.
Pro Tip: Add fresh ginger and raw honey for extra immune booster lemon tea.

Mood Booster:
The fruit’s peel is full of tiny sacs that contain the power to improve ones state of mind, it has been proven to enhance a negative mood by inhaling a few drops of pure essential oil of lemon on a tissue.

Pro Tip: Ways to travel with essential oils here.
To brighten dull hair, combine lemon juice to your hair conditioner, comb through strands, sit in the sun for a few hours and wash out. Repeat these steps at least once a week, and you will notice that your hair is significantly lighter.
Soak nails in lemon juice to take the yellow out of them from overuse of nail polishes, it will also strengthen them naturally – a lot cheaper than expensive nail hardeners.
You can cleanse the face and body with lemon juice, just soak cotton pad and wipe dirt, bacteria and oil off clean. It's handy around the house too! The acidic component of lemon helps to kill molds, bacteria and germs from cutting boards and counter tops, soap scum in your bathroom tub or shower stall. Soap is alkaline and acidic lemon will cut through it all.
Pro Tip: See here for combatting pimples and blackheads using lemon oil.
Lighten and Brighten:
If you want to lighten your sunspots and freckles naturally, you can use pure essential oil of lemon (organic preferably). The acidic properties of this blend can help lighten your skin, use over time and frequently for best results.
Warning: lemon is phototoxic, so avoid using on your skin when you’re out in the sun.
Temporary preserve foods like apple and avocado with a dressing of lemon juice.
Pro Tip: Buy organic and 100% where possible, the better quality of the lemon and lemon oil, the better the results!

Images: Tumblr

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BY: Teisha Lowry Cox

Out of everything that I harp on about, beauty is probably my favourite subject. While it's my job to keep up with beauty trends in the media, new products, and research I can always rely on the good old fashion natural stuff, and I get so excited about talking and writing about it, I have written a book!

It's been three years in the making and I've finally got the balls to put it together. I'm doing everything myself, it's taking a long time, but I have an end date - it'll be ready next month for my first event with Nourish Melbourne. The guts of it is about discovering "TRUE" skin health, and when I say health - I dish out some awesome advice on beauty, the industry, ingredients, skin types, aromatherapy, real essential oils (not oils that are just full of crap) and some DIY recipes using your fav kitchen ingredient, ohhhh the hidden gems I have in store...stay tuned. In the meantime, there's always a why - and this is so important to me for you to know or remind you...

The average woman uses up to 12 personal care products per day, and we’re inundating ourselves with perfumes and deodorants every few hours sometimes. The skin is the largest organ and its job is to protect our internal organs, it is porous and while the skin provides our bodies with a barrier, it is also absorbent, and therefore it’s important to feed your skin with the right nutrients that are really pure, just like food. Would you digest substances such as Lead, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Aluminium or even your perfume spray? If you apply these to the skin they can penetrate into the underlying tissue and eventually reach the blood stream - which most conventional/gimmicky products do and they can cause an adverse reaction or even do the opposite to what it says on bottle. The fact that these toxins can be absorbed through the skin, I think is a good reason to avoid these kind of products.

The condition of your skin is a powerful reflection of just how healthy you are on the inside.

With ‘loyal’ organic brands you will find their ingredients are considerably lower, and being organic means it should come from the ground without using any pesticides or herbicides to grow it, and the quality should be unrefined and premium. That being said, unlike the food industry, the personal care industry hasn’t many legal standards for organic and natural companies, so this means they can use marketing buzz words such as ‘feel the organic difference’ or ‘100% organic’. Top selling organic/natural brands can get away with it too, because they use organic/natural certifying bodies that only want at least 40% of the ingredients to be certified organic/natural, so that leaves the other 60% to be whatever they like; such as parabens and dioxane, which are known and tested carcinogens. A lot of brands misuse their certified legacy, only getting one or two products in their range to be certified, then they whack that logo all over their packaging and marketing, when in fact the rest of the range ain’t much of an organic brand. So, it pays to read your labels and do your research into beauty brands.

A good rule I go by is: don't use anything that you can’t eat. Expensive creams are not necessary and may do more harm than good. Instead, I use my Active Recovery Oil. Along with a good exfoliant mix of Himalayan salts and coconut oil a few times per week. I give myself mini facials to relax the facial muscles (which give us those expression lines) and some serious meditation every day, you’ll be surprised how young looking and stress-free your skin will look. If you're unsure about an ingredient, a great way to do your research is to just google it or you can visit the for more information about what reaction and ingredients do to your skin/insides.

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