Eco Beauty

Higher Ground

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Slowing down my style has seriously woken up all the other areas of my lifestyle…home, health, holy matrimony and my holistic beauty regime.

One of my absolute favorite eco beauty brands is Mandala Dream Co. Created by the lovely Jul it is made with so much love and the secret healing ingredient?? Hemp.

Far from a hippy stoner notion, this amazing plant is mother natures gigantic gift to us if we just open up our minds to see it in a different light. Read on to be inspired by this warrior woman and her game changing, planet loving products.

 Jul, what drew you to start mandala?

Mandala Dream Co was born out of me finally finding the calm amidst the chaos, though it took more than a few knocks on my skull before I woke to it.   A separation of old wants & new needs really. 

The Mandala represents the oneness of the psyche with the cosmos, our individual and collective connection to our world & for me that’s exactly where I found myself in that ‘oneness’, finally within myself…connected. 

The Dream was to resurrect & renew eco sustainable practices & ancient traditions. .

The Co. was based on the company we keep, those clients and now friends who have a vision of the future and our environment whereby we heal collectively body, soul, spirit, most importantly it was to bring about positive change for this earth, environment & it’s people

What originally started out as my passion for textile art & plant based dyes using Hemp & a few other fabrics, soon turned into a passionate affair with Hemp exclusively, the more I learned about this amazing plant & resource, the more I worked with it , slept in it, dressed in it,  the more I couldn’t resist. 

We travel to see my husband’s family in Jamaica every few years & it’s here where I really hit my stride in the pursuit of all things  botanical.  Though they are often named something else in Jamaica (eg. Aloe vera ‘Single Bible’ , Moringa – ‘Never Die Tree’ ) I always discover new & wonderful ingredients there that continue to shape our direction.  My husband’s grandmother  was a natural healer so there is always much to learn from the family.  We also travel whilst there into ‘cockpit country’ to visit the Jamaica Maroons in Accompong who still practice much of their traditional African plant healing, so I’m really spoilt for choice with learning’s & family fun all in one.

Initially I started off with the bedlinen, but have found the Ecoistic (formally Meraki) hemp based skincare and personal use small batch formulations have really taken off. It has a steady stream of believers, a tribe really, and with over 80% return client rate I’m satisfied that they are satisfied.

 What does your brand stand for? 

It’s really about the ethics, the ethos of the business, the brand, the vision and the mission.

The staples are:

Slow & NO to retail

Slow is the new Black!! I’ve always believed that handcrafted, custom made and small batch creations are worth far more than mass produced options. Creations that are made with heart and soul, with an intention of love and care far exceed anything that could be made on a factory floor.  All of Mandala Dream Co creations are made by these hands, hands of love and attention to the clients needs. Formulating skincare small batch (20-25 per batch) also allows me to specifically create formulations for those that have any sensitivities. Allowing me to reduce, replace or delete any ingredients that may be of concern for clients in regards to allergies etc.  Small batch allows me to keep overheads low, continually produce fresh formulation and make any tweaks to ratios based on feedback and reviews.

In regards to the bedlinen (& soon to be released yoga line) an order is simply the beginning of the experience.  Communication with the client starts with their pattern & colour desires along with any health concerns they’d like to address by the use of the ayurveda properties of specific plants, roots and leaves used in the process. Messages, email, conversations, photos, videos of the entire process take the customer through each step of the eco dyeing and making of their bedlinen.  Being 100% online means we don’t have the overheads of a store front, that bricks and mortar stores need to finance. There is no need for exorbitant mark ups and profit margins & we will stay exactly as is. Any experience we’ve had with retail only serves to underline the need to stay independent and immovable on this mandate.

Organic – all ingredients, fabrics and produce used in the art must be organic or locally grown without the use of pesticides and toxic chemicals it’s a non negotiable and was the very first staple of the business.

Vegan & Cruelty Free – our love for the planet and it’s inhabitants insures that everything we use is vegan and cruelty free. Should we require an ingredient that is traditionally non vegan we will hunt around to find the plant based alternative, for example, squalene which is so unnecessarily cruel can be swapped for Olive Squalane with more benefits and no harm. Bees wax is replaced with Candelilla wax a plant based wax.

Sustainable, Eco & Planet Friendly – Hemp is all of these things, so it stood to reason that every facet of the brand was to adhere to this strictly.  We bottle our skincare, family care, haircare and toiletries in glass which can be refilled or returned for discount.  There is only one formulation currently packaged in PET (for safety) as it’s used in and around the shower/bath.  Our soon to be released Ecoistic Hair Cleanser will be packaged in PET also, however will be refillable via a compostable pouch and also supplied with a travel sized bottle for convenience and ease of use. Our mailers and external packaging are all compostable and recyclable.

Low Waste –  our spent plant dyes are reduced once exhausted and thickened with soy powder for use on our block print patterns.  Fabric remnants are used for swing tags, inners of the soon to be released yoga bolsters and eye pillows, carry bags, pouches or smaller sewing items. Indigo pulp leftover from the fermentation simply goes back to our soil as a natural fertiliser for the next Indigo crop. Nothing goes to waste.

Ethical, Fair Trade & local -other than myself, my good friend Zsujannah the master seamstress (among many other talents) sews all the of the bedlinen with love, care and attention to detail in her rural piece of paradise locally in Laceys Creek. Nothing is outsourced nor done less expensively for the sake of profit, everything we do is completed locally and ethically.

 

Top 5 reasons we should embrace hemp? 

Only 5? I could give you thousands!… as the plant has so many uses and applications that are positive for our environment, future and collective health, but here are my top five….

Fabric – It’s time for us to move away from Cotton! In regards to fabric and crop it’s far superior.  Half the amount of water is needed to produce 200-250% more Hemp than cotton on the same amount of land. Consider our Murray Darling basin, and multiply that in all the other countries that are struggling due to climate change and lack of water. It also requires no pesticides, however Cotton uses 25% of the entire worlds pesticides. The toxic chemicals used in cotton are transferred into our soils, waterways and absorbed into our skin. Cotton fibre breaks down over time, whilst Hemp ‘wears in’. Hemp is much more durable than cotton and doesn’t break down with repeated washing. Hemp carries anti bacterial properties that far outweigh any other fibre, it also has high breathability and wicks away moisture.  Hemp was planted in Chernobyl to heal the soil!! It’s also fabulous at sequestering CO2. You’ll find more info regarding the fabric on my blog here

Construction – Housing construction materials (such as hempcrete) made from hemp fibres have been found to be far superior to most materials used in housing construction in our era. Inexpensive hemp can be made into a huge variety of building materials, hempcrete, insulation, blocks, plastics, board, even carpets, whilst being so much stronger and will last soooo much longer than what’s being utilised now.  Did I mention they are also fire resistant? Also mould & mildew resistant. Rot free. Totally non toxic & good for us and our planet-and all naturally!? Have you any idea how many toxic chemicals and compounds are in our newly built housing? So much of the materials used are processed with toxic chemicals that are released into our living areas (with our loved ones) for years and years.

Paper – In essence anything wood pulp can do, hemp fibres do far better.  70% of our worlds forests have already been eliminated and we pretend we don’t know why our existence is threatened. Hemp paper can be recycled up to 8 times and grown in just 120 days, whilst from our beautiful century old trees it’s only 3 times. 

Plastics – nil petrochemicals from plastics are produced with hemp plastics, from plastic wraps for food, bottles and everyday items all the way through to auto parts, with no harmful BPA. Hemp plastics are not only heat resistant and durable they are 100%  biodegradable.  Euro auto have started to use hemp to manufacture car parts.  All the way back to the 1940’s when Henry Ford built his historical ‘veggie car’ with  hemp and flax it was stronger than steel, it also used hemp biodiesel fuel.

Henry Ford and his Hemp Car!

Henry Ford and his Hemp car!

Nutrition – Hemp seeds and the cold pressed oils are superfoods that possess incredible health benefits and contain all the essential amino acids for easily digested high protein. Hemp is not only  high in omega3 and 6, it also provides an almost perfect ratio of the omegas.  It’s so nutritionally superior you can survive on hemp seeds alone for a long period, can you imagine what this could do to those families facing famine? Hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious, they contain over 30% of good fats and rich in linoleic acid (omega 6) and alpha linolenic acid (omega 3). 25% of total kilojoules are from wonderful high quality protein. They are a fabulous source of vitamin e, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, calcium, iron and zinc. The amino acid arginine and gamma linolenic acid found in hemp seeds have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Nutritionally Hemp seeds may also reduce symptoms or PMS and menopause, are a high source of plant based protein, can assist with skin conditions and also aid digestive issues.

This magic potion saves my weary tech and typing hands on a daily basis! As well as any other muscle soreness from bikram yoga workouts.

Personal & Skin care use – Hemps hero addition to our skincare and beauty creations takes pride of place in our Ecoistic skincare, haircare and family care range – Hemp plumps up tired and dry skin, with long lasting hydration and will even help the ability of your skin to retain moisture with its use over time. Hemp oil calms your skin, reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, protects from environmental pollutants, balances oily skin types and does not clog pores.

Whoops I’m at six !!! 🙁 & haven’t even started on it’s medicinal applications…..however this blog will help https://www.mandaladreamco.com.au/blogs/news/medical-cannabis-australia-coming-to-a-town-near-you

Has eco and sustainability always been a focus for you? 

I think there has always been a part of me that was a tree hugging hippie 🙂 I was most certainly more interested in nature and the wonders of our earth than most of my generation growing up as a kid in the 70’s.  That being said my long career in corporate went so against the grain for me that it was just a matter of time, and fate that led me back to where I was meant to be. The souls calling will always win out, one way or another.  So if this makes me a tree hugging hippie, I’m happy to have that label 🙂 An advocate for the planet, and advocate for our healthy future in partnership with nature 🙂

What are some simple tips for people wanting to make the switch to a kinder and more conscious beauty regime? 

These are such simple changes to make:

-If you can’t pronounce or don’t know of the ingredients listed on the package, chances are they aren’t good for you. 

-Steering clear of products listing sulfates, parabens, stabilisers and preservatives, colours, and synthetic fragrances is a good general rule.

-Buy small batch or better yet make your own skincare (I’ve released some recipes for DIY skincare)

-Purchase quality over quantity (& that doesn’t mean spending big $’s for a label or designer brand) locally produced beauty products will always allow for greater transparency and customer service.

-Buy packaged in glass (or at least PET). Consider what the business does for the environment and the health of our future. Look for makers who use environmentally friendly packaging at every level, offer refills or reusing and recycling options.

-Dual use formulations are fabulous for cutting down unnecessary clutter and spending and deliver a more conscious purchase.

Our Hair & body butter do both equally well, serums that are used as primers, hydration and moisturising, spritzes that are used for toning, refreshing and pillow sprays etc.

Another one of my faves…I smother my face in this on the regular – it’s so healing and nourishing. Great on little cuts, dryness and irritation too!

See ‘mother’ always knows best!

#freetheherb

The gorgeous Jul and her handsome half Jamaican son Kingston when they came to visit me at a Salvos event in Brisbane. How many mainstream skincare brands would do that!!?

The gorgeous Jul and her handsome half Jamaican son Kingston when they came to visit me at a Salvos event in Brisbane. How many mainstream big skincare brands would do that!!?