Australian natural and organic beauty brand Pure & Green Organics not only looks the part, it also plays the part, infusing the skin with natural ingredients that nurture, and not strip the skin’s delicate acid mantle. Yet, it wasn’t just a desire to enter the natural and organic beauty market that inspired Grace Culhaci to build the brand that is fast becoming one of Australia’s favorites.
I chatted with the skincare founder to get the story behind her success…
What inspired the creation of Pure & Green Organics?
Struggling with my health for many years, I was eventually diagnosed with an inoperable tumour growing on my optic nerve. A significant amount of vision in my right eye had been lost and I was living with constant nerve pain. With the help of several close friends in the health industry I used a vitamin B17 nutritional therapy combined with a complete organic lifestyle, organic fruit and veggies, homemade non toxic cleaning products and creating my own organic body care products. My tumour began to shrink and the vision returned, I am now pain free.
As someone who has been faced with such challenges I appreciate that lifestyle and what you put in and on your body is of the utmost importance to wellbeing and it was these experiences that birthed the Pure & Green Organics brand. Some eco beauty companies fall short at their packaging… however, you’ve embraced the eco philosophy throughout your entire range.
Can you tell me about the packaging?
At Pure & Green Organics we definitely have the environment in mind when creating our certified organic products. The following initiatives were implemented to minimise any environmental impact from our packaging.
1. The Airless Bottle that preserves product and reduces waste. These attractive bottles feature a unique airless pump design with distinct benefits. As you pump, the base rises, preventing the cream from being exposed to air. This keeps the certified organic contents fresh, retaining their skin-beautifying properties. When finished barely any cream gets left inside. There’s less waste and no need to wriggle your little finger in there trying to rescue the cream other bottles leave behind. These bottles are made from PP (recycle code 5) and can be placed in recycling bin when empty.
2. Recycled Paper Our in-house printing uses tree free recycled wheat pulp paper and soy ink, while our cardboard soap boxes are made from 75 percent recycled cardboard. We no longer print brochures, instead we supply stores with a QR code for customers to scan with their smart phones and view electronically.
3. Post Consumer Recycled (PCR) Cardboard Caps We were the first cosmetic company in the world to use 100% post consumer recycled cardboard caps for product bottles.
4. Bottles made from plants Our NatureWorks BIOpack bottles are made from renewable plant sugar (PLA short for poly lactic acid) not the usual petrochemical plastics. PLA is compostable and biodegradable in industrial composting conditions but it will not degrade or disintegrate on shelves. A lot less energy is used to create the bottles meaning their production is more sustainable. These bottles are custom manufactured for us in a carbon neutral facility in Australia. Place in an industrial compost bin where available or with household rubbish when empty.
How does your line differ from some other eco products on the market?
Our points of difference are that we are a dedicated organic company. I refuse to make conventional products! We are also completely vegan and palm oil free. We have also decided to be a health food only brand, limiting our distribution to channels that actually promote good health. I will not sell our products into a supermarket that also sells cigarettes for example, or into chemist chains.
Can you give me an overview of what’s in the range and what they’re best used for?
The Pure & Green organics product range is presented in three main scent variants, these being: 1. Citrus 2. Lavender 3. Unscented. From this simple selection, our products can be mixed and matched to suit the four main skin types: sensitive, sun damaged and eczema prone; oily, congested and acne prone; dry or mature. Combination skincare regime products are: Facial cleanser, toner, hydrate moisture lotion, exfoliate (for use once weekly), anti ageing series for dry or mature skin types: Age Defense Serum Rejuvenate Night Cream, hand care/foot care series: Hand creams, Treat for Feet foot refreshment cream, Teeth & Gums Toothpaste and mint cleansing bars for body.
I used a vitamin B17 nutritional therapy combined with a complete organic lifestyle, organic fruit and veggies, homemade non toxic cleaning products and creating my own organic body care products. My tumour began to shrink and the vision returned, I am now pain free.
Do you feel that more people are looking for truly natural and organic beauty products?
Absolutely yes, now more than ever before. The problem is that only 10 percent of the natural/organic beauty products on the Australian market, for example, are actually certified organic, so consumers need to learn how to identify certification logos and ensure they buy what they are really looking for. A certification is their guarantee the product will meet their expectations.
What feedback have you had about Pure & Green?
Our many points of difference tick all the boxes, customers are looking for. We receive comments like: I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful products!! Eco, vegan, ccf, Aussie made, you cover everything!!!” Our beautiful packaging has been described as eco bling.
There are many products out there that claim to be natural, but in fact aren’t. From your perspective, how important is it that people understand what ingredients mean on labels?
According to Planet Ark, an estimated one in six people now have some form of allergy or environmental illness such as asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities and skin or food reactions. This means understanding product labels is essential to protecting personal health. Sometimes products try to achieve the appearance of being all natural by listing a natural ingredient description in brackets next to the more technical-sounding ingredient on their label. Although this appears to be helpful information, it leads consumers in the wrong direction.
For example, I have seen ammonium lauryl sulfate listed on an ingredient label as being (derived from coconut oil). While that makes the ingredient sound natural, what the label doesn’t explain is what the coconut oil has to go through to become ammonium lauryl sulfate. The oil goes through saponification, then hydrogenation, then sulfonation and is then reacted with ammonia to create ammonium lauryl sulfate. Three of these processes are banned under the organic standard as they are not considered safe for human health or the environment.
This example highlights how in reality you almost need to be a cosmetic chemist to learn the processes applied to each and every ingredient listed on a label to know if its truly safe or not. Most people don’t have the time to invest in learning this information and therefore their best choice is to buy certified organic beauty products as they can be confident no harmful processes or ingredients are contained in certified products.
How does the skin respond differently to having natural products applied opposed to synthetic products?
Organic cosmetic products work, not by creating physical barriers, suppressing or mimicking skin actions — they work by feeding, building, regenerating, repairing, balancing, soothing and restoring the skin to its natural healthy state. If something synthetic, like ink for example, is poured onto the skin the cells don’t recognize this chemical and actively oppose absorption. On the other hand, natural wholefoods ingredients like plant oils and butters are readily absorbed by the skin cells because they recognize these materials and welcome the nutrition.
What plans do you have for Pure & Green?
Our products are now being distributed by KADAC in NSW and VIC, and we are talking to a distributor for QLD at the moment. Moving forward with distributors has enabled us to gain a wider presence within the health food arena in a short space of time. We are currently available across Australia in 140 stores, major stockists are: Nationally at Karma Living and selected Go Vita and Healthy Life stores (check web for more details) About Life (NSW), Dr Earth (NSW), Taste Organic (NSW), Biome (QLD), Wray Organics (QLD), Great Earth Health Foods (VIC), Nature’s Health (Vic), Organic on Charles (WA), Eco Lateral (SA), City Organics (TAS), Eumarrah (TAS).
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