A few months ago, Rossana Sotos, the force behind I Am Natural Store (AKA one of my favourite Aussie online green beauty stores) mentioned to me about her upcoming green beauty masterclass in Sydney, but I didn’t think I’d be able to make it to the event. I live in Melbourne, and the last time I was in Sydney was about 9 years ago! I told her I’d consider it, but forgot all about it until a few weeks ago when Rossana sent me another private message on Facebook with an invite. Although I’d never met her in person, Rossana’s loveliness is infectious, and without thinking too much about the logistics, I just said yes! And I’m glad I did. The masterclass was an amazing opportunity to catch up with and learn from some of the most passionate people working in the Australian green beauty industry.
The event started at 10am at The Art Gallery of New South Wales. The light-filled venue in the heart of Sydney was decorated with considered floral arrangements, and I knew instantly that Rossana had the most perfect setting for the event. There were sampling stations everywhere, with testers from brands like May Lindstrom, Kypris, Tata Harper, Ila and Kjaer Weis, just to name a few. In addition to these, brands like AEOS, The Little Alchemist and Madara had their own dedicated tables with representatives. I was like a kid in a candy store, excited to see so many brands I normally only get to see online. Armed with my glass of organic champagne, I hopped from table to table, testing as many products as I possibly could!
After a welcome note from Rosanna, blogger/aesthetician Belinda Hughes introduced the audience to the basics of natural skincare. It was followed by a makeup tutorial by Cathy Tolpigin. I am no Kevyn Aucoin in the making and I don’t wear makeup, but it was so great to see a professional makeup artist in action. I now know, for instance, that the best way to apply blush is by smiling and smudging a tiny amount of product just to the apples of your cheeks!
After the informative sessions, we were given more time to test the products on display and interact with all the wonderful people in attendance. And that was the best part for me. The amazing thing about the green beauty industry is that it is a tight-knit community of passionate individuals, trying to make a difference to the way we take care of ourselves. Talking to Rossana about skincare was so enlightening, and I could have gone on forever (but I was conscious she had other guests to talk to and didn’t want to take up too much of her time). She is so up-to-date with the latest innovations and market trends, and I could easily see why her store is so cutting edge compared to most other natural beauty retailers. She asked me to check out a Norwegian brand called Elde (‘the next big thing,’ she said), and I googled it only to find out that the brand is so fresh that even their website is only just under construction. I don’t know how Rosanna discovers these brands!
In addition to Rossana, it was wonderful to meet in flesh some of the people I look up to — including Samantha Sargent, whose website BeNaturallyYou.com stocks some of the most hard-to-find green products, and Natalie Van Epen, the brains behind The Little Alchemist. Also, it was fabulous to chat with Sabrina Jacquier Parr, the founder of Keeko Oil, a brand that has been on my radar for a while.
We left the masterclasswith beautiful black boxes filled with a great selection of luxe natural products. I can’t wait to try them all and share my thoughts with you all (I already know I’ll be buying full sizes of the May Lindstrom The Youth Dew facial serum and The Little Alchemist Ultra C Radiance Serum).