Beauty therapist to business owner, brand manager, trainer, blogger, and now editor of your own online magazine Natural Beauty Expert. Whew! When did you first start exploring and sharing your views on natural beauty, health and wellness?
It really happened organically for me (no pun intended!). I always worked with natural beauty products from the beginning of my beauty career. I also had my own health challenges as most people do, so unsatisfied with answers from doctors I went exploring my relationship with food, taking cues from what made me feel good and what didn’t.
It was the same with skin care. I don’t necessarily feel great when I moisturize, but if I try something that’s not natural I notice that I don’t feel as good. I started to blog my findings in 2013 simply because I realised that people were screaming out for information and answers. It’s just grown into the beautiful online magazine that I launched in May of last year.
Now I’m really proud to provide a content rich platform which combines my over 10 years beauty experience with accurate information from amazing practitioners to help people with their own health and beauty journeys. It’s all about inside out health for healthy glowing skin.
What did the world of natural beauty look like then compared to now? How much has changed?
Developments in natural beauty have come such a long way in the past 10 years. Back then it was a simple base of aloe vera or shae butter with some essential oils mixed in, not very exciting.
Now with advancements in technology I’m seeing far more sophisticated products where the base of oils alone are blended in a way to get the correct consistency for different skin types and conditions.
Instead of essential oils being used alone there are now sophisticated anti oxidants being used at strengths great enough to make a difference in the skin. New ways of extracting antioxidants and using them topically are happening constantly. It’s quite amazing what’s out there now!
Why is it important to you, in all facets of your career and life, to use products that are free from toxins? And in what other areas of your life (apart from beauty) do you employ this rule?
First and foremost as a professional beauty therapist you don’t want to be putting anything on the skin that will cause a detrimental effect. So when you use the cheaper petro chemical derived ingredients like sulfates, preservatives, mineral based oils you are adversely affecting the health of your skin.
Then there’s the fact of toxic load in the body. We’re all very aware now that what we put on our bodies and touch gets carried into our bloodstream. This is not good for our general health and wellbeing and it’s advisable to reduce this where possible.
I integrate all my products to be natural, from cleaning and household, personal care and deodorants and I also make sure I eat a healthy diet to maintain my health and energy levels.
What does a day in the life of Belinda Hughes look like? Are you an early riser who like to get stuff done before the rest of the world wakes up, or is it more slow and steady?
Naturally I’m a night owl, so mornings will be a bit slower!
I always make sure I eat a good breakfast (avo on spelt toast is my standard) then check emails while I get ready for my day. My day at the moment usually includes working at the shop but when I’m not at the shop, I’m in meetings with brands, web developers (I also have a startup that’s going to really revolutionize the spa and wellness world) and of course putting together the next edition of Natural Beauty Expert.
So the reason I sleep later is because after my day and all the meetings or networking events I go home and upload articles from contributors, put together editorial features and liaise with contributors and our next lead stories and covers (I theme every issue). Then on weekends I do organic facials for clients as it’s still a big love of mine being a therapist.
Is that a strict routine, or are you more of “go with what you feel like at the time” type of people?
I am defiantly ‘go with the flow’. In my business I have to be! Things can change overnight with the magazine and you can’t get too attached or stressed about it otherwise I’d go crazy. I’ve lost celebrity covers 2 weeks before going live and you just have to keep calm and work with it. I always seem to be able to pull it together, so no major disasters yet!
What’s something about what you do that few people realise?
Probably that I’m still a one-woman show at the moment! But I am definitely working on changing that!
Also that I’m building this startup to the side of the magazine, and until that gets off the ground and works with the magazine I’m still self funding and it’s not monetized yet. Hence the working hours ☺
What is your attitude towards skincare in particular? And how did that come about? Have you always been wary of what you’re putting on your skin and how it affects it? When did you first start to become concerned?
I actually come from a corporate background of marketing, PR and training until I was in my mid 20’s. I was very relaxed about my skin as I didn’t have bad skin and I barely wore makeup. I have more of a routine and wear more makeup now than I ever did. I started beauty therapy because I wanted to be a nurse as a child but when I got older the appeal wore off, and I always loved fashion, but I couldn’t draw or sew so beauty therapy was the natural step and I like to call it nursing for well people.
I really love taking care of clients and their skin as it can really effect how we feel about ourselves. Through my beauty training I’ve become more aware of what goes on our skin and in our bodies to achieve total skin and body health. I really didn’t think much about it until beauty college though.
As a busy business owner, how do you like to relax when (and if!) you find the time?
I have quite a large social life as well so I spend time catching up with friends for coffees or drinks on the weekend. There are times when it is all work, but I try to grab an hour here or there or even a phone call to keep in touch with people.
Going to events is a good way to see everyone at once! Also I’m really lucky that a lot of my friends are in the industry or even contributors so I also get to combine business with pleasure ☺
What’s your bedtime beauty/wellness routine? Any rituals that you swear by?
Making sure I wash my face!
Sometimes I can be so tired that I don’t care but I do make the effort to wash my face and use my night serums every day. Using serums day and night are essential to boost your skin care for healthy skin. I also have a peppermint tea every evening just before bed. It helps my digestion and calms me before I sleep.
I keep my rituals pretty simple as I’m so busy at the moment. I also make sure I really massage in my creams to my face as it naturally helps to stimulate collagen and drains out any congestion going on. That’s something quick and easy I can do within my current routine.