MEET OUR MAKERS | BE FRAICHE
We love getting to know the creative minds behind the beautiful products we get to stock at conscious.kin. Every maker has a unique story and often a pivotal event that lead them down the path of clean beauty and natural skincare. Be Fraiche founder Helen Dao, is truly committed to her craft. She spent years formulating and testing her range of natural skincare products; the Bean Face Scrub took 23 trials to perfect! Helen developed Be Fraiche specifically to deal with her sensitive, oily / combination skin when she was experiencing flare ups. Be Fraiche literally means ‘Be Fresh’. Helen hand selects each ingredient to lab-test (that’s in a laboratory, not on labradors - Be Fraiche is Cruelty Free) to create a fusion of powerful Asian and Western botanicals with French aromas.
What inspired you to start Be Fraiche?
Everything started when I went on a trip to Europe with my best friend in 2011. My skin got extremely sensitive, red, flaky and inflamed all the time. Despite trying all the well-known brands on my face, nothing seemed to help. A quick search online lead my friend and I to try some homemade remedies including using oatmeal to wash our faces then cool our skin off with a soothing cucumber mask. I was amazed how such simple ingredients worked so well on my red and inflamed skin! Coming back to Australia, I was then on an endless hunt for natural skincare products for my sensitive combination skin. But I just couldn’t find anything on the market that could balance my oiliness, soothe my sensitive skin, plus nourish it for the better. That’s when I decided to enroll in a cosmetic science school in the UK and travelled to Grasse, France to study perfumery. It took me two and a half years to formulate, test and have the first three products of Be Fraiche ready. In 2016, Be Fraiche was born.
You hand select and test every ingredient yourself; can you tell us about the process of creating skincare?
My skincare creation process starts with conceptualising the product brief. It’s important to know what you want the products to do, to look like, feel and smell like. Once the product concept is clear, I then move onto researching ingredients that may be suitable for the product. This is when I hand-select and experiment with different ingredients. The ingredients are the building block of the product so it’s important to learn about each ingredient individually, what they can do and how they behave if combined with other ingredients in a formula. This process will take a while depending how familiar I am with the ingredient or if it’s currently available from the supplier.
Next, comes the prototyping. Just like baking, once grocery shopping and food preparation is done, the best part is to make the cake! However, unlike baking where you taste the cake straight away, for skincare it takes time to test the product on the skin, as well as in the lab, to make sure that its stability and everything works as intended. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to go back and tweak the formula, then test again. The whole process may take months or years. All Be Fraiche products took at least 8 trials to perfect and the Bean Face Scrub took me 23 trials to achieve the desired texture and skin feel.
When not running the business how do you self-nourish?
Ever since I started my business, I’ve realised that my health and well being is my biggest asset. For the past 3 years, I’ve developed a morning routine where I went out to our local park to exercise. Walking on green grass, listening to the birds chirping and the stream nearby, inhaling in the fresh morning air while getting my body moving, all that helps me feel energised and prepare my mind and body for the day ahead.
What is your guiding ethos when it comes to purchasing skincare and makeup?
Since I have sensitive skin, I’d opt for the best natural skincare products. I’m also a big advocate of the kind beauty movement where the products are not tested on animals and the workers are paid fair wage to create the products. That’s why I want to keep our manufacturing local and work with local suppliers to support local businesses.
Name one natural beauty or skincare product that you cannot live without?
My favourite product is our Seed Face Oil. It’s suitable for all skin types and it’s extremely versatile. It can be a stand-alone moisturiser or a serum to give extra moisture; it can soothe, soften and bring back natural glow. It’s my go-to product when I feel lazy or want to give my skin a bit of T.L.C.
What does your own daily skincare routine look like?
You may think I’m biased but I formulated the whole Be Fraiche range for my sensitive combination skin type and I love using them! In the morning, I cleanse my face with the Tea Cleanser, moisturise it with the Flower Face Cream, then apply a physical sunscreen. In winter, I’d add the Seed Face Oil before applying the cream for extra moisture boost. At night time, I remove makeup / sunscreen with a custom-made makeup remover then cleanse my face with the Tea Cleanser. While my face is still damp I warm up the Seed Face Oil in my hands and gently massage the oil into my face for 5 minutes. I’ve recently purchased a Rose Quartz Guasha and I love to give my face a thorough massage once a week with the Seed Face Oil. Lastly, I apply the Flower Face Cream on top. I also love using our Bean Face Scrub to exfoliate once or twice a week after cleansing.
What does 'conscious living' mean to you?
The word “Conscious” reminds me of awareness. I believe “conscious living” means we’re living with awareness and we conduct our own actions mindfully. By living consciously, we do the right things for the people around us and for the world we live in.
words | Sophie Parslow