Nourished Journal

The Woman Behind Bondi Wash - An Interview With Belinda Everingham

Jun 24, 2018

Nourished Nederland, natuurlijke beautyshop, natuurlijke cosmetica, vegan make-up, Australische beautymerken, ere perez, sansceuticals, groene drogist, vegan huidverzorging, natuurlijke huidverzorgingsproducten, green washing, geen parabenen, natural

Entrepreneur & Bondi local Belinda Everingham conceived the idea for Bondi Wash after experiencing headaches when using “Spray & Wipe” a supermarket surface spray. The thought “Wow! if it is doing that to me, what is it doing to my children, our health and the environment?’ was the motivation to try natural alternatives, which she found smelt almost as bad &/or didn’t work! And thus, Bondi Wash was born. A brand that creates beautiful, luxurious, natural products for the home & body all featuring Australian native ingredients that make them highly effective and smell great, minus the toxicity!  

NN: You talk about being inspired by the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind. Would you say that scent is the standout characteristic of your products?   

BE: It definitely is. Scent is so powerful & bringing that into daily life in a beautiful & natural way is definitely part of the brand. Australian native scents are the trademark of Bondi Wash – and what brings the wonderful properties.   

NN: Is there a personal story or reason that scent is so important to you?    

BE: I have always really loved natural scent. Even before I created Bondi Wash we designed our garden so that it is very fragrant all year round. We have Cardamom on the way in the front gate, then there is Gardenia, Frangipani, Michelia Alba, Jasmine and natives Lilly Pilly and Banksia.  They bloom at different times so most of the year you get wonderful wafts of natural scent.

NN: And so you are a Bondi Local?  

BE: Yes. My family & I moved here 19 years ago.  

NN: And what is your favourite part of Bondi life & living?   

BE: The community. It is a really interesting, creative, supportive, fun community and I think it comes partly from this incredible beach. It reduces everyone to the same level and people tend to stress less about the little things here.     

NN: I believe nature in general has the capacity to remind us of our common humanity.  

BE: Yes, and that is what I like about it. There are all different sorts of characters and there is less judgement I think, less snobbery. Sydney is an affluent city and there are wealthy people living here in Bondi but you would just never know how much money people have because that is just not typically how they behave, that’s not what’s important here. It is a really lovely community.     

NN: Your love of natural living is something that you try to live by?   

BE: Yes, but it is very hard to research everything and control everything you come into contact with. There is an awareness issue around ‘natural’ products. We recently looked into creating single use face masks in Korea as they are so famous for them. But we found out the rate of irritation is 5%. We won’t launch a product if we think it might cause irritation.  

NN: How do you ensure your products won’t cause irritation?   

BE: Before we launch something we test it on a spectrum of people who have super sensitive skin – all different sensitives. We have very few reports of irritation from any of our products.  Our baby range is the gentlest if anyone is concerned about irritation – it’s used by adults and children with sensitive skin.

NN: So, for people with psoriasis, auto-immune skin conditions and extreme sensitivities they can expect very low chances of irritation?  

BE: Yes. We get great feedback from people with those skin conditions. We do a lot of research on our ingredients. We know that essential oils can cause irritation, so we use oils that are less likely to irritate.    

NN: Choosing natural products is very ‘cool’ and ‘in fashion’ at the moment but I don’t think that people realise that it is much more serious than it is ‘not natural’ or that it is ‘chemical based.’ The ingredients in these products can create significant health impacts and even death! We need to question why governments aren’t putting more policy around what goes into these products.  

BE: Absolutely! I recently watched a documentary on endocrine disruptors. It was a European documentary that tested two different women for a range of different chemicals. Interestingly, one woman showed up with high levels of these chemicals despite prioritising natural products and an organic diet. It turned out that this woman had grown up on a farm & had been exposed to pesticides throughout her childhood & adolescence. Unfortunately, the European Commission is doing nothing about it because it would be an incredible cost to shift away from these pesticides that are currently being used in farming and food production. It is a really complex issue. Even Europe that has higher standards than many other countries is struggling with how to regulate chemicals.    

NN: Do you believe that natural products are finally reaching standards of quality & performance that rival that of conventional products?  

BE: Well cost is always higher in natural products as they are not just made in a lab, they come from live plants. You have to be careful that you can ensure supply when designing a product and it is much more expensive to source natural ingredients. Prices also fluctuate significantly depending on the season and crop.  In terms of efficacy I think that natural products can be just as good. In fact, the feedback we get from our Bench Spray and other products is that it is actually more effective than the ones you find in the supermarket

NN: And your products are independently lab-tested for efficacy of killing germs? What were the results of that testing?  

BE: We have had the Yoga Mat Spray, Bench Spray, Mist Spray, Travel Spray and the Hand Spray independently tested. The results showed that they all are effective in killing 99.9% - 99.99% of germs.   

NN: So, people can feel safe about using those products in their home? Much safer than something like Dettol or some of those hand sanitisers with ingredients like Triclosan.  

BE: Yes, I believe so. A lot of people associate clean with that chemical bleach smell, but toxic chemicals are simply not required.   

NN: There is a lot of research out there that shows the impact of bleach on children’s immune & respiratory systems. It has been shown that regular contact with bleach based products can make children more susceptible to skin conditions like eczema so it is definitely something to keep out of the home.  

NN: With so many “organic” or “natural” products on the market, what are some of the key defining characteristics that people can use to determine between whether it is “real-natural’ or ‘fake-natural’. Because people often don’t realise that a product can be called organic without there being anything organic in it. That’s just the name of the product.  

BE: Because there are a lot of ingredients you actually can’t source organically, labelling products ‘organic’ can be misleading if only a small portion of the ingredients actually are. When we can source things organically, we do.  There are some products, like our lip balm & night balm that are 99% organic, but typically it is quite difficult to find 100% of your ingredients organic. The two things that I look for are synthetic fragrance and the preservative system used. If the product lists phenoxyethanol, methoisothiazoline (MIT/CMIT), fragrance or parfum/perfume then I immediately know that it is not going to be a natural product.   

NN: What are some preservative systems that we as consumers can feel good about in our products?

BE: Glyceryl caprylate, sodium benzoate & potassium sorbate are food grade preservatives that we also use. Sometimes the product doesn’t require an additional preservative system as the oils and other natural ingredients are effective, like our dish wash, laundry wash & delicate wash. I think it is important to have some kind of preservative system as bacteria can grow and that is not ideal for the consumer as it can encourage fungal conditions & skin irritations. It is a balancing act.  

NN: What is your favourite natural brand or product to purchase, other than Bondi Wash?  

BE: In terms of perfumes there a few natural perfume companies popping up, one of which is Samuel Gravan, he is a young perfumer making incredible scents. I really love his work.  I also like some of the Caudalie products. Clearly for home and body products I use Bondi Wash. I also use our Body Wash on the face, along with a whole raft of samples of new products in development (deodorant, face cream, shampoo, conditioner).