Truly embracing an authentically organic and natural lifestyle means evaluating nearly every facet of your life – from diet and what you consume, to cleaning products used around the home and of course, what you use on your skin. The challenge, is to find certified organic products that actually perform.
INIKA Organic has a very strong commitment to all natural beauty, as we know that 100% natural and certified organic ingredients are simply better for us. That’s why we continually strive to source our botanic ingredients from the purest locations on earth, we are 100% free from synthetics and toxins, and we are the world’s highest certified beauty brand – cruelty free and vegan….always. We also have clinically proven results to show that our products actually work.
Sharing our passion for exceptionally made products that are natural, organic and cruelty-free, are great friends Kate Macdonald and Anna Weatherlake – who co-founded organic fragrance brand, Váhy.
Like INIKA, it is what Váhy leaves out of its beautiful scents as much as what it includes that set it apart, sharing a brand promise to only use all natural ingredients free from toxins, alcohol, synthetics, parabens and any animal by-products.
INIKA and Váhy align on core values that encourage people to transition to beauty and fragrances that are better for self, better for the animals and better for the environment - without compromising on performance.
Both Anna and Kate have both used INIKA Organic skincare and make up products as part of their cruelty free and organic lifestyle choices for many years, and here share their thoughts behind their new venture into pure parfums, why organic, natural product lifestyle choices are so important to them…and what it’s like running a business with your best friend!
We know you have used INIKA Makeup for a long time Anna – which are your favourite products?
Yes, I’ve been using INIKA products for a very long time. I’ve always found them to be beautifully pigmented, long-lasting and really suited to my skin. I’ve always had INIKA eyeshadows
in my bag (Gold Oyster
is my favourite), eyeliner
, INIKA vegan makeup brushes
and the bronzers
. I’ve also recently started using some of INIKA’s skincare products
- I am a big fan of the Phytofuse Renew Camelia Oil Cleanser
– the packaging is genius!
What are your other favourite Australian organic brands?
There are so many fantastic organic Australian brands, it’s hard to narrow it down. I like Pukka, for their organic tea, TOM Organic for their feminine hygiene products, obviously INIKA for their incredible makeup and skincare range, Patch for their organic, sustainable, and progressive wound care products – there are too many to name! We are spoiled for choice in Australia with organic products and its always so nice to see brands take the cleaner, greener path.
You are well known for your vegan diet Anna. Have you got a top Melbourne vegan hot spot you can share with us?
Yes, I’ve been vegan for a very long time and absolutely love it. I’ve been missing many of my favourite Melbourne restaurants during lockdown and I’m looking forward to getting out and supporting them all again. Eating at home just isn’t the same! The first vegan-friendly restaurants I’ll be visiting when lockdown lifts are Smith & Daughters, Chin Chin, Vegie Bar and Bio by Doc. I have missed them all.
WE also know you have a special love of animals – who are they, where do you take them etc?
I have always been surrounded by animals and they have been a very important part of my life, my whole life. At present, I’ve got five rescue dogs ranging in age from 13 to 2, and five rescue chickens, however that number is always shifting as I often welcome rescue dogs and animals into my home. The chooks are at my mum’s place at the moment, but the dogs are never far from me. They come everywhere I go, now more so than ever.
Tell us why you decided to launch an Australian luxury, natural and organic fragrance brand?
There were a couple of pivotal moments that led to the creation of Váhy. Early on in my career as a corporate lawyer, I was providing a skin care client labelling advice and discovered that perfumes did not need to disclose their ingredients in most jurisdictions. That then set me on a wormhole of investigation as to why this was, and what was actually in commercial perfumes. What I found was not pretty, with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducting research on this point and finding on average 14 ‘secret’ ingredients are used in fragrances and sometimes more than double that number (see https://www.ewg.org/research/not-so-sexy
As Anna was also very involved with cruelty-free, clean living and a close friend, we both set out to find a natural perfume that was transparent about its ingredients but was sophisticated and did not feel like a compromise from commercial scents. We searched high and low and when we couldn’t find anything we liked in that eco-luxe space, Váhy was born.
After hundreds of scent iterations and tireless hours of ingredient and chemical research (and over three years in time…), our unique scents came to life. With fully transparent practices, Váhy products are refined in their composition and contemporary in their design and offer premium substitutes to synthetic perfumes that do not compromise on quality, scent or style. Through Váhy, we hope to educate and inspire people about the world of natural, organic fragrance and offer luxurious scents that people can trust.
What type of ingredients do you use, and why?
We use an incredibly wide array of natural ingredients in each of our scents. Why we use naturally derived ingredients rather than their synthetic chemical counterparts is that natural essences possess a bioactive power, a vibrational energy, or ‘compressed vitality’ to quote Mandy Aftel, which just cannot be replicated in a chemical lab. Synthetics can replicate some of the dominant notes of a natural essence, but they cannot capture the complexity, subtlety and nuances of natural notes. Natural fragrance notes evolve over time and evolve differently with each different wearer and there is such beauty in this lifecycle.
Each natural note used in our scents brings its own aromatherapy benefits to the wearer. Some calm and relax, others uplift and inspire joy.
However, our point of difference – just like INIKA Organic - is what we exclude from our scents. We have a really, really long list of non-negotiables in our products which are all listed on our website. Effectively, we only use natural ingredients, so this means no synthetic scent notes, no denatured alcohol, no phthalates, no SLS/SLES, no ALS, no DEP, no parabens, no nitro musks and no animal by-products. This is in addition to the 1,400 ingredients not approved for use in personal care products by the EU. We just don’t believe these often disruptive and harmful ingredients should have ever been approved for use in personal care products in any country and we think the fragrance industry should elevate itself by disclosing everything that is in each product. Consumers expect this these days from all other industries and have a right to know what they are putting on their bodies.
What is the main difference between each scent, and which consumer each fragrance appeals to?
Scent is highly personal and often tied to your memories and experiences. We’ve purposely made our range wide (and it is ever expanding) so there is something for most tastes. Throughout the range we remain true to our scents being genderless and unique compositions. To give you an overview of each scent:
Ember Haze: This scent is based on warm amber and woods with hints of vanilla and smoke. It is a truly gorgeous scent that suits those who like luxurious, rich scents. Inspired by cosy log cabins and alpine ranges.
Desert Nomad: If you like beachy tropical scents, then Desert Nomad is for you. This magnetic and award winning scent uplifts with notes of fruit, vanilla and a whisper of the tropics.
Luna: This scent is light yet spicy and exotic. Inspired by the souks in Morocco it is the perfect adornment for a heady evening.
Boheme: Geranium is the key note of this scent. It was developed for the bohemian urban gypsy.
Midnight Ruze: Inspired by the streets of Paris this scent is rose based and infused with peppercorn. Perfect if frenchy chic is your thing.
Isle of Blanc: This oceanic scent will transport you to the eye of the storm with its citrus and marine notes. It’s masculine yet light and fresh.
Dusk Amour: This scent has notes of ginger, citrus and spice. It’s for the more adventurous amongst us.
What is it like running a business with your best friend?
(off the record – Anna didn’t answer this one, I think it is because she might say the answer is ‘painful’!). From my perspective, it is such a delight being in business with Anna. It really is the dream! Even though we’ve had so many obstacles along the way bringing Váhy to life, it’s great to be able to laugh and cry throughout the process with such a good friend by your side. We’ve both said on a number of occasions that some of the more difficult challenges we’ve faced would seem insurmountable if we were on our own.