Wednesday 6 April 2016

Elijah Choo | Bodhi and Birch

The power of scent is undeniable, it can take you on a journey, bring up long forgotten memories and instantly change your mood. No one understands this better than Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi & Birch. His collection is designed not only to take care of your skin, but to relax your mind with an incredible array of fragrances. One of the best things about interviewing Elijah is that I always learn something new. Here is his take on all things Beauty.

What is your favourite skincare ingredient, and why?

This is a really tricky one, I have a current favourite and an all time favourite. Ingredients come and go: they are in fashion, or on trend, and then all of a sudden they are out. The one that is truly tested, and the one I will always go with is rosehip oil, it is my all time favourite. Rosehip oil is a very reliable ingredient, it is great for all skin types and for various skin concerns. My current favourite is plum kernel oil. It features in only one of our products, Lime Blossom Hand Serum, but it is a very interesting oil. It is extremely emollient, however, the key thing about it for me is that it is quickly absorbed by the skin and doesn't leave a greasy feel. What blows me away time and time again, is its gorgeous aroma, it smells like  a cherry bakewell.  Not many carrier oils have this property.

What is a big skincare no no for you?

 I do not go down the road of "you can't do this", "you must do that". I believe that we all need knowledge and balance. If you know you shouldn't do something, it doesn't mean it is the end of the world if you do it once, just don't do it often or to the point that it would damage your skin. That being said, it is quite evident that if you wear make-up, remove all the make-up before you go to bed. I have people asking me "Is it ok to use just a face wipe?". No! You can occasionally, but not all the time! The other thing, and I am equally guilty of forgetting this, is: SPF, SPF, SPF. On holidays I always apply SPF, but when I am rushing around day to day I do forget to use it.

Where do you see green beauty industry heading in the future?

Into the mainstream. I think more and more people are being educated, weirdly enough not necessarily by the green beauty community, but by the mainstream brands that are trying to jump on the bandwagon. Yes there is some 'green washing' going on, but it is what's starting the conversation for people who would not normally be interested in green beauty. Taking this into consideration, these brands are in a way doing their bit by encouraging people to ask questions, and find out for themselves what ingredients they want in their products. I think more and more people are accepting that when it comes to skincare, it has to be to a certain extent green. Be it green in terms of ingredients, testing on animals, or the damage that it does to the environment.

What would you say is the secret to having glowing, healthy skin?

Most skincare brands would tell you that it is the skincare, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. We indulge in good skincare, it provides the finishing touches to the skin. Fundamentally for great skin you need three things. One of these, unfortunately, you cannot choose: it is your genes. If you have good genes, you have good skin. The second thing you can do a lot about is your diet. You are what you eat, your skin merely reflects how healthy your diet is. Eat good food, choose meals that are balanced and have lots of vegetables. If you eat meat, don't have huge amounts, but make sure it is good quality meat. Basically aim for quality not quantity, and enjoy yourself! If you have a good diet it reflects on your skin. The third part is to look after your skin. I personally do not believe in using 10,000 products on your skin. I think it is confusing. Our skin, like nature, balances itself out, but if you keep bombarding it with changes unfortunately it will struggle. When you are younger you are able to experiment, because your skin rate of renewal is pretty high. As I get older I stick to a core of versatile products.

Do you juice at home or make smoothies? Any favourite recipes?

Not as much as I want to. The reason is very simple, I have what we call a "temporary, permanent kitchen". We are still renovating our home, so I don't have a lot of space, I ended up moving my juicer. It is annoying because I can't juice as much as I would want. I have discovered a very simple recipe in Thailand that I am really loving, it is just two ingredients: pineapple and holy basil. Pineapple contains bromelain and it helps with reducing inflammation, but on its own the pineapple juice is sickly sweet, adding fresh holy basil (also known as tulsi, or Thai basil) transforms it. You are looking to add a whole handful of the herb, but add a little bit at a time and taste it, to get the balance right.

pineaple and holly basil juice

What does your beauty routine look like?

I keep things simple, and that is why I created products that are not too fussy and quite versatile. For example the bath and shower therapies: because I have short hair, I can get away with using these as a shampoo, especially Rosemary Chi is great as a hair wash. For skincare I tend to use a cleanser, followed by a face oil. I use Rosa Rosa Cleanser, or Therapy Orange Blossom in the summer, and I wash my face in the shower. In the evening, when I take more time to cleanse, I alternate between Rosa Rosa Cleanser, Balmology, or a super secret product I am still working on. I don't use toner in the mornings, I tend to use mists as a refresher. I apply Desert Rose Face Oil to skin that is still damp after cleansing. There is one other product that I may use as an alternative, and that is Lime Blossom Hand Serum. Most people don't know this, but originally I wanted to create three face oils, in the end I decided not to launch the third face oil and recreated it as Lime Blossom Hand Serum. It is actually facial oil quality, and was created as a blend for oily skin types (do patch test it before trying it as a face oil).

Can we expect any new exciting additions to the Bodhi and Birch line up?

There are a few products that have been in development for a while that are just waiting for the right time to launch. There are other products that I am just starting to work on. I don't want to give too much away, but there are definitely new things in store.

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