Meet MOTHER founder Tandia Walsh
April 15th, 2024

Meet MOTHER founder Tandia Walsh

Why did you start Mother?

MOTHER SPF is dedicated in both name and nature to my own mother and mother nature. I had never given much thought to the ingredients in skincare until 2016 when my mum was diagnosed with cancer. The news evoked a heightened urgency for organic food and natural skincare products. It was then, while trying to find safe and effective skincare, that I discovered how many SPF brands contain questionable ingredients that are not only harmful to the body,
but also to the environment.

To learn that the personal care industry, which is supposed to protect us, allows potentially harmful ingredients in our everyday products felt like the ultimate betrayal.This disappointment is what passionately prompted me into creating my own natural suncare range that put the health of its people and planet above everything else.

How hard was it to formulate a clean sunscreen?

Australia is renowned for its strict sunscreen regulations and for good reason with our harsh climate. SPF is strictly regulated by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) and you have to go through lots of testing before you can bring the product to market.
On top of the tight knit regulations, trying to make a clean sunscreen that still provides effective sun protection is even harder. Most brands use ingredients like silicones, emulsifiers and preservatives - synthetic ingredients that make the formulation feel nice but provide no benefit to the health of the skin. Our goal is all about using safe natural ingredients that work in harmony with your skin - not against it. So using these ingredients was not an option and we had to go
through so many iterations until we found the right organic ingredients that helped in making the formulation stable, produced a high SPF and passed all regulatory requirements (whilst of course nourishing your skin).

Can you take us through your morning routine and evening routine, with products used?

Morning Routine:
I naturally wake around 5am and go straight into 20 minutes of vedic meditation followed by 10 minutes of guided breathwork.
Out into nature for a long run along the coastline, and always ending with an ocean dip. Home to dry body brush, shower, skincare. Skin care routine is very simple - I just use the Weleda light skin food on my face, followed by MOTHER SPF or sometimes just MOTHER SPF on its own as it's hydrating enough.

A hot tea of adaptogenic mushrooms whilst I read a chapter of a book (I love business books and autobiographies of founders), followed by a breakfast of warm porridge and out the door to my office. From here my work day begins.

Night Time:
Always end the day with some gentle movement - normally a walk along the river listening to a podcast or will leave my phone at home if I am craving some creative thinking. Home to prepare dinner and catch up with my partner over dinner.
I double cleanse with a natural gentle cleanse Gua Sha face massage with jojoba oil and top it off with the weleda face moisturizer again. By 8pm I am in bed to do vedic meditation, read my book and asleep by 9… sometimes earlier *Hello nanna!

For someone who wants to make the switch to natural beauty products, what are your top tips?
I think it’s important to understand that natural products function differently to chemical products - so you simply cannot compare.
For example a mineral SPF works by sitting on top of your skin and reflecting UV rays and this is why you can feel them and why they feel thicker. A chemical SPF works by absorbing into your skin (and bloodstream) and this is why they feel thinner. By making the switch to natural products it’s important to understand that a mineral SPF feels thicker for a reason, to form that protective barrier on your skin and to not absorb into your bloodstream where the consequences of this on your health are currently unknown. Similar to a natural deodorant VS a chemical deodorant. A chemical deodorant blocks your
sweat glands and stops you from experiencing a natural bodily process (perspiration). In contrast to a natural deodorant that works by raising the pH in your underarms, creating an environment that odor-causing bacteria struggle to survive in. If you know this before wearing a natural deodorant, you go into the journey still expecting to sweat (instead of thinking the product doesn’t work).

What are the ingredients to avoid in order to stay clear of any nasty chemicals?

Unfortunately there are A LOT of ingredients that really are not necessary to be included in our everyday beauty routine - they are toxic but they also do not provide any benefit to the health of the skin, so it's counter- productive using them isn’t it?
The skin microbiome is paramount to the health of the skin so I try to stay away from preservatives that have been shown to negatively affect the healthy bacteria naturally residing on our skin. Phenoxyethanol being the most common preservative in skincare and one I always make sure is not in my products.

Next I stay away from chemical sunscreen actives - animal studies show them as being hormone disruptors, damaging to the coral and once again they do not provide any health benefit to the skin and instead cause irritation or inflammation pending on the active used.

Other ingredients that are added purely for aesthetics are fragrance (which can be highly toxic) and silicones (which I find clog my pores). So I stay clear - they are easy to spot too.

What’s your favorite Mother product?
Face Barrier - I am really obsessed with it. The texture is like this lightweight balm and it feels so incredibly nourishing on the skin. It has just enough tint to even your skin tone whilst still letting your freckles shine and it's hydrating enough that I can use it as my moisturizer for when I really want to simplify my skin routine.

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