Photo: Antipodes

All-natural ingredients, sustainably-harvested extracts, eco-friendly packaging and social sustainability initiatives are just some of the reasons behind the growing love for green beauty brands. If you have gotten in on the green beauty movement, rejoice! Antipodes, the New Zealand-based green beauty brand that has gained the likes of Cara Delevingne, Sam Smith and Elle Macpherson, has finally made its way to Singapore.

The brand prides itself in quality and certified organic formulations made from ingredients including nutrient-rich avocado oil, soothing and hydrating manuka honey, and antioxidants from New Zealand-grown superfruits – all drawn from the pristine and natural New Zealand environment.

We find out more from Antipodes founder Elizabeth Barbalich about the brand and its products, her take on wellness and her beauty regime.

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Elizabeth Barbalich
Photo: Antipodes

How did Antipodes come about? What inspired the brand?

EB: As a young, busy mother of three, I was trying to find products that were natural and free of synthetic ingredients for my own use, but couldn’t find any. I realised there was a gap in the market for a lifestyle brand that was not only natural, sustainable and organic, but also had scientific validation.

I researched a lot of brands on the global market as I wanted to create a strong lifestyle brand with a distinctive style and clear merchandising. I’m lucky that I’ve got an extensive background in science, so I embarked on my green beauty crusade by mixing lotions and potions at home — testing them on my own skin first — before stepping into the familiar lab environment. It was critical that the skincare and makeup were cruelty-free (no animal testing), largely organic, vegetarian (no animal products) and certified vegan (no animal by-products).

How does Antipodes set itself apart from the plethora of green beauty brands in the market?

EB: The fact that we use ingredients drawn from clean, natural New Zealand is one of our points of difference. There’s no question in my mind that New Zealand-grown bio-active skincare ingredients are world-class and, in many instances, world-leading in terms of their vitality, freshness and nutrient-density. At the end of the day, the efficacy of a skincare formulation relies on the quality of its ingredients.

New Zealand’s unique and pristine environment is like nowhere else on Earth. Untouched by humans until just 1,000 years ago, our native plant species are bursting with potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant-rich properties. Antipodes’ sustainably-harvested bio-active extracts from New Zealand forests have evolved in geographic isolation over tens of millions of years. New Zealand’s modern-day horticulture is also world-class. We have so many innovative, high-tech producers who love to work their land, and never take their eye off quality for the sake of quantity. We source premium ingredients power-packed for beauty performance from New Zealand’s top fields, orchards and vineyards, including nutrient-rich avocado oil, kiwifruit seed oil, antibacterial manuka honey and revolutionary antioxidant Vinanza® Grape from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. We’re very proud to share the best of New Zealand with the rest of the world in our skincare.

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How would you describe the Antipodes woman?

EB: We’ve designed our skincare and makeup for eco-conscious world citizens who appreciate good design, creativity and style, who are seeking uncompromising results-oriented skincare. The Antipodes® woman is sophisticated, smart and is a typical LOHAS – she follows a ‘Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability’. She is of any age and appreciates good design as much as she values high-performance skincare that is ethically-produced.

What products, in your opinion, will best suit Singaporean women given our humid climate?

EB: I would suggest some of our products that hydrate the skin, yet aren’t heavy, such as Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Light Day Cream, which uses New Zealand’s famous manuka honey to brighten and plump skin, making it look fresh no matter the humidity level. This luxury formulation blends Persian silk flower with the revolutionary antioxidant Vinanza grape seed, as well as kiwi skin to brighten the delicate under-eye skin.

You also can’t go wrong with Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum, a water-charged serum that immediately plumps thirsty skin while intensively improving your skin appearance over time. It’s full of the antioxidant Vinanza Grape which helps protect and build resistance to damage caused by environmental aggressors and pollutants. It also contains the extract of mamaku black fern that helps foster cell renewal.

Photo: Antipodes

What are your best-selling products/ range? Which are your personal favorites?

EB: Our bestsellers are some of the ones I’ve just mentioned, including the Manuka Day Cream and Manuka Eye Cream, as well as our Kiwi Seed Oil Lip Conditioner, which blends the bioactive botanical ingredient kiwi seed oil with nutrient-rich avocado oil to help keep the skin of the lips healthy and hydrated.

As for my favourite products, well it’s hard to say because I love them all! But I’m currently really enjoying our new vegan Halo Skin-Brightening Facial Mud Mask that has been incredibly well-received globally. Halo features mineral-rich volcanic mud from geothermal areas of New Zealand which binds to the oils in the skin, drawing out impurities as it is washed off for a luminous complexion.

Another favourite is our Grapeseed Butter Cleanser, ideally used at night with the ability to quickly diminish acne and bring calm to red and sensitive skins, while also providing nourishment and refinement to more mature skins.

Antipodes has launched a Scientific Natural Makeup range comprising mineral foundations
and moisturizing lipsticks – are there plans to expand on this makeup range?

EB: Yes there is! I can’t say too much at this stage, except to say keep an eye out in 2019.

How different is this makeup range different from traditional makeup?

EB: At Antipodes, we don’t use any chemicals. We pride ourselves on using natural, organic ingredients. That’s why our Moisture-Boost Natural lipsticks are so healthy you could almost eat them!

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We would love to know your beauty regime – do tell!

EB: Having to juggle a busy household with three children and Antipodes doesn’t leave me with a lot of free time, so I prefer beauty routines that are quick and hassle-free. I’m a great believer in having a good base before applying makeup, so I always use Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum, which helps correct dull, tired skin, and then go for our Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream which helps to keep my skin healthy and energised, no matter what the day throws at me. I religiously use an eye cream, usually Antipodes Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream, which uses vitamin C from the New Zealand kiwifruit to help moisturise and soften fine lines.

At night, my favourites are our Divine Face Oil Rosehip & Avocado Oil that is fantastic for reducing the appearance of lines, age spots and scars, and then finishing with Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream, which uses native New Zealand manuka honey to draw moisture into the skin and create a dewy-soft, ageless visage.

And finally, I love to indulge in some at-home beauty treatments – doing my nails and applying our Aura Manuka Honey Mask, which is luxuriously hydrating and helps keep my skin super smooth.

What is wellness to you, and how do you incorporate it in your daily life?

EB: For me, it’s not just about beauty but having a work-life balance. The key is to have lots of sleep, no alcohol during the week and exercise every day. As a vegetarian, I drink a blend of beetroot, spinach, avocado, carrot, apple, parsley and kale juice for breakfast every day. I also try to take a holiday in Bali every year, which really refreshes and rejuvenates me for the challenges of running this exciting business.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

The certified organic and premium natural skincare brand is now available at leading Guardian stores and online.