5 Minutes With ... Tarj Mavi, La Mav

What is the difference between natural and organic? And why does everything nowadays label themselves as 'natural'? The skincare industry has seen a dramatic shift from chemicals and synthetic ingredients in products as consumers become more aware of their body and the effects of these ingredients. 

Having worked in the scientific field as well as being involved in the research and development field for the last twenty years, Tarj knew first-hand about the dangerous effects of ongoing absorption of chemicals and synthetics through the skin into the blood stream. After giving birth to her second child, Tarj was diagnosed with severe skin pigmentation which gave her the drive to create La Mav, Australia's first Certified Organic skincare range made from effective natural ingredients. I originally met Tarj when La Mav launched in 2008. At the time I had only just started blogging but this kind, generous and inspiring woman did not discriminate, giving up her time to introduce me to her beloved brand. As an avid La Mav consumer, it was only fitting to invite Tarj to discuss the natural vs synthetic skincare debate and La Mav with Spoilt readers... 

Tarj, you inspire me every time we talk and always wear a smile. What helps you to stay so positive? There are two things that help me stay positive. One being my family – they are a HUGE inspiration for me. I want to be a good example for my boys and I like to do my best for them. The second is PASSION! I have passion for what I do – if I am able to help someone in some small way with their skin or self esteem without compromising the integrity of our health then that makes me stay positive and focused.

You created La Mav after suffering severe skin pigmentation. How did this condition affect your confidence and lifestyle? After the birth of my second child I developed post-partum melasma pigmentation. It was awful, I was so self conscious. It affected me on so many levels – I avoided going out and I avoided presenting in front of people. I tried everything to ‘fix’ it! I was piling on heavy concealer, makeup and my skin became itchy, flaky, red and dry as a result. I took the advice of a dermatologist who prescribed Hydroquinone, which is essentially a bleaching treatment that made my skin hyper sensitive to the sun and left it inflamed. I knew there had to be a more natural alternative!

In a few words, how would you best describe the La Mav consumer? The La Mav woman is health conscious, aspirational, educated and wants a product that is certified organic/natural but actually works!

Which La Mav products do you love most and why?
I am in love with our Antioxidant Rich Nightly Repair Nectar because the Nectar is lovely and rich yet absorbs easily into the skin, and Daily Vitamin-C Brightening Serum because it truly does help lighten my pigmentation.

La Mav re-launched in 2011 with a fabulous new look and reformulated products that really pack a punch! What other plans do you have for La MavWe would definitely like to expand internationally into countries like China, the UK and Japan. We have very exciting things to come but we can’t say anything just yet... you will have to stay tuned!!

What should consumers know about natural vs. synthetic skincare products? By natural, it can still be ‘derived from nature’ and still be processed synthetically so it’s important to clarify that point first. More importantly, I try to educate consumers about the difference between certified organic skincare versus synthetic skincare products. It’s so important to me to have certified organic skincare because it is the purest form of natural actives and these actives are delivered the way nature intended. The ingredients work just as well, if not better than the synthetic ingredients and are good for the environment. Synthetic ingredients can cause people irritation, breakouts and other effects, so if you have the option to use organic skincare products why wouldn’t you use them?

Well said! Has it been challenging to educate consumers on the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘certified organic’ skincare? I am amazed that so many of them think ‘natural’ and ‘certified organic’ are the same! Unfortunately, anyone can label their products as ‘natural’ – the government does not regulate the use of the term ‘natural’. Traditionally, any product that contains ingredients derived from nature and is minimally processed can be deemed ‘natural’, although this is not always the case. Certified Organic products are regulated by external bodies such as the Organic Food Chain (OFC) and these include production standards for sourcing, processing, packaging and having the ingredients grown and harvested without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic chemicals and growth agents whilst also being free from irradiation and chemical sterilization. So you see, when you buy a product that is ‘certified organic’ you know it has been thoroughly regulated and is a legitimately organic product.

What myths are most commonly perceived as truths? That all toners contain alcohol! This is not the case – our Pore Refining Toner is formulated with Aloe Vera Leaf JuiceMelissa Water and Bilberry Extract which is known to tighten and firm skin, rather than using alcohol to have that tightening effect. Another common myth is that serums can be used like moisturiser. This is not the case – they are made to deliver potent active constituents to the deeper layers of the skin but are not purely moisturising. You still need a moisturiser; serums give your skin that extra ‘boost’.

How do you juggle such a busy lifestyle as a mum to two boys, wife, and CEO? It can be difficult but I just have to make time. I will help my kids out with their homework, each month I will consciously make an effort to organise work, schedule meetings and then tweak my schedule if need be. I try to keep at least one day ‘work free’ to spend quality time with my family. Plus I’m also very fortunate in that my hubby is very supportive.

Your mission to live a clean and healthy lifestyle is really inspiring. Do you find it hard to do so? Certainly! It is really hard to live a clean and healthy lifestyle, but I make small changes slowly. For example, I started to buy everything fresh rather than using canned foods as almost all canned food have preservatives. I also started Bikram Yoga to help get in not only exercise but relaxation for my mind!

Tarj, you were once told to ‘follow your legend’. What does this mean to you? It means follow your dreams – set your mind to a goal and follow it through until you reach it. When I set up my goals I put them out there as a bright shining star that I see all the time. I do everything that needs to be done to move towards that goal and the big thing I have learned is to never give up!

Who inspires you most and why? I know it sounds cliché but Oprah is truly inspirational. She just got out there and didn’t give up even when she had everything going against her. To hear her story of where she came from and her journey to where she is now is incredible.

Tarj, what makes you feel SpoiltGoing on a vacation, relaxing, spending time with my boys and husband!

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