Grace Culhaci Pure & Green Organics Interview

Grace Culhaci Pure & Green Organics Interview

Grace Culhaci Pure & Green Organics Interview

The 'secret' ingredient in Pure & Green Organics beauty products is cehami. Cehami is prized by aboriginals for its healing properties and its scientifically-proven to reduce fine lines and is naturally hypo-allergenic.

Cehami is perfect for treating dry winter skin and is featured in Pure & Green Organics hydrate series of moisture lotions which are designed for winter skin. All lotions are ACO certified organic and have many healing properties.

Interview with Grace Culhaci

Question: How did you discover cehami?

Grace Culhaci: The Australian Native Daisy extract, cehami, is not grown organically, it is a part of our conventional allowance, to clarify it is not an organic ingredient but it is approved for use in the Pure & Green Organics products. The Australian Native Daisy extract is grown without pesticides and we love it because it is uniquely Australian which is a little bit different because we tend to always look at what is grown overseas and review those types of ingredients - but the ingredients that grow in Australia are just as good at effectively working on your skin, although they are not as well known.

I was looking for unique Australian ingredients and I sourced a lot of different things from farms and ingredient suppliers and I was given a sample of the Australian Native Daisy extract, cehami, along with a lot of other things for me to take home to try and formulate with. I read all the literature on the cehami and thought it sounded interesting and I made a product with it.

On the first day I used the cehami I trialed it along with another new ingredient, at the same time, which was a natural preservative and the natural preservative smelled horrific and when I made the cream it smelled revolting, I didn't even want to use it! I was going to tip the cream down the sink but I couldn't bring myself to do it and one of my lab workers came over and I explained how great the cehami was but that the smell of the natural preservative was too much for me and she said 'I'll try it'! She took it home, rather than me throwing it out, and a week later she came back and said she was already having results, with the product. She showed me where she had used it on her upper lip, on the fine lines of her lip and told me that had rubbed it into her husbands back where he had a sore back because of the fantastic anti-inflammatory properties of the cehami extract which is three thousands times more powerful than asprin. She encouraged me to make more batches because she and her husband both really liked it.

Question: Why have you decided to use cehami in all of the Pure & Green Organics products?

Grace Culhaci: The second time I made a cream without the stinky natural preservative and I took it home and used it on myself and I thought it was great. At the time, my little girl, had eczema and I thought it would be a good test on her and when I tried it on her, her eczema began improving so I knew it had good merit and decided to work on it.

It took a year due to negotiations with the plantation because at that time they were preserving it with something that was not allowed in organic products, it was quite a process to have them agree to provide an unpreserved batch, for me. I had a special run pre-booked to be sent to me, overnight, via a refrigerated courier and we preserve it using our organically approved preservatives. It has been a long while in the making; now everything is going well, the growers are happy, we're happy and the customers are happy because they are getting really good results. We have customers write in, all the time, talking about the wonderful results they are having.

Question: What originally inspired you to begin Pure & Green Organics?

Grace Culhaci: I have had really ill health and the short answer is that I needed to do it for myself. I had a tumor growing on my optic nerve and it was crushing my optic nerve and that was causing me to go blind, in my right eye - this has been ongoing for the last ten years, now. I was finally diagnosed, three years ago, which was when I said 'I have to do something'.

Up until that point I had dealt by using products that said they were organic and we'd always been eating organic food. What I found was organic food had been around for a long time and organic products are in their infancy so the public has this built in perception of what the word 'organic' means because when you go to your Fruit and Veg shop you don't buy a carrot thinking half of it is grown with chemicals and half isn't - you assume that whole carrot is organic. Manufactures took advantaged of the assumed knowledge of what the word organic meant and they have then put the word organic on a beauty product, when it really isn't and only contains some organic ingredients. That is what happened to me; even though I was a consumer of organic goods, for a long time, when it came to beauty I was like everyone else who bought products that claimed to be organic and later found out that they were not and contained ingredients that were just as toxic as conventional products. This experience drove me to look into certification and understanding the organic beauty code because it is different to food; we then felt it was something we could do.

When we began I had never made a cream, in my life, I had made other things and I believed I could make a cream and that is what sparked the business.

Question: Can you talk about the importance of your products being ACO certified?

Grace Culhaci: ACO is viewed, in the industry, as being the toughest standard and for me, because I was unwell and I was doing it purely for health reasons, in the beginning, I wanted people who had cancer to have something that they genuinely have faith in; I wanted to go for the toughest standard possible. In the beginning I spoke to a lot of cosmetic chemists to get advice and a lot of them said "you'll never do it, it's too hard" and I thought 'you just watch me'! There is nothing better, than when I achieved certification on everything, that moment was pure bless. I formulate all the products myself, because I formulate products as if I am using all the products myself, and I know what I should avoid, in some ways is the best way because you make sure every product is great.

Question: Do you have a favourite Pure & Green Organics product?

Grace Culhaci: I react to essential oils so I developed the sensitivity range for me and it has proven to be our most popular line. When we started there were very few real unscented options for people, companies used to use fragrance maskers and call their products 'unscented' or 'fragrance-free', which means they were not truly unscented. In the true spirit of unscented we wanted to create a genuine fragrance-free sensitivity product range, it has been challenging because some things do not naturally smell that great, so you have to come up with interesting ways to use ingredients like perhaps roasting a seed rather than using a raw seed, to get a better flavour through the natural oil, rather than putting in an essential oil to mask the unpleasant flavours. It was challenging but we've done it and it has been received, really well. The sensitivity range is definitely my favourite.

Interview by Brooke Hunter