Santé Profile Series: Tandia Walsh
(Co-Founders of Mother SPF - Elle Peter (left) and Tandia Walsh (right)
This month we sat down with Tandia Walsh, Co-Founder and one-half of the MOTHER SPF team. Tandia has created a revolutionary all-natural SPF, which is close to her heart. Keep reading to hear the story behind the brand...
How did MOTHER SPF come about?
The idea for MOTHER SPF was born out of necessity when a few years back my mother was diagnosed with cancer, leaving me to discover the hidden nasties lurking in a lot of the mainstream skin and SPF products. After not being able to find a mineral sunscreen suitable for myself and also extremely disheartened by the environmental effect of the current ones, I decided to look into making my own using my marine science background. After partnering with the very best green cosmetic scientist and a TGA licensed manufacturer, MOTHER SPF came to life at the end of 2019.
What differentiates MOTHER SPF from other brands on the shelves?
That our ingredient list is truly clean! We only use 9 naturally derived organic ingredients. Unfortunately, there's a lot of clean beauty ‘green washing’ and lots of brands have jumped on to this ‘clean beauty’ bandwagon and with little regulations around clean beauty, they get away with marketing a natural product when really that is not the case if you look at the ingredient list.
We are also an oil-based formula (the majority are water-based). Anything water-based requires a preservative to prevent bacteria from growing in the product. Preservatives are terrible for our skin microbiome which is integral to the health of our skin and with an unbalanced skin microbiome, conditions like acne, eczema etc tend to rise! By removing water, we removed the need for preservatives so not only are we protecting your skin from the sun but we also protect and care for your skin health.
What are the simple sun protection mistakes Australians make in summer?
Well firstly that they only apply in summer..not year-round! But I see we get to that question below.
It’s mostly common that consumers do not reapply throughout the day. In summer it’s super important to re-apply every 2 hours if you are in direct sun. Mineral SPFs work by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting UV rays so you can easily rub off your protection by changing clothes, towel drying and sweating etc!
I notice a lot of girls also rely on the SPF in their foundation as their only form of sun protection. Most foundations with SPF are considered secondary sunscreens and therefore are not as heavily regulated as primary sunscreens (like MOTHER SPF) so they do not go through the same testing standards and also to achieve that SPF factor you would most likely need to apply the full bottle...which doesn’t happen!
There is a common belief SPF only needs to be worn in summer. Is this correct?
Incorrect! Needs to be worn 365 days a year. There are 2 types of rays we need to worry about. UVB (Burning) which are around in the summer/10 am-3 pm-ish vibe. And there are UVA (ageing) rays which are around 365 days a year and around from morning to sunset. These rays have a longer wavelength and break down our collagen and contribute to skin cancer. Due to the longer wavelength, we can not feel them, and they do not burn our skin on the outside, hence why we always thought we only needed SPF in summer! Luckily new research has spoiled this myth.
How important is it to look after your skin?
I think we all forget our skin is the largest organ. Yet we don’t give it as much love as we do all our other organs. I.e we go on a juice cleanse when we need to detox our liver etc but yet the skin which is exposed to so many different elements (UV rays, pollution, blue light and harsh skincare) gets little to no attention. Or it gets LOTS of attention i.e a 10 step skincare routine which is actually one of the worst things for your skin. It struggles to breathe.
A piece of skincare advice you got from your mother?
Don’t wear makeup! I have never seen my mum wear foundation and she has the most gorgeous skin and I think that's because she always lets it breathe. I therefore have grown up wearing little to zero makeup and as a result, I focus on skin health (inside and out) as much as possible.
Self-care is about more than just skincare and makeup. How else do you practice it?
I am a big sucker for some TLC! I get a facial once a month. I have a morning ritual of making myself a matcha latte and cooking porridge on the stove and sitting down to eat it in silence, away from technology (never on the run!) and finishing my day with my phone on aeroplane mode, a book, a 10-min meditation and a very early bedtime.
What inspired you to shift towards sustainable and ethical beauty practices?
I have always been inspired to live a sustainable and ethical life, so I wouldn’t say it was a shift. I grew up in Broome and I was either out on the ocean fishing or camping in the bush. Having a childhood surrounded by nature made me fall in love with it - and like anything you love - you will try your best to protect it.
How important is it to educate the younger generation on the impact skincare products have on the environment?
VERY! It’s very easy to forget that whatever we put on our skin gets washed down the drain during our nightly shower and straight into the ocean. Or you have chemical sunscreens that are detrimental to the oceans and bleaching the coral yet we slather ourselves in them just before our ocean dip!
The younger generation is the only one left that can protect our environment via their purchasing decisions and demanding more sustainable skincare products.
Why did you decide to partner with Santé, your favourite Santé product and why?
Because they have the same values as MOTHER SPF and are really setting the standards of beauty companies being ethical and sustainable as the norm.
I love how they have showcased how easy it is to switch to more environmental practices by simply just washing your face in the morning!
The make-up removal wipes are by far my favourite! They are lifesavers and have saved my skin on all my camping trips where I don’t have a sink and all I have is a water bottle and a wipe to remove the dusty grime and all my MOTHER SPF. They have also saved my wallet when it comes to not having to buy a cleanser again!