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Mary Futher of Kaia Naturals

The veteran beauty entrepreneur on why she moved from the commercial to clean world and why her creations are kind and conscious.

Mary Futher and the Takesumi Detox Deodorant

Mary with her Takesumi Bamboo Charcoal Deodorant

As a former senior executive and product developer with some of the world’s leading beauty brands, Mary Futher has tried every cream, balm, gel, scrub and oil under the sun. That means she has a sixth sense for what works (and what is needed in the industry). So when she started her own company, Kaia Naturals, she had one goal: to apply her minimalist beauty principles to her products for consumers that deserve cleaner, non-toxic options.

With just two offerings to date since founding her label in 2009 — facial cleansing oil cloths and an activated charcoal deodorant stick — you could say that Mary believes in the phrase, “less is more”. You could also assert that each of the items have conquered their respective categories, which is no easy feat considering the plethora of products that enter the market on a daily basis. Kaia Naturals is also a certified cruelty-free company, which means that it doesn’t use animal testing in its raw materials or finished products.

Joining the likes of Vogue, ELLE, Well+Good and Shape, Kaia Naturals has our stamp of approval. We’re fans — and who better to get the low-down from on what exactly the bamboo-inspired creations are all about than Mary herself.


“When I develop products, I think about the environmental impact they have and use sustainable ingredients and substrates.”

What does conscious living mean to you?

The idea of living consciously is not only achieving a healthy and active lifestyle, but also living a more minimalist life with little waste. I made the Juicy Bamboo cleansing cloths biodegradable because wipes are just so wasteful. You wipe off your makeup and you just throw them in the trash. A lot of women use them every day, so just think of all the waste that piles up eventually.  When I develop products, I think about the environmental impact they have and use sustainable ingredients and substrates.

ON THE JUICY BAMBOO FACIAL CLEANSING OIL CLOTHS

The Juicy Bamboo Cleansing Oil Cloths work to cleanse the skin rather than only
remove make-up, unlike most conventional wipes in the market

Your cleansing cloths come in such adorable packaging. Why a juice pack?

When you’re sipping on a cold-pressed juice, you think about all the nourishing vitamins your body is getting. Juicy bamboo cleansing oil cloths are soaked in juicy vitamins as well, making it a healthy, quick cleanse for your skin.

What are the key differences to one’s skin when using a facial cloth made of unbleached bamboo, as opposed to the ones we’d find commercially?

Bamboo is very soft and is often described as feeling like cashmere. When I was developing Juicy Bamboo, I did not want to use rayon (the type of fibre commonly used in wipes) because they are made of wood fibres, which causes micro cuts on your skin.  A great example is when you use tissue on your nose. Tissue also uses wood fibres, so every time you’re wiping your nose, you’re causing tiny little cuts. This is why when you have a cold, your nose becomes irritated and red from using tissue.

“I did not want to use rayon (the type of fibre commonly used in wipes) because they are made of wood fibres, which causes micro cuts on your skin.”

What about its impact on the environment?

Bamboo is 100 per cent biodegradable, so when you compost or plant the cleansing cloth in soil, it will disappear in 60-70 days. Bamboo is also sustainable. It takes five years for bamboo to grow, whereas trees take 20-30 years to grow.

As these cloths are meant to cleanse rather than remove makeup, what is the best way to use them?

If you use waterproof eyeliner or mascara, we recommend taking it off first using an eye makeup remover, then taking a Juicy Bamboo cleansing cloth and cleansing your face and eyes.

These cleansing cloths are gentle enough to be used by aestheticians working with clients undergoing chemotherapy. Tell us more about this.

Many patients undergoing chemotherapy find that their skin becomes more sensitive or easily irritated, which is why it’s important that they only use products that are very gentle on their skin.

Most common skin reactions during chemotherapy include redness, rashes, itchiness, dryness and acne.

Soaked in healthy oils and vitamins, skin is left feeling
moisturised, fresh and hydrated


ON THE TAKESUMI DETOX BAMBOO CHARCOAL DEODORANT

The Takesumi Detox Natural Deodorant come in both full and travel sizes,
and leave no streaks when applied

How does the four stages of detox work within the body, and is this applicable for anyone making the switch to natural alternatives, or is it specifically for bamboo charcoal?

When you first switch to a natural deodorant, your body needs time to adjust. During the first week, you may find that the deodorant is working great and you are getting no breakthrough odour. All of a sudden during your second week, you start experiencing some breakthrough odour. Many people think the deodorant has stopped working but this is actually normal and a sign that your body is going through a detox. Your sweat glands are trying to purge built-up toxins and bacteria.

The activated charcoal in the Takesumi Detox helps expedite the stages of detox and pulls out toxins and bacteria near your underarm areas.

During week three, the odour will fade and you may experience more sweating. This is another normal process and a sign that your underarms are still going through the detox. By week four, you will start to feel normal again, which is a sign that you have gone through the detox and your body has transitioned to the natural deodorant.

According to your body chemistry, experiences during the four stages of detox may vary.

What is the difference between the Takesumi (bamboo charcoal) and hardwood or coconut charcoal?

Compared to hardwood charcoal, bamboo charcoal has a higher absorption power due to their microporous surface areas. These areas allow for more effectiveness in trapping or removing impurities from air and water, whereas wood charcoal has more microporous surfaces, so they are more effective in filtering larger molecules used in decolourisation processes.

Bamboo charcoal has a much higher absorption power,
rendering it highly effective in the process of deodorisation

How does using a clay-based soap help to reduce one’s body odour?

During the stages of detox or when experiencing some breakthrough odour, we suggest that you cleanse your underarms with a clay-based soap before applying the deodorant. The clay helps to eliminate any bacteria that is on the skin’s surface. Clay also helps keep the underarms drier, which is beneficial during the detox when you may be sweating more.

How often should the deodorant be used and when is the best time?

The Takesumi Detox is not just for detox. It is an everyday deodorant that helps to eliminate odour and detox your pores from toxins and bacteria.

Any time is a good time to make the switch to natural charcoal deodorant, so as to decrease our exposure to aluminium from antiperspirants and other toxins.

What do you think about probiotic deodorants?

It is a really interesting and innovative ingredient for a deodorant, and we wanted to use it in the Takesumi Detox because of its ability to eliminate odour-causing bacteria. It’s a natural process and it’s gentle on the skin, unlike baking soda, which is a known skin irritant.

“Any time is a good time to make the switch to natural charcoal deodorant, so as to decrease our exposure to aluminium from antiperspirants and other toxins.”

Kaia Naturals Travel Takesumi Detox Deodorant

All images courtesy of Kaia Naturals