Natural success

Founded on Kati Kasza’s personal view that the key 
to lasting beauty is to maintain the skin’s own 
natural balance, the Evolu skincare range is based on a simple yet potent botanical system. Driven by Kasza’s desire to create natural skincare without the usual trade-offs, as well as her ongoing passion for botanical ingredients, the evolution of the range is not surprising, particularly considering her upbringing.

Kasza’s parents arrived in New Zealand in 1950 as refugees from Hungary. Her father was a winemaker, her mother 
a horticulturist and herbalist. Their appreciation of fine natural ingredients and the power of nature was passed on to Kasza at a young age. “At the time I felt we stuck out like a sore thumb because we were drinking freshly squeezed juices and real coffee and eating bread homemade with ground rye – things that no other Kiwi was drinking or eating in the ’60s and ’70s,” Kasza says. “When we were sick we had natural remedies rather than [pharmaceutical] medicines. They always worked.”

As an adult Kasza was eager to learn other languages and she started working as an international flight attendant. While it benefited her French, it was unfortunate for her skin. “My skin became problematic because of the constant time-zone changes, the climatic changes, airconditioning, the stress of travel and, of course, lack of sleep,” Kasza says.

Frustrated with being unable to find skincare products that helped her skin complaints, Kasza resolved to look for her own solution. Using her deep knowledge of botanicals, which she had gained from her mother, and avoiding synthetics ingredients, Kasza set to work in her kitchen, creating a small batch of products with one aim in mind: to restore balance to her skin.

Satisfied that her products were effective on her own skin, Kasza had her fellow flight attendants try the homemade concoctions. “When someone told me they would buy them if I were to make them to order, the entrepreneurial spirit in me reared its head and that was the beginning of Evolu,” Kasza recalls.

The essence of each Evolu product is a unique base of pure botanicals and 100 per cent New Zealand spring water. The 
plant extracts used in the products include kiwifruit seed oil, kawakawa oil, kanuka oil, manuka honey, avocado oil, grapefruit oil and lavender oil.

While Evolu products have moved out of the kitchen and into a professional laboratory, each product is still inspired, customised and perfected by Kasza and her husband, Paul Westlake, who is 
a joint shareholder and director of the company.

The good oil

If your skin is oily and prone to breakouts, oil is probably the last thing you’d think of putting on your face. However, the latest rejuvenating facial oils designed for all skin types may have you rethinking your beauty routine.

Used for centuries to beautify the complexion, botanical oils are the most effective way to deliver maximum nutrition and hydration to the skin while normalising and regulating the skin’s own oil (sebum) production.

Plant-based facial oils containing concentrated plant extracts, including essential oils, are instantly absorbed into the skin and penetrate deep into the dermis (the layer under the epidermis) without leaving any sticky or greasy residue. Mineral oils, on the other hand, are not as easily absorbed and tend to remain on the surface of the skin, giving little benefit at a deeper cellular level.

While facial oil is appropriate for all skin types, Clare Dickens, business manager of More Than Skin in Auckland, recommends having your complexion analysed by a skin therapist before using a facial oil to ensure you choose the right one. If you have oily skin, for example, jojoba oil and hazelnut oil are good base oils, as jojoba helps to balance sebum production while hazelnut is slightly astringent. Dry skin can benefit from the soothing effects of almond (base) oil and neroli (essential) oil, which are both emollient to the skin.

Facial oil can be used morning and night. Apply it to dry, cleansed skin instead of your normal moisturiser or 
use it under your moisturiser for an added boost of nourishment.

Neelu Ameen, director of Tamara 
Spa in Auckland, says the best way to apply facial oil is to put a dot of the oil 
on your forehead, each cheek, your chin and your neck. Gently massage the oil into your skin, starting from your neck. Use upward strokes in a circular motion.

“It’s important to massage the oil into the skin so it can reveal and release its benefits,” Ameen says. Massage the oil into your neck and face using both hands, to fully nourish the skin, stimulate blood flow, reduce facial tension and encourage an overall sense of wellbeing as you inhale the aroma of the oil.

Your skin will instantly feel softer and look more radiant after a facial oil massage, so make it a weekly ritual.

Note: check with your doctor before using any products containing essential oils during pregnancy.