I often tell the story that, when I first became a mother, I started reading the labels of all of the lotions and potions I was told to use on my little one - and I was appalled. The cosmetics industry is one of the most shonky there is getting around these days, pushing products containing all kinds of toxins and artificially derived raw materials.
Luckily, though, there are many beauty brands moving towards more natural and sustainable options - while ensuring that their products still pack the punch we want from the colour palette. “Clean beauty” is more than just a trend; it’s a movement, and new mama Holly from Eye of Horus is paving the way with her incredible Byron Bay brand - drawing inspiration from the ancient Egyptians to create a line of luxe cosmetics in the most gorgeous tones. Here, we chat to Holly about her new baby boy, beauty and business.
Firstly, a huge congratulations on welcoming baby Banksy into the world! How have the last (almost) eight weeks been for you both?
Thank you so much, it has certainly been an incredible journey. Over the last few weeks I have had some of toughest, yet most amazing moments of my life. No one can prepare you for the highs and lows of motherhood, and honestly, I’m not sure there is any way to grasp it until you’re in the middle of it. It challenges you and you find yourself questioning your own ability all the time. The biggest challenge for me was learning to lower my expectations of myself, I set pretty high goals for myself.
I expected to be able to manage having a newborn whilst still keeping up with the business and life in general. My midwives knew me well and put things into perspective for me, telling me it’s a good day if I am able to simply feed my baby, myself and have a shower in those early weeks.
The emotional rollercoaster of the newborn stage is completely contradictory - on one hand it’s incredibly draining and emotionally taxing; you are seriously sleep deprived and wonder what you have done! On the other hand it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced in your life and it brings you more joy and happiness than anything you could ever imagine - just one smile, snuggle or look keeps you going. You cannot comprehend the connection and depth of love that you feel, it is an unsurpassed love for one little human that relies on you solely. There is an innate motherly instinct in us women that just emerges and all of a sudden these little humans become your world and nothing else matters, everything else seems secondary. The good news Banksy is almost 8 weeks is it gets easier with time!
You worked closely with the beautiful Amy from Earthbound Babies to prepare for the birth of Banksy - I’d love to hear how you found these techniques and skills helped during your birth - everyone’s a sucker for a birth story!
I don’t know if anyone really wants to hear mine hehe - my birth story wasn’t really “text-book” but it was reality and without scaring off any potential new mums out there, it was quite traumatic. I started with the beautiful birthing suite in Byron Bay and all prepared for a quiet calm water birth. At week 36 I had what’s called PROM (Premature Rupture of Membrane) and started having contractions, the contractions would start and stop over the duration of a few days.
Once baby Banks was deemed to be engaged but not able to move forward I was considered higher risk and therefore had to be transferred to a Lismore Hospital,where again contractions started and then stopped until finally I was sent again to Tweed Hospital to get induced as Lismore was full.
After the 3rd day in labour I opted for some pain relief which reduced both mine and Banksys heart rate to which point the specialists suggested an emergency c-section, which we decided was the best option for both of us. Within a few minutes the operation for retrieving baby Banks occurred and within minutes he was brought into the world.
My pregnancy had been so smooth and the initial labour before the complications were really what I expected and the gorgeous Amy from Earthbound Babies guided Jay and I through the journey and helped to alleviate all our fears and concerns. No one can gauge what the birth will be like, I visualised and manifested a calm water birth in my home town near my family with no complications. I was prepared and calm and felt in control. The birth itself was not text book, but the result was my precious healthy baby Banks - even after all the mayhem. Eventually, you get over the event and the trauma quite quickly as his needs soon take precedence to anything else you might be going through.
I know myself that the first few weeks after you bring home a new baby can be tough - time is definitely not as easy to find as it used to be! How have you found your skin and beauty routines have adjusted since having Banksy, and what is your one must-have step or product without fail?
Absolutely, the first few weeks you are lucky to even shower let alone take care of your skin and makeup on. As the weeks pass it does get easier! However I do always make sure I moisturise by face and body I generally just use an organic oil such as Coconut or Jojoba. As for makeup a quick swipe of Goddess Mascara as its wax based – stays on forever without smudging and you can even sleep in it (whenever you get the chance)!
I’d love to hear a little about how you first came to build Eye of Horus - what do you think was your major inspiration for this line?
My previous experience in developing an organic Australian Skincare range based on local and indigenous active and plant extracts gave me the experience of building a brand and working with specialised ingredients. I have always had sensitivities to certain products and decided I needed to extend my past knowledge of product development into a mascara - one which would be great for sensitive eyes and also provide high performance. My studies in marketing and then naturopathy fuelled the desire to look at the originators of beauty, the Ancient Egyptians. I learned they used wax based products around their eyes for beauty and protection. Moringa Oil from the famed Tree of Life was also found in Tutankhamen’s tomb, and so, I began developing the mascara from ingredients found back then which I see as still so relevant to us today. The history, mythology and spirituality of the ancient Egyptians has always fascinated me and I would not want to see these ancient values for true beauty lost with time. The outcome was Eye of Horus Cosmetics - a high performing cosmetic range based around ancient beauty secrets!
When it comes to being a business owner and a mother, the juggle can be tricky. Even if you’re technically taking “leave”, the mind just doesn't stop! How are you finding the transition into motherhood when it comes to thinking business?
Totally right, there is a level of exhaustion you have never experienced before and this impacts on the ability to think creatively - which is a major component of maintaining and growing a brand like Eye Of Horus! I am very grateful to have a network of people around me to help out, my amazing hubby and family help share the load. It is definitely about time management but also timing, I was fortunate enough to have developed the brand to a point where I have some fabulous key staff in my team who I can rely on to keep things going… but as you’ve mentioned the mind still doesn’t stop! I have learned to adapt and manage to juggle work in amongst the feeds and nappy changes. Now that he has reached 8 weeks, it’s getting easier and we are making it into the office for short meetings - the office girls adore the snuggle time!
Who are your biggest mama muses?
Helena Vestagaard @helena.vestergaard – a natural mama, model and advocate for health and beauty.
What could you and Banksy just not live without right now?
What is your favourite product from Eye of Horus, and why should we add it to our collections right now?
Our Bio Lipstick in Venus Pink is nourishing on the lips and can also be used on cheeks giving a bit of colour, making you look less zombie like also as mentioned above our Goddess Mascara is a must-have.
And, lastly, where can we find you and Eye Of Horus?
We’re incredibly lucky to be able to bring you a wonderful gift from Eye Of Horus - a gorgeous Bio Lipstick in Venus Pink! This beauty is the sweetest shade of pinky-nude, and feels amazing on; and, it’s your gift with purchases over $60, while stocks last!!