Chey Birch is making waves in the natural beauty community.
Her journey began in 2000 when she started mixing essential oils and botanical extracts in a small bowl with a black chicken painted on it. Black Chicken was hence created, and with it, a philosophy that really stands out. They don't make skincare with the intent to make people look, smell or feel good. Their skincare line is actually created to nurture the whole person and make a difference on a physical, mental and emotional level.
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Black Chicken. It holds a special place in my heart because it was my first deliberately handpicked non-toxic beauty item that started my family's transition to low-tox living. So, it goes without saying, that I'm also a huge fan of Chey.
Tell us, what was it like studying aromatherapy?
Life changing! I studied it as a hobby and when I learnt of the therapeutic properties of the oils I was hooked. I started making blends to every ailment I could think of! I remember sitting in class one day and the teacher said that Myrrh essential oil can eat puss!! Gross I know but also fascinating in healing wounds!
Who was your biggest supporter of Black Chicken in the early days?
It was actually a store in Jersey in the Chanel Islands in UK! Random I know but the owner of the store Emma absolutely loved everything I created and she sold so much it really helped me get started even before I was well known in Australia.
When did you make the transition to living a low-tox life and what was the catalyst for you to make the change?
It was around 2000. I’d been suffering with irritated skin and sinus problems for years and nothing I tried was helping. I went to see a naturopath and she suggested I take a look at all the toxins I might be unknowingly consuming. I began by looking at my soaps, cleansers, and scrubs. After a whole lot of research I was shocked to find that the ingredients in these household products were synthetic and borderline toxic. I had been covering myself top to toe with these chemicals every day, so of course my body had been trying to tell me something.
What is your most favourite Black Chicken product and why?
It’s a very tough question for me, but I’d probably have to say Cleanse My Face – it’s an oil cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin’s natural oils, it calms and balances your sebum production. Oil dissolves oil! Plus it smells amazing and after a hard day, massaging this into your face is just heaven!
What Black Chicken product was the most challenging to bring to fruition?
Both Axilla Deodorant Pastes took a lot of testing. It took a whole year of research and trialing different recipes before I came to the formula we have today. Then Barrier Booster was a whole other challenge. To create something without bicarb, that can be used on sensitive skin but still works just as well was no easy task.
Your Axilla deodorant paste has made waves in the holistic health community. Why did you choose a paste?
When I created Axilla it was perfect as a paste so I didn’t want to add anything to it to make it a roll on or a stick especially any chemicals so I left it as the most effective I could!
I’m currently working on a stick formula, but I certainly won’t be adding any nasty chemicals - all our products will always be 100% natural!
Essential oils are...
powerful remedial extracts from mother nature!
What's the very first thing you do in the morning and very last thing you do every night?
Haha good question – first thing I do is tongue clean with our copper tongue cleaner and oil pull with our oral swishing oil. The last thing I do is have a cup of sleepy time tea and a sniff of our Slumber nasalette!
Living in Sydney is wonderful because….
I love swimming and the ocean! I swim 1km every day and also paddle board on Sydney Harbour, so there really isn’t any other place like it for me. I have 2 Burmese cats who paddle board with me too sometimes! I know... crazy cat lady!!
One piece of advice for….
Our pregnant readers: There are a lot of fear around the use of essential oils in pregnancy however many can be so beneficial. All of our products are completely safe to use during pregnancy – all quantities of essential oils are way below required amounts deemed safe to use whilst pregnant. If in doubt ask the provider of your products about their essential oil dilutions and if in doubt avoid using them for the first trimester.
Our postnatal readers: Products rich in remedial oils are great to help relieve the skin caused by having a baby. The skin stretches and can also dry out especially as you aren’t the centre of your world any more. OurBalm of Ages is one product that is a multi purpose product. Use it on the baby for rashes and use it on your belly for stretch marks!
And the men and women still using “regular deodorant” : Aluminium is a common active ingredient in many antiperspirants, as it essentially plugs the sweat gland to minimise perspiration. Once in the body aluminium mimics the effects of oestrogen; a hormone that has been found in high concentrations in many breast cancers. Its not worth the risk.
This little corner of the internet is for non-yoga topics like motherhood, low-tox living and green beauty products I love.