India Travel Diary: Model and Aveda Ambassador Elyse Knowles
The experience of a lifetime.
With her flowing blonde waves, luminous bronzed limbs and piercing blue eyes, the fact that Elyse Knowles has been modelling since she was 10 years old comes as no surprise. However after winning television series The Block in 2017, Knowles has added more strings to her bow, and has starred in multiple campaigns—hello, Seafolly—hit the runway as a Myer ambassador, penned her own book From Me To You, and was also named an ambassador for Aveda Haircare, which took her on her most exciting trip yet.
Just last week, Knowles travelled to India to be immersed in the history of Aveda to understand and experience the brand’s values firsthand. Here, she tells Gritty Pretty her itinerary, and her thoughts on beauty.
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Gritty Pretty: How did you first come to try Aveda?
“I first started using Aveda’s Chakra sprays a few years ago, and instantly fell in love with the distinctive aroma. The sprays also gave me a feeling of positive energy and a lift when I need it. I then was introduced to Aveda’s haircare, and loved the idea of products that use naturally derived ingredients that were also good for the earth. It’s also important to me that the products I use don’t harm animals, use recycled packaging and have a continued promise of environmental and social responsibility.”
Gritty Pretty: Have you always had an interest in natural beauty?
“I have gained more of an interest over the last two years—it’s important for me to buy and use products that are good for my hair, skin, and body, but also the earth. I continually learn about the benefits of natural products for my body and also their impact on the earth, and have never felt so passionate about making a change.”
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Gritty Pretty: Tell us about your experience in India.
“I had never been to India so this was such an exciting trip. Being part of a three-day brand immersion trip was incredible, and [seeing] Aveda launching in India was so exciting for the brand. Travelling to Chandigarh was an experience—it took over 24 hours—but it was well worth it. We arrived at the beautiful Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort and Spa and I was blown away; the rustic pink walls, gorgeous archways and architecture with patterned detail was absolutely stunning. It was also amazing to learn firsthand about ingredient transparency from the Aveda Research and Development team, and their insight on the sourcing of naturally derived ingredients from around the world was so inspiring.”
Gritty Pretty: What were some of your highlights from the trip?
“I particularly loved a session that was hosted in the forest by Aveda’s Executive Director of Botanical Research, Cindy Angerhofer. Cindy was so knowledgeable about sourcing ingredients, and the local communities and farmers Aveda work with and support. As well as the benefit of every single ingredient that goes into the products, she also brought a number of ingredients and Ayurvedic herbal extracts with her—my favourites were the turmeric, ginger and alma.
At the end of trip in India I also travelled to Delhi to do some project work with international not-for-profit organisation WaterAid to raise awareness around improving access to clean water. Aveda is also an ongoing supporter of WaterAid through annual Earth Month fundraising, so this worked in well. I travelled to some of the most malnourished slums in Delhi—it really did open my eyes up to how lucky we are in Australia and how much we need to dig deep to help others in crisis. Water can change lives, and Aveda are helping to raise awareness. Also, on this trip Aveda revealed by 2020 all of their formulations will be vegan—beeswax and honey will be removed. By 2021 they have committed to being net carbon positive, which means they will produce more clean energy than we utilise through renewable energy credits.”
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Gritty Pretty: Aveda is known for its sustainable practices. Can you tell us a little bit about how you saw this IRL, in India?
“Aveda sources multiple ingredients from India, including organic amla and turmeric, which are in Aveda’s Invati Advanced [hair] products. In one particular session, we heard about an organic farm located in Umbari, Maharashtrot—not only do Aveda source turmeric from this village, but they also have supported the village via the installation of a pipeline and storage tank to provide them with clean water. Aveda also provide funds and support for these women to establish kitchen gardens, which gives them with fresh vegetables.”
Gritty Pretty: Do you have a favourite Aveda product?
“I love the Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair—my hair goes through a fair amount of damage at work due to constant heat styling, styling products and washing. It provides nutrients and protects from breakage, and it also doubles as a heat protectant.”
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Gritty Pretty: Let’s talk makeup. How would you describe your signature beauty look?
“I love contoured cheeks, big bushy eyebrows, light eyeshadow and a fresh peachy cheek.”
Gritty Pretty: What about skincare—do you stick to a thorough regimen?
“I really look after my skin and always wear a good SPF—I constantly get asked if I am sick due to my white face, but it’s just the sunscreen! My daily skincare routine usual consists of the following; Vital All-in-One Powder in Water, Bioderma micellar water to remove makeup, Amperna Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser, Aveda Botanical Kinetics Liquid Exfoliant, Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly, Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50, aesop Lucent Facial Concentrate, and Est Lavender and Tee-Tree Balm.”
Gritty Pretty: What about fragrance—do you have a favourite scent?
“I always have little tubes of natural scents at arms reach—I love putting it on my neck, wrists and on the tip of my nose. I have Aveda Chakra Spray at my desk, next to bed, in my car and in every bag possible. In summer, I love Davidoff Cool Water for a fresh fragrance.”
Tell us—have you ever tried any Aveda products? What are some of your favourites?