Natural Skincare: A Spotlight on Zen Botanics

We’re incredibly excited to welcome Zen Botanics to the Upcycle Studio family! This natural skincare brand based in Sydney takes everything back to basics. No irritants, no sulphates, no parabens. Just 100% natural and made with love. We sat down with founder Annie Lau to learn more about how she started and why we should all convert to naturally made beauty products.


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Annie and the person (sometimes with the help of my husband) behind Zen Botanics. I love coffee and my baby “Indie” (she’s the cutest cavoodle ever!) I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction and think everything can be solved with a good tune, coconut oil or sunlight!

2. What inspired you to start your own natural skincare brand?

The inspiration definitely came from my own personal journey towards healthier living after falling sick many years ago. In my 20’s I lived a toxic lifestyle full of late nights, alcohol and processed food. It led to a number of issues so I made the conscious decision to put my health first. I stopped eating and dousing myself in products that were full of cheap fillers, nasty preservatives and additives.

The first items of natural skincare I bought felt great but weren’t so appealing aesthetically. There was a “hippie” stigma attached to natural skincare products at the time (though I think it has definitely changed over the years.) So I decided to launch Zen Botanics. I wanted women to see natural skincare in a new light! It doesn’t need to be complicated and boring. It doesn’t need to be for just “hippies”. It can be fun, easy to use and look good in your bathroom and handbag!

3. What was the first product that you ever made for Zen Botanics?

The first product ever was the Rose Hydration Mist. From the moment I discovered Rose Hydrosol, I was so in love with everything about it and knew I just had to make it part of the range. It’s made with certified organic rose hydrosol which is known to offer mild aromatherapeutic benefits. This is different to other rose mists on the market which can be made with cheaper ingredients like rose water.

4. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far in developing your own skincare products?

My biggest lesson is to keep it simple, be patient, believe and practice confidence. Not doing these things can really hold you back. When there are so many amazing natural ingredients to work with, I’m like a busy bird
trying different formulations because I just get so excited! I want to include them all in the Zen Botanics range! But I’ve learnt that a more complex ingredient list doesn’t always mean better. It’s a huge balancing act – wanting the best in your product but also choosing only the most essential ingredients.

5. How do you define “natural skincare”?

Natural skincare to me is all about the ingredients and letting these ingredients speak for themselves in the product. It’s about ensuring there are no toxic, harmful or synthetic elements. I call it “guilt-free skincare”. When your product is 100% made with ingredients that come from whole plant/nut/fruit sources, it is most likely to work in harmony with your skin rather than against it. Also, natural skincare must never ever be tested on animals.

6. What are the benefits of natural skincare? Why should we all convert?!

Many people use natural skincare as part of their own conscious desire to reduce exposure to toxins which may assist in their personal health journey – eg. Eczema or someone with autoimmune disorder etc. My favourite
benefit is that by using natural skincare, it allows your skin to absorb all the goodness that comes from the natural ingredients themselves. Natural skincare is full of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and more! Rather than preservatives and ingredients that can actually congest your skin. The healthier the skincare, the healthier our skin will look and feel!

The great thing about natural skincare is that anyone can use it, it’s completely flexible and can be easily added into a beauty regimen, whether it be completely natural or only containing a few natural products.

7. What are some common myths about natural skincare that you’d like to bust?

Natural skincare is organic

These are two totally different terms. Some ingredients are all natural but can be exposed to large amounts of
pesticides etc. Natural products can contain zero organic ingredients too.

Natural Skincare has no preservatives

While oil-based skincare does not, some natural products will require preservatives. This is because natural skincare contains water, meaning that bacteria and mould can develop over time. Some brands market themselves as natural but still add in synthetic preservatives in their formula.

Natural Skincare is not effective

This is the biggest myth I’d love to bust. As mentioned before, natural products are made up of the ingredients
themselves, jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Natural products allow the ingredients themselves to work their magic, without nasty stuff like synthetic preservatives and cheap fillers getting in the way.

8. What is your favourite Zen Botanics product at the moment?

Definitely the Night Therapy Oil. Hands down! It’s like a multi-vitamin for your skin that works its magic while you sleep. So many people are averse to using oils on their face but when it’s the right kind of oils, it can really help balance out your skin.

9. What’s your top Zen Botanics gift recommendation?

I’d pick the Moisturising Grapefruit Body Scrub. The scrub is absolutely divine in the shower because it’s an actual emulsifying scrub and so perfect for absolutely anyone.

10. Have you got anything exciting planned for the brand in the near future?

Yes! Aside from the usual hunt for new creative ingredients that I can play with and work into the Zen Botanics range, I’d like to include wellness/beauty workshops and masterclasses as part of the brand!


A big thank you to Annie for answering all our questions and being a champion for the natural skincare movement. We absolutely love what you do! You can shop Annie’s beautiful range of Zen Botanics products at Upcycle Studio.
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