Welcome to my new feature “Honour Roll.”  (Get the teacher reference!)  In this new addition to my blog I will be featuring some people who have wisdom in their chosen field.

Today I’ll be honouring natural skin care expert, facialist and aromatherapist Audra James.  I came across her when I was searching for solutions for my insomnia. That first purchase was ‘sleep drops’ an essential oil blend made up of French Lavender, Sweet Orange, Frankincense, Sweet Marjoram and Vetivert.  I slept through the whole night after using it.

This produced a love affair for Audra James Botanical’s products.  What I love the most about this product is that you may choose Bespoke if you wish.  This means I can have the product suited to my skin type, my mood and fragranced with my favourite smells.  I also love that Audra is personable. She always emailed me a thorough response to my requests and she provides great wellness advice.  I don’t feel like just another order to Audra.  She clearly puts all her love into the products she blends.

With an approach that is truly bespoke, Audra has specialised in areas such as stress management, women’s health and natural skincare, in Australia and Europe for over 15 years.

Treating everyone as an individual is a belief that’s proven most effective as it allows her to take into account so many crucial, personal factors, from stress levels and sleeping patterns to skin types and sensitivities.

During her career Audra James has also lectured on aromatherapy and taught her techniques to hundreds of students from around the world. She is passionate about the effects of aromatherapy, and the way that it can be incorporated into today’s lifestyle to help reduce stress, improve well being and create glowing skin.



 What is aromatherapy and what inspired you to start your journey into this field?

Aromatherapy is a therapy that combines essential oils with different forms of treatments or applications. I first became inspired by aromatherapy back in 1991. I was working as a corporate trainer for a large media organisation and was asked to write and present a course on Stress Management in the workplace. I happened to pick up a book on aromatherapy and I was hooked! I knew I wanted to work with essential oils even though at the time I knew very little about them and it wasn’t really a recognised therapy, particularly here in Australia. But for me it sparked a career that has lasted over 20 years, starting with a clinic in Sydney treating stress – then lecturing for many years, and eventually focusing on natural skincare as the demand grew for that. I now have a large number of products in my range and I also formulate for other brands.

+ How can aromatherapy be beneficial to people?

I think because it’s so easy to include essential oils into your everyday life. Not everyone has the time or money to have regular massages or other treatments, but by adding certain essential oils to your daily rituals, it makes life less stressful. Most people know that essential oils can help you relax, but the right ones can help you feel more positive, energised and confident.

+ A lot of people have asked why essential oils have worked on my auto immune disease Psoriasis when other treatment have failed. How do you explain this?

One of the wonderful things about essential oils is that they work on a number of different levels. When I treat skin, I always look at the person as a whole and not just treat the outer skin. The right formula of essential oils can help support the immune system, reduce inflammation and ease anxiety and by combining these with essential oils that also help relieve itching and promote skin regeneration, it’s a formula that can be very effective.  It’s very important to find a therapist who has the experience and training to treat such a condition. I do see natural skin products formulated for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema on the market that often include essential oils that are irritants and shouldn’t be used on the skin. I also like to use a Bespoke approach for conditions such as psoriasis because it means I can create something unique for that client – as this condition and its causes can vary greatly from person to person.

+ You’ve also made me a fertility bespoke blend. For my friends who struggle with infertility how does aromatherapy help?

Over the years I’ve had quite a number of clients who are going through this.  Certain essential oils do have the ability to balance hormones (which is why some should be avoided during pregnancy) they can also boost the immune system and most importantly help with stress, so they be can extremely beneficial. A ‘true’ aromatherapy massage done by a qualified therapist who is able to formulate a bespoke blend can be a wonderful addition to other treatments, especially when the process can become stressful and take its toll emotionally.

+ How can we incorporate essential oils into everyday life?

One of my favourite topics! Some very easy ways are to sprinkle a few drops in the shower base in the morning before turning on the water (Eucalyptus Oil is wonderful for this as it also helps with any sinus congestion) – the heat and steam turns this everyday ritual into a mini spa treatment. Adding a few drops of a relaxing essential oil to a warm bath or foot bath at the end of a stressful day is very relaxing and a drop or two on your pillow at night can help sleep.

+ What are some of the rules and rituals that help you feel grounded, connected, inspired and blissful?

I think the trick is to find what makes you happy and make sure you incorporate that into your life every day. I know it’s not always easy because we all have such busy lives, but it’s amazing what 10 minutes of something you love or that makes you feel happy each day can do. For me it’s spending some time in the morning to meditate, a walk on the beach (lucky, I know!) but it can also mean starting my day with a really good cup of coffee and taking the time to enjoy it before I start my day. When my children were little I always made a point of getting up earlier so I could have some ‘me’ time before they woke up and it definitely helped get through some very busy days.

+ What are the common mistakes people make when choosing their skincare?

Definitely to over-treat the skin by using too many complicated products and having too many harsh treatments. Facial skin is delicate and the epidermal layer is there for a reason – once we interfere with this too much, skin becomes reactive and very sensitive. It’s always tempting to go for a ‘quick fix’ treatment but in the end having a regular skin routine with natural products that suit your skin is the best way to get good skin. If skin problems occur it is definitely worth seeing a therapist who understands skin and can help. This is usually done using a combination of the right products, stress management and also a few dietary changes. Above all, avoid products that dry skin out – we now know this causes an overproduction of sebum leading to congestion – probably one of the main skin conditions that clients see me for.

 + What are 3 of your favourite health and wellness tips?

This is hard because I probably have more than 3! I’d say my first is to only eat natural, fresh foods because like natural skincare, I think the body looks, feels and performs better on that. I’m a bit of a foodie and love food, but I don’t restrict the type of foods I eat – as long as they are natural and non-processed. To massage your face daily with a good quality facial oil – this can help increase circulation, reduce stress and really help tone and firm the muscles and it’s a wonderful DIY treatment that you can do each day that takes 5 minutes and really makes a difference. My third is a little different, but something I’ve always believed in and that’s to have friends of all ages – I think it makes life much more interesting and really changes the way you see things. I’d have to include of course, using aromatherapy in some way or another in my life each day!

+ What makes you light up?

Being able to spend my day doing what I love and knowing that it very often makes a huge difference in a person’s life. When someone tells me that my products have changed their skin and because of that, the way they live their life it makes me realise how lucky I am to be doing what I do. I’m still fascinated by what I do and I still love researching new ingredients that I can use in my products to help my clients get the best possible outcome.

+ What is the most popular product in your range and why?

Twenty years ago it was definitely any product for stress. While these are still popular, skincare has definitely become extremely popular. It’s interesting because I’m seeing skin problems that I didn’t see in clients 20 years ago and I think it’s due to lifestyle, stress, and as I mentioned earlier, using products that cause skin sensitivity.

Please welcome Audra into our collective sisterhood. You can find her products over at http://www.audrajames.com Let us know what parts of the interview resonated with you. Or perhaps you learnt something new. We’d love to know more.  If you loved this please share with your fellow sisters!

Information in this article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your health professional with any questions or concerns you may have.