"Sorry, we have a lot of kids here today," Miranda Kerr said between muffled yells on a recent afternoon. She was speaking on the phone from her home in Brentwood, California, between meetings and bites of one of her "pregnancy snacks"—homemade organic brown rice crispies with almond butter and honey. Kerr is currently expecting her third child—not that you'd be able to tell from her impossibly packed schedule. Days after launching her latest home and furniture collection, the 36-year-old model-slash-health coach was back to her duties as founder and CEO of KORA Organics, a certified organic cosmetics brand which, in the field of "clean" beauty, has made her something of a pioneer.
Kerr's enthusiasm has never waned over the course of the decade since she launched KORA. In fact, with the launch of its latest product, the Noni Bright Vitamin C Serum, the brand seems stronger than ever. She explains why, plus shares what she's learned over the course of her three pregnancies, in her beauty notes, here.
Tell me about some of the ingredients in your new serum—why olive leaf extract, red pepper, and kakadu plum?
My mother introduced me to kakadu plum, which is quite a potent form of vitamin C that you can take internally. So in combination with the rest of the superfruit complex, it really helps with reducing the appearance of pigmentation and dark spots in a way that's healthy for you. It also has ascorbyl glucoside, which is a water soluble type of vitamin C that really penetrates deep into the pores of your skin, as opposed to just sitting on the surface, like a lot of vitamin C out there in the market. I’ve personally wanted a product like this for a while, because so many of the ones out there right now are chemically made and quite harsh, whereas this is a very natural, potent, and pure source of vitamin C that really gives you the results that you need in a healthy way. I’m not aware of another certified organic vitamin C, and I wanted to create it.
It's seems like you've really been ahead of the game when it comes to this type of natural approach; you started Kora Organics back in 2009, which I imagine is much longer ago than some people might expect.
We were basically the pioneers. I launched the company in Australia ten years ago, before anyone was really interested in or talking about clean beauty. The idea that health is wealth is one that I kind of grew up with, so I understood that what you put on your skin goes into your blood stream early on. You know, for such a long time, there was this misconception that oh, maybe if it’s natural or clean or organic, it’s not as effective. But the interesting part is that because we’re certified organic, we’re so much more than just clean beauty. Our ingredients are grown on soil that’s not depleted, because of the organic certification. We have rules and regulations, not just around obviously avoiding the chemicals being sprayed on crops and what not, but around the nutrient density of the soil. If you look at an organic tomato compared to a non-organic tomato, the antioxidant levels of an organic tomato are so much higher. So therefore, you’re going to get much more powerful results out of a certified organic product.
The serum also has an anti-aging effect. Is that more of a nice side effect, or is aging something you're already worried about at 36?
Oh, it’s definitely something that I feel is important to take into consideration. Being 36, I feel it’s super important to have a product that actively works on those fine lines and wrinkles and protects the skin from environmental aging—and who doesn’t want skin with great elasticity and firmness? It’s something that I feel is really important for everyone, really, and definitely something that I feel very excited about. Especially being pregnant, and being able to use these products that I know are healthy for me, but are still going to get me the results that I want for my skin.
Do you normally change up your beauty routine when you’re pregnant?
Kora Organics is something that I’ve used throughout all three of my pregnancies, and something that’s really helped maintain that elasticity of my skin, especially on those areas that are stretching—the belly, the thighs, the breasts, the hips, and all of that. I’m very religious with putting my body lotion, my body oil, and my body balm on morning and night, which really helps maintain that skin elasticity. The body oil has a high concentration of rose hip oil, and the essential fatty acids really help when your skin is growing and expanding.
With all of my products, I can feel confident knowing that they're healthy for me and the babies, which obviously people are much more conscious of when they're pregnant. But at the same time, I feel like we shouldn’t have to be pregnant to be conscious of that. Everyone should be aware that what they’re putting on their skin is soaking into their bloodstream. There are things that we can’t control, like the pollution when we step outside, but there are also things that we can control, like what we put in our mouths and what we put on our skin. I really believe that education is key, and that reading ingredients is important, so that you can make conscious decisions. And I’m not saying that everything has to be 100 percent organic in 100 percent of the areas in my life—all I’m saying is that I try to maintain that balance of like 80 percent healthy and organic and natural, and 20 percent indulgent. I just feel like that works.
What typically makes up the 20 percent?
Since I know that my skincare creates that protective barrier, my makeup is not always organic. To be honest, there are cleaner products you can use, but the technology for certified organic makeup really isn’t there. So I’m a little bit indulgent in that area, especially if I have to be on the red carpet. When it comes to what I’m eating, that’s more like when I go to friends’ houses, I’m not that person that says, "Oh my god, is this organic?" I’m enjoying the food and I’m enjoying the company. I’m not worried or concerned about if it’s healthy for me. Or if I’m traveling and I’m stuck with no other choices besides airplane food and I haven’t had time to make something myself at home, that’s fine. I’ll be like, "Okay, this is my 20 percent." And sometimes I just feel like a little bit of chocolate, or french fries, and that’s fine, too.
Have you begun passing that along to your kids, too?
My oldest, Flynn, is all about the 80/20. He knows and understands that health is wealth. He’s grown up that way. He even did a little project in school about healthy food, and how it’s important that we eat healthy food the majority of the time, but it’s okay to go to a birthday party and you have a piece of cake. It’s good to enjoy that, and have that balance.
Does he use your products, too?
Oh yeah, I use the products on all my family. I use the body lotion and body wash on the baby, and I keep the body balm in his bag. They’re super nourishing and great for sensitive skin, and incredible for the kids. My husband [Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel] and I both use the turmeric two-in-one scrub—we keep it in the shower, and use it every morning. It’s a scrub and/or a face mask—you can use it both ways. And if you combine it with the Noni glow face oil, it's like an at-home facial. My husband uses the face oil, too.
Right—you recently talked about how your first impression of him was "Wow, his skin is so flaky!"
Oh, yeah. Well, he naturally has very dry skin—it’s part of his genetics. It’s interesting because I have an eight-year-old son who has a different dad Orlando Bloom, and I’ve always used the products on him, and his skin’s always been great. But now with my second son, with Evan, he has naturally his dad’s skin. So if I’m not consistent with applying the Kora body lotion and balm, or the body oil, daily, he’ll get a little dry patch. But if I am, he'll have none whatsoever. It’s incredible to see those results on such a little baby—the products really do work.
Have you been spreading the gospel to people outside of your family, too?
Oh my god, so many people. So many friends and family, and people with eczema or psoriasis or dermatitis. My mom used to have rosacea on her face, and now she’s completely off the steroid cream and just uses Kora and hasn’t had a problem since.
It seems like Gwyneth Paltrow has also been a fan of your products.
Oh yeah, I gave her some of the products early on and she actually sells a lot of them now through Goop. She loves and believes in them. I remember she was like, "Oh my god, Miranda, people are going crazy for this organic self tanner that you have."
Since you're both into natural, organic products, do you ever swap wellness-related tips?
We’re always talking about lifestyle things, like, you know, "Where’s a good restaurant that you’ve enjoyed?", or "What astrologer do you like?" [Laughs.] Things like that.
Are you typically into more spiritual type things? I noticed that you had aura photos and crystal readings at the launch for the serum.
Yeah, so there are so many more layers to Kora. Obviously, the first layer of our business is products that are certified organic and produce results, but the other main element is all about the interconnection of the mind, body, and skin, and recognizing that how you think affects the way you feel. There are different tools you can use to help support yourself, and one that I’ve used throughout the years is crystals. Throughout the manufacturing process, every single ingredient of every single product touches upon crystals. Some products actually contain crystals—our eye oil has a rose quartz roller ball, and we have luminizers with actual crushed rose quartz and amethysts, so you're getting that luminosity, and you're getting a little bit of magic at the same time.
How about aura photos—would you say those are one of your tools, too?
The launch was actually my first time doing the aura photos. I just thought it was something fun, and an experience to explain more about where the individual person is at in their life. As I was saying, I make sure all of our products filter through rose quartz, which is really for the heart chakra and about nurturing your heart, so the funny part was when woman at the aura booth did my photo—she was like, "Wow, there’s so much pink here, you’re all about the heart." And I was like, "Uh, yeah, have you not heard about…"
"Uh, do you know why you’re here?"
When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do, beauty-wise?
I start out using the foaming cleanser, and then I get in the shower and use the turmeric scrub and body wash. After that, I use the citrus mist, which I also spritz on my face to kind of refresh my makeup, like a toner, throughout the day. After that, I use the vitamin C serum, and then the hydrating moisturizer together with a few drops of the face oil together, plus the eye oil, which has coffee and tomato extracts that promote circulation and brighten the face. From there, I’ll do some very simple makeup; I like to use RMS [Beauty] 22 concealer, which I mix with one or two drops of the face oil with a brush and put all over my face for a natural, healthy glow. Then I use the Noni lip tint on my lips, my cheeks, and the top of my eyes for a fresh little tint, but still keeping it simple. Lately I’ve also been using eyelash extensions because they save me from having to wear mascara, and it’s quite helpful when you’re time-poor.
What's your nightly bedtime beauty routine?
I use the Kora cream cleanser and then the lavender mist, which is very calming for nighttime. I also put that next to my bed and spritz a few sprays on my pillow. I use the same moisturizer and face oil combination, and the eye oil. And then right before I go to sleep, I use the sleeping mask I keep right next to my bed, which really, really helps lock in the moisturizer. It dries after a few minutes, and it’s very transparent, so it won’t get on your pillow and you can’t even tell that you have it on. If I go to bed without applying the sleeping mask, I wake up very disappointed in myself. You wake up and your skin is literally glowing.
What’s your favorite form of self care?
You know, that’s my self care. I get very excited about my morning and night routines. That’s a little bit of time I can take for myself. I really notice the difference, and I just feel good. We all have such busy lives, so it’s really important for us to take that time for ourselves and feel nurtured. And this is one way that I feel is simple and effective to do that.
I know you’ve always been mindful of wellness, but given how early you started modeling, are there any products that you look back on now and can't believe you used throughout your career?
I’ve tried—and been exposed to—so many different products throughout my career. I think a lot of people don’t realize that there are a lot of creams out there that promise to give you that pore-less look, or to help with fine lines and wrinkles. And I think that people really need to read the ingredients and have a look, like, what is that filling my pores with? Is it filling my pores with silicone and going to give me that immediate gratification, but over time, actually magnify my pores and do more damage than good? Do I really want to do that for a five-minute fix? Or do I want to work from the ground up on nurturing my skin—to make it glow and shrink my pores in a natural way, as opposed to filling them with a bunch of crap? As you can tell, I’m very passionate about these topics. [Laughs.]