Join Founder of Blink Brow Bar, Vanita Parti, as she talks with inspirational entrepreneurs across beauty, lifestyle and beyond, uncovering their paths to success and the challenges along the way. Everyone has a brow story, let's unravel it.
Vanita is joined on the brow sofa by Rebekah Brown, Founder of MPowder - the world’s first plant-based supplement powder range crafted to target the physiological and emotional effects of the menopause.
After entering peri-menopause at 45, Rebekah found it difficult to get the support and advice she needed to tackle both the physical changes and the emotional impact these hormonal changes were having. MPowder was born from a need to offer women a solution, based on clinical insight, to manage menopause and beyond.
In this episode of Thread Talks, Vanita and Rebekah talk on the importance of nutrition, and the ways the menopause can affect hair (and brow!) growth.
Q: Menopause is a hot topic. How does MPowder support women through this stage of life?
MPowderwas born out of my own pretty bumpy menopause journey. I'm a narrative researcher by training. And I had spent my life listening to people and collecting personal stories. When I first started experiencing symptoms, I lost that ability to hold on to data, to identify patterns and to draw out learnings. I felt like an imposter. Unworthy of my job and title. But also a stranger in my own body. I was bloated, my hair was falling out and my skin was behaving like a teenager! Like so many in our community, I was told I was 'too young' to be perimenopausal so I left my doctor's surgery confused and more than a little frightened about how I would get my health back.
Being a researcher saved me. I found the energy to treat the question of my health as I would any question. I went to find the answer by reading existing research, talking to leading experts across the spectrum of female health and wellbeing. I also spent months talking to women at different stages in their own midlife journeys - about what they'd learned, what worked, what didn't - how their perspectives and priorities had shifted. The insights and lived experiences I collected from these amazing individuals forms the backbone of what MPowder is today. We are a co-creation community. We formulate products and programmes for and with women to support them in living their best midlife!
Q: What lifestyle advice would you give to those experiencing perimenopause symptoms?
If I could gift just 3 tips to everyone in their mid to late 30s it would be:
1. Make your doctor your friend! It's important to ensure there are no underlying health issues that may also have symptoms associated with menopause. It's also important to establish early whether you can talk to your doctor openly about the options available to you.
2. Look at how you digest stress: We now know that our resilience to stress diminishes during menopause; which, unhelpfully, often coincides with the time in our lives when our lives are at their most stressful! We also know that our hormones respond to external stress as well as the biochemical stress of our menopause transition. As women, we are incredibly good at pushing on through. But we really shouldn't. If we can listen in when our body whispers its shifting needs, it won't need to scream. Consider breathwork, journalling, more embodied movement - or simply walking meditation or 'forest bathing'. All have growing research supporting the impact they can have on our cortisol levels.
3. Make food about nourishment not punishment: Our generation grew up on a diet of calorie restriction and 'good' and 'bad' foods, of artificial sweeteners and flavourings. Many of us need to 'unlearn' how we eat - and focus instead on how we can use wholefood, herbs and botanicals to nourish our bodies and minds. It's the philosophy that drives the formulations of our wholefood-led menopause supplement range, which harnesses ingredients that have their roots in traditional medicine and their 'heads' in the latest research papers validating the value of plants and herbal remedies.
Q: Beauty starts from within. What are the best superfoods for healthy hair, skin and nails?
Rosehip: Rosehip is an incredibly rich source of vitamin C, which is a key molecule in collagen synthesis. Collagen provides the building blocks for healthy skin, hair and nails. It also has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There is exciting preliminary research showing that rosehip can increase skin moisture and elasticity, as well as reduce skin wrinkles.Rosehip powder can be easily added to your smoothie or porridge, or just mixed with a plant-based milk for a refreshing delicious drink. You can also find rosehip in Meno-Boost, MPowder’s wholefood-led blend for menopause and beyond.
Cacao: Cacao is probably my favourite superfood of all, as it’s not only amazing for the skin but it also tastes delicious! I cannot go a day without my morning cacao latte (made with unsweetened plant-based milk). Cacao is a rich source of flavanols (a subclass of flavonoids), compounds known for their potent antioxidant properties. It’s also an amazingly rich source of minerals. There is a link between hair loss and iron deficiency.Studies have also shown that dietary flavanols from cacao can protect the skin from UV damage, increase blood flow to the skin, increase skin hydration and reduce wrinkle formation.
But there is even more to cacao! Clinical trials have also shown that it supports relaxation (it’s a great source of the “calming mineral” magnesium), improves mood and cognitive function. And some recent interesting data also supports its prebiotic properties and how they link to improving mood (hello “gut-brain axis”!). Managing the impact of stress and looking after your gut health are also important ways to indirectly support your skin.You can find an organic source of cacao in Peri-Boost, MPowder’s wholefood-led blend for perimenopause.
Moringa: Moringa is a tree native to North India, also known as the drumstick tree, with a very complete and unique biochemical profile that highly supports skin health. The leaves are a rich source of vitamins and minerals which provide essential health benefits to the skin, hair and nails, particularly iron, vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A. It’s also a good source of plant protein, providing all the essential amino acids - the building blocks for our skin, hair and nails.
Moringa also has powerful antioxidant properties, which protect the skin from the ageing effects of free radicals. Preliminary in vitro data shows that moringa may have anti-collagenase activity (collagenase is an enzyme that breaks down collagen). Moringa powder is an excellent addition to your daily routine, added to smoothies or porridge. You can also find moringa in Peri-Boost, MPowder’s wholefood-led blend for perimenopause.