Sarah Holloway’s Matcha Maiden is a labour of love in every sense of the word. Not only did she co-found it along with her partner in both business and life, Nic Davidson, but it has helped heal her immunity issues and led her to a career that thrills her. Here, she tells us all about her ride-or-die new skincare find, why an inside-out approach to beauty is important to her, and how excited she is by her “bright green future”.
"After years of going to sleep after nights out without taking off my makeup, eating badly and squeezing my own pimples, I now have a more nurturing regime that has helped my skin become more resilient and healthy.
I tend to opt for more natural brands and stick to a few favourites like Simple As That, which is pharmacist-formulated using less than five ingredients in each item. Once I get hooked on something, I tend to keep that same arsenal of favourites, but I have a few dear friends who help keep me on my toes with new products, too.
I think I am more influenced by my close friends than by celebrities or influencers.
A few in particular have really educated me on the many toxins and chemicals that are in a lot of products and the impact of putting those on our skin, the biggest organ, without being conscious or aware. Emmily Banks of Depths of Beauty, Nat Warner of Greene Street Juice, Sarah di Iorio of Organika Hair, Danielle Glover of Simple As That and Melissa Ambrosini have all been instrumental in my natural beauty revolution and learning that you can still achieve the same results without going too heavy on chemicals. I had no idea there was a whole world of natural beauty out there and I’ve discovered some of the most wonderful brands through their loving guidance.
My big skincare secret is getting a proper facial every six weeks to clear any congestion via extractions and to give my skin a regular onceover by a professional.
I used to think it was such an indulgence, but now it’s just a part of the regime for keeping my skin healthy. After all, it’s the one thing you’re stuck in forever no matter where you go, who you’re with or where you are, so you might as well look after it. In terms of what I do at home, I cleanse, tone and moisturise twice daily, exfoliate twice a week and use a mask once a week for that extra glow. I use serums and eye cream from time to time as well, especially in winter when my skin gets quite dry. I have discovered a couple of amazing things recently that I can’t believe I’ve lived without and are great for when things get hectic – dewy skin sprays and under eye concealer! And, of course, I drink multiple cups of matcha each day, which does wonders for the cells from the inside out.
I have a few beauty tricks and favourites I really swear by. I think my all time favourite is the dewy spray from Tatcha that gives you a beautiful, plump look even if by the end of the day you’re feeling a bit haggard.
I don’t know how it works, but it’s such a cool product. It achieves the look you sometimes get on a long holiday, but in one easy spritz. I also sometimes use hairspray over my eye makeup to set it, which is a trick I learned when I was a ballerina in a past life. It helps make the makeup last longer and not smudge or wipe off as easily. Finally, I love a good handbag-sized fragrance so that you can freshen up throughout the night and continue to carry that confidence and elegance that fragrances give you. I try to get a few of my favourites in the smaller portable size for travel or night time. My favourite of late is Chance by Chanel, which Nic picked out for me, and comes in a handy twist top version.
We have so many fantastic beauty options in Melbourne.
I’m a regular visitor to Endota as I love how it’s consistent across all its locations. I also love Aurora Spa (which is right near our very own Matcha Mylkbar) for a deliciously luxurious pamper session, or Little Company in Cremorne for more naturally-focused, wellness-oriented treatments. Organika Hair is my favourite hair salon, which has salons in Elwood and Carlton. A brand new haven, Willow Urban Retreat, has just opened in Malvern right near us and is stunning, plus their café stocks Matcha Maiden. I’m yet to try their treatments, but can’t wait.
I think I have a bit of a quirky style – it’s a strange combination of 90% comfortable activewear and 10% very "farshun", boundary-pushing outfits that make me seem a lot more stylish than I actually am most of the time.
I don’t often dress according to the latest trends or designers, instead opting for more classic, timeless fashion. I love simple but bold cuts in neutral colours, and generally mix a few basic pieces with statement pieces to create the illusion of having a bigger wardrobe. When there’s something special happening, I love to dress up and be a little “extra”, so I’ll go all out for the right occasion and pick a big sleeve or some other statement feature. For those moments, I have always loved Chanel. I also like Toni Maticevski’s angles, the intricacy of Thurley and the beautiful shapes created by Zimmermann. But, let’s be real, I’m in Lululemon and a Kathmandu puffer jacket most of the time!
I started my professional life in a completely different context as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer and had no idea this is where I’d end up.
It all came about as a very happy accident back in 2014 after my partner, Nic, and I developed a bout of adrenal fatigue that ended up in a total ban from coffee. At the time, I was a ten-cups-a-day kind of girl working all kinds of crazy hours, so this all but signalled the end of my life as a functioning human being. But the universe had a plan and I was sent to the firm’s Hong Kong office to work for six months where I discovered a wonderful, healthier source of caffeination - matcha green tea powder. In the hunt for high quality, affordable matcha to use for ourselves, we ended up accidentally starting a business. All I could think was, "as long as I sell one bag I can put it on my LinkedIn that I’m an entrepreneur." But we ended up selling out in a week, and we now have over 1500 stockists around the world, warehouses in Melbourne and LA and a beautiful physical venue, Matcha Mylkbar.
I think it’s so important to keep an open mind and never rule out any possibility, because you never know what could be right around the corner. I so admire and love hearing about people who have always known what they wanted to do and who have worked so hard to get there, but I don’t think that’s the majority of people and I think that’s totally okay.
I hate to admit but I watch a lot of trashy TV to relax and unwind.
They really allow me to mentally switch off from everything on the to-do list and have a mindless laugh, or get totally involved in some drama. Anything that is consuming mentally or physically so that my mind doesn't wander back to work is really useful to break the cycle for me. I find reading a bit difficult after so many years reading in law, so it’s not as leisurely as it could be. I garden sometimes, which is a new thing, because I can’t look at my phone at the same time and it feels productive. Having a bath with my devices in another room is also wonderfully rejuvenating. And finally, playing with our beautiful golden retriever, Paul, does wonders for the soul.
I went through a year or two where I let work come first and barely left the desk, and both my mind and body suffered from the inactivity.
I like to exercise and work up a good sweat about 3 times a week – I’ve found that’s a really achievable number to aim for and still fit everything in. Generally I end up doing F45 in Port Melbourne about once a week, which is my real stress reliever and the most intense workout I do in a week. My mate Ramsey owns it and a few other studios and he and his team are amazing. I do HIIT sessions or just regular gym sessions at Kaya Health Clubs in Prahran or Emporium and they also have amazing reformer, yoga and barre classes that I’ll pop in to from time to time (especially if Elle is teaching). My yoga home is the beautiful Happy Melon Studios in Armadale that also does reformer, meditation and massage. Masha and Simon are the fabulous co-owners who are both excellent teachers along with their wonderful tribe. I also love to try new things around town so I visit heaps of studios, and we are so lucky in Melbourne to be spoilt for choice.
I am 100% for ageing naturally. I think the signs of ageing beautifully represent wisdom and experience, and think they can be carried so gracefully.
I do understand it’s completely natural to want to take some gently preventative measures (like using eye creams) to delay the onset, but I’m not a big fan of surgical intervention for myself. Having said that, I don’t judge anyone else’s choices, because after all, you have no idea what it’s like to be in someone else’s body. I just find that often major intervention halts what is otherwise a natural process and can end up looking worse than it would have if one just had let nature take its course. Though that’s easy to say pre-30, when I haven’t yet started to wrinkle too much – I may think differently in a few years.
Instead of spending money on clothes or bags, I spend all my money on food.
My favourite meal of the day is breakfast and I eat out for this meal almost every day. I also love roasted vegetables and they work their way into a lot of my meals, either with a protein like grilled salmon or in a salad with goat’s cheese and balsamic vinegar or tahini. Most of my meals are vegetarian or occasionally seafood-based. If we’re eating out, I love Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese. As a snack, I adore almond butter so will often eat it on its on with a spoon. I also love thick Greek yoghurt, so I eat a lot of Chobani with nuts, seeds, berries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, but I do love a good loaf of banana bread with a thick spreading of butter, or a bliss ball (or five). I eat pretty healthily most of the time, but also love a good splurge every now and then, too – it’s all about balance, right? My favourite splurge would be a big fat cheesy pizza (followed by a big fat gluten-spurred tummy ache – still, totally worth it!)
The most important thing for our health and wellbeing is to invest time into finding what works for you and then build it into your schedule as a non-negotiable.
I have matcha every day, because it has so many benefits and I promise I’m not even biased. I also start the day with a warm water and lemon juice, which is a wonderful liver cleanser. I meditate twice a day – I can’t speak more highly of trying to find mindfulness and stillness in the midst of today’s chaos. I can highly recommend a gratitude journal to help get perspective each day and document your thoughts. There are so many little things you can do everyday to boost your energy, happiness and fulfilment. Life is too short not to do what makes you feel best."