Rituals of Beauty and Wellness

Creating a spa ritual at home has changed iKOU founder Naomi Whitfeld’s life.

A vacation can be a magical gift. It can promote healing and restoration. It can entice, inspire and excite you to try new things. And, very occasionally, it can launch a new way of life.

That’s certainly the case for Naomi Whitfeld, the founder of iKOU, a leading Australian organic beauty and wellness brand. “We’ve always said that for us this journey began in a petal-filled bath in Ubud, Bali,” Naomi says. “My partner Paul and I had just enjoyed an openair spa treatment in a jungle garden overlooking the Balinese Campuan Gorge.

It ended in a three-tiered pool with a blissful tropical flower bath positioned on the edge of a breathtaking beautiful river ravine. We asked ourselves, ‘Why is it that when we are on holidays we take care of ourselves, but when we get home we say we don’t have time?’”

This was a pivotal piece in Naomi and Paul’s quest for wellness. Prior to this vacation, they had both been captive to stress, with severe eczema plaguing them. “At that moment, we decided we would make it our goal to incorporate mindful home spa rituals that care for our skin, mind and body into our everyday life,” Naomi says.

And thus the iKOU range was born. iKOU (pronounced “ik-oo”) means “to rest, to relax, to restore”. This business venture, started in 2007, is all about promoting that spa feeling at home to gain a sense of wellness using a range of high-quality products that restore and rejuvenate the skin. But don’t be fooled; iKOU takes a more mindful approach to wellness combined with high-performance ingredients. “It wasn’t just the one magic cream that cured our skin — it was the combination of rituals we created to de-stress and relax as well as organic, natural skincare with aromatherapy,” Naomi says.

iKOU products across skincare, home fragrance, bath and body are natural, chemical-free and Australian made. By incorporating aromatherapy into the range, iKOU also promotes mental health, leaving you feeling relaxed. “We encourage a lifestyle that creates the way you feel each day. Our ranges include organic skincare and body care, aromatherapy essential oils, natural wax candles and herbal teas,” Naomi says. “It’s a full spa lifestyle.”

The iKOU ritual

One of the things the Wellness Experiences team loves most about the iKOU range is that it’s not just individual products — instead, iKOU sells a range of rituals, where wellness seekers can enjoy a series of products in a sequence for full skin, mind and body benefits.

“One of my favourite packs is our De-stress Your Life kit, which is a collection of eight products for a head-to-toe ritual,” Naomi says. “It has all my most-loved products, including our famous Baobab & Neroli Calming Face Oil, which smells divine, and calms both the skin and the mind. It also has our Organic Italian Orange & Jojoba Body Buff, which is an amazing sugar scrub that has had a loyal following right from the beginning, and our De-stress Body Souffle, which leaves your skin so smooth and hydrated. People always say is ‘smells like a day spa’.

A ritual pack would be the perfect way to try iKOU for the first time.

More than just “me time”

iKOU is about more than just “me time”. This is an ecologically aware brand, with production in its Blue Mountains facilities offset with solar and wind power. “We’ve done this right from our first year of business,” Naomi says, proving that environmental responsibility is a cause near and dear to her heart.

“We also reject the use of any palm oil in our products as this contributes to mass deforestation.”

In addition to this, iKOU uses many organic, wild-harvested Australian ingredients that are ethically harvested by Indigenous communities to ensure sustainability. “I love sourcing Australian-grown to keep our footprint small,” Naomi says.

The iKOU journey

iKOU has flourished worldwide since being born back in 2007 from a kitchen in the Blue Mountains. Now, there are three iKOU retail boutiques — one in Leura, Blue Mountains, one in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building and one in relaxing Byron Bay. iKOU products and spa treatments are also supplied to many of Australia’s leading luxury hotels like Park Hyatt, Wolgan Valley and Lizard Island.

“It feels so good in our souls to know that the things that helped us to de-stress and heal our skin are now helping others to feel healthier and happier too,” Naomi says.

Travel With iKOU

If you’re planning on heading to a wellness retreat and would like to take some iKOU products away, Naomi has plenty of recommendations.
“A wellness retreat is the perfect time to give yourself some extra time and care,” Naomi says. “I would recommend packing one of our Organic Skincare Rituals which contains a full set of travel-sized iKOU Skincare so you could give yourself a beautiful facial to nourish your skin.”

Another popular iKOU product is the body scrub. “Exfoliation is such a powerful way to feel renewed,” Naomi says. “These products not only shed the skin, but I feel emotionally, they help us to let go of the things that no longer serve us. Body exfoliation can create the feeling of a powerful shift.”

Indeed, Naomi says that the scrubs are one of her favourite products to create. “I often make limited-edition scrubs, but the two we have in our core range allow you to choose from two different moods — our Italian Orange Buff to de-stress or our Lemon Myrtle Salt Scrub to renew energy.”

And for those simply looking to focus on winding down and relaxing, Naomi would recommend her book Energise Your Life, which inspires a lifestyle of wellbeing and is full of practical ways to de-stress and create a life you love.

The Journey to Wellness

Do you feel as if you’ve lost track of your wellbeing? iKOU founder Naomi Whitfeld shares some wise words on energising your life.
“My advice if you are feeling like you’ve lost track with your wellbeing is to collect a set of wellness tools that energise your life. And rather than seeing them as a whole, view them as individual jigsaw pieces. The more pieces that are joined together, the more complete your picture of wellbeing will be. If you lose track of any of the pieces, don’t give up on the others. Wellness isn’t all or nothing; it’s a journey, not a destination. And when we take the journey, it leads us to a healthy and happy life.”

For more information visit iKOU.com.au.

WellBeing Team

WellBeing Team

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