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Inspired living

Simplicity, modesty and nature - the philosophy behind Harlo Design Studio's Creation


Harlo Design Studio

We learn about the mindfully curated range of sustainable goods at Ħarlo Design Studio with founder, principal designer and aesthetician, Tarmaine Hales.

Ħarlo Design Studio showcases a curated selection of lifestyle products. Please share a bit of information about your range.

We offer a modest and needful collection of organic botanical skincare. We also currently collaborate with some incredible local and international artisans and showcase their authentic handcrafted homeware designs, both individually and across a range of specially curated gift packs.

Where did the name “Ħarlo” come from?

It’s actually primarily named after my children, Harvey and Marlo. I’m also Maltese. The letter “Ħ” in the Maltese alphabet pronounces a sounded English “H”. A reference to my roots in the name was meaningful as I draw a lot of my inspiration from there, particularly when it comes to design.

What inspired the creation of Ħarlo?

I was fortunate to have a very cultured upbringing in quite a creative family. Over time, I developed an appreciation of the wabi-sabi philosophy values of simplicity, modesty and nature — something that I hope to encourage in what I sometimes find to be two very fabricated and excessive industries. I created the design studio initially with the intention of providing accessible and affordable design services to empower individuals and enhance their precious space. I have been formulating skincare since my qualification in 2001; after children, I became time-poor and struggled to find products that ticked all the boxes as a conscious consumer and aesthetician. In 2020, we refined my formulas and opened the online store. Authenticity and honesty are important to us. We don’t believe in false promises, criticism or encouraging individuals to fix or change the unique attributes that make them who they are. We believe in sustainable, filler-free, high-quality botanical nourishment. I always valued the opportunity to support other creatives and their work. Each unique ceramic piece is crafted, glazed and/or moulded by hand and many are pit-fired in the ground, among the natural elements. I think changing our routines into purposeful rituals, where we act and move with intention and presence, is meaningful for our everyday lives — and I hope that our little shop inspires that.

Your award-winning, organic botanical skincare collection has a “strict no-naff policy”. Can you please share a bit of information about this?

We do have a strict no-naff policy where every aspect of our product production has been considered. The skincare collection is entirely filler-free, meaning no water, infusions, gels or extracts. This enables us to ensure every ingredient is highly nutritious and means we can also leave out any unnecessary modifiers and emulsifiers. It’s entirely botanical and contains no synthetics, palm oil or even wax. Every product is soap-free, pH-balanced, certified vegan, cruelty-free and toxic-free, as well as made in small batches in our compassionate carbon-neutral studio. Our specially curated formulas are stored in indefinitely recyclable biophotonic glass for premium preservation. They are labelled locally with ISO 14001 EMS-accredited paper and are packaged in reused and biodegradable packaging.

Which product from your range would you most recommend to our readers?

We get a lot of amazing feedback from our face moisturiser, particularly from people who suffer from very dry and parched skin. We’ve also converted a fair few people with our oil cleanser; they seem to especially feel a difference when making the switch from using water-based cleansers. Having a high-performing, gentle, pH-balanced cleanser is the most important start, so I always like to suggest beginning with that.

For more information about Ħarlo Design Studio, visit harlodesignstudio.com.au.