Women Who Inspire: Meet Bhavna, Founder of sustainable skincare brand Terra Tonics

We’re always so inspired by other local brands that put a strong emphasis on sustainable practices. Our founders Ness and Libby are passionate vegetarians, so they were delighted to discover Terra Tonics ‘Clean Collagen’ serum, a cruelty-free collagen alternative harnessing the power of plants. 

Terra Tonics was founded in 2020 by Bhavna Suri with the philosophy that skincare should not only strengthen skin health but support the vitality of the person within. Terra Tonics is crafted in the Byron Bay hinterland from sustainable, ethically sourced organic or wildcrafted ingredients. 

Bhavna’s father was an Ayurvedic doctor, and her mum is a certified aromatherapist; she grew up curious, embracing the power of herbs and scent. Later in life, Bhavna spent many years working as an international model. During this time, her skin suffered terribly due to the makeup and skincare being applied at photoshoots, which were often laden with hard-to-pronounce ingredients. She started Terra Tonics out of sheer frustration, knowing there had to be a clean solution. It was a pleasure to sit down with the beautiful Bhavna to discuss sustainability, the ingenuity of plants, why she created a cruelty-free collagen alternative and as always, circular fashion. 

Bhavna from Terra Tonics

You grew up in England with parents of Indian and English heritage. Has this shaped or influenced the person you are today? 

Absolutely. It fuelled my desire to learn and explore other cultures. I understood even more so when living in India how my heritage has impacted my life choices and what led to starting Terra Tonics.

My parents were the driving force for my love and connection with nature, having worked in the holistic health space.

Before starting Terra Tonics you worked as a model throughout Spain, and India - walking for brands like Bulgari and shooting for Harper's Bazaar. What was the highlight of your modelling career?

The highlight has always been Travel. It's offered me unforgettable experiences, completely changed my outlook on the world, and made me realise what I hold important. I'm also so grateful to have met so many inspiring people along the way and creating lifelong friendships in many countries.

What was it that inspired you to start Terra Tonics?

Terra Tonics arose from changes I felt were needed and wanted to see in the industry. Rather than wait for someone else to create the solution, why not do so myself?

People generally think of skin care as something they use daily that affects only their skin, but these products' ripple effect goes way deeper than this.

I knew Terra Tonics needed to be a solution based business that offered better products for our customers and was also better for the planet.

Terra Tonics Bhavna Suri

Where do you source your ingredients from and where are your products produced?

All our products are Australian made, and we only use organic or wildcrafted ingredients sourced from Australia and India.

You're passionate not just about healthy skin but about healthy environments. Can you tell us a bit about how you approach sustainability at Terra Tonics? 

Sustainability is at the core of Terra Tonics and isn't just an afterthought – our mantra has always been do no harm. We are constantly evolving, searching, learning, discovering, exploring and thinking of new and better ways to create in the beauty sphere. Our products need to be unquestionably effective but also need to be thoroughly sustainable from concept to storefront.

We’re so happy to have launched our first home-compostable refill this year for Elemental Cleanser and plan to offer this for our full range in 2023, as well as something exciting we’ve been working on for 2+ years in this space. 

Your award winning cult favourite product 'miracle collagen' is derived from plants as opposed to animals. What motivated you to create an animal based collagen solution? 

Terra Tonics Clean Collagen was our first product. When we launched it, it was much needed when the misconceptions around 'collagen' and sustainability were at an all time high. There was a need for more information on how sustainable collagen or, more, unsustainable animal based collagen is.

Terra Tonics Clean CollagenBeyond the artfully written marketing material and stunning packaging, no one questions the validity and integrity of the actual cost of collagen. What are the costs to animals and our planet? 

I wanted a product that provided unparalleled results but at the same time was not harmful in any way to animals and the planet.

Terra Tonics Clean Collagen is a product of necessity and encapsulates the wonders of collagen but is done without any harm.

Our team has been using Terra Tonics, and we are absolutely loving your Experience Set. Do you have a personal favourite product?

Ooh that's a tough question, of course. I love them all and the effective yet simple skincare routine they offer me.

Terra Tonics Clean Collagen will always be my baby, and it's such an incredible multi-directional serum, offering natural, stable vitamin C and a plant based retinol alternative. Working in synergy to up-regulate your collagen production - it's with me wherever I go.

What does circular fashion mean to you?

Fashion made with purpose - how it is created, worn, and its end of life. A system that doesn't create waste or harm can safely return to the earth or be repurposed.

Have you ever sold your own clothing or bought pre-loved clothes? 

Yes, I love shopping for pre-loved items, and it's a fun way to play with your style rather than keeping up with fast fashion trends. I stopped purchasing from fast fashion brands around 5 years ago, so I've become more minimal with my wardrobe - selling online is a great way to repurpose pieces and create better purchasing habits.

You can follow Terra Tonics journey here