Q + A with Audra James



Audra James is a qualified aromatherapist, facialist and natural skin expert. With an approach that is truly bespoke, Audra has specialised in areas such as stress management, women's health and natural skincare in Australia and Europe for over 20 years.

Her unique blending style helps bring a fresh, contemporary approach to aromatherapy and has attracted worldwide attention, not just with personal clients but also as a product formulator for other brands.

 How did you become interested in aromatherapy?

 It was back in 1991 while working as a corporate trainer. I was asked to write and present a training course on stress management in the workplace. I came across a book on aromatherapy - I knew nothing about aromatherapy at the time but I couldn't put the book down - I was obsessed. I then went on to study a Diploma in Clinical Aromatherapy, which led me to having a busy clinic in Sydney treating private clients and creating bespoke products for them. From there I went on to work as a lecturer and product formulator for other brands.

When and how did you start the brand?

The AJ brand has always been an extension of my clinical work. All products are ones that I've used, formulated and tested over 25 years. I was constantly asked by people if they could purchase my products (initially the brand was only for private clients) so from there the brand grew. I also felt there was a definite gap in the market for a brand like mine that was formulated by a therapist with the kind of experience I have. Formulating skincare requires an in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology and chemistry as well as a lot of formulating experience.

What makes audra james so different to other brands?

A lot I think and that's the reason why the brand is very popular. Firstly there is the experience I have both as a formulator and therapist and along with that goes a lot of knowledge. I think clients respect that and they trust the brand, especially when it comes to treating their skin. All products are also formulated by hand - unlike many brands that purchase formulas and then bottle them as their own. 

You believe in skincare that less is more - can you explain why?

My whole range has been based on this since the early 90s. I could see from very early on that the less my clients did to their skin, the better it looked. I now see a lot of people who have extremely sensitive, congested and inflamed skin and one of the main reasons has been the over-treating of skin. Using too many products, too many harsh ingredients and having treatments that strip the skin - which in turn creates a lot of problems. So as well as using a minimum of products, I also use a minimum of ingredients - this also means there is less chance of allergies or reactions.

Why do you offer a bespoke service?

There will always be clients that require an individual approach to their skincare - it might be a temporary thing (sometimes people go through stages where they need a more tailored approach) so having bespoke skincare formulated means that I can really look at what's going on with a person's skin and formulate something specifically for that. The bespoke approach also works for products for stress and also perfumery. People love the idea of not only using a natural perfume instead of a synthetic one but also love having a perfume that is uniquely their own signature blend.