Meet the Experts: Equi Founders Alice Mackintosh & Rosie Speight
Acclaimed nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh will join our team of experts at Gazelli House South Kensington this January. Alice is known for her work in treating skin problems (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea) as well as IBS, energy issues, hormonal strife, low mood and anxiety. She combines the most up-to-date scientific research with functional medicine models to deliver real results. Alice is the co-author of bestselling book The Happy Kitchen – Good Mood Food and founded multi-award-winning supplement range Equi with entrepreneur Rosie Speight. We caught up with Alice and Rosie to find out more.
What was the lightbulb moment that inspired you to start Equi?
It was really a matter of right place, right time. We had both experienced a massive gap in the market for supplements that really work – Alice as a nutritionist looking for products for her clients, and Rosie actually as a customer trying to find something to support her skin.
The idea came about after Rosie went to see Alice to focus on sorting her skin out. At the time, she was working in investment banking, so was living a pretty full-on and fast-paced lifestyle, like so many of us do! Rosie’s skin had flared up badly when she stopped taking the contraceptive pill which she had been on for many years. She was preparing to have a baby so harsh medications were out of the question and she wanted to get to the root cause of her issues. Rosie was already eating pretty well, but as well as a few tweaks to her diet, Alice suggested a range of supplements that not only cleared her skin up (fast!), but also improved her energy, digestion, concentration and sleep. She felt the best she had in years and it was then that she fully realised how below-par she’d been feeling on a day-to-day basis .... and her skin completely cleared up and had a wonderful glow.
The supplements Alice had given Rosie to take were only available through practitioners or specialist websites, were unbranded and sold in single forms - so you had to have consulted an expert to know what to take. We quickly realised that there was a need for readily available supplements that actually work and make a real difference to how you look and feel.
Supplements get a lot of bad press for being ineffective and we tend to agree with this - most of the easily available products don’t make any noticeable changes. Though there were some good products on the market, there wasn’t anything that was as comprehensive as what we knew was necessary to make a difference, and that had been formulated for real people living busy city lifestyles. It was also essential to us to use absolutely the best-quality ingredients and cut all fillers, binders, chemicals and unnatural nasties.
How similar is Beauty Formula to the supplement plan Alice originally created for Rosie?
It’s similar but even better! We really have included as many skin-loving ingredients as possible – we knew that buying and taking these separately is hugely expensive and pretty time-consuming, so we wanted to create an easy, effective solution. The supplement plan Rosie was taking contained a targeted skin multi-vitamin, omegas, probiotics and digestive enzymes, a superfood powder and hormone-balancing herbs. We’ve added all of these but supercharged it with Glowcutis®, which is marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, silica, pine bark, zinc, vitamin C and pine bark (a wonderful herb with anti-inflammatory properties to soothe redness and irritation and reduce pigmentation), as well as ingredients such as anti-inflammatory turmeric, propalis and co-q-10.
What makes the Beauty Formula different from other skincare supplements?
We take a 360-degree approach to beauty whereas other supplements will only target the skin directly with collagen, or sometimes by aiding digestion. We do this too, but also deliver ingredients that encourage balanced immunity and hormones, improve sleep and stress levels and mood, all of which are needed to improve skin health sustainably and effectively.
Many other skin products also require various products to be taken, whereas we wanted a quick and easy solution for busy ladies, so you don’t have to shop around and avoid confusing science or pill popping.
How do you determine which formula is best for you?
Our products are targeted, meaning it is easy to work out which is best for you,. However, the most common question we get is whether you can take two or sometimes three formulas at the same time. The answer is you don't really need to, as each of them is a comprehensive product that works to balance all of your internal systems so you feel your best!
There is also quite a lot of crossover with our products, so though Beauty works to give you great skin it will also boost your energy and concentration … in the same way Original is an amazing energy support, but will also help with skin. Beauty is our best seller though. I mean who doesn’t want perfect skin?!
What are the benefits of taking a supplement if you already eat a balanced diet?
Diet always comes first and a supplement, no matter how comprehensive, should never replace the benefits of doing that. The problem is, how many of us eat a really nutritious diet every single day, never get stressed, don't drink alcohol, sleep 8 hours a night and do everything right?
Supplements have come in for a lot of flack in recent years and though we don't condone pill popping, time and time again research has proven the health benefits of high-quality, targeted vitamins/minerals at safe doses in their bioavailable forms, as well as stable probiotics, supergrasses/berries (Nature’s multivitamin) and natural botanicals. This is especially the case in the modern world that exposes us to anti-nutrients (like alcohol, stress, poor diet, air travel, pollution, excessive exercise) that all increase our requirements for goodness.
People can find buying the right supplements quite overwhelming as there are so many low-quality products on the market. Without having invested in a practitioner, taking numerous different pills is unpleasant and time-consuming. Our products deliver a diverse range of goodness in one convenient powder; no chemicals, just goodness in a natural, bioavailable form that keeps the body working the way it's designed to.
Tell us about your typical day before 9am?
Rosie: I have a 3 year old daughter who will wake us up at 7am, so mornings are spent playing with her, then getting her ready for nursery, which is sometimes easier than others! Then off to the gym for a workout which is a treasured moment of ‘me time’, I’m a member at Grace Belgravia, which is a wonderful, tranquil spot to exercise and the barre and pilates there are the best I’ve ever done. I won’t eat before I work out, but will have a hot water with lemon and ginger, or herbal tea while I’m getting my daughter ready, then a post-workout smoothie, which is when I take my daily dose of Equi.
Alice: I used to be one of those people who was on their phone and emails from the moment I woke up, but last year I decided to make a conscious effort to spend a few moments each morning focusing on my goals, or even spending 3 minutes journaling while I wait for the kettle to boil. This doesn’t always happen but I always feel so much happier when I manage to find time. I am more of a morning exerciser than afternoon, so I try to be active even if it’s just popping out for a walk in Battersea Park. I can’t live without breakfast so I normally quickly whip up some eggs and avo or a smoothie followed by Equi, and then it’s either straight to my clinic or heading to meet Rosie at the office.
How do you relax and de-stress when it feels like everything is getting too much?
It would be dishonest to say we don’t struggle with this, but the gym is a huge part of our mental wellbeing. A good pilates, barre or spin class takes you off your phone for an hour which means you can only focus on you. We start most days exercising in some way – a walk to blow away the cobwebs or a few stretches at home … even when we were living together at university we’d make time for this!
We also both love a night in, lighting some candles and having an Epsom salt bath followed by an early bed to clear our heads. This works sometimes, but at other times dinner with friends is a better way to switch off from work and re-calibrate.
How did you feel when you first walked into Gazelli House?
We were both blown away by how beautiful and unique the space is, with so much to look at before you’ve even experienced the incredible treatments on offer. We noticed feeling completely at home and calm with the warming energy in the room - there is such character and a personable vibe to Gazelli that some super-luxe spas can lack. We especially love that your staff seem to have a sixth sense for the kind of treatment that will best suit you - and they are always right!
What are your top wellbeing tips?
· Eat plenty of veggies, wholefoods and colour.
· Have at least one vegan day per week.
· Get healthy fats everyday – they don’t go on your ass, they make your skin glow!
· Prioritise sleep (if you can!)
· Don’t over exercise, and balance your workouts with your lifestyle. If you’re stressed, don’t do spin, do yoga.
· Do 4in-6out breathing if you can’t find time to meditate.
· One coffee per day is totally fine, and nothing to feel guilty about.
· See your friends often, and don’t lose touch with the old ones – they are the ones who know you best.
· If you can, get therapy! It’s always a good investment in your future wellbeing.
· Have Epsom salt baths once per week.
· Take your holiday.
· Life’s too short not to eat chocolate!
What mantra do you live by?
To us Equi means balance, and this is a mantra we like to live by. Let your hair down and dance all night sometimes and don’t feel bad for it, it’s good for the soul! We eat burgers, we drink wine, but we also love to cook and eat healthy food, make smoothies and work out. We love both sides of the coin, and striking that balance between the two is what makes us really fulfilled and happy.