We know we’re not alone when we say we want mother of five, author and co-founder of Babyccino Courtney Adamo’s thick, long hair. Given that’s not going to happen anytime soon, we’ll settle for her hair care secrets (read on: we’ve discovered the incredible new 3-step system every woman who has experienced signs of hair loss and thinning needs to use on her locks)...
“Five years ago, around the time that Marlo was born, I was in a salon in London and my hairdresser introduced me to a product, which he said I had to use. He told me I’d love it. It’s the Aveda Brilliant Universal Styling Crème.” The crème completely changed how Adamo cared for her hair. “Before I discovered this product, I didn’t like the way my hair looked when it dried naturally – it was too big and frizzy, so I would blow dry it or just always wear it up. The Universal Styling Crème gives definition to my waves and keeps the frizz away, all the while looking natural and not like I have styling gel in my hair.” She might have only discovered her most loved product five years ago, but the Byron-Bay based mother of five grew up with Aveda (she even remembers the products in her mother’s shower). Recently, she started using the new Aveda Invati Advanced range, which first launched in 2012 and became a global bestseller. The new ‘Advanced’ range hit counters on January 1. It’s a fantastic 3-step system, which after 12 weeks, will make your hair look and feel thicker and fuller (attention all new mothers who are dealing with hair thinning after birth – this is your new best friend). Ok, so let’s talk you through how you use it. Step 1 is the ‘Exfoliating Shampoo’, which gently exfoliates, cleanses and renews the scalp. Step 2? The ‘Thickening Conditioner’, a gentle plant-derived conditioner which also helps nourish and detangle. Next comes our favourite part, which needs to be applied daily to wet or dry hair: the ‘Scalp Revitalizer’. This star product reduces hair loss through an innovative blend of tangerine peel and Japanese knotweed, which penetrates to help support hair’s natural keratin. Aveda’s patented bio-fermented blend plus their Ayurvedic herb blend with ginseng and certified organic turmeric will also invigorate the scalp when massaged in. She’s only weeks into using the product, but Adamo says: “It has given me the appearance of fuller hair, it adds more volume through the roots.” Click on the video above to find out more about this incredible new system and also go behind the scenes on our recent shoot. We also talk to Adamo below about motherhood, moving countries and setting up a new life with her family, her career and how she looks after those beautiful locks. We’ll be checking in with Adamo in a few weeks to see how the Aveda Invati Advanced range has changed her hair.
Courtney with her children Easton, Quin, Ivy, Marlow and Wilkie
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Happy, adventurous, thankful.
What has motherhood taught you so far?
Having come from a big family, the eldest of five children, there were not a lot of surprises that came with having children. Becoming a mother felt like a very natural step for me. In many ways, I had been ‘mothering’ all my life. But becoming a mother gave me such a deep appreciation for my own mother and her mother and the generations that have come before me. You realise how quickly time goes, how precious life is. It wasn’t until I became pregnant with our first baby that I was struck by the enormity of it all. I guess it was that for the first time in my life I was not just living for myself; my life took on a new meaning and value. I was bringing a life into the world, becoming someone’s mother, someday I would be someone’s grandmother. Gosh, it’s a big deal, isn’t it?
One year in, does Byron Bay feel like home?
Yes, absolutely! It felt like home the minute we arrived here last year. It’s the first place I’ve ever lived that truly feels like home to me. We’ve made such wonderful friends and really feel a strong connection to the community and the natural beauty of this area.
What’s your approach to health and wellbeing? Have you always had a good body image?
I think I used to care more about what I looked like before I had children, or at least I had more time to be concerned with it. Since having children something switched in my brain. After giving birth, I became so in awe of our bodies and what we are capable of doing. I became more concerned about my health and less concerned about what my body looked like. It’s also important to me to maintain a positive body image in front of my children. No one is born with these self-doubts. We learn them and I don’t want to pass on my bad habits. I spend so much time encouraging my children to find self-value in their kindness, their open-mindedness and their intellect. Inevitably positive and negative comments about appearance come their way but we try our best to devalue these. In terms of diet and exercise, we eat quite healthily and maintain a pretty active lifestyle. Michael and I both enjoy cooking and we eat mostly vegetarian in our home — often based on our finds at the local markets. Our kids are quite adventurous eaters, so we can be experimental in our cooking, which is quite fun.
Tell us about the new Aveda Invati Advanced range?
My hair is thick and wavy. Even thicker than it looks. I can’t tell you the number of hairdressers who have commented on my hair after they’ve run their fingers through it. I usually only wash my hair once a week. I comb my hair out when it’s wet and then run the Aveda Universal Styling Crème through my hair and let it dry naturally. Now that it’s summer and I’m in the ocean every day, I’ve been washing my hair almost daily with the Invati Advanced range, which is great because it’s plant-based and sulfate-free, meaning it doesn’t over cleanse the hair or leave a build-up of product even though I’m washing more often than I normally do. I also like the way it leaves my hair feeling full without feeling heavy.
How does your hair change after you give birth?
I do notice that my hair starts to fall out around month two or three and that lasts for a few months. Because I have such thick hair, it’s not something that really bothers me, but I do know the contrast between when your hair is full and then when you’ve had a baby and your hair starts to fall out and goes a little flat. Using this product has helped to give it that body it had when I was pregnant. It’s a great range for mothers who are dealing with hair loss or that overall flat feeling in your hair, which you can get after you’ve had a baby. It’s a wonderful range for all mums in general.
What are your earliest memories of Aveda?
I grew up in a small farming town halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. My mom used to drive an hour to Seattle to have her hair done (I think it was really just an excuse to go into the ‘big city’), and she would come back home from the hairdresser with Aveda shampoo and conditioner. It’s been a household name since I was little! I have always been a big fan of the Aveda plant-based hair products.
What are some of your favourite products?
I don’t have a very complex beauty regime. I always feel a bit out of my league whenever this question comes up. For the past five years, I’ve been using the Aveda Brilliant Universal Styling Crème in my hair, and I swear that single product changed the way I wear my hair.
Can you talk us through your career path? Did you ever imagine Babyccino would be what it is today?
Blogging was a relatively new concept in Europe when we started Babyccino back in 2007. We really had no clue that our little parenting blog would ever become more than an online diary between friends. Esther, Emilie and I started Babyccino as a way to share our discoveries as new mothers – from cool new products to recipes we tried and craft projects the kids enjoyed, etc. As we started getting more and more readers, the blog evolved to become more commercial and to cater to a wider audience. Three years after starting the blog, we launched our shopping portal – an online directory of the very best children’s shops. It was then that our business became less of a side project and more of a full-time job. It’s funny because I never really set out to become a working mum. I was quite content staying at home with my kids. But as the blog grew and it required more of my time, I found myself being pulled in that direction. I’m so thankful it worked out this way. I am so proud of the business we’ve created and how much we’ve accomplished in the past ten years.
When do you write your stories? When are you your most creative?
Before Wilkie was born, I was able to get a lot of work done in the evenings after the children went to bed, but now that he’s here I have to be productive in the mornings after the kids are off to school. Thankfully Wilkie takes a long nap in the mornings, so I’m usually typing away on my computer then.
What’s your advice for women wanting to launch their own business – what does it take to make it in media?
We never really set out to create a successful business – it all happened so organically and naturally. Looking back on it, perhaps this is why it became successful. We were doing what we loved and responding to different trends as they arose. I think in order to make it in media you have to have an authentic voice, you have to be genuine with your readers and I think it’s important to find your niche and go with it.
What are the negatives of social media?
In general, I really love Instagram and the connections it has created for me. I’ve made so many wonderful friendships and can’t imagine what our travels would have been like without Instagram to help us connect with locals and receive tips and recommendations for each of the places we visited. Saying this, I definitely go through phases where I find the whole social media thing a bit overwhelming and question why I share bits of my life with strangers. The obvious negative is putting myself out there for public scrutiny – occasionally some really hurtful things are said. I’ve learned to thicken my skin though and put things in perspective. 99% of the time Instagram is a wonderful, welcoming community.
How do you manage digital usage in your home with your children?
Apart from the occasional movie night, we watched very little TV in my childhood. As a result, my siblings and I played together creatively and imaginatively and never relied on the TV to do the entertaining. I’ve actually never been a TV person – I would rather read a book than sit down in front of a television. We don’t have phones, video games or personal electronics for any of our kids. We don’t even have a TV in our home. It’s never been an issue for us and even now, with Easton being 12, no one has ever asked for one of these things. Occasionally we’ll give the kids one of our laptops to watch a movie we’ve rented for them or to do a school assignment (more of their homework is on the computer than we’d like). When electronics aren’t present, our kids find other more hands-on and imaginative things to do.
Who are your role models? Who do you admire?
Ina May Gaskin changed the way I viewed childbirth and I really credit her for the beautiful birth experiences I’ve had. What a wonderful woman she is to empower other women, to enable women to trust their intuitions and strength to achieve a beautiful birthing experience.
How do you juggle your children with work?
I just take it one step at a time and try to stay focused on each task. When I’m with my kids, I try not to look at my phone or get distracted by emails or deadlines; I try to devote 100% of my attention to them. When I’m working, I try to ensure I have at least a couple hours of uninterrupted time and I try to stay as focused as I can on my work and the tasks at hand. I’ve also learned the art of delegating. My bigger kids are such good helpers when prompted, especially with the baby. I joked the other day that I don’t know how anyone has babies without older children to help hold them. Quin is also super helpful in the kitchen, Easton has mastered the art of hanging laundry on the line, I just taught the girls how to empty the dishwasher, and all of the kids make their own bed every morning. It also helps, of course, that Michael is incredibly hands-on. We’d completely fall apart without him.
Courtney applying the Aveda Invati Advanced Scalp Revitalizer, from $28
What makes you feel stressed?
A messy house! Weirdly not a messy car, messy garden or even a messy handbag, but if my house is cluttered then I’m a less happy person.
How would you describe your approach to parenting?
I think I’m equal parts strict AND relaxed. I grew up with a father who was really firm on discipline and a mum who was strict about manners. My siblings and I knew where the lines were drawn and we knew not to cross them. We were given chores and never questioned them. We knew to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, to look people in the eye when we spoke, and to sit with our napkin on our lap at meal times. At the same time, we were raised on a big farm and were given free reign to play and explore. My parents weren’t hovering over us telling us what we could and could not do. We were allowed to be adventurous, even encouraged to do so. I think my parenting style is a product of my own upbringing. I’m strict in many ways, I’d even say I am the stricter parent of the two of us, but I’m also super relaxed. In terms of sibling rivalry, this is something I have always been very conscious of. My mom always said her biggest goal as a mother was to raise children who liked each other. And she succeeded! She has five children who all enjoy spending time together and who encourage and celebrate each other’s success. I hope my five kids will be the same. How lucky they are to have each other!
What’s the most unexpected thing about you?
Gosh, this is a tricky one. I am such an open book in many ways, happy to chat about anything, nothing too intimate or personal. So I guess there aren’t many surprises about me. Michael might say my hidden talents are table tennis and card games. Photography: Bridget Wood | Videographer: Grace Alyssa Kyo | Hair: Jodi from The Spa At Salt | Makeup: Phoebe Barrett | In association with Aveda