Rooibos, what is so special about it?

Yes, what is it exactly that makes the leaves of this scrubby bush from the Western Cape so special? Actually, it is not just one thing. Rather, it is what I call the 8 anti-s. Rooibos is anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-allergic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-ageing, and a phenomenal anti-oxidant.

Drinking Rooibos tea will help reduce and prevent inflammation and irritation in your body, as well as allergies, viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Research has shown that Rooibos helps prevent and slow-down cancer in the body. And with its anti-ageing properties, it also keeps skin looking younger. One of the ways it delivers these benefits is via its anti-oxidant properties.

We hear a lot about anti-oxidants and we know that they are good for us, but do we know how they work?

When you drink Rooibos tea, and eat anti-oxidant rich fruit and vegetables, and other types of plants, you are equipping your body to fight against toxins and free radicals and providing your body with the means to repair damaged cells. When anti-oxidants contained in these foods encounter unhealthy and unstable cells in your body, they are able to repair those damaged cells and neutralise their free radical behaviour.  They are also able to protect already healthy cells from free radicals.

Free radicals are created when cells are damaged and made unstable from factors such as stress, pollution, smoking and other environmental factors. This damage is called oxidation and occurs when a contributing factor removes an electron from an atom of the molecule that makes up the cell. Once damaged, these free radical cells, are on the lookout for another electron with which to balance itself and will steal it from a neighbouring atom or cell, which in turn will steal from another and so on and so forth. The more your body is exposed to contributing factors, the more free radicalising and stealing your cells have to contend with.

The body can handle free radicals if anti-oxidants are available. Drinking Rooibos tea will provide your body with the substances it needs to work against this oxidation of cells, hence the term, anti-oxidant. And it does this by providing the unstable cells, the free radical cells, with one of its own electrons thereby making the cell whole and stable and neutralising the need to steal an electron from another cell.

And if all this still seems confusing, here it is in short:

  • reduce and manage the stress in your life, don’t smoke, avoid pesticides and herbicides as much as you can, and try to have as clean air as possible,
  • eat your fruit and vegetables, and eat more plant material than meat products,
  • drink Rooibos tea and lots of it.

By doing this you will reduce the factors that can damage your cells and you will increase the body’s ability to repair the cells that are unavoidably damaged. Keep in mind that when iron oxidises it rusts, when your cells oxidise you age and can become ill.

Rooibos is naturally high in anti-oxidants – this makes it pretty special, don’t you think?




International model, Natasha Barnard and Annique!

South African-born model, Natasha Barnard, let it slip in a January 2014 issue of Finesse magazine that Annique is her favourite skincare brand! Annique asked this beauty from Witbank, who currently lives in New York City, to share some of her favourite Rooibos beauty secrets with us.

“Love at first sight”

“I was first introduced to Annique five years ago when my roommate, Monique, suggested that I try their products. We both had incredible results and I became an instant fan of Annique.

“My favourite products”

I simply love Essense Miracle Tissue Oil. After losing weight in the past, I have struggled with stretchmarks. This product is a miracle in a bottle and the appearance of stretchmarks or scarring is greatly reduced with regular use.

Another favourite of mine is definitely the Essense Skin Detox. I adore this product! My skin is left incredibly soft and my complexion definitely has a glow after I use it.

Three steps to a beautiful skin

Every morning and night, I follow the three-step programme: Cleanse, moisturise and refresh. I use the Hydrafine range for this.

miracle_tissue_oilI use a lotion in the summertime when my skin tends to be oilier, and a rich, thick cream during winter to combat dryness.

Exfoliating is a must if you want smooth skin, therefore I exfoliate twice a week. Every Sunday I apply a masque to my skin. I also never go to bed without applying Essense Miracle Tissue Oil.

My number one beauty secret

Annique taught me this secret – wash your face with Rooibos water! Add a teabag of Annique Rooibos tea to your rinsing water. You can use one teabag up to six times. It supplies your skin with amazing antioxidants and it doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky. I always take Annique Rooibos tea with me when I travel to ensure that my skin looks its best, no matter where I am! A radiant skin is important at all times as I regularly do modelling for famous brands like Guess.

*This article first appeared in the Replique May 2014 issue.

Steps to get out of the muck, today

Recent conversations I’ve had have highlighted to me, once again, the importance of knowing how to navigate the challenges of life. We all, without exception, have trials and struggles in our lives. I find it intriguing how some people are able to maneuver through these challenges and hurts, letting them be the manure for enriching the soil of their lives, and others get stuck in the muck.

I am no expert. But here are 5 qualities I have observed in those who don’t stay stuck in the muck:

  • Get to know yourself: How you think, what your default response is and why, what negative patterns of behaviour you have in your life, and what part you have played to contribute to the muck situations in your life.
  • Have a support system: We heal best in community. My support system consists of my faith, my husband, a long-time mentor, friends, and my church. When I have been more than knee-deep in the muck, I have joined support groups (e.g. Grief Share and Celebrate Recovery) and engaged the services of a counselor.
  • Vent your emotions and then stop blaming: Yes, I know, it wasn’t your fault, and it is unfair, and just plain wrong. Trust me, I know. And there are things that are worth crying about, and we should cry about them and be angry too. Absolutely, that is how we heal. However, do it by engaging points one and two above: know yourself and have a support system.
  • Take responsibility: And now what? Now that you have unearthed this hurt and expressed it, or processed the unfairness of a situation, what are you going to do about it? This is where movement happens – or not. You can’t change the situation but you can own your response to it and make the deliberate choice that it will be manure in your life and not just muck.
  • Forgive: One very difficult word. And yet, this is where the healing becomes complete and the muck, which you chose to apply as manure (by taking responsibility for your response), enriches the soil of your life and brings new life in time. I have found forgiveness to be a process rather than a moment and one that I have to actively choose to engage in my life.

When we engage this 5 step process in our lives, there is a life giving force that relieves the stress and anxiety in our bodies and faces. We glow from the inside out, walk with confidence and look younger than our years. It is an anti-ageing potion that doesn’t come in a bottle, you can’t spread it on your face like a masque and nor can it be bought or patented; it is available to anyone and everyone you just need to apply it.

Go ahead, take the steps to love the skin you’re in!



My eyebrows and me!

What is your distinctive feature? The one that you have embraced as distinctly you, regardless of fads and fashions? For me, it’s my eyebrows. And I embraced them as a distinctive feature when I was a teen.

It started on the school hockey field. I bet I was 14. A group of four girlfriends and I would sit in the sun at break-time, swop sandwiches and stories. This particular sunny day, the topic turned to plucking eyebrows. All my friends had early 80s fashionable razor-thin plucked eyebrows. They discussed the logistics, the desired angle and the gruelling maintenance of these highly fashionable features. I listened and said little – my eyebrows were still, very decidedly, au-naturel and prominently so.

I stared at my eyebrows in the mirror that night, trying to decide if I was going to jump into the mainstream of plucking my eyebrows into arched narrowness. It was going to be a lot of work taming my eyebrows. And then the ongoing maintenance … yikes … was this really for me? I would have to take my nose out of my book and my head out of the clouds – and train all my attention on my eyebrows, vigilant for returning prickles and waywardness.

I knew it wasn’t for me. But how to embrace that and swim against the current? As before, the answer came from my teen-guide, Fairlady magazine.

The latest edition had a feature of a South African model working in Paris. I still remember her name, Bridget Proctor. As part of the interview, Bridget Proctor explained how, because she had strong eyebrows (yes, they were more well-endowed than mine), she had made them her signature feature in the modelling world. Bingo!

I looked in the mirror and welcomed my eyebrows to my face. And apart from a brush and some tidying, they’ve been a welcomed part of my face ever since.

Love the skin you’re in!


This morning, my scale smiled at me!

This morning my scale smiled at me… and I smiled back. I liked what it was telling me. Albeit it slowly, my lifestyle change continues to move me towards my goal. A goal that started with another scale last summer while on a family vacation to the Netherlands.

At the Open Air Museum in Arnhem, our cousin’s young daughter jumped on a scale at the courier exhibition. The scale didn’t reflect as much as she would like it to, so she jumped up and down a couple of times with the hope that it would instead reflect that she is growing and getting big.

Not having weighed myself in years, I got on the scale after her…and couldn’t believe my eyes… I have never weighed so much! I jumped off exclaiming, “That can’t be true!”  My husband, the voice of encouragement, replied “I know what I weigh; I’ll tell you if it’s true,” and stepped on to the scale. “Yip, it’s right” was his verdict.

I could’ve (and did) rationalise the scale’s tale of truth to me. Yet, two photos from later in the trip pulled me out of denial. The first was taken outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I didn’t like what I saw: how my skirt strained across my hips and my t-shirt bunched at my waist. And the one that sealed the deal, was seeing myself from behind as I surveyed the majesty of the cathedral in Chartres. That picture was deleted on sight.

I came home from the trip realising two things: first that, over the past year, I had slipped into emotional eating and drinking, and the pounds were packing on. And second, that I did not want middle-age spread to grab a hold of me. So, I put a 5-step plan into action:

  • I set a realistic goal weight (applicable to my current age not the me of my twenties),
  • I implemented an eating plan that reduced calories, increased metabolism and, yet, still allowed me to enjoy food (because food is not my enemy),
  • I introduced gym twice a week over and above my usual exercise routine,
  • I increased my intake of water and Rooibos tea, and reduced my intake of wine,
  • I set a long-range focus and kept at it.

What it looks like for me to ‘love the skin I’m in’ may well be different from what it looks like for you. The objective is to enjoy your body and have a positive self-image. And here I tip my hat to Adele who has said that she has no interest in being a skinny mini, evidenced by her comment “I would only lose weight if it affected my health or sex life, which it doesn’t.”

What does it look like for you to ‘love the skin you’re in’?

Go ahead, love the skin you’re in!



Belle dans sa peau

There is a French idiom ‘bien dans sa peau’ for which we don’t have an equivalent in English. The English idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ is perhaps the closest that we come to it but, even then, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. ‘Bien dans sa peau’ refers to someone who is comfortable in his or her skin, and infers that there is a beauty and confidence that comes with that. ‘Beauty is only skin deep’, refers to a physical beauty that is superficial if it isn’t accompanied by beauty within. This infers that internal radiance is true beauty.

My passions are two-fold: skin deep and deeper than the skin. I became hooked on skincare as a teen. I’ve stayed hooked on it for over 30 years. But I have also come to realise that, as important as it is to look after the largest organ on my body with quality products, I also need to look after it from the inside.

Here are 7 ways to have beautiful skin from the inside out:

  • Tackle those frown lines and fine lines around your mouth by reducing and removing anxiety and stress in your life.
  • Achieve an inner glow that radiates from your eyes and brightens your face by doing activities that energise you.
  • Identify relationships that drain your energy and raise your anxiety level, and start to deal with them proactively. The resulting calm in your life will relax your face better than Botox.
  • Laugh – and embrace (and care for) those laughter lines! They add character to your face; character is distinctive, appealing and draws others to you. Worry lines and laughter lines are not the same thing.
  • Moisturise from within: drink water, Rooibos tea and lemon water.
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit and less meat. And eat less too, so that your body spends more time repairing your body’s cells and less time digesting food.
  • Finally, become self-aware. Do your emotional inventory, sit with your hurts, habits and hang-ups and get the help you need to work through them. It’s not always some-one else’s fault. And even if it was, there comes a time when it is your responsibility to own your response, to forgive and to move forward.

Be comfortable in your skin: know who you are, like yourself, be kind to yourself and others, and create a life you love. Become ‘belle dans sa peau’ – beautiful in her skin.



About Me

I am a South African-born Canadian based in beautiful Vancouver, BC.

I love to travel, eat good food, and savour life. I’m an avid reader (a strength and a weakness) and a lover of words – in both English and French. You will often find me planning a trip with my husband to France, and also Quebec, to acquire greater competence in our adoptive language. This photo was taken on a terrace in historic Quebec City.

Not that life in Vancouver is half bad. Au contraire. It’s a beautiful city with much to offer. We snowshoe our local mountains in winter and hike them in summer. We have superb skiing in our backyard and at the world-class Whistler resort which is just an hour and a half’s drive away. In summer we bike Stanley Park and many other trails. When we want to take things easy we walk the seawall and barbeque on the beach. Wherever we are, Vancouver offers spectacular views.

I have a passion to see every women love the skin that she is in. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman at peace with herself, her body and her life. This gives an inner confidence that can’t be bought and a beauty that can’t be equaled.

It’s been a journey for me to come to that place for myself. LivingRooibos is my canvas of that journey and the place where I find myself – at peace with who I am, content and confident, discovering my gifts and excited about the future despite life’s heart-breaks and difficulties. It is, I have found, a journey not a destination.

I’ve had my share of difficulties. We all do. Yet, I know that kindness and compassion triumph over cynicism and despair. It’s a matter of choice, focus and some essential tools in life to help you.

LivingRooibos tells the stories of my life, stories that I’m enthusiastic about: skin care, body health, soul care, and the appreciation of the small things that make up life – my life, your life. It is also informative – about Rooibos.

I’m all about Living – living in the here and now, living with joy, and living fully engaged in spite of my circumstances. And that begins first, and foremost, with me. An essential life skill is to know yourself, embrace who you are and come to love yourself. So many of us don’t do this. Instead we live far from, and at odds, with ourselves.

And why Rooibos? Well, it is uniquely South African. I lived on South African soil for the first thirty years of my life and it is an integral part of who I am. Rooibos is naturally healthy and life-giving, attributes I strive for in many areas of my life. It is a tea and I’m taken with the ceremony of drinking tea. It’s red, a favourite colour of mine. And it means red bush. The words red bush and Rooibos cause me to see a burning bush: Moses’s encounter with the living God. I am wholeheartedly committed to the living God, living for Him and directed by Him.

And finally, Rooibos is an integral part of my business and how I take care of my skin. I not only love my skin with Annique Rooibos skin care products, I also sell the skin care products online, in Canada and the USA, at So, as you can see, Rooibos is a large part of my life.

I am passionate about Rooibos, and I am passionate about rousing every woman to wholeness, igniting her passion for life, and inspiring her to love the skin she is in!