A short while ago I was introduced, via Instagram, to a beautiful and local-to-me skin care small business, Skinmade. I've been loving using their organic and natural products each day. These are products made with thought, intention, care and a commitment to bettering the environment as well our skin. The simple packaging appeals to me - I don't need (or want) excess packaging or gimiky products, I prefer to use products that have pure simple ingredients and are easy to add to my daily routine.
My boy has also been using the oat & lemon myrtle scrub, which you combine with the castile & lemongrass cleanser to create a gentle yet very effective and lovely to use face cleaner. His skin (and mine as well) looks and feels so soft afterwards. I can't decide which moisturiser I like best - I'm using the rosehip & cucumber serum for refreshing daytime use, and the vitamin E & balsam as a night time cream. Both are nice and rich, yet not heavy - which is perfect for the coming Summer.
When I was younger a friend of my mum's started a skincare range, and my sister and I helped her sell it. We learnt a little about the products and the ingredients, and got to enjoy using beautifully made natural skincare. Finding Skinmade has been a wonderful way for me to use something that fits within my lifestyle and environmental ethics, while supporting a local business as well. It's important to do each little thing we can in our regular purchases to make differences in our environment, our economy and our personal welfare. Choosing a skincare company who doesn't test on animals, uses organic and local ingredients and makes a conscious decision to support the environment in their manufacture and packaging is an easy way to make such a change. Next time you go to the department store to purchase your new moisturiser and a million cleansers and such, have a think about the what you are actually putting on your skin, where and how it's made, and what happens with the excess packaging afterwards (Skinmade has a fabulous program where you can return your glass bottles for reuse - just another way they are actively committed to environmental consciousness).
I asked Claire and Genevieve to share a little about their beautiful products and their business. They've also shared a 25% discount code (find it at the end of the questions) so that you can try out their range yourself - you'll find their products very reasonable before the discount, so this is an added incentive! And make sure you add one of their super soft bamboo facecloths to your order.
Why did you start Skinmade?
After having children it really opened our eyes to what we were using on our skin - especially our babies skin. (Did you know that a leading brand of baby oil has only two ingredients: mineral oil and fragrance. Mineral oil coats your skin like glad wrap so it can’t release toxins. It also interferes with the skin’s natural immunity barrier. And unspecified fragrance is usually synthetic which can cause major skin irritation and even cause dizziness. It horrifies me to think we lather this on our new born babies).
So we started Skinmade - making up our own plant-based oil blends using recipes passed down from our mother in-law. We felt like there was a gap in the market for affordable, good quality, plant-based skincare. There is no shortage on the market, but most if it is very expensive.
What makes it special?
We use really good quality, mostly organic, plant-based ingredients, subtle earthy scents - nothing overpowering and we keep our products as simple as possible. They feel really clean and light on the skin so they can be used by the whole family.
What's your favourite product and why?
Claire: I have fair, dry skin so my favourite product is the Vitamin E + Balsam cream. Sometimes when I run out(yes that sounds crazy as I am the maker) I will use pure rose hip oil until I make a new batch. When I get finally get my hands on a new jar my skin feels so supple and nourished.
Genevieve: My favorite product is the castile and lemongrass CLEANSER. I have normal kind of skin that can get a bit oily at times. This cleanser feels so nice and gentle and the smell of it is very fresh and light. I use it with an organic bamboo face cloth and the scrub. It was very hard to formulate this product as there is nothing natural that foams, except organic liquid castile soap, which is what makes this cleanser so special.
Tell us a little about the making process, and what you love about the ingredients you use.
We spent a lot of time with a local naturopath learning about oils and herbs, and perfecting emulsification etc. I think for both of us two of the most exciting parts of making skincare is seeing the cream emulsify. It really is amazing. And secondly when we come up with new essential oil blends.
Our first priority is to make a product that is 100% natural, second is to make a product that is nourishing, healing, and rejuvenating. Affordability to our customers is really important to us, so you won’t see us using exotic ingredients such as gemstone crystals from brazil, caviar or snake venom. Instead we use the highest quality ingredients that are more sustainable and readily availablesuch as jojoba, rose hip, essential oils, shea/coco butter, vitamin e and aloe vera. We source organic and local where possible.
How do you work together - what are your roles in your partnership?
We mostly do everything together. At the moment Genevieve is pregnant so Claire has taken over making the product and Genevieve looks after ordering, shipping, online enquiries etc. I think we really compliment each other in our business partnership. We both bring unique skills and ideas to skinmade, and when one is having a busy week with family or work commitments the other steps in and picks up the slack. We have a good laugh when we are together.
What are the challenges of having a small handcrafted skin care business?
We both have busy families and work part time, so it is often a challenge to find time. One of our biggest challenges is getting skinmade out there. Once people try it, they love our products for life, so we are constantly thinking up ways to promote the brand and reach as many people as possible.
Skinmade has been around for just over a year now, how are things going? What are your plans for the future of your business?
We are booking lots of markets for the end of 2014 and next year, plus deciding which trade shows to exhibit at. We have a feature in the Etsy Christmas gift ideas, which will give us lots of exposure. We hope to grow the skincare range to cater for more skin types and also develop a range of natural remedies for children such as a breath easyessential oil mix, chest rub, natural insect repellant and, head lice repellant. We are very committed to minimizing waste and are working behind the scenes on developing 100% compostable packaging. Our beautiful skin tea range comes in 100% compostable containers, so we aim to extend this across the range.
What's the 'secret' to beautiful skin, in your opinion?
Never believe the marketing ploys from commercial skincare brands about getting rid of your wrinkles or making your pimples disappear over night. The secret to beautiful skin extends well beyond what you put on it. Firstly HEALTH. Good health including diet and exercise… Secondly HAPPINESS. Balance in your life and finding happiness and mental strength. These are the building blocks for beautiful skin. Finally skincare. Your skincare should always be plant-based with no harsh chemicals. It should leave your skin feeling clean and nourished. It should basically be edible.
Why is local and handcrafted so important to you, personally and for your business? Can you share with us some other local makers who's work you love?
Buying local is reducing environmental impact, creating more local jobs, investing in the community, buying something unique and encouraging local prosperity. But most of all you are buying something from a real person who has made the item with love.
We have a huge crush on handmade pottery at the moment such as thrownbyjo, Harvest Clay, Susan Simonini, Kanimbla Clay.
We are loving the vege died clothing range from Vege Threads and the up cycled kids range from Alfie Children’s Apparel.
We get weekly veggie boxes from Farmer Foster (Murwillumbah) and make food for our kids from Jude Blereau whole food cookbooks.
We are saving up for some recycled furniture from Simply Recycled Furniture.
Anything else you'd like to add, please share ~
We would love for you readers to have the chance to try our skincare. Use the code: petalplum to receive 25% off Skinmade.
You can follow Skinmade on Instagram here.
Check out the website, and make sure you read the blog with some really interesting (and scary) info about beauty products and ingredients.
Connect with Skinmade on Facebook.
*all images by me, except b&w one of Claire and Genevieve from their website.