Introducing… New skincare for gardeners October 21, 2019 07:30
For as long as I can remember, my hands have prompted comments and raised eyebrows from friends and family. "Look at those mitts!" shriek my friends. Brutal but honest. A love affair with gardening has taken its toll.
As a result, it has been a long held ambition to add a range of skincare for gardeners to our products; handmade by this garden lover for other garden lovers :) And by jove, we've done it! Between myself and my gorgeous friend and partner in crime, Lisa, here is how we've put together a range that we hope will grow and grow...
A Wholly Plant Based Skincare Range
Our starting point was the desire to create a very natural, 'kind' skincare range. After testing various approaches, we settled on developing 100% plant based formulas. It seemed obvious really, to create something from plants for people that love plants. But there is also a strong sustainability issue at play here. Most of our products use jojoba oil - an incredibly restorative oil that can be grown on scraps of soil in developing countries, rather than encouraging vast, monoculture style crop production that can decimate natural habitats and environments.
Along with Jojoba, we also use Shea butter. As a result, we quickly realised we were able to steer away from using beeswax. Without knowing the origin (and it is very hard to accurately determine the source of lots of ingredients), we can't know details about the process of making beeswax and whether it involved cruelty or not. Once I researched and understood how beeswax was produced, I couldn't get that Maya Angelou quote out of my head. The one that says 'Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.' It is a quote that stays with me always; a reminder in my little business to keep pushing forward; to aim higher and better in the development of products that just add a little joy and fun to proceedings, and not at the expense of anyone or anything.
Essential oils, always.
The creation of our candle range has been a wonderful learning curve about the potency and effectiveness of essential oils. Developing our skincare range meant we were able to transfer this knowledge to a different discipline; spending many late night hours again reading, testing and developing a richer, deeper understanding of the value and positive impact they can have on our skin and on ourselves.
Test, test & retest
Every test batch we made was dutifully tested on ourselves, friends and family. It helps that we know lots of 'outdoorsy' types - professional gardeners, engineers, florists to name a few. They helped put our products through their paces - plastering their hands, feet, elbows and knees in our gardener's hand balm to determine whether it really could soften and soothe the toughest of skin. The cleansing properties of the nail pumice have been tested on the grubbiest of nails, while the development of our bath oils involved battle scarred gardener's like myself as well as the young, sensitive skin of my little boys.
The combinations of the oils for every product has been carefully crafted to deliver a host of benefits to the user - soothing, restorative, uplifting & nurturing. Young and old, all testers have been positive about every final combination we created.
As you would expect, every cosmetic brought onto the UK & EU markets must follow strict procedures. A critical one is the external safety assessment, undertaken by a highly qualified, independent toxicologist. Despite feeling confident enough to test my products on my own kids as well as a wider circle of nearest and dearest, I have to say, those week's waiting for the results were nerve wracking. But we got through it and the products passed every assessment. And now the real work begins - getting the word out there about a beautiful little range that we are immensely proud of and thrilled to make for people.
Future Gardener's skincare products are already underway...
And of course, we've gone and got ourselves hooked. We've learned so much and loved the process of creating something new, we are already working on additions to the range.
A few other benefits have emerged along the way. For one, this gardener finally has skin that can hold it's own in polite company. Which is no mean feat.
In terms of packaging we've kept everything simple. The gardener's skincare range is presented in beautiful amber glass jars and bottles. Our labels are fully recyclable and we add no extra 'OTT' packaging - instead wrapping each item in environmentally friendly tissue & brown paper and sending to customers in elegant yet fully recyclable, plastic free postal packaging.
Once we've worked out logistics, we plan to offer a refill service; meaning those gorgeous amber glass jars can not only be recycled or repurposed, but also deliver a continuous supply of luxurious, handmade skincare. But for now, please take a look at our gardener's skincare range. We are thrilled with the result and hope you are too.