Twenty years ago, my teenage daughters paid for a spa day for my birthday. I know. How lucky am I to have such thoughtful girls?
The spa was in a beautiful hotel on the banks of the River Dee, on the outskirts of Aberdeen, near where we lived at the time.
They had even arranged for one of my friends to go with me.
Needless to say we had an amazingly relaxing day making use of the sauna, steam room, and swimming pool which had a conservatory roof through which we could watch the February snow falling gently and thickly outside. It was a magical experience.
Included in the package was a Swedish massage and a rejuvenating facial. And as the therapist applied the lotions and potions to my face and neck she told me of the benefits of iris oil to aging skin.
I wasn’t quite 40 at the time but thought my ‘aging skin’ could probably benefit from regular treatment with iris oil.
Clutching my elixir of youth in its beautiful packaging, and in its bottle that looked like it had been made by Lalique, I sat at home that evening reading the ingredients on the side of the box. I’ve always been conscious of the benefits of healthy eating and am keen to put good quality ingredients on my skin, too.
And that’s when it hit me how gullible I had been.
I had just paid £50 for 6ml of jojoba oil, a few drops of iris oil and some water…. For just over a teaspoonful of face serum… For something that would have cost me pennies, rather than pounds, to make at home.
I was really annoyed with myself. I had fallen into the trap and been sucked in by the marketing hype, which I was normally so careful to avoid!
Vanity, thy name is Linda!
So, from that point on I vowed I would not fall foul of such tactics again and set about researching how to make my own cleansers, scrubs, bath oils, creams and serums.
How did women manage in days gone by, before the age of mass-produced lotions and potions? How did our great-grandmothers and their great-grandmothers keep their skin clean and soft? How did they fend off the signs of aging?
And so began my journey from hobby to business.
After years of research into essential oils, herb and flower essences, carrier oils, the techniques required to make scrubs, creams, serums, balms, lotions and potions using natural ingredients, I started making my own skincare range. And I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was! Most of the recipes take less than 10 minutes to make. It's quicker than putting your coat on to go to the shops. And quicker even than firing up the laptop to buy ready made cream online.
And you will know exactly what is going INTO your products and ONTO your skin.
People began commenting on how good my skin looked and I had fun making my own toiletries.
At first I only made skincare for myself… and then, over the years, for close friends.
But as tides changed and people began to show an interest not only in healthy eating but in the quality of the products they used on their hair and skin, I began to run demonstrations showing anyone who was interested just how easy it is to make their own skincare products.
If you like to cook food from scratch why not make your own skincare products from scratch?
You will know exactly what is going into your cleanser, toner and moisturiser.
You will be able to adapt the ingredients in your products to suit yourself, tinkering with the recipes just as you do when you’re cooking.
And the containers are reusable, so the process is environmentally friendly to boot.
As people began attending my demonstrations they wanted to know if I would sell them the ingredients so they could have a go for themselves.
And so, Nature Knows Better was born, and my hobby has turned into my business.
The range now includes starter kits that contain all the ingredients, storage jars and instructions required to make your own cleansers, toners and moisturisers; rose scented hand scrub and hand cream; honey flavoured lip balm and rose scented hand cream; tee tree oil and mint scented foot scrub and foot cream; and a kit especially for children with orange blossom water and orange flavouring to make their own orange flavoured lip balm and orange blossom scented hand cream.
The base oil I use is almond oil as it is very rich, and nourishing, and high in natural anti oxidants. All the essential oils required to scent the products are also incorporated into the carrier oils and flower waters used in the recipes, so you don’t have to buy anything else. The lip balm kits even contain a couple of sachets of honey.
And because there are no artificial preservatives in any of the ingredients in my kits, I add grapefruit seed extract which has natural anti microbial and anti fungal properties, plus a vitamin E oil capsule to break into the creams for its antioxidant properties. However, the key is to make small quantities regularly, as you would do with natural and organic foodstuffs.
Apart from the starter kits I now provide refills, so that you can make more of your luxurious skincare for yourself, or to give as gifts. The replacement bottles are the same size as provided in the kits, so you don’t have to buy and store large quantities if you don’t want to, which helps to keep costs down. I can supply in larger quantities if required, however.
And I run workshops and demonstrations to show how to make your own luxury skincare from all-natural ingredients, at a fraction of the price of shop bought products. These are great fun and make popular girly days out!
For now, my workshops are only available in Yorkshire, where Nature Knows Better is based but I am planning a series of workshops in key cities across the country later in the year. Watch this space!
And, I am just about to launch a subscription option that will provide subscribers with a different starter kit every month, so they can learn how to make a wide range of skincare, bath and shower products to regularly pamper themselves with, plus a ticket to one of my half day workshops, and exclusive discount offers on refills, bottles and jars.
If you share my belief that Nature Knows Better, then please sign up to our monthly newsletter for regular hints and tips on making your own skincare, pet care, garden care and household care from all-natural ingredients, as the range expands!! You can find the sign up button on the homepage.
It would be lovely to have you join the Nature Knows Better community. I look forward to meeting you.