Theresa Edward is the founder of Skin Alchemists, a range of handcrafted skincare products inspired by her St. Lucian heritage. Skin Alchemists’ Intensive Skin Treatment Candles featured in our Autumn 2019 Luxe edition, the Starry Starry Nights Box.
As soon as I heard Theresa’s story I was fascinated by the skills, knowledge and process behind her products and wanted to share this with our subscribers.
How did Skin Alchemists come about?
A few years ago I was working in a city based role when my health began to suffer from pollution, city living and constantly eating processed food on the go. Nothing major at first, just little things like low energy levels, back to back colds which lingered for weeks, lung infection, acne, dull and sallow skin.
It was during a trip back to my homeland St Lucia that I returned to my roots of a healthier, more holistic lifestyle and experienced an almost immediate improvement in my health. Going back to the basics of enjoying swims in the mineral-rich Atlantic ocean, masking with volcanic mud and eating fresh, organic foods, I found renewed health, improved skin and increased energy levels. Upon returning to London I was determined to maintain these positive changes and began to pay closer attention to what I was putting both in and on my body.
What was on the market in terms of clean beauty still contained ingredients I couldn’t pronounce. Sometimes I would see a certain ingredient in the ingredients list that I knew was dark orange, for example, yet the finished product was a sterile white cream, so I knew something was being refined and processed somewhere. Our skin is a living organ and I wanted to feed it exactly as I was my body – with nutrient dense, unprocessed, organic skincare. So I began to formulate my own.
How does your St. Lucian heritage play a role in your brand and products?
I come from a family of herbalists. Growing up, my grand aunt Mano was the most renowned herbalist in our village and people came to her for healing treatments and medicinal potions, which she conjured fresh from her herb garden. I draw from that knowledge to carefully select plants primarily from the Caribbean basin, which have a proven history of being used to successfully treat skin ailments.
Just like aunt Mano picked fresh herbs to make plant medicine, I work with farmers to procure fresh organic plants. I use the centuries old process of maceration to extract their nutritional benefits into the oils with which I formulate my products. All the ingredients I work with are fresh, organic and unrefined to maintain every last drop of phytonutrients.
Aunt Mano used the healing power of touch in her rituals and I bring that element in by creating sensory products which encourage the user to pause, touch and spend time with their skin.
Your Intensive Skin Treatment Candles featured in our Starry Starry Nights Box and have been a huge hit with our subscribers. Please could you tell us more about how you produce these and what goes into them?
These candles were first formulated for myself after having my daughter Indie-Blue. I had just launched Skin Alchemists Apothecary and was desperately trying to get the brand out there, yet I had a newborn who needed my constant attention. Although sleep deprived I just couldn’t bring myself to relax. I was also missing my “me” time, so I created a product which would be the catalyst to my pause button, would help me relax and also bring a bit of self care and touch to the process.
Each scent is formulated using carefully selected essential oils with mind and muscle relaxing properties. The wax, which melts into a delicious hot oil, is made from unrefined organic cocoa and shea butters, rich in Vitamin E (really beneficial for dry skin, particularly post-partum stretched skin) and passion flower oil which has muscle relaxing properties.
How important is sustainability to you?
It’s extremely important to me as I rely so heavily on nature for my raw materials that any deviation, natural or otherwise, can really affect us. For example, the first version of our hero facial elixir Sesenne was formulated with rosewood oil sourced from the Amazon and sandalwood mysore was originally used in our facial cleanser, the Humble Warrior. After the fires in the Amazon and the overharvesting of mysore I can no longer use these ingredients. Having to reformulate products was a very costly process as we had to get new testing certificates, packaging etc. but it was the right thing to do.
I source ingredients directly from small farms who go beyond organic by exercising sustainable farming practices and biodynamic produce. It was an honour this year to have our work recognised and we were voted as a finalist in the skincare category of the inaugural Sustainable Lifestyle Awards.
What’s your favourite product to make?
Oh my that is like asking to choose my favourite child! Probably Sesenne, because it is such an intricate and time consuming process from macerating the herbs to formulating the scent. It takes about 6 weeks to make a batch.
Are there any brands out there that you’re finding particularly inspiring at the moment?
Another difficult question! I’m particularly inspired by female founders at the moment because many of them are also juggling young families whilst running a business – it’s hard work! I’m always laughing when I send emails at 11pm to another female founder and get an instant response. Makes me think “yeah, there’s another crazy me out there”! Moi-Même certainly inspires me as it can’t be easy to come up with these original curations each month, but particularly because the boxes usually feature other small businesses which is so helpful to us. (Thank you Theresa!)
What are your tips for carving out some me time?
Me time can be anytime. Treat yourself to something once a month: I personally choose a massage once a month because touch is a silent healer and it releases our happy hormones. Beauty begins from within so pay attention to what you eat, it really does make a difference. Sleep time is me time too. Connect with nature as much as you can: even a 10 minute walk outside in the fresh air helps, particularly in the winter months when we are more tempted to remain indoors. A walk in the sun (when it does come out) can really help lift our moods.
What’s next for Skin Alchemists?
I am working on several new formulations and am hoping a few may make their way into the collection next year. I can exclusively reveal that I have sourced the most amazing and potent CBD oil, so look out for a new treatment candle!
This year a lot of work went into sourcing farmers to work with and testing their produce. We have now placed orders for crops which will be planted in the spring and then we will wait for them to mature. It will be a few more months yet before the harvest, but how exciting is it that in a world of short attention spans and fast paced everything, nature causes us to wait for the harvest!
Thank you so much, Theresa! If you would like to try the Skin Alchemists range you can find the Intensive Skin Treatment Candles in our Starry Starry Nights Box, available in our shop or when you subscribe (until our next box is released in January). Or you can head to www.skinalchemists.com to discover the full range.
This entry was posted on 15th November 2019. Return to Blog.