A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published March 12th 2019
Skin care products made with love - by you
I recently had the opportunity to try out an interesting product - DIY organic skin care kits, offered by local online business Suburban Herbs.
Business owner Jamie Moshman has created a range of kits, containing organic ingredients and a set of simple to follow instructions, which allow you to make up your own skin care products at home. The kits can be ordered online, priced from $45, and would make a great purchase by or for someone who cares about the products that go on their skin.
I chatted with Jamie about the inspiration for Suburban Herbs and its product range. "I have a strong interest in gardening and nature," said Jamie. "I've always grown vegetables and herbs. Growing up in Oregon (USA), there was a strong culture of making all sorts of things at home. I haven't been able to find something similar in Australia in the skincare line, so I decided to set up my own business."
The product range includes a lip balm, moisturiser, 'cold-be-gone' (a syrup to reduce cold and flu symptoms), and 'ouch ointment' (to treat those inevitable bumps and scrapes).
I tried out the luscious lip balm (the small kit at $55 provides the ingredients to make 4 x 10ml tins) and the chocolate mud masque ($45 for a small kit, which gives you the ingredients to make 2 x 50ml jars).
The ingredients are neatly boxed, with top marks for the presentation. They would also make a great gift for the DIY-er.
The kits come neatly boxed
Inside the box, the ingredients are carefully laid out, along with a brochure containing the instructions and also a list of the equipment you'll need.
Neat packaging of the ingredients
Naturally, I couldn't wait to get started! The instructions were very clear, and I already had all the equipment I needed at home. Basically, the process started with simmering some lavender flower and lemon balm in apricot oil in a double saucepan or (as in my case) a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. (This process has the added benefit of sending a lovely fragrance through the house.)
Cooking up the lavender 'tea'
Castor oil and beeswax are added to the strained oil and gently heated to create a gloopy substance which, when it cools, becomes your lip balm. The jars and labels included with the kit mean that the finished product looks professional, and would be very suitable as a homemade gift. The whole process took about 45 minutes.
Luscious lip balm - the finished product
The instructions give you the option of including a few drops of your favourite essential oil before pouring the balm into the tins. I didn't do this, but it would add another dimension to the process, giving you the opportunity to personalise your final product.
The other product I made is the Chocolate Mud Masque ($45). I had so much fun doing this - and it all got captured on video by my very patient partner, David. You can see the masque being made here:
I really enjoyed the tactile nature of this process (and of course, the relaxing bath I took while I gave the masque time to do its job!). We spend so much time in our digital worlds that anything 'analogue' we do must surely be good for the soul.
I could tell that a lot of thought had gone into preparing the kits - right down to the piece of cheesecloth included in the kit for straining the herb teas. Another aspect of the kit I thought was great is that it included some tips for what you can do with the leftover products, so there's no waste.
The process of making these products would be within the capability of most people with basic cooking skills, and it uses utensils that would be found in most kitchens.
Using these kits to make a product or two would be a fun thing to do with a friend, or even to get your kids involved with the mixing!
But most importantly, what of the products themselves? I've loved using the lip balm, which lives next to my bed, and is applied before I go to sleep each night. My lips feel great in the morning!
The chocolate mud masque is truly a sensory experience, as it smells as good as it feels. I have quite sensitive skin, but there were no problems using the masque, and my skin felt smooth and fresh afterwards. And hey, anything that encourages you to slow down and relax for a few minutes is surely a good thing!
If you're interested in trying out these products, please visit the Suburban Herbs website, and view the product range.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. The YouTube video features the writer, and is a true representation of my experience in making the chocolate mud masque. I'd like to acknowledge the work of my partner, David Bignell, in shooting and creating the video.