I'm a Melbourne based freelance journo. While I mostly concentrate on music, I'll write about anything else that grabs my fancy.
Empowering you to take skincare into your own hands
Making good things for your skin
Just take a few minutes to go and check out the contents of your bathroom and make-up bag. Most women unwittingly apply around 500 different chemicals to their bodies per day, which is an extraordinary chemical load when you think about it. It's food for thought if you suffer from headaches, sinus pain, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, break-outs or even just good old dry skin.
Anna D'Amelio, co-founder of Put Your Heart Into It and owner of natural skin care company Miod, was once of those people: D'Amelio used to be plagued by crippling migraines. "I suffered from migraines since I was about 15," she explains. "I still do, but I used to get them a lot more than now. Since cleaning up my lifestyle and reducing the chemicals that I'm exposed to they've reduced dramatically. The migraines didn't really prompt the change, but the two things almost coincided. My interest in essential oils and a realisation about just how many chemicals there were in the products around me came first. Then after I started reading more, I began to understand what an impact it was having on my health and that chemical sensitivities and toxic build up could be contributing to my migraines. After I made the changes, I realised even more what a huge impact it was having. It went from three migraines each week to maybe once a month."
D'Amelio understands the attraction of chemical based skincare, but when she explains things, it just doesn't seem worth it. "What we put on our bodies is absorbed into our skin," she explains. "Our skin is our largest organ and it's got a lot of functions, including detoxification. Depending on what we're using, we can block our pores and sweat glands, which means that we can't detox through our skin. We're already exposed to so much, just by virtue of living – there are chemicals in our air, our food, our water. Eliminating the toxins present in our skincare is just one way to reduce our toxic load."
If you make the switch, D'Amelio warns that things might need to get worse before they get better. "You may get some break-outs," she explains, somewhat ruefully. "That can happen when the body's detoxing. It's different with everyone though – it really depends on the individual's lifestyle. It's not just about what you put on your skin, it's also about what you put in your body and whether you smoke or drink - all of those things affect your skin as well."
Be prepared for a bit of patience with natural skincare too – it won't happen overnight. "A truly natural skincare product is designed to work very gently with the body and resolve issues over time. Chemical skincare often appears to work very quickly, but that's just because it has some very harsh ingredients. Natural skincare is the reverse. While it may not have an instant impact, it will work over time and it's working with your body to rebalance things."
Pleasingly, D'Amelio also walks the walk. "I'm quite particular about this," she laughs. "I only use skincare products that I make. I know what goes in them and I only use the purest and most natural ingredients. Nothing's processed, so no chemicals are involved at any stage. I've eliminated toxins as much as possible in all areas of my life and I make a lot of my own cleaning products as well." You can tell – she's the very picture of good health and her skin's flawless.
Exploring natural skincare has been a labor of love and necessity for D'Amelio for a long time. In fact, it's taken about 10 years research and trial and error, but she's at a point where the formula has been refined and she's on a mission of share her knowledge. That's where Laura Issell, her Put Your Heart Into It business partner, comes in. The two run a stable of gloriously stylish, entertaining and informative workshops, including the one on natural skincare (others coming up include their DIY Sustainable Wedding & Workshop Expo on Sunday October 5 and the Xmas Table Styling Master Class Tuesday November 11).
As with all of their workshops, the one on skincare is a hands-on experience - everyone makes and takes home their own face oil, facial scrub and up-lifting room spray, and nothing's too fiddly. "It's designed so that the products we make are quite simple and easy to replicate when people get home," explains D'Amelio. "The ingredients that we use are easily accessible too. We want to show people that making your own skincare products doesn't have to be difficult and while skincare is going to be the main component of the workshop, as always, we're going throw in a few little additional bits and pieces."
If you're thinking about using natural skincare for the first time, the workshop will be a boon for another reason. Everyone knows that natural skincare's a bit of a minefield these days and there's so much on the market that it can be overwhelming. "It can be confusing to know what's right for you and what's actually natural," says D'Amelio. "Some brands say that they are but it isn't necessarily true. So, as well as talking about why natural skincare is important, we'll also cover what to look for when you're choosing between all of the different brands out there. Also, it'll just be a really good opportunity to take some time out for yourself." Who's going to quibble with that?