These days, many more people are realising the benefits of natural hand-made skincare products and are increasingly turning to small independent skincare ranges for their skincare needs. It is hardly a surprising trend given the chemicals that are used in many mass-produced skincare products, with the gentle, effective and often customisable characteristics of natural hand-made skincare products proving the perfect antidote. In response to this growing trend, handmade skincare products are becoming increasingly polished and upmarket giving the traditional mass-produced stuff a good run for its money. Katherine Sharman caught up with the owner of one such natural skincare brand, Raachel Dunseath of Myroo.
Myroo is a real labour of love for Rachael Dunseath, the Harrogate-based businesswoman and mum of two who launched her hand-made skincare range a year ago. She has just celebrated her first year in business and in profit to boot, proving Myroo is no handicraft hobby but a brand in the making.
“I’ve always loved making things,” says Rachael who laughs when she admits that she has probably tried every craft possible and is certainly no slouch with a sewing machine. Like many others though she fell into a corporate career, working in financial services in London. Ten years and a move to Harrogate later, she found herself facing redundancy and as a budgeting exercise one Christmas she considered what she could make as presents for friends and family.
“I found a recipe for old fashioned bath salts, which I made as gifts and everybody loved them,” explains Rachael. “It planted a seed of an idea and when I set up Myroo the first thing I made was a salt scrub and a bath soak.”
She took a stall at a craft fair to test her products on the market and received a great response, prompting her to take voluntary redundancy and invest the money in launching Myroo. As the saying goes, she hasn’t looked back since.
“When it comes to making skincare products, there’s a lot of legislation and paperwork involved,” she says “which was quite daunting but I saw it as an opportunity as well as a challenge. I love all the elements of this business from the making to the packaging, design and branding.”
Both Rachael’s skincare ranges Myroo and Milly & Flossy (her baby range, which she named after her two young daughters) are created from 100% natural ingredients, which she makes herself in her converted garage. While this hands-on approach is fundamental to the range’s USP, it in no way demeans their efficacy. All of her product formulations are approved by a cosmetic scientist and are safely tested on humans.
“There’s nothing artificial or synthetic in my products,” declares Rachael. “and because they are so pure and contain no water there’s no need to add preservative, yet they have a shelf life of 12 months. The ingredients I use, for example Shea which is packed full of vitamins and minerals, undergo minimum processing, and just like food, this means they retain all their goodness.”
And just because her products are hand-made this doesn’t mean that they should be presented as overly-worthy. In fact, Rachael describes Myroo as a ‘masstige’ product – a range with a luxurious feel aimed at the mass market.
“I think some hand-made cosmetics tend to have a sack cloth and ashes feel,” says Rachael, “packaged in brown paper and string but I wanted Myroo to feel more luxurious and premium.”
Aside from its completely natural and hand-made attributes, Myroo also boasts strong eco-credentials since all its packaging is recyclable. But essentially Rachael wishes the product to remain honest and effective as she explains.
“No matter how big it grows, I will always want my skincare ranges to remain hand-made and will always keep them simple. All I need is a gas hob and a hand-mixer and I like the fact that every product I make doesn’t look completely uniform.”
Myroo and Milly & Flossy are sold through Rachael’s websites and at selected craft fairs. New products in the pipeline include foot care and facial products as well as a liquid soap.