Beauty - So fresh and so clean
Beauty editors' favourite Lucy Russell Organics is one of a handful of skincare companies to hold Soil Association certification. Lucy explains that her award-winning natural products are still handmade in Sussex in her mother-in-law's kitchen.
Lucy Russell has been interested in making her own skincare products since she was a little girl. For years Lucy produced homemade salt and sugar scrubs as gifts, decorating the glass jars herself. So when she began working in London for luxury fragrance house Jo Malone she was in paradise. While there, Lucy trained as an aromatherapist, making and using her own products at home until she left her job to launch her own skincare range in 2007.
Lucy’s sumptuous Cleansing Balm took about 40 batches to perfect. “Normally when people are creating a skincare range they pay a lab to create a formula for approval. I wanted to do it all myself, and the stuff I was making actually made a real difference to my sensitive skin.” Lucy already had a working knowledge of essential oils, and she became interested in the composition of existing skincare ranges. “Things like Calendula and Rosehip oils are fabulous for the skin, but you have people listing them as ingredients when they are present in tiny, tiny amounts and surrounded by chemicals,” she said. “At my husband’s suggestion I set up a little treatment room, where I created my own organic facials and treatments.” The treatment room was the first to be certified organic in the country, but since Lucy launched her website last May, the success of the products has forced her to close it. “I have an 18-month-old son, and it was basically a choice of the treatment room and the products, or my son and the products. My son won hands down!”
Gaining Soil Association certification was very important to guarantee the quality of the ingredients. To be licensed to bear the logo, Lucy’s products have to be at least 95 per cent organic: “I can’t buy any ingredients or use any supplier that hasn’t been approved by the Soil Association. It can be a headache, but it’s one I’m very happy to have.” Lucy was so determined to gain certification that the process happened quickly, enabling her to enter the Natural and Organic Awards 2008 judged by Jo Fairley, founder of Green & Blacks and author of the Green Beauty Bible. “The best I was hoping for was some positive feedback, I just wanted to get my products in front of the judges,” remembers Lucy. “But my cleansing balm ended up coming third out of 150 products!” Last year, Lucy returned to claim first prize for her exquisite Rose Toner, and her Cleansing Balm won Best Cleanser at the Miss Eco Glam Awards.
Although the company has gone national and gained plaudits from industry experts, it remains very much a cottage industry. Lucy mixes up batches of each product every few weeks in an annexe kitchen borrowed from her mother-in-law and labels and packages everything herself. “After we’ve put our son to bed, my husband and I sit at the kitchen table labelling bottles. I also provide a free gift-wrapping service, which keeps me busy: organic products aren’t always associated with luxury, so I wanted to make mine especially lovely.”
Find out more
Lucy Russell OrganicsPO Box 167, BattleEast Sussex, TN33 3DQ Tel: 0845 094 2227
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