You’ll have seen that The Organic Balm Company’s Mother and Baby Nourish Balm has been shortlisted for the #MMHA16. We caught up with Rachael Giacomuzzi, who filled us in on how she launched the brand during her maternity leave and the wonders of hemp seed oil…
SM: How did the company come about?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: The idea for The Organic Balm Company came through requests from friends and colleagues for samples of a balm I had formulated to soothe the eczema which had appeared on my hands. I had a strong reaction to a petrochemical based ingredient in creams in the past which resulted in me pursuing chemical free and organic skincare products. Though my fingers and palms were so dry, cracked and painful I struggled to find a product the worked well and felt appealing to use, one that felt more like an indulgence rather than necessity! I knew the specific ingredients I wanted, having grown up surrounded by books on carrier and essential oils and knew the places to research for traditional skin care preparations, so decided to create my own ‘dream’ formulation. I selected oils that worked best for dry, sensitive and eczema prone skin. Oils with the right fatty acids, vitamins, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties were crucial and the result worked incredibly well. I enjoyed the whole process so much that when people began repeatedly asking me for samples to help their skin, I knew I was onto something. I then set to work on a range of luxury and stylish high performance products that would revitalise and re-hydrate skin, a range that was 100% organic and chemical free. It took a few years to time research and fully develop the range, I was working full time in Television and commuting so didn’t have much spare time. However, a few years later towards the end of my maternity leave I felt it was the right time to launch and used my countryside setting as inspiration for the brand itself.
SM: Which are your bestselling items?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: The Frankincense Indulgence box goes down very well as it contains our organic RAH (Rosehip, Argan, Hemp) Facial Serum which is a simple yet extremely luxurious and effective blend of oils with natural anti-ageing properties in a rollerball bottle. It’s great for on the go skin care! It works really well with The Soothe and Restore Balm for Hands with Frankincense and Lavender, this was the original formulation which soothed my skin and inspired our company so I personally have a special place in my heart for this product. Our Mother and Baby Nourish Balm also sells really well for women who are after a very light simple balm. It’s great for the legs and arms to give thirsty skin a healthy glow and its super quick to apply on small people!
SM: And which do your own family love best?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: Good question! As a family we don’t go anywhere without the No Nonsense Balm. It’s very similar to the Soothe and Restore Balm but as it contains no essential oils and is a stainless steel tin it’s a great multi-purpose balm for the whole family when you are out and about. Though saying that, I wouldn’t be anywhere without the RAH Facial Serum in my makeup bag, my Mother would say that too and in my son’s backpack, there’s always a Mother and Baby Nourish Balm to be found.
SM: Where are the products made?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: We are based in rural West Sussex and have a small setup where the products are made. We find producing in smaller batches means fresher products and this is important as we use oils which are quite delicate. Before I got into chemical free skincare I didn’t think too much about why a beauty product had say a 2 year shelf life for example, and the kind of preservative it must have contained in order to prevent the microbial activity for that amount of time! You wouldn’t want to eat a ‘fresh’ ingredient that had been sitting around in a cupboard for a couple years, so you can apply the same principle to skincare. The shelf life of our products range from 6 – 12 months but with any natural product, I think we should use any product within a couple of months. Our products are rich and a small amount goes along way but of course, if you love using a product, using it up is quite a pleasurable challenge!
SM: Tell us about a secret ingredient/wonder product?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: I felt it was important that each ingredient we use should be singularly beneficial in its own right. We don’t use any ‘filler’s’ and ingredients to bulk out or thicken up the product so you could pick out Argan oil, Rosehip oil, Almond oil or Cocoa Butter for example as ingredients you’d use alone to nourish skin, so therefore it’s quite difficult to select one over another. However, one magic ingredient we have in all of the balm products is Hemp Seed oil. It’s amazing for dry skin conditions! It’s one of the richest sources of Omega 3 and 6 with a perfect 3:1 ratio and closely matches our own skins lipids. Its high Linoleic Acid and mineral content, anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties means it really helps improve the skins barrier function and condition so plays a very important role in why our products work so well for dry skin.
SM: Was it difficult to be completely organic and synthetic free?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: It has been a challenge, at points along the development it would have been easier and far more cost effective to not go down the organic route. However, not being 100% was never an option. It had been a driving principle for me when I was searching for a product to soothe my skin all those years ago and had been let down by some products that appeared to be organic when in fact they had only an ingredient or two that were. It was that and seeing organic skincare loaded with synthetic chemicals too. It was very disappointing and so we wanted to be completely transparent with our products and formulated the skincare range with UK certified organic ingredients so we know we are using organic and that tested properly for any traces of pesticides. As we do not use water in our products we don’t need to use a preservative system like you would with lotions, moisturizers and cream cleansers. It has been reported that the average woman uses about 13 different beauty products a day and most contain at least 20 ingredients and additives, with various consequences to the body and skin. It showed that through make-up and lotions this could mean around 515 chemicals being applied on the face each day. Our bodies just aren’t designed to handle the ‘toxic build-up’. I find it very disturbing the amount of chemicals in baby products too, from shampoos to baby wipes and creams. Our product range is small yet we hope to grow and help people make the switch to healthier skincare. Being chemical free is just as important to us as being organic so it really is our driving force and will remain true to it as we grow.
SM: What’s next for the business?
Rachael Giacomuzzi: We have some fantastic new products in the line-up and we can’t wait to release those and I am pleased to announce here that we will be launching our mini organic beeswax candle set to complement our Hunicamb Candle in the Autumn. We have just got a new stockist, Garden Organic at Ryton Gardens in Warwickshire so that’s exciting and we are also doing some Skincare events with our Surrey Stockists. These events are a great opportunity to chat with our customers face to face, to answer any queries they may have and for us to find out what other products they would like to see from us!
Find out more and shop online at www.theorganicbalm.com
To vote on social media for Mother and Baby Nourish Balm use the hashtag: #MMHAORGANICBALM