Jim Steele is Head of Research and Product Development for Scottish Organic product brand SkinLikes.
The all natural health and beauty brand provides products free from any chemicals, choosing to draw from what mother nature has to offer instead. With 20 years of experience in complementary medicine, Steele and team ensure that all ingredients come from plants, and are completely cruelty free.
1. For those who haven’t heard of SkinLikes, what is the brand’s philosophy?
We provide clean, pure and effective organic products that provide skincare that’s in harmony with your body. We use nothing but sustainable food-grade and organic ingredients that come from plants on land or in the sea.
2. What was the main influence for starting SkinLikes?
We worked at our clinic in Glasgow for nearly 20 years where we perfected a therapy that was able to eradicate back-pain and other musculo-skeletal problems. So, we know how a human being works. But accepting that skin is a thousand open mouths waiting to absorb what you put on it, and very aware that far too many skincare products contain chemical ingredients with words that are hard to pronounce never mind understand why they are used, we set out on a research journey with four Scottish universities to design our own, clean organic skincare products.
3. What have been the most challenging aspects when bringing your products into the organic/vegan industry?
Creams and lotions contain water and oil that don’t want to mix or stay together as an emulsion. To overcome this, cosmetic companies use emulsifiers made from chemicals that often have very debatable attributes. It was a difficult task to unearth organic ingredients that would satisfy our ethos, but with university help, we have managed to create recipes that comply with the requirements of COSMOS and ECOCERT.
4. The plastic free movement is something that often goes hand in hand with the concerns of vegan and organic beauty consumers. Tell us about how you are tackling this.
Cosmetics in cardboard or plastic tubes made from timber waste are something that we are discussing with innovative manufacturers, but they are a wee bit away just now. We want to do the very best that we can and have just placed an order for a tube-filling and crimping machine that we will take delivery of ten weeks from now. The tubes that we will then use for all of our products will be manufactured from a mix of ocean plastics, recycled plastics and plastics made from sugar-cane. The bottles that we use just now are PET, a petroleum-based product that is globally recognised as a safe and 100% recyclable.
5. You’re currently working on what could be the the worlds-first clean, organic, vegan self-tanning product. Why had this product been so difficult for brands to develop?
We wonder why some cosmetic products have 40 or more ingredients and often can see no reason why potentially dangerous chemicals are included. Women can’t be blamed for not reading the list as it’s a minefield of challenging words that few understand, but that is the way the industry has been built. Clean, organic products are well-within the capability of larger companies, but they seem resistant to change.
And just for fun…
6. SkinLikes originated in Scotland. What’s your favourite part of the country and why?
Sitting in wonderment on the cliff at the Tresnish Island as Puffins, fearless of man, wander all around me.
7. The best piece of advice you’ve received?
If you have harsh words with your wife, husband, lover, girlfriend, boyfriend, no matter how hurt you may be, and who may be right or wrong, always make it up before you go to sleep. Tomorrow may be too late.
8. What’s your favourite Wikipedia article?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe – Planet earth is a grain of sand in a universe that is currently measured at 93 billion light years in diameter. No-one knows how it started, where it ends, or why we are this minuscule part of it. Given this uncertainty, my intention is to leave this planet a better place than I found it and not to harm anyone of anything, in the process.
9. Tell us something about plants that most people don’t know.
In the eastern and mid-western United States, there are often dry periods of the year, such as late summer or early fall (Autumn). During these times, when the wind is not blowing, one can often see a haze hovering over the forested hills and valleys in the late afternoons. The haze is not smoke or a fog. It is a cloud of essential oil molecules emitted by the trees to blanket the forest and reduce evaporation to preserve moisture. That is where the Great Smoky Mountains got their name – not from smoke, but from essential oils. These oils are in everything we produce.
10. If you and I were meeting 3 years from now, looking back, what would it take for you to feel happy about your progress?
The satisfaction that we have built SkinLikes – Just You, into a terrific brand that everyone can trust, because all of our products are made with the same love, care and honesty.
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