Saturday November 01, 2014

From the earth to your skin

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Photo by Tara Scaglione

Tammy Bessant is going back to the basics with her line of skin care products. She started her company, EarthWear Face & Body Products, after becoming frustrated with the amount of harmful chemicals in most skin care products.

Most people use their kitchens to cook food, but in Tammy Bessant’s home the kitchen is a cornucopia of potions and brews, and it isn’t at all unusual for a pot of lip balm to be simmering on the stovetop.

But with 100 per cent natural ingredients, Bessant’s line of skin care products are almost good enough to eat.

Bessant started making her own face cleanser and lotion after dealing with acne in her early 20s. She tried various products, including prescriptions from doctors, all to no avail.

“Finally, I got sick of taking drugs and looked into what I was putting in my body and on my face,” said Bessant.

She was appalled by the amount of chemicals, many carcinogens, put in skin care products, even in some products claiming to be natural.

“It’s chemical bath, every morning,” she said.

Fed up with trying to find a product she could trust to put on her skin, she decided to make one.

“It was just a lot of reading, researching and experimentation,” explained Bessant.

The difference was immediately noticeable; Bessant said her skin was clear, soft and was no longer irritated.

Friends and family started asking her to make some for them as well and it grew from there.

“Strangers just started calling me at home,” said Bessant, adding this is what motivated her to start a business.

There were a number of challenges in launching her business, she said, including finding the perfect packaging for each product, but at a reasonable cost.

Another unexpected challenge was labeling. Bessant said she initially thought it would be a snap, because she uses only all-natural ingredients, such as organic aloe vera juice, Saskatchewan certified beeswax and essential oils.

Then she learned about Ingredient Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient, a list of names, mostly Latin-derived, that Health Canada requires all labels to use.

“Almond oil isn’t almond oil, it’s prunus amyg… I can’t even say it,” said Bessant.

This was somewhat of a disappointment for Bessant, who said she wanted it to be easy for her customers to understand what was in each product.

Beyond ironing out the wrinkles, Bessant said she loves making skin care products.

And, although there have been no major disasters, Bessant recalls a time she forget to put beeswax in a batch of lip balm.

“I was thinking, ‘Why isn’t this solidifying,’” she said laughingly. “I just made a huge mess.”

Bessant started her company, EarthWear Face & Body Products, nearly five years ago, while living in Estevan. She moved to North Battleford in the summer of 2009, and she said demand for her products, which she sells mainly at farmers’ markets, trade shows and through her website, has been steadily increasing.

“Every year, I get busier and busier,” said Bessant, adding she wonders what will happen if she gets too busy.

“I don’t want anyone else to make it,” she said, saying each of her products represents a process of experimentation.

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