Cher Lin is the founder of her eponymous all natural skincare range. She tells us why she is passionate about using only the purest ingredients, how to spot cosmetic greenwashing, and tells Eluxe which ingredient she thinks can save any skin, in an exclusive interview.
Why did you begin a natural skin care company?
I’ve been interested in skincare and natural health since I was 13 years old and, probably, my original inspiration came from a book on natural skin care my mum gave me. I would make my own ‘potions’ and face packs made out of fresh fruit and vegetables and commandeer friends for a beauty treatment!
My interest in natural skincare was renewed when I fell ill with ME (Myalgic encephalomyelitis) in my early 20’s. The illness lasted a long time, and whilst debilitating and frustrating, it gave me the opportunity to manage the illness naturally. I started to live better by improving my lifestyle, and became particularly interested in nutrition and aromatherapy As the illness seemed to reveal allergies and intolerances, commercial skin care caused my skin to react so I started to make my own again.
I wanted skin care that reflected my holistic approach to living and wouldn’t cause my skin to break out in rashes or spots. Commercial skincare did not cater for what I wanted. So I took nutrition and aromatherapy courses and started making skin care that treated the skin as part of the ‘whole’. I looked at the concept of developing skin care that was fresh and fed the skin using organic and healing ingredients that were easily and safely absorbed by the skin. I researched the nutritional value of all the ingredients I used and through trial and error, developed skin care recipes that delivered 100% therapeutic care.
What are some of the greatest misconceptions about organic beauty brands?
There is a misconception that people believe all organic beauty brands must be ethical and care for the environment. Whilst many companies appear to care very much about their products and which ingredients may care best for your skin (and rightly so), there seems to be less thought on the impact they may have on the environment. It’s all very well launching a new anti-ageing serum that includes the latest miracle Amazonian botanical extract, but if that ingredient is endangered and extracted using unethical methods and even deprives the local farmers of a decent livelihood, then that brand cannot be said to be, in my book, organic or beautiful.
Many organic beauty buyers are unaware that a number of ‘organic’ and natural brands are owned by large ‘unethical’ companies that care more about profits and less about the impact their businesses have on the environment. With a budget of millions, these companies are disingenuously spinning their products as organic or environmentally friendly. Greenwashing dupes us consumers into buying a product advertised as organic, when a look at the ingredients will reveal in fact (for example) a shampoo is 70% of organic origin and that Diethanolamine (DEA), a synethic chemical, is added to coconut oil to create a foaming agent.
For me organic, goes hand in hand with the ‘natural’, ethical’, ‘kind’ and ‘cruelty free’ principals. And organic companies that sell their products in China (where animal testing is required by law), should have their leaping bunny and numerous other eco-labels stripped from their brands. (Editor’s note: to see why Cher feels this way about China, click here)
Which beauty care mistakes do you see women making time and time again?
I see many young women using anti-ageing preparations too early Young skins don’t need it and it is not a skin care investment for old age! It is more important to use protective skincare and strengthen and maintain the health of the skin with good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook.
I love multi-purpose ingredients and borage has to be a favourite. It is extremely valuable in the treatment of ageing or damaged skin. This is because it contains high levels of vitamins and minerals and gamma linolenic acid, a fatty acid that helps maintain healthy skin and repairs tissue damage. Even when used in small quantities its benefits are apparent. It soothes and replenishes dry and mature skin, helps heal scarred tissue and supports the reconstruction of damaged skin and other cell membranes. As a cooling herb it stimulates adrenaline production, so can help prevent depression. It is an old remedy for diseases of the respiratory tract and the flowers (tasting like cucumber) are a healthy addition to salads and soups.What’s the one product you can’t live without?
My favourite beauty product is an aromatherapy-rich facial oil. Containing essential oils and therapeutic plant extracts, it is a versatile beauty essential with the power to rejuvenate, replenish and provide 100% nutritious moisture. I use a facial oil every day to moisturise my skin and use it for a weekly acupressure facial therapy massage.What’s your greatest beauty tip?
Drink plenty of water! If you really want an anti-ageing product for your skin, then this is it. Nothing works better than water to plump up your skin, prevent spots, promote a healthy glow and support the elimination process. Drinking 1-2 litres a day plumps up the skin and helps to fill out those wrinkles better than any rejuvenating cream can. Your intake of water can be achieved by drinking herbal and fruit teas and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.What plans do you have for the future of CheryLin?
I would like to release a skincare range for men and have been experimenting and testing a number of aromatic blends which I hope may be suitable. Men’s skins are different to women’s so this will need careful development.
I would like to develop a baby skin care range that again reflects my ethos and use of ethically sourced organic ingredients.
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