Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Thai Skincare

My name is Emma and I founded Inner-Soul Organics just over 3 years ago now. Occasionally I travel to research how different parts of the world use skincare and what their main needs are - at the mo I'm in Khao Lak on the Southern side of beautiful Thailand.
They call this place the 'Land of Smiles' and it quickly becomes obvious why when you meet the huge grins and kind eyes of Thai people everywhere. For me this has also become a world of natural beauty, where each and every one of our senses is stimulated in any one moment, from the hypnotic call of the various tropical birds, the sweet taste of cool, fresh coconut water, to the sights of the damp mist rolling in over the green mountains behind me and the scent of heady, woody spice which permanently hangs in the air. This place has completely got under my skin!
So I went to the local supermarket and pharmacies to have a look at what skincare needs Thai people have and must admit, was surprised and saddened to see the shelves absolutely crammed with products claiming to have skin-lightening properties - I admire the smooth, nutmeg skin of these people.  This reminded me of the insatiable human spirit, how we are often searching for what we simply can't have and ironically, the UK fake tan market was worth £3.5 million in the first half of 2015 alone. 
So what kinds of ingredients are in these lightening products? When I looked at random product labels Kojic Dipalmitate is  commonly used - there is no research to prove this s effective in blocking melanin production in our skin, and can also cause skin irritation. Was also shocked to see the compound Tretinoin recurring along with Hydroquinine on a couple of product labels - these are known to irritate skin and the latter is banned in the EU due to its carcinogenic properties. Companies often add mild steroids into creams and serums containing these chemicals to reduce skin inflammation during use, which carries a high risk of skin thinning over time. 
Thai skin is naturally designed to deal with humidity and heat at one of the earth's closest points to the sun, with its high oil and pigment content.
Over the years, I have formulated 100% natural, bespoke creams and facial oils for my clients with hyperpigmentation. Key ingredients include anti-oxidant rich Raspberry, Aloe, Bear Berries, Lavender, Lemon, Rose and Rosehip oils. Many of these clients have seen a vast improvement in their skin tone, specifically a clearer and more balanced colouration over the face.

This exercise has reminded me that we still have a long way to go in making skincare safe for people all over the world. It has also helped me to remember that being more content with what we have, leads to better health both in mind and body.

Emma xx

Friday, 10 July 2015

Hip and Healthy: The Beauty Behind the Brand

This month our founder Emma chatted with inspiring healthy guru Sadie Mcleod, founder of her favourite go-to health and fitness website HipandHealthy.com This site delivers top quality insight on how to take best care of you from the inside out and has a fabulous Activewear Shop too so you can look your best whilst doing it!

Emma: Tell us more about your role as editor at HipandHealthy.com
Sadie: I started Hip & Healthy when I couldnt find engaging health and fitness content delivered in a stylish and fun way on the net. It became increasingly apparent that the UK was also missing a destination to buy stylish sportswear so we then built the digital activewear store too. My role used to encompass EVERYTHING but now I have a team I tend to focus on growing the business, building and maintaining relationships with clients, partners and brands as well as sourcing stylish new gear and focussing on the marketing side of things.

Emma: What inspired you to launch Hip and Healthy?
Sadie: I was living in Hong Kong freelance writing and through researching health and fitness titles that I was hoping to work for I realised that very few of them were on line and none of the ones that were online where lovely to look at and delivered a luxury product to the reader - thats when I thought that I could fill that gap in the market. It was very soon after Hip & Healthy first launched as an online wellbeing magazine that we then set wheels in motion to get the digital activewear set up.

Emma: What are the top 3 philosophies behind your site?
Sadie: To inspire our readers and customers to be the best versions of themselves. To eat naturally and as organic as possible. To workout for yourself, not for any other reason.

Check out yummy Hip and Healthy Recipes here

Emma: What has been a personal highlight for you since Hip and Healthy began?
Sadie: I love nothing more than when a reader gets in touch telling us how an article inspired her to adopt a healthier lifestyle or when a customer shares their H&H outfit on instagram. They inspire us to keep doing what were doing.

Emma: Did you always have an interest for all things fitness and health?
Sadie: Yes - my mum instilled a love of healthy food in us (I have a sister and a brother - both of whom are ridiculously healthy as well) from a young age. The fitness passion came later - when I was at university - and I realised how great it made me feel.
Sadie's healthful lifestyle choices have been inspired
by family and further encouraged by how good she felt

Emma:Tell us about your latest HipandHealthy.com news
Sadie: We have just launched our first ever physical retail space at Psycle Spin Studios in Canary Wharf.

EXCITING! You can now pick up items
from the Hip and Healthy brand at Psycle

Emma: If you had the power to change one key thing about the world...? 
Sadie: That is such a good question. Can I ask for world peace?

Emma: Which people / person have most inspired you in your life? 
Sadie: So many people inspire me daily; my family inspire me to be the best mum, wife, sister, daughter I can possibly be. And I am constantly inspired by other women who have started their own business - especially those who have children. It really is hard on another level once you become a mummy!

Emma: Which special things do you do to nourish yourself and stay centred?
Sadie's Pearls of Wisdom x

Sadie: Have a bath. Run. Do yoga. Indulge in a face mask. Eat the best raw chocolate. Travel to the South of France every year. Eat dinner with my husband. Read a magazine with a cup of tea. They may not be super special, but they are special to me.

Emma: What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self?  
Sadie: Dont squeeze your spots

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Our Latest Giveaway - It's All About You XX

Emma spent 12 years as an aromatherapist
before launching Inner-Soul Organics

Ever fancied trying your hand at skincare design?

With our latest competition we really wanted to convey what our philosophies mean here at Inner-Soul Organics. When our founder Emma Coleman launched the initial skincare range in 2012 she had been making bespoke products for her aromatherapy clients for over 12 years. In keeping with this, Emma still drives her strong desire that every woman who shops our 100% natural skincare ranges should feel special and find something which suits her just perfectly, be it for face, bath, body, maternity or tailor-made collections.

The brand's new 'All About You' competition provides Inner-Soul's customers and social media supporters with the chance to design their own unique idea for the perfect gift set and pitch it to the company. The event will be running until July 31st with one lucky winner's idea being chosen. This entrant will then win their gift set once it's been created here in London using only fine quality botanical and organic extracts. Four other entrants will also be chosen at random to receive the winning design and this will be officially launched for general sale onto Inner-Soul Organics' website in early November.*

It's in your hands xx

Perhaps you have a specific skincare issue which you would like to address, a gorgeous travel set in mind or simply love a particular aromatherapy scent. You can submit your idea here or alternatively click into one of our social media channels below. Good Luck!!!

Twitter                                                      Facebook                                                    Instagram

*The judges' decision is final. All winners will be notified by e-mail or social media and will receive their prize via post.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Nordic Beauty Style - Emma Coleman

I first became fascinated by the countries which dare to edge into the base of the Arctic Circle as a little girl when I went on a mini cruise to Denmark, Sweden and Norway with my family one Christmas. It was bitterly cold, the snow was thick and we were fed on a bottomless Smorgasbord of new and exciting foods for my young taste buds, including smoked herring, delicious Vörtbröd (malted bread), and Gravlax. I realised then that these countries had a tradition of using the natural produce which surrounds them in their diet, (hence their flawless skin - you cannot beat a good fish oil!!)

When I returned just over a year ago, it was on a slightly different mission; I was planning to research the botanical side of things in Norway and Finland; the types of plants, trees and flowers which grow wild across these landscapes, and if, as with their diet, the locals use these natural resources as part of their beauty regimes.

My sauna in Finland
Finland is the most densely forested country in Europe - first stop: Helsinki, October. It was dark, as if a black blanket had been thrown over the hills, and so very cold that the end of my nose went red and stayed that way for two whole days. I immediately understood when the cab driver explained the important role sauna plays in Finnish culture as a way of warming up, but what I also learned during my stay is that sauna is very much a social event, a place to relax and connect with friends and family. Finnish business meetings often end with a debrief inside a deep heat sauna. The scents used inside these little log cabins are generally tar-based, emitting an intensely warming, smokey, slightly masculine scent. The tar is derived from roots and wood of pine and spruce trees - which are everywhere exuding their fresh scent -  is thought to have anti-bacterial properties and was once used in sauna construction to make the logs more airtight and so is deep-rooted in Finnish history. One family I met explained how tar-based products are everywhere; they personally use only tar soap, and even eat tar ice cream. Personally, I grew to love this grounding scent and will always associate it with this time in my life. As the Finnish say: 'If booze, tar or the sauna won't help, the illness is fatal."

The beautiful Fjord beach at
Lakselv, Norway
Next stop: Lakselv, Norway, a beautiful village with a Fjord beach, supplying me with a wide variety of wildlife to observe. The first thing I noticed was how the outdoors life is embraced, and most people I met were either regular skiers or had a boat of some kind. 

Alf and Marianne
I was lucky enough on be taken under the wing of a local couple, Alf and Marianne, who included me in a trip on their little tug boat around the beautiful Fjord, where I saw fishermen hoping for one of the native gigantic crabs for their kveldsmat (supper). Marianne explained how the export of the naturally organic Kelp found on these shores creates big business for the village, known for its stabilising effects on the endocrine system and as a soother of muscle and joint pain when added to baths. They also prepared me a wonderful meal which included jam made from juniper berries and cranberries. A wide variety of Norwegian berries are found throughout the seasons of the year - whilst I was there, Arctic blueberries and Norwegian Raspberries were still in the hedges. The owner of the little guest house overlooking the lake where I stayed, told me that her mother used to crush the berries and put them directly onto her skin like a mask because of the naturally high Vitamin E and C content.

Common Norwegian Berries: Cow, Cloud,
Blue, Rasp, Juniper and Cranberries

I came away from my little tour with more inspiration and knowledge than I could 
 ever have hoped for, leading to the launch of Inner-Soul Organics' Nordic Range, including Scandinavian Decadence Bath and Body Salt Scrub, Shower Serum and Nordic Berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve. I was determined to pack these products with as many of the native ingredients as possible to make them nourishing and results-driven for skin and was lucky enough to find an England-based organic supplier who could get me everything I needed.

Today, Arctic Oat, Norwegian Kelp, Thistle, Juniper Berry and Birch - which has a woody scent, not dissimilar to tar - are all found in the Scandinavian Bath and Body Scrub as well as the Scandinavian Shower Serum, to soften, quench skin with Vitamins A,C,E and Omegas 3 and 6 whilst sealing moisture in.

Inner-Soul Organics' Bath and Body Salt Scrub contains
Arctic Oat, Norwegian Kelp and Juniper Berry

Those Norwegian Blueberries, Raspberries and Arctic Cranberries can be found in 20% volume in the new Nordic berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve, a rich, luxurious cream designed to deliver nourishment, hydration and softness to last. This has a heartwarming scent, with high notes of Pine and High Altitude Lavender, and grounding Nerol
91% Organic Inner-Soul Organics' Limited Edition
Nordic Berry Bliss Hand and Body Salve available until January 1st
Why not take a peek and let me know what you think! Emma xx

Inner-Soul Organics are official supporters of Katie Piper Foundation and the Burgess Autistic Trust

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

"What I do doesn't feel like work" - Sonia White, director of Amarya and LoveLula.com

Sonia White - a true woman to inspire
What's it like being a natural beauty retail pioneer? 
Inner-Soul Organics founder Emma recently met Sonia White, director of Amarya and www.lovelula.com to find out more.

In a marketplace which can sometimes be confusing, Sonia has made shopping for truly natural beauty products an easy and simple task through her online and high street stores. Read on to find out about Sonia's motivations, passions and what a typical day is like for this inspiring lady.

Connect @Love_Lula and Facebook.com/LoveLula for news 

Emma: Amarya was founded in 2008 and this eventually led you to take over the helm at LoveLula.com in 2013 - was there anything in particular which led you down this path?

Sonia: My son was born with severe eczema and not wanting to put prescribed steroids onto his skin I went in search of a more natural alternative. It quickly became clear that the term ‘natural’ was being widely mis-used; finding a source of truly natural and organic products was a real struggle – so I set to establish my own. I had already run a company selling beauty products online but Nicholas was the impetus to change.
I launched my retail business Amarya Ltd in 2008 selling natural products from our high street store in Cheshire. Then last year I acquired LoveLula.com and re-launched the two businesses as one.
LoveLula was already an established natural beauty website but I invested a huge amount of time re-branding and re-structuring it to make it bigger and better. I simply wanted shopping for natural products to be a positive and easy experience and seeing how we have grown has been testament that we are doing something right!

lovelula.com seeks out the finest natural and organic beauty brands
AND offers free worldwide shipping

 Emma: In a competitive marketplace how has LoveLula succeeded and what activities do you plan which sets you apart from other online retailers?
Sonia: I hope that what makes us work is that no matter how much we grow we still provide the same personal service as when we had our shop. We are a small, passionate team who care about the choices our customers make. We are always available to answer questions and have trained beauty therapists on live chat. We encourage honest feedback and like to keep customers up to date with the natural world through our blog. Our loyalty scheme, free worldwide deliveries and free-phone service are all part of this ethos.

Emma: Describe a typical work day in the life of Sonia White
Sonia: Nicholas is now in school and I am fortunate in that my husband has joined me in the business so we can alternate when it comes to childcare. From the outside I might appear to be a work-aholic but to me it’s not work! Weekdays, weekends and evenings are all equal – but that’s what happens when you have a passion for what you do.

Lovelula.com also offers a monthly Beauty Box subscription
oozing with natural goodies to try

Emma: What aspect do you most love about your work?
Sonia: What I do doesn’t feel like work – it is my passion and an integral part of my life now. I never have the Monday morning blues or feel I have to struggle through a working day. It has enormous up-sides because I genuinely love the products we sell and I am continually surprised and delighted by new brands and product developments. Meeting the people behind the brands and hearing their individual stories and sharing their passions is a great source of inspiration. It’s also hugely rewarding to be in touch with customers on a daily basis and feel that we are helping them in making informed choices.

Emma: What piece of advice would you give someone about the daily running of a business?
Sonia: Running your own business is nothing like working 9-5. The pressure is relentless and there is really no let-up. But then the rewards are proportionately great so don’t give up. I am fortunate now, after 5 years of solid work, to have a great team around me and feel for the first time that I can take a day – or even a week – off! The key is to be organised as multi-tasking is a prerequisite.

The LoveLula.com team includes
qualified beauty therapists available on live chat

Emma: What's next for LoveLula.com? 
Sonia: We recently launched a Boutique section of our website, where small and growing brands can bring their products to market. This has hugely increased the range of products and choice available to customers and is a positive step in encouraging and supporting the natural and organic community.
The next step is to launch a men’s version of LoveLula – not quite so pink! And also we are in the final stages of developing our own natural brand – so watch this space.

Emma: If you could arrange to meet anyone you chose who would it be and why?
Sonia: Absolutely anyone who has been successful in their field, regardless of industry, income or power, as everyone has their story.

Emma: Which people have most inspired you in your life?
Sonia: My own family – for always thinking big and giving me their unending support.

Emma: What is your favourite way to relax?
Sonia: Playing Minecraft with my son.

Sonia loves spending quality time with her son to relax
and is able to navigate her way around Minecraft too! 

Emma: What pearl of wisdom would you give your 16 year old self?

Sonia: Enjoy the freedom!

For more Women to Inspire and natural beauty tips follow @EmmaInnersoul