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‘Made On The Chalk’ Founder – Talks Skincare Products and Wellness.

By Grace Dunning

I have always been passionate about living more naturally- for my own health and that of the planet.​ When I got my first allotment, I immersed myself in the ideas of permaculture, minimalism and sustainable living. Slowly but surely, I started making changes in our lives. I learnt the craft of cold process soap and natural skincare and mixing my own cleaning products, which became the making of my skincare business, ‘Made on The Chalk’.

Grace Dunning- Made On The Chalk Founder.

I had wanted to start my small business for so many years, and in January 2020, I decided that it would be the year to do it. Then the pandemic hit, and everything came to a halt. It would have been easy to give up, but I knew that if I didn’t go for it, I probably never would. I started developing products, curating my eco cleaning section and began navigating my way through the regulatory world of cosmetics. In hindsight, lockdown allowed me to devote the time it takes to get a small business off the ground.

On my daily walks with my two young children, we would gather herbs and once I put them to bed, I would make soap and other products.  I gain inspiration from the landscape and biodiversity of the Test Valley and chalk downlands and roam my local hedgerows and meadows for beneficial herbs to use in my preparations; including, plantain, yarrow and mallow. Everything is made in my workshop that we built from sustainable straw bales.

I only ever use natural ingredients in my soap and skincare, such as; raw and unrefined oils and butters, pressed essential oils, steam distilled from living plant materials, colour pigments from roots, clays and petals. Calendula is one of my most treasured botanicals to use. I grow it in my garden, and the children and I handpick and gentry dry each flower head so it can be turned into skin-loving goodness. Calendula’s bright and sunny petals have been used since the 12th century to heal and is a bit of a Jill of all trades for being anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Studies have shown that calendula preparations can heal wounds significantly faster.

Calendula Homemade Soap.

I currently use calendula in two products – my traditional cold process calendula soap, which I recommend to anybody with sensitive skin, eczema, or children. It is also a key ingredient in my calming sanitiser spray, where I make a calendula glycerite that combines the herb’s healing qualities with the moisturising and humectant qualities of glycerine, so the hand sanitiser leaves your hands soft and soothed.

How I use Eco-Friendly Skincare Products to Improve Wellness:

My personal experience with skincare is that the fewer ingredients and the more transparent, the better the product will be for your skin. For the products that I am currently developing, like natural deodorant, facial oil and waterless shampoo bars, or anhydrous skincare is my starting point, here’s why:

  1. It is more potent and concentrated; water is often used as a cheap filler. 

  2. It’s more sustainable because most mainstream products contain up to 80% water, so think of all the packaging required to contain the water. 

  3. Finally, as soon as you bring water into a formulation, you have the potential for bacterial and microbial growth, so you need to add a preservative, many of which contain parabens linked to endocrine disruption sensitisation.

Other ways I use my skincare to increase wellness is to be mindful when using the products. When I wash my hands, I notice the creamy lather of the soap and inhale to enjoy a moment with the essential oils registering what emotions they evoke. When cleansing my face, I do a short visualisation of removing and washing away the day’s stresses and hardships. When applying my facial oil or hand balm, I give myself a mini massage to calm and centre myself. It can have a grounding effect by being present in the moment and noticing the textures and scents of our skincare product.

We apply skincare every day, from soap to deodorant to moisturiser- choosing products that are transparent, full of natural ingredients, made locally with minimal waste and applying them with intention can truly transform your routine into a holistic ritual.

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