So, you may have heard all about Jennifer’s recent venture on the news over the previous weeks. I was so intrigued by the bespoke skincare idea that I decided to check it out, and found myself in love with the ethos behind Jennifer’s incredible products from the Defiant Beauty range – created especially for those going through cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. I was so impressed I decided to email Jennifer to express my enthusiasm for the products and ideas – and we ended up getting talking about a feature on my blog! So here it is, for your viewing pleasure… My Q&A session with Jennifer Young, founder of Jennifer Young Bespoke Skincare and Defiant Beauty!
What is the inspiration behind Jennifer Young cosmetics and each different range?
Essential oils were the starting point, along with a chest infection so severe that I was sent from the GP to the hospital in an ambulance. It was all very dramatic! When I was recovering a friend suggested that I use Eucalyptus Oil to help clear my chest. I began to wonder why the therapeutic benefits of essential oils were not harnessed in the many natural products in which they were used as a fragrance. As I learned more about product formulation I realised that there was so much more that could be done to match skincare needs and conditions to ingredients on a very individual basis hence Jennifer Young bespoke skincare was born!
During the process of bringing the bespoke skincare to the world I was asked by a group of staff and patients at my local hospital, if I could develop a skincare collection that would help cancer patients with the skin and nail related side-effects of their treatment. I worked with them to develop a range and now we have two skincare businesses, Jennifer Young Bespoke Skincare as well as Defiant Beauty by Jennifer Young for patients going through cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
Making bespoke skincare products sounds like a no brainer, what have you found the reaction has been? Do people love it or are they sceptical?
Generally they love it. I haven’t met any sceptics, but there are bound to be some lurking somewhere. The process of choosing the ingredients for your bespoke products is so clearly matched to the individual that it is obvious that any products created as a result are unique.
Most of our bespoke products are created during face to face consultations with one of our team, or during a Jennifer Young event. Guests choose the vegetable oils and essential oils that best match their skin condition and type. For example someone might want an anti-aging serum for combination skin that is a little bit on the dry side and prone to break outs. In addition they want a relaxing fragrance as they are stressed and need to sleep better. We take all of this into account and guide them to the oils that will help them most. They decide upon their favourites and we create their unique products from those favourites.
Our rule is that when deciding upon the combination of essential oils, ok isn’t good enough. The client has to love the smell so much that they want to drink it. When they have a combination that they love that much, we know we have helped them to make the right choices.
It’s very bold of you to openly talk about skin problems that people can feel ashamed of, and more serious medical conditions such as Cancer. Do you find people are receptive to what you are saying or do you find they can just shut off?
Shut off they do not! Events tend to be groups of friends sharing concerns and rejoicing in the opportunity to do something about the oily shiny skin that they have felt the need to hide for years or the dry skin that itches so much it drives them nuts. Our online clients become friends as we correspond about their skin in the greatest of detail. I spent the last two days in Dublin delivering workshops for cancer patients, ex-cancer patients and an oncology and radiology team at one of the Dublin hospitals. I mentioned that I was going to Dublin on social media and one of our bespoke clients offered to show me the city whilst I was visiting and suggested that I make sure I have her number with me just incase I needed anything. I can’t tell you how touched I was by her kindness. So, I guess the short answer is, yes, our wonderful clients are receptive and not at all embarrassed.
It is part of the consultant training to be able to offer advice discretely and we have some very subtle ways of introducing the subject of cancer and ingredients that clients may want to avoid if they have or have had cancer.
Do you think it’s important for us all to use organic products on our skin?
I think the ingredients are more important than their organic status. Organic is great, but sometimes an organic version of a particular ingredient is unavailable. For example, I love mango butter and I can’t find an organic version anywhere. If I could I would use it, but having searched high and low, I am convinced that it doesn’t exist. I met a mango farmer recently and she told me that mangos are so difficult to grow and so fragile and prone to disease that it wouldn’t be viable to grow them without pesticides. Mango butter brings so much to a product that I include it for it’s benefits rather than exclude it for it’s non-organic status. It is still a natural product.
Our product ingredients are organic where possible – I think it’s just the mango that I can’t source and I am a big believer in ‘organic’ but not to the point of excluding fantastically beneficial non-organics.
I must say that I have started to use my very own Botanic Purity cleanser, and have been more than impressed with the service from Jennifer’s team and the results of the product. The full review is coming soon of course, but if you’re curious about creating your very own skincare product, the best place to start is by filling in the online form to choose your combination of ingredients!
Do yourself a favour and follow Jennifer on Twitter – she is amazing and awesome at posting regular blogs and news updates!