This week I relocated my office to the beautiful Byron Bay to see some of my local customers and get back to basics in terms of ingredient sourcing.  While there I was blown away by the abundance, quality and variety of natural produce in and around the Byron area and that got me thinking of a brand idea…..

Byron Bay is situated in Far North NSW and is part of an erosion caldera which is why the soil is soooooo rich.

The idea of a 100 mile cafe has become a cornerstone of the slow food initiative and has gained in popularity due to our innate desire for a connection or relationship with the world.  Many people love the freedom and real-ness of the self-sufficient lifestyle but have not the time, the consistent drive nor the space to put that into action and in those cases community sufficiency is a great next-best-thing and I see no reason for that beginning and ending with what goes into the body!

Macadamia Nuts ready to pick

‘Slow Cosmetics’ as an idea has interested me for many years and was something that I toyed around with while facilitating the Natural Personal Care workshop for the Watershed (now the green living centre) in Newtown.   However,  as a chemist I saw (and still ‘see’) the idea from a slightly different perspective to the average tree hugging hippy (which I am happy to admit that I am when I free my hands of my spatula).  My retirement dream is to re-locate to a semi-rural property where I can grow  my own chemicals (no, not THAT kind of crop.  I am a law-abiding citizen) based either on macadamia nuts, olives, jojoba or some other suitable feed-stock dependent on what the land offers us.  You see in my chemically-inspired world I would take you, the public into my magical chemistry laboratory and show you that a little tweak here, a bit of pressure there and a slight change of pH can turn your wonderful nuts into oils, emulsifiers, surfactants, emollients or whatever else you need to make your cosmetic dreams come true.  I would  show you and involve you in the process then ask ‘and at what point in this process would you say that we have stopped producing ‘safe’ or ‘natural’ ingredients do you think?’   We could debate it over some home-grown coffee or tea whilst nibbling on biscuits that I got by trading my oil with my baking genius neighbour.   So, watch this space…….

Don’t mind me, I’m away with the fairies.

Anyway,  so back to Byron and my challenge of the 100 mile brand commenced.  After a few hours running geological surveys and googling farmers I found that the area COULD produce a rather spiffy range of cosmetic products based on all-local produce with some (but not much) chemical intervention.  I thoroughly enjoyed my research and loved meeting some of the people making it all possible on the farms and at the markets and who knows, one day I might just be joining them…..

Farmers Markets at Byron Bay

So what grows there?

  • Clays – Rich red clay soil for body wraps, face packs and mud masks.
  • All types of fruit and veg ranging from apples  and avocado to exotic limes and zucchini for extracts, actives, enzymes, scrub seeds and essential oils.
  • Beans and pulses for making into gel based thickeners.
  • Coffee for exfoliation
  • Rice for exfoliation, for skin hydration and softening.
  • Silica for skin and hair conditioning (see this article about QSilica cleanser).
  • Honey and Bee related products such as propolis, royal jelly and beeswax for structurizing creams, balms and  lipsticks or for making candles).
  • Herbs and other exotic botanicals such as Riberry (Lilly Pilly), Davidson Plumb, Finger Limes, Tamarind, Lemon Aspen, Red Apple and Brush Cherry.  All useful for their antioxidant properties.
  • Sugar for preservation, humectancy (moisturisation), structurising, hair removal and skin softening.
  • Essential Oils (Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon Myrtle, Aniseed Myrtle etc)  for fragrance, preservation and aromatherapy benefits.
  • Oil producing crops (macadamia, hemp and palm)  either as emollients or to be further reacted to form surfactants, emulsifiers and thickeners.

See, everything you could possibly need is there so let’s go make a 100 mile brand shall we and if anyone fancies lending me around 40 acres for……ever then give me a call or drop us an e-mail.