One of our latest makers creates beautiful, natural and essential oil filled well-being and skincare products. We spoke to Gareth about what made him start Old Faithful and why he loves natural well being.
1) Can you tell us about what influenced you to start Old Faithful?
After learning about how conventional ‘skincare’ products are formulated with mainly undesirable synthetic, filler ingredients, I was shocked that this was how the industry works. There are so many smokescreens and so much miss-information in the sector. The ingredients they promote in large letters on the front of the bottles and that take centre stage in their advertising are often present in minuscule amounts in the products. I wanted to develop a masculine skincare brand that only uses the best natural, therapeutic ingredients that offer maximum performance and pleasure. No cheap fillers. No synthetic ingredients.
2) How did you learn to create such lovely products?
Much of my development in this area has been through self-study and experimentation. I am passionate about the ingredients and the therapeutic properties in the plants, it is amazing what you can achieve with them. So there’s a lot of studying about the ingredients involved, especially the essential oils as there are so many of them. Creating a well structured scent is very different to developing a therapeutic formula so both these skills are required to create a really nice experience for my customers. I also studied for a Diploma in Aromatherapy and a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation.
3) Can you tell us a little bit about the process from idea to product?
Well it all starts with what a customer needs, wants or what problem I can solve. I suppose most of us want to clean our face. And then there’s some of us who want to have a spa like therapeutic experience when doing this. Most people with combination skin would like to balance their complexion. But I think our Makers’ Balm would best help to describe the process..
A ceramicist friend of mine called Karen Dawn Curtis came to me asking for help with her hands… they were awfully dry, cracked and cut from working with the potters clay. I was looking for an opportunity to develop a hand balm at the time so this was ideal. Karen needed her hands moisturised intensively, her skin cells needed help to rebuild themselves, they needed protection and healing of the cuts and wounds. So I research the ingredients that help with these conditions and then start to experiment with different formulas, tweaking the ratios, taking notes and coming up with new versions of the product until I’m happy. There’s some user-testing from friends and family. I listen to the feedback and make adjustments based on their comments. Obviously Itest the products myself too and then when I am completely satisfied I launch the new Old Faithful product.
I really enjoy the product development process, it’s a lovely mix of science & art, theory and practical. I like to do this as much as possible!
4) All your products are natural and made out of mostly Organic ingredients, is this something that is important to you? And why?
Yes, this is absolutely important. As I touched on in your first question, there are so many undesirable ingredients in mainstream skincare, which can actually harm your skin rather than help. Most modern day skincare comprises of synthetic ingredients that work against & counteract the natural processes of our skin, hair & nail system. I believe working with natural materials that are easily recognised and accepted by the body, is the best way to work in harmony with our skin and our system as a whole.
I believe heavily in organic farming practices and the benefits this has for the environment and the products we eat and use. In my perfect World there would not be a stamp for ‘Organic’ products but a warning stamp on products which include ingredients that have been sprayed with synthetic chemicals.
5) What is your ‘must have’ product from the range?
Every good skincare routine starts with a good cleanser. I’m sure many people would be better off using just water instead of products based on surfactants which strip the skin of its natural sebum, leaving the skin trying to repair itself from the get-go. A good cleanser that works with your skin not against it is key! Our Réunion Cleanser has a great feedback and my top-choice for most people.
6) What is your favourite ingredient to use?
How am I meant to answer this!?!? This is impossible! I love so many and it all depends on what I want to achieve! An unrefined, organic shea butter is a beautiful thing, there are base note concretes that I am itching to use in a scent based Old Faithful product. And Neroli oh Neroli! I just love Neroli. But.. if I was stuck on a dessert Island and had to choose just one ingredient to have with me, it would be Argan Oil. It is so versatile! Great for the skin and hair, nourishing, protecting and fast absorbing. It also helps to protect against the effects of the sun.
7) Is there anything new you can tell us about coming in 2019?
I am in the process of re-building two scents I created a while back. I called them Kintsugi and Wabi-sabi and are based on an ‘Asian Woods’ concept. The plan is to re-introduce these scents in the form of candles and possibly solid colognes.
8) Finally can you tell us 3 things about you?!
1 My nickname in school was Elvis
2 I practice yoga
3 I once helped to build a giant sheep made of cauliflowers for a food festival