Woodsy Botanics is a beautiful all natural skincare range made right here in New Zealand in small batches. After years of research on the efficiency and quality of natural ingredients Woodsy Botanics was born and we had a chat to founder Gabrielle Johnson about why natural products are best and what we can do to look after our skin this Summer.
How did you get into making Woodsy?
A few years ago I was studying a short course in herbal medicine at Wellpark College here in Auckland. I quickly became obsessed with learning about the therapeutic properties of plants and started mucking about with making teas and tinctures. My favourite thing was infusing parts of a plant in oil and experimenting with different concoctions. This soon led to basic skincare formulations – and when I say basic, I mean very basic. I remember turning up to friends dinner parties with these little containers of lotion that I had made and getting them all to try them and report back. I started to use all of the products I made so that I could make adjustments to improve them. It wasn’t a quick process. In fact it took a couple of years of daily research and recipe formulation to come up with the range I have now. Woodsy started off really small with a couple of local craft markets here and there and progressed to an online store and now wholesale accounts. I’m learning something new everyday about running a small business, it isn’t always an easy thing, but it’s something that is rewarding and something that has come completely from me…Woodsy is my little baby.
Where did the name Woodsy come from?
I struggled for so long trying to come up with a name. Every time I thought I had come up with something good I would immediately check the domain name – only to find that the name had been taken. One day I was out for brunch with a couple of good friends and one of them was wearing a hat he had picked up from a local op shop. The hat was very simplistic and caught my attention with a simple yellow font saying ‘Woodsy’ – and that was it, lightbulb moment, and I had my name.
What is your favourite product in the range?
Oooh this is a hard one. I have a special spot in my heart for all of my products of course, but at the moment I would have to say that the Daily Face Lotion is my favourite. It’s so lightweight and absorbs in so quickly and yet is incredibly hydrating. After a day in the sun I like to pop this little beauty into the fridge for 10 minutes then spread the goodness over my face – pure heaven.
Favourite self care ritual?
My day to day ritual is very low key and low maintenance however when I decide I’m going to treat myself I go all out. I like the idea of a good Sunday skin session. This involves scrubbing from head to toe. If I have a little time on my hands I’ll scrub my body with the coffee scrub and let it sit on my skin for 10 minutes or so to really let that caffeine goodness sink in. While that’s happening I’ll mix one of the clay masks with a little of the toner and pop that on until it’s dry and starting to crack a bit. Then I rinse the clay off, scrub my face with the exfoliator, rinse off the body scrub and while still warm pop on the body oil. There is something so satisfying about finding the time to look after yourself – add in some beautiful natural products scented with the most amazing essential oils and you’ve got yourself a wonderful experience.
What are the benefits of using a more natural skincare regime?
When I was young I put all kinds of terrible things onto my face – the worst was the acne fighting products. It was never something that really occurred to me and yet now I shudder thinking about it. I don’t think I could use anything not natural now. I think we forget that our skin is another organ on our body and it really does absorb what you put on it. Skincare products are notorious for putting cheap, synthetic ‘filler’ ingredients in to keep costs down – however these ingredients offer no beneficial therapeutic qualities and are also harmful, toxic ingredients. When you make the switch to natural products you will notice that all of the ingredients are put there for a reason. Every single one offers different vitamins, anti-oxidants and hydration for your skin without causing any harm to you. The other positive thing is knowing that you aren’t causing harm to the environment when using these products. Every time you wash with cleansers and body washes – the residue product is washed down the drain, going directly out onto the ocean. Imagine all of those nasty synthetic surfactants (cleaning agents) going into our ocean and the harm this causes on sea life. It’s when you look at the bigger picture that you realise how important it is to choose your skincare products carefully. I’ve loved learning about what goes into products and becoming more educated on what is safe and eco friendly – I think that’s one of the best things about starting Woodsy.
With the approaching hot weather coming what should we be doing to look after our skin?
Well the most obvious one has to be sunscreen – of course! Choose a natural sunscreen that doesn’t contain any of the nasties and wear that every single day. I have made the switch to mineral powder based sunscreens which contain both zinc and titanium dioxide in their pure form. It doesn’t clog my pores and doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. The next thing you should be focusing on over summer is exfoliating – making sure you are ‘shedding’ those scaly winter layers. Nothing feels better than a good scrub session. What gets me through the hot summer days the most is putting our Rose + Chamomile Toner and Daily Face Lotion in the fridge for 10 minutes or so and then spritzing the toner on followed by the moisturiser. It’s a delicious cold and refreshing treat that will hydrate and protect your skin. I carry around the toner everywhere with me over summer and spritz my face and hair whenever I need to cool down – it’s heavenly.