Skin + Tonic is a London-based producer of small-batch skincare.
Founded in 2014 by Sarah Hancock and Joshua Wade, the company has quickly gained a cult following. Each of their products is handmade with a maximum of seven ingredients and shipped in minimal, sustainable packaging.
At present the range contains cleansing balms, scrubs, a rose mist, a coco mask, facial oils, lip balms and a beard oil.
The formulations are 100% natural and between 60–100% organic. No parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, EDTA, or synthetic colours, fillers or preservatives are used. While neither the ingredients or the finished products are tested on animals, vegan readers should note that the Calm Clean, Gentle Scrub and Lip Balms contain animal derivatives.
I spoke to Sarah about inspiration, the importance of using natural
ingredients, her personal health journey and more.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START SKIN + TONIC?
I was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2010. It is a very common and painful disease that affects fertility in women. It is not well understood and is often misdiagnosed and, at that time, I was struggling physically and emotionally. I decided that I had no choice but to re-evaluate my whole lifestyle.
Little by little, I started making important changes: I stopped drinking and smoking, I started to practice yoga and eating healthy food, and I began looking for organic skincare and body products that were free from endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. There wasn't much that appealed to me on the market, so I quit my job in TV and retrained in aromatherapy and skincare formulation. Finally, my boyfriend, Josh, and I launched Skin + Tonic.
WHY DO YOU FEEL IT'S IMPORTANT TO USE NATURAL INGREDIENTS?
When I stopped using synthetic ingredients and started using totally natural ingredients, I noticed that my skin was transformed. It was finally getting the nutrients it needed and looked radiant. I realised how effective and nourishing natural, cold-pressed, plant-based ingredients could be in their unadulterated state; these ingredients provide the skin with everything it needs, such as vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants to support its function.
FROM WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
We work with small, local producers in the UK and France, as well as two fair trade women's co-operatives in Ghana and Sri Lanka. All of our ingredients are organic and some are wild-crafted. Our camomile, calendula, thistle and borage oils are grown and distilled right here in the UK.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PRODUCTION AND PACKAGING PROCESSES ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE?
Everything is handmade in small batches, we use recycled packaging and we love to work with local, organic producers where possible. We also plant trees in Suffolk to off-set our carbon emissions.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCT IN THE LINE?
I love our Calm Balm because it's such a great multi-tasker. You can use it as a hydrating night balm for the face, on dry skin patches, sore lips, or just massage a bit into your temples and the back of your neck before you sleep. The Roman camomile and English lavender are very sedating, whilst the shea butter and calendula are nourishing for the skin. I adore it and our customers can't get enough of it!
WHAT'S NEXT FOR SKIN & TONIC?
We're scaling very fast as a company and our team is starting to grow, which is lovely. We are launching in many different countries, such as the US, Hong Kong and Germany and are continuing to develop some very exciting products. It's so encouraging to see organic skincare moving into the mainstream and I love connecting with so many amazing customers who feel as strongly as we do about using organic and sustainable products.
THE SECRET TO RADIANT SKIN IS...
Simple, organic, plant-based ingredients; staying hydrated; eating a healthy diet; being stress-free (I'm still working on that one...)
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD PHILOSOPHY?
I try to eat healthy, organic food as much as possible. I love nourishing, home-cooked meals made with good ingredients and I always feel the positive effect on my body instantly. Because of the endometriosis, I am very conscious of avoiding foods that trigger inflammation, i.e. wheat, dairy, sugar and coffee.
HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
I eat well, I go for regular walks and I practise yoga and mindfulness. Josh and I try to take regular breaks away as running a start-up can be very intense and sometimes you need to "switch off" in order to regain focus, creativity and clarity.
WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Josh, my family and friends. Creating skincare and body products, gardening, aromatherapy and travelling. Oh, and a dog called Molly!