Words by Hannah Tapping
Pioneer of the organic, slow beauty movement in Britain, Inlight skincare combines nature’s alchemy, modern science and green chemistry.
Mariano and Loredana Spiezia
I believe that behind every great brand is a story and Inlight Beauty is no exception as owner and founder, Loredana Spiezia explains: “When I came to Cornwall for the first time with my husband and our three children it was only for a four week holiday at Higher Boden, a stunning Cornish farm renovated by our longstanding friend Clare. However, the magic of the place, the wildness, the vibrant green of the grass and the warm welcome we received from all the people we met acted like a good spell on our family.”
“The rest of the story is simple: we went back to Italy, packed everything up and moved back to Higher Boden! Crazy Italians maybe, but we followed our hearts. Our initial plan was to stay for a year so that the children could learn English, but the spell was too strong and we are still here, more than 20 years on.”
Married to Mariano – a medical doctor, renowned herbalist and homeopath whose life’s research into the healing and medicinal properties of herbs, roots and flowers saw him pioneer the first detox and fasting centre in the south of Italy – their passion, creativity and knowledge soon gave birth to the first organic pomades, made by hand on a big wooden kitchen table by the Aga. As with any unique antique piece, an intriguing history preceded it. The table was originally the Italian working bench of four carpenter brothers. Each corner was equipped with a functioning vice and it was on this table that the first true 100% organic skin care was produced in the UK.
“Time went by, and we soon outgrew Clare’s gorgeous farmhouse which had welcomed us so lovingly. We were sad to leave the memories, table and Aga behind, but at the same time we were full of energy and thirst for the next chapter of our lives,” explains Loredana. A new company was formed with private investors. However, this particular business path was not one that sat well with the family’s ethos and led to a very challenging time in the life of the Spiezias. “We were not having fun anymore and felt that we wanted to dedicate more of our time to research. We departed from the company – leaving our name behind – in 2005.” It was only two years before the family went back into business, working closely with Dr Alma Rodriguez, founder of the University of Homeopathy in Naples, and at the cutting edge of wellbeing and complementary health.
There is never any comprise in the quality of oil used
I first met Loredana many years ago when their offices and laboratory were housed in a small low barn on an organic dairy farm on the Lizard. What struck me then, was her unique enthusiasm for the business, the products and her family – which still remains at the heart of everything – as well as her incredibly youthful skin. Fast forward some ten years and as I enter Inlight’s new premises in Helston, complete with its own infusion room and state-of-the-art laboratory, I can see that in spite of these modern surroundings, the family ethos remains; as does Loredana’s glowing skin and radiant smile!
Each ingredient is carefully chosen
The business is now a true family one; daughter Maria Chiara is Head of Marketing while her brother, Francesco, having spent several years under the tutelage of his father is now working together with Dr Spiezia in the laboratory. The base of each Inlight skincare product is its unique ‘infusion’. These are mixed in large glass jars that are housed in the infusion room, sat on heated platforms absorbing the light and moon cycles through an enormous window pane. I’m intrigued as to the process that is used to create them, Maria Chiara explains: “We start with 100% organic herbs, flowers, roots and seeds. We then add oils; the main ones we use are those closest in properties to our skin’s oil, so jojoba and olive. An enhancement procedure then happens, which is the alchemy behind our infusions and a closely guarded family secret!”
I’m privileged be allowed into the infusion room and it has the feel and sweet smell of a bygone apothecary. The large infusion jars sit on a bed of heated pebbles, so that they can slowly release all of their nutrients into the oil and it is of vital importance for them to be exposed to the moon and sunlight. “They must sit there for at least one full moon cycle,” adds Maria Chiara, “which is why the process takes four to six weeks. It’s very much a slow beauty approach, which I think we were the first to embrace.”
There are various other gentle things that happened to the infusions during this period. There are certain ways that they are turned and mixed, and as Maria Chiara goes on to explain, “the exciting bit for us has always been the actual alchemy behind the infusions and it’s something we’ve always believed in, but it hasn’t been scientifically proven, until now. It’s all to do with quantum vision and how we can affect the vibration of matter with sound and words. We fully believe in the use of sound and use special tuning forks to play notes to the infusions. This positive imprinting is very much part of Dr Speizia’s Bio-lipophilic Matrix®; we refer to it as a combination of ‘ancient alchemy and the modern science’ because it’s a fusion that empowers the herbs and flowers and the final product. We use things like music, certain colours, certain words of intention, certain sounds.”
The family’s beliefs have now been proven in the publication of a recent scientific report that uses hyperspectral imaging to look at the vibration and light intensity that is emitted by certain matter. The report shows that, compared to other organic, handcrafted, waterless skincare products, Inlight products have a longer-lasting effect on the skin. The imaging clearly shows how heat and light is emitted from the skin due to the circulation and the absorption of the product, continuing even after a 24-hour period. Testament to their efficacy, Inlight products are multi award-winning and used throughout the television and film industry.
The infusion room, where the alchemy of slow beauty takes place
Loredana believes that this is not only down to Dr Spiezia’s unique formulations but also to the ingredients and the care that goes into creating them: “We have never compromised on ingredients. Every ingredient that goes into our skincare is rigorously 100% organic and I don’t think you can find anything purer on the planet at present. Our products work in synergy with the skin and not just on it. Today, we still produce around the table. This has evolved from our country kitchen table to a big stainless-still one, but passion, know-how, care and attention to detail hasn’t changed, nor has the artisanal process. We make everything in-house including our own base which, although time consuming, makes a real difference in the extraction of the liposoluble properties of the ingredients during the slow maceration process.”
Middle, Maria Chiara Garside
Left, the four brother's table, middle, Francesco in the laboratory
We move from the infusion room into the lab; I’m only allowed in as the day’s work has come to an end. Francesco is cleaning down the immaculate work areas, which, although they have to be clinical still emit an aura of calm. He explains that every part of the process is thoughtful and considered, right down to the music that is played while they work. He believes that even the way he or his colleagues are feeling at a certain time can have an effect on the infusions and so it’s important that they are in the right headspace before starting work. That might mean taking a break, having a cup of tea, getting some air and returning to job in hand with the right frame of mind.
Everything is made on site and by hand using artisan methods and it’s not only the product that is important. All packaging materials at Inlight are recycled wherever possible and recyclable. The outer packaging is FSC approved and printed locally with vegetable inks, while the products themselves are bottled using MIRON Violet Glass – unlike other glass, the unique properties of MIRON glass doesn’t allow any visible light to pass through, with the exception of violet and the spectral range of UV-A and infrared light. This helps to protect both the quality and vitality of the products so that they last longer.
We pass through the lab and up into the offices above. As the company has grown, the Spiezias would have loved to have been able to locate their business to a truly rural area, being as close to natural surroundings as possible, but they knew there would have to be a compromise. Although the new offices are on an industrial estate the building has an artisan’s legacy, home for many years to a bespoke joinery company. You can feel the creative atmosphere as you pass through and I’m stunned by what I see on the first floor – the four brother’s table.
“We don’t make our products on it now,” says Loredana, “but it bears witness to how things can evolve without losing their initial strong values. Some days I look at the table and I can almost hear the many stories it has heard over the years. I am so happy to carry on feeding this wonderful wood with more stories, emotions, creations and I know it will store them patiently for who will come after us. I can only kneel down and be thankful to mother nature and grateful to our wonderful life full of beauty.”
The Inlight story is a transformational experience into sustainable, luxury beauty; a slow beauty that belies the fast-pace of today’s world. It is a clean beauty born of a fascination with the kingdom of plants and the result of a perfect synergy between chemistry and medical herbalism. Dr Spiezia and his family are organic beauty pioneers, and have set new standards for luxury health and beauty across the world.
To view their products, visit: https://www.drift-cornwall.co.uk/post/clean-beauty