Words by Bethany Allen
A range of environmentally conscious and organic skincare that eases away tension and instils a sense of calm and serenity.
Made for Life Organics is a 100% organic skincare brand founded in Cornwall, with deep rooted values in nature, sustainability and wellbeing. Initially developed from a medical background, the products were created to combine dermatological science with the strength and purity of botanicals. As part of the company’s commitment to mindful production and a circular economy, each balm, oil or ointment is hand-blended in the Made for Life lab in Truro and decanted into recycled glass bottles and jars.
I was privileged enough to be able to speak with Managing Director, Amanda Winwood, to discover what lies at the heart of this innovative brand of skincare. “I moved down to Cornwall in 2000 when my oldest daughter Hannah was just a few months old and took over running the Budock Vean hotel with my ex-husband,” Amanda tells me. “At the time we had a national brand of skincare in the spa, but I wanted something that was more local and organic.”
It was at this point that Amanda was introduced to a range of skincare created by a Dr Spiezia. The products met the criteria of a natural, local and organic skincare range and with the help of her Spa Manager, Amanda set to work creating a selection of tailor-made treatments to complement the new products. “I loved the products so much that I decided to invest in the company,” Amanda explains. “There was another investor at the time but it wasn’t long until I ended up buying their share too and suddenly I owned a skincare company.”
20 years down the line the composition of the products has changed but the ethos of natural, medicinal and organic skincare has not. “The formulations have changed because we’ve been working to advance them with Plymouth University over an 18-month programme,” Amanda tells me. “But the ethics and beliefs of the brand haven’t changed at all, we still hand blend every single pot or jar on our site at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro and we still believe that nature has pretty much everything out there that we need to be healthy and well. Our common values centre on honesty, respect, innovation, passion and support and we’ve stuck to those values from the offset.”
In a nutshell, Made for Life Organics intends to promote ‘authentic, organic wellbeing’. You only need 1.75% organic ingredients to label a product as organic however, Made for Life produces 100% organic products in their commitment to create natural, chemical free skincare. “The skin is the largest living organ of the body and it’s a receptor,” Amanda explains. “So, if you nourish your skin, you are also nourishing your overall wellbeing too. Especially as some of our beautiful scents have been tailor made to stimulate wellbeing and benefit mental health.”
Another aspect to the Made for Life story is the Made for Life Foundation. Introduced by Amanda in 2008, the Made for Life Foundation aims to provide a source of comfort for those fighting cancer. In 2008 the team at the Mermaid Centre, the breast cancer unit at the Royal Cornwall hospital, invited Amanda to go to an event called the ‘Moving Forward Day’, because a lot of people who have been diagnosed with cancer are interested in a more organic lifestyle. “It was a pivotal moment in my life,” Amanda continues. “There wasn’t really much support at that stage in terms of what was available in Cornwall for people going through cancer, particularly in the spa industry, and I knew I had to make a change in any way possible.”
The Made for Life Foundation runs events across the UK to support people going through cancer and to provide a window of time for them to learn about nutrition, practise mindfulness, do some yoga, laugh and enjoy life. Through her research Amanda discovered that 96% of spas turn people away who have been diagnosed with cancer; upon learning this she decided to create a three-day training programme called Cancer Touch Therapy to teach therapists how to treat cancer patients. “If something’s not right I can’t just sit back and not do anything about it. So, I instigated the training of 1,500 therapists across the UK to be able to welcome people in through the doors of their spa who are going through cancer or who have been treated for cancer.”
Amanda developed the training programme alongside Oncologists at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Macmillan and Onco-Plastic surgeons. Together they curated four types of treatment – ‘hand on heart’, ‘catch the breath’, ‘soothe and nurture’, and ‘soft touch therapy’ – that could be introduced in spas for cancer patients. “A lot of people reside in the sympathetic state which is fight, flight or flee; it’s the stage where everything tightens up and so the treatments that we’ve developed are all about breathing deeply, slowing down and moving people from the sympathetic state into a parasympathetic state,” says Amanda. “This allows your cortisol levels to drop and your oxytocin and serotonin levels to increase, which gives a boost to your immune system.” Another great aspect to these treatments is that they aren’t cancer specific, they can be tailored to anyone and work particularly well for people who are struggling with anxiety, stress or insomnia.
Her commitment to organic and holistic therapies and to opening spa doors to those struggling with cancer has culminated in Amanda receiving an ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award at the most recent UK Spa Association event. “I’m really proud that a company based in Cornwall has been able to change the face of the spa industry and has led by example,” says Amanda. “Loads of others have followed suit now too. Money’s important, but I also think there’s something about legacy and doing the right thing. The Made for Life Foundation is therefore a fundamental part of giving back and making a change.”
Amanda is passionate about highlighting the benefits of 100% organic skincare that is made from food-grade ingredients and is currently working on a project to plant 1,000 lavender plants and 1000 rosemary plants on the coast in Cornwall so that she can source these plants locally, increase biodiversity and support Cornwall’s bee population. “It’s called Made for Life because it’s made from life,” says Amanda. “There’s always a thought behind what we do, we don’t want to just churn things out, we want to ensure that we consider how we can make things better.”
I can’t resist asking Amanda what her favourite products are within the range. She smiles and says: “I have two favourite products, first is the Made for Life facial cleanser, which is the best cleanser on the planet in my opinion; it works on a deeply detoxifying level, has won masses of awards and is used by makeup artists at Pinewood Studios. The other product that I absolutely love is the Skin Solve Balm that has just won a Beauty Editor Triple Award. Successfully used on children and babies, it’s fantastic for nappy rash and soothing for eczema and cirrhosis. It’s absolutely one of those multipurpose things that can sort everything from very sore and sensitive skin to mosquito bites.”
Having come to the end of our interview, one thing really does stand out and that’s Amanda’s commitment to the ‘greater good’. Her skincare brand represents the kind of beauty that extends beyond the skin and radiates throughout our bodies and minds. It’s about creating a brand that can help people in more ways than one, providing an ointment not only to the stress that our skins are under but the stresses that we as humans face throughout our lives. Her commitment to providing a product that is 100% organic and environmentally conscious is utterly commendable, as is her commitment to continuously celebrate the exceptional beauty of life.
“When you have a business that’s not just about money, but about being a force for good, it becomes a really good business. We’re not a beauty brand, we never have been and we never will be, we sit within the beauty market but for me beauty is so much more than just skin deep. To be really well you have to be happy. You have to take time to connect and you have to take time to catch the breath. Human beings are amazing, we’re an incredible machine that needs to be connected. When we connect up properly, we link back to plants and to the planet. To look after ourselves we need to look after mother Earth at the same time, and that’s what it’s all about.”