WESTPORT, Conn. -- Sometimes, you can be living as healthfully as you think when you learn you could do better.
That's what happened to Siobhan McKinley. The Ridgefield mom of three, who was a cosmetic executive for over 14 years, thought she was doing all the right things until the day she came across a book that blew her away.
It was a story about the startling amount of toxins and harmful chemicals in personal care products -- that the U.S. government allows. She was also stunned by the lack of labeling laws.
"When I looked at what other countries around the world were doing to protect the consumer, I was shocked," she said.
"The EU law, for example, bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm or birth defects. In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics."
And so, after some diligent research -- she began first in Ireland where her family is from -- she discovered small batch companies that not only have high efficacy standards and high-performing, result-driven product lines but are also environmentally and sustainable conscientious.
Long story short: She opened ORGÁNACHS, a "green beauty" boutique in Westport devoted solely to premium organic skincare. She says it's the only store of its kind in Connecticut.
The shop, now just over a year old -- she opened in March 2016 -- carries a highly curated selection of more than 25 premium organic skincare, cosmetic, bath/body, haircare, suncare and well-being brands.
McKinley said it's not just the brands that set ORGÁNACHS apart, it's the information and personal attention her staff provides. "This is very much needed when making the transition to clean, non-toxic beauty," she explained.
"The products contain natural ingredients that consumers are not used to hearing about or used to using and there needs to be some education."
Organic skincare, she added, is "feeding" your skin the best ingredients derived from plants and other naturally occurring ingredients. The mantra of her store, in fact, is "farm to skin."
"These plant-based ingredients are better for your health and they work!"
The scary truth, she said, is that it takes 26 seconds for chemicals applied on the skin to enter the bloodstream.
"Think about the number of chemicals in everyday personal care products that women are applying and that adds up to hundreds of chemicals each month," she said. "We absorb up to 60 percent of what is applied to our skin."
Among her top sellers: VOYA, an organic Irish skincare brand which is sold in some of the world's top spas, the De Mamiel skincare line (which uses the ancient principles of Chinese medicine along with modern scientific research into how ingredients interact with our bodies) and natural deodorants from Meow Meow Tweet.
For summer McKinley loves Maya Chia's Illuminating Face and Body Serum, a mineral pearlized sheen housed in a beautiful base of pure nutrition for the skin, and The Highlight of the Day Face Serum, which offers a believable bronze-golden glow. She also highly recommends The Highlight of the Day Body Serum, a universally flattering highlighter made for the body with a rose-gold, wearable sheen.
New this year: her online store so folks can shop 24/7. And, coming soon, a blog that will feature "Conversations" with guests from the beauty, health & wellness industries.
She's also planning to bring a new esthetician on board so ORGÁNACHS can continue to offer facials and add new services. And, come September, look for workshops teaching folks about how to live healthier lives. It's a lesson -- and a mission -- McKinley is very passionate about.
"Informing women of the benefits and effectiveness of using natural ingredients to achieve the results they are looking for is what I enjoy doing every day," she said.
"I know it's not necessary to apply chemicals to your skin in order to have beautiful skin."
Go to www.organachsfarmtoskin.com for more information.
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