While completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Management in 1992, a friend introduced Narelle Chenery to a new natural skin care range on the market. The company promoted itself as producing the “best products from science and nature.”
They boasted about the purity of their ingredients, but diminished the numerous chemical contents; in fact, they denied having any ‘unnatural’ ingredients at all! Even though the products contained ingredients she couldn’t pronounce, (and because these were termed “natural ingredients” from coconut and palm), Narelle just presumed they were natural and safe to use.
As a young mother, Narelle was looking for a genuine organic alternative. She started Miessence.
Soon after she began promoting this “natural” range to her friends and family, a cosmetic ingredient dictionary caught her attention whilst browsing through a health food store, enlightening her about the dangers of the ingredients she was using. Disillusioned and angry at having been duped by such unethical marketing tactics, her passionate search for truly natural products began.
After expressing her frustration at the ethics of the company she had just left, a family member gave her some books on aromatherapy, herbal remedies, and recipes for natural skin care products. Surprisingly, even these books recommended toxic preservatives, so Narelle started experimenting with her own methods and created her first skin creams (which she gave away as gifts).
As her research deepened, she was captivated by the many wonderful offerings of Mother Nature, and grew more concerned about the poisonous ingredients that most cosmetics contained. She was inspired to tell others about her findings, and had articles published in several well-respected natural health magazines. The response was so positive that Narelle soon realised she was on to a winner, and this fuelled her passion even more!
“Once consumers realise that health and beauty are inextricably linked, they will have to seriously question those unpronounceable ingredients in their ‘beauty’ products. We, as consumers, are incredibly powerful. Most of the time we just don’t realise it!” she says.
“The traditional cosmetics industry alone is worth something over US$20 billion a year, and that’s because of the millions of unaware consumers believing slick marketing messages. Most of this turnover supports the production and use of toxic chemicals, which affects not only our personal health, but the health of our planet!