Published: 15:40, 29 October 2019
| Updated: 23:01, 29 October 2019
A student has launched a skin care brand, inspired by a love of all things natural.
Maiden of Kent Naturals is a range of facial oils, body butters, scrubs, and deodorants balms created by art student Eleanor Saunders from Harrietsham.
The 20-year-old decided to make her own skin products after suffering with eczema and dermatitis, which meant she was unable to use standard creams and ointments sold in chain stores.
"It started just by me researching alternative ways to help care for my sensitive skin. I read up on it online and by using books I found in charity shops," said Eleanor.
"There was lots of trial and error, trying out different recipes and quantities of ingredients, until I got something I was happy with."
After plenty of experimenting and persistence, the young entrepreneur who previously studied at St Augustine Academy in Maidstone and University of the Creative Arts in Rochester, managed to create moisturisers and balms using natural essential oils and other ingredients like coffee grounds and lavender.
Much to Eleanor's delight, they helped soothe her skin far better than anything else, and she handed out free samples to family and friends.
The response she got was very positive and people encouraged her to try and make some money out of it.
So last year, alongside moving to London to start a course at Chelsea College of Arts, Eleanor took this advice and began selling her products.
Continuing the organic theme, she named the brand Maiden of Kent Naturals, using her own chic floral designs as a basis for the labelling, and recycled, re-usable packaging when possible.
The textiles student is passionate about promoting the use of natural ingredients in the beauty industry.
She said: "People are happy to pay £25 for a product which is made using cheap ingredients that won't really help your skin.
"If they actually looked at what was in the products they use, they would see a list of chemicals that they've never heard of.
"But people only tend to use brands which are heavily promoted in stores. It's a real shame.
"Lots of manufacturers also use carrier oils, like rapeseed, and then add small amounts of essential oils to this.
"This means they are only infused and the percentage of the really, healthy fatty oils is very low. But with my products, I only use a tiny bit of carrier oil."
Eleanor now sells on Etsy, a popular online marketplace for handmade items, and in the Upcycled Trading Company, a shop in Lenham.
Although she has not made that much profit so far, being as the natural ingredients are expensive to buy, Eleanor has found the experience rewarding and hopes the business will slowly grow over time.
She added: "It has been really fun creating the products and it's so nice when people come back with good reviews.
"Being as skin is the biggest organ in the body, we should make sure we are looking after it, and it's great to feel like my brand is helping with this."
More by this authorRebecca Tuffin