Natural and Bespoke: Glasgow’s Beauty Kitchen

By Johanna Read

It was a chilly September day in Glasgow, but I felt warm as soon as we walked inside The Beauty Kitchen. Warming my hands on a fresh cup of tea, I tried to decide whether I would make my own exfoliating scrub or a bath bomb.

Jo-Anne Chidley, a chemist, herbal botanist and beekeeper, created The Beauty Kitchen after digging deeper into the claims of beauty brands saying their ingredients were natural. She was disappointed with what she found and realized she could do better.

Guided by Josie, an aromatherapist, I sniffed essential oils and herbs to create my chosen exfoliating scrub. It was a slightly difficult but wonderful challenge to figure out not only which scents were my favourites but which additional benefits I most wanted from each ingredient. 

For the essential oils, the citrusy “inspire me” won out, but I was tempted by the mandarin and cedarwood “spoil me,”, the ginger and ylang ylang “arouse me”, and the lavender “chill me”. Herb-wise, I chose the stinging nettle to reduce inflammation as I was about to embark on a 10-day hike of Scotland’s West Highland Way. There were eight other choices, though, and the heather buds for aches and pains, cranberry antioxidant, and de-stressing seaweed looked very appealing too. Next decision was the exfoliating base of five different types of sugars or salts.

I felt like a chef mixing my ingredients together, with the smells wafting up and already making me feel better. This was Scotland, so we added wee drops to my mixture, and when I was all done, we packaged my exfoliating scrub into a wee jar, and I was offered wee sweets and another wee cuppa too. I was much more than a wee bit satisfied. 

At The Beauty Kitchen, all ingredients and products are 100% natural. There is no legal certification or EU regulation defining a natural beauty product, so beauty brands can easily get away with exaggerating. The Beauty Kitchen ensures their ingredients have not been through any chemical processes and that only one or two natural processes, such as heating and cooling, are applied.  

They source organic and local products wherever possible, so sea salts and epsom salts are from the UK, as are ingredients like honey, cranberry and rose petal. Some ingredients come from warmer climes, such as the heather buds from the Czech Republic, stinging nettle from Albania, rosemary from Spain, and seaweed from France. Essential oils are pure, and nothing is animal tested. 

The Beauty Kitchen makes other sustainable choices too. Product labels are carbon neutral, as they are made from waste limestone rock, and without trees, water or bleach. The company donates monthly to The Seahorse Trust to conserve seahorses, and donates a minimum of 10% of their profits to the Ziwa Rhino Fund in Uganda. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary protects its rhinos from poachers with 24-hour armed guards and, thanks to four donated rhinos, has successfully increased Uganda’s rhino population to 15, when the animals were extinct there as of 1997. 

The Beauty Kitchen is the ideal place to take care of yourself while taking care of the world too. 

The author was hosted by the PR firm promoting tourism in Glasgow, but all opinions are her own and no one from the PR firm or The Beauty Kitchen reviewed or approved this article. 

Johanna Read is a Canadian freelance writer and photographer specializing in travel, food and responsible tourism. A former Government of Canada executive, Johanna retired early to pursue her passion: travel. Writing for a variety of print and digital publications, she encourages sustainable travel and promotes unique destinations. A 2016 goal is repeating her six-continents-in-one-year travel feat.