Listowel men go to the sea for natural beauty

FOR centuries people have been using seaweed baths because they believed in their therapeutic benefits to see them through the winter without such ailments as circulatory problems, skin conditions or muscle and joint ache, which are all said to be alleviated by the sea's most natural resource.

Seaweed has a high mineral content and is rich in sulphur, iodine and natural oils. I heard on the grapevine that two lads from Listowel were setting up a new plant to manufacture natural, handmade soaps, shampoos and skin care. So I caught up with Dr Neil Maher from Ballybunion and Seamus Lynch from listowel. Dr. Maher is a biochemist and scientific researcher and while looking down a microscope in Montpellier, It dawned on him he could do his work anywhere in the world and where better than Ballybunion. Neil has been harvesting seaweed for 28 years and for the past four years he has been developing a body care range with the help of businessman Seamus Lynch.

Both men are passionate when they talk about their new venture. It normally takes 5-7 hours to make liquid soap but the lads have invented eco-c process, which reduces the process to 45 minutes. The result is a far superior product, requiring 80% less energy to make soap.

When I smelt the soap, it took a while for it to register with me what the smell reminded me of and it dawned on me, it smelt like soap used to when I was a little girl. There is no overheating of the ingredients when this soap is being made and it is as near as you can get to its natural form. There are no parbens or nasties so it does smell of a time where chemicals were not a requirement. The range is varied and all contain seaweed - from shampoos to bath products to anti-aging serums to massage oils to mother and baby products.

All the products are so natural that they are edible. Neil even challenges other cosmetics companies to eat their own produce and wondered how many would. They hope to employ 10 people initially and also seasonal workers to harvest seaweed. They company has been approved for leader start up funding by North and East Kerry development and when I met the lads they were just back from talks of Enterprise Ireland with a view to exporting the products in the near future. Look out for Dr. Mahers Brand which will hit the shelves in October. Testers will be trying out the brand before then.

Last Friday I headed to to the Elm tree in Gounthaune, Co. Cork, to attend the opening of Elle, a new exclusive club for ladies (himself asked what happens if you're not a lady). Elle is the brainchild of Lorraine O'Neill who is well known for PR in marketing and events and felt there was an opening for a club where women could not only connect for business, but also use the club as a place where people could meet up and have a reason to get out and have a bit of fun. M.C for the night was Debbie O'Donnell who produces Xposi and looked amazing just after having her second baby.

There are many benefits to being part of this club, regular outings, discounts for beauty salons, hairdressers and other business. It's also a great way for beauty salons to get their name out there. I asked Lorraine did she think Elle could expand to Kerry and she said she could see no reason why not, so anybody who would like to get involved call 086-8046314 and a big thank you to the Cork ladies for making me feel so welcome.

Vichy's new Aquaria Thermal Night Spa is anamazing night cream that is now available nationwide. It contains hyaluronic acid and Vichy thermal spa water, and can be used every night in a thin layer or thickly 2-3 times a week as a sleeping mask. Skin feels plumped and soothed and looks younger and is suitable for sensitive skin. It also comes with an anti-fatigue massage application, which is both simple and effective.

YON-KA have introduced a home hydration kit and its devotees include Angelina Jolie and I am with Angie on this because it is the best home kit I have ever tried. It contains an ultra milky cleanser and has a spray on lotion. Yummy! It's like a salon treatment and then cream for dehydrated skin and is ideal for travelling.

Our YON-KA male tester is back and said he is now a fan and felt his skin was fresh and confident and it also helped with in-grown hairs. YON-KA is now his skincare of choice.

Human And Kind have a wash-off cleanser that is great for girls on th e go because, not only does it cleanse but it exfoliates as well. This chemical-free formulation is used with warm water and comes with its own muslin cloth which also works in tandem with the cleanser as a gentle exfoliater. It is suitable for all skin types and sensitive skins also.

Nuke, have a skin care range called Nirvanesque which consists of a cream for normal skin, dry to very dry skin, combination skin and a wonderful eye cream.

La Roche-Posay have a great compact foundation with SPF that is very suitable for summer days.

Pixy have introduced Almond Milk Scrub - it contains buttermilk which is a good exfoliator and dissolves dead skin. You gently massage it into your skin but avoid the eye area and allow a few minutes for the oils to penetrate.

I am looking for three people to test Polar White, a teeth whitening formula developed by an Irish company in conjunction with a leading international dentist. It is a whitening glaze, with a peroxide-free formula that has been clinically proven to be safe and instantly whitens teeth.

Also up for testing is Mane n Tail Hoofmaker, is a hand and nail therapy that is great for cracked hands and brittle nails and, incidentally, a favourite of Jennifer Aniston.

If you want to be on the testing panel e-mail me at or write to me at the kerryman 9/10 Denny Street Tralee and don't forget to check out my facebook page Mary O'Donnell Beauty.

Next Week: My French trip.


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