We’re all looking for ways to relax, and there’s no shortage of expensive products which claim to help you do just that.
Self care has become big business, be that through pricey bath salts or a trendy candle.
But for Aberdeenshire mum, Kathryn McIntosh, taking care yourself is about so much more than reaching for your purse.
With 15 years experience as a complementary therapist, Kathryn is passionate about holistic health and it’s fair to say she knows her stuff.
Her humble products, which she makes from her home in Inverurie, are now stocked by more than 20 retailers in both Scotland south of the border, under the name Re:treat Therapies and Apothecary.
And with hundreds of devotees on social media, it’s no surprise that it has been a “whirlwind” since Kathryn launched her very first range in June 2020.
Having sold out on the first day, Kathryn has since added to the Re:treat range, and you’ll find everything from the famous natural deodrant range to natural body oil and beautiful botanical soap.
Your Life caught up with Kathryn and found out why beauty is getting redefined.
“It’s interesting because we don’t class ourselves as selling beauty products,” said Kathryn.
We are gender neutral, and beauty doesn’t come from what your skin looks like.”
“It has been a total whirlwind and I’m still riding it, I feel very grateful.”
Kathryn has always worked for herself, and offers everything from reflexology to deep tissue massage and aromatherapy,
But when lockdown hit, she was forced to stop, with so many elements of her work classed as close contact.
Having made natural cosmetics as a hobby, an idea struck and Kathryn hasn’t looked back.
“I have always worked with people, I have a real passion for the benefits of relaxation and holistic health,” she said.
“It’s how the mind, body and spirit all work together.
Say if someone had tension in the shoulders, it’s also about considering what’s going on emotionally.”
“I made natural cosmetics as a hobby. When lockdown happened, I thought now is the time to launch.
“It was a happy accident really.”
Kathryn offers three different ranges: natural deodorant, and botanical soaps, with everything made in her kitchen.
“Natural deodorant came first, it was the product which my friends and family always asked me for,” said Kathryn.
“I’ve been tweaking the formula for a few years. It was only ever going to be a side-line but has since gone huge, which is brilliant.
“We sold out on the first day so it was straight to the kitchen to make more.”
But how does natural deodorant differ from your standard supermarket buy, and can it really prevent sweaty pits?
“It works as well or even better than conventional deodorant,” said Kathryn.
“It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals such as aluminium. Antiperspirant will stop you sweating because it physically clogs your pores.
“Natural deodorant lets your body do what it is meant to do, without smell or wetness.
Bicarb of soda works on the bacteria alongside powdered arrowroot, which works on keeping you dry while allowing your body to breathe.
“It’s pretty magic.”
All of Kathryn’s products are organic, meaning there are no harsh chemicals, or intensive farming involved. They are also vegan, and cruelty free.
“Our packaging is plastic free, it was a challenge but we got there,” said Kathryn.
“We offer refills as well. I think it raises that awareness, you don’t have to buy tonnes of plastic bottles. If a little business like us can do it, anyone can.
“We’re very eco-conscious, and I think people are looking for alternatives.”
Alongside natural deodorant, Kathryn also offers oils for the face, body and hair.
“It’s organic virgin oil and each product is aimed at helping one particular area,” she said.
“So our face oil for example, feels very light on the skin. It’s super soothing and nourishing.
“I use the products every day, the body oil feels like a real treat to me.”
Customers can order via the website, but Kathryn also loves meeting people in real life.
“When I launched in the depths of lockdown, social media was really important for reaching out to people online,” she said.
“I prefer meeting people in real life, and the farmer’s markets have been brilliant. Especially when people tell me that they’ve been using my products since launch.
To meet people in real life is really special. It’s about connecting with people, and even getting inspired by customers in creating the next product.”
Kathryn is currently a one woman band, although her husband remains one of her biggest cheerleaders.
And although she may currently be making products at the kitchen table, never say never when it comes to moving to a bigger premises.
“I have lots of new ideas, so I may need some space at some point,” said Kathryn.
At the heart of everything is a real belief of taking care of everywhere we live.
“That means our body, our mind, our community and our planet.
“Therapies and apothecary work together that way.”
For more information, head to https://www.retreataberdeenshire.com/
or visit @retreataberdeenshire on Instagram.