We love finding, trying out, and spreading the word about new and fabulous products that we’re using—especially products with a great story and a lot of care and thought behind them. Which is why we are very excited to be able to share with you today the incredible Illuminating Face Serum from Rainwater Farm, one of the oldest family-owned natural soap companies in Tennessee. Everything Rainwater Farm produces, from bath and laundry soaps to healing salves and lip balms, is handmade with pure, nourishing, and all-natural ingredients, including fresh rainwater that the family collects in wooden rain barrels. Pretty cool, right?
Kathleen Souder, the oldest daughter and co-owner of the family business, graciously sent us both a beautifully packaged sample of their Illuminating Face Serum to try out, as well as a full-sized bottle to give away to one of our lucky readers! After using the serum for several weeks, both of us are loving the results we’re seeing—our skin is softer, clearer, and more even in tone. The serum has a lovely, light natural scent and feel weightless after applying—something we were a bit surprised with given the “oily” nature of the product. However the oils in this product are some of natures most precious, and when blended together they work to brighten, tone, and clarify your complexion, all without any harmful chemicals, dyes, or artificial ingredients. We asked Kathleen to give us the full download on the creation of this product as well as some insights into using and incorporating natural home and beauty products into your everyday life. Read below and get inspired!
What inspired the development behind your new Illuminating Face Serum?
I'd spent years trying to find a facial moisturizer that fulfilled some key requirements: had all-natural ingredients (meaning no parabens, sulfates, artificial fragrances, petroleum, etc.,) would keep breakouts and blemishes under control, and could soothe some severely dry skin that I have due to Sjogren's Syndrome, an autoimmune disease. Bonus points for a product that could invigorate my complexion, and make me look glowing and youthful.
I had tried so many items: drugstore and department store moisturizers to hydrate my skin, BB creams and luminizers to improve my complexion, and foundations to conceal my uneven skin tone. Finally I found Rodin Olio Lusso, which was the most glorious facial product I've ever used, but cost $175 per oz. Mom and I decided to take matters into our own hands, and after months of researching the best ingredients and testing--we believe we actually improved upon this decades-old luxury beauty product. We shared samples with friends, family, and customers--and immediately received rave reviews and demands that we produce and sell this product as soon as possible. And thus, our Illuminating Face Serum was born!
Are there other products down the line that you want to create and/or improve upon from what is already out in the market?
I'm constantly looking for a natural shampoo and conditioner without sulfates, pthalates, artificial fragrances, and other chemical additives and preservatives, and feel like it's time to make our own. However, developing natural shampoos isn't an easy task: the super foamy shampoo suds and slick, silky feeling you get after conditioning are caused in large part by a whole slew of chemical additives, which of course we won't use.
Mom and I have also been thinking through creating a natural deodorant (one that actually works!) because I'd like to stay away from the triclosan and aluminum that's in most brands. Again, not an easy task, but one we'd like to tackle!
Have you always used natural brands and when did you finally make the crossover?
Rainwater Farm was started when I was 8 years old, so I've grown up using only natural soaps. (Of course as a teenager, I wished I could use "normal" body wash and bath products that my friends used, all that Sun-Ripened Raspberry and Cucumber Melon smelling stuff.) But, even though I only used Rainwater Farm soaps in college and beyond, I would grab most of my other skincare and cosmetic products from Target or the grocery store.
My move to all-natural skincare products really started a few years ago, once I started paying more attention to the foods I ate. As I tried to be more thoughtful about what I put in my body--doing my best to eliminate processed foods and additives--I realized I needed to pay more attention to what I put on my body. Your skin is your largest organ, and it really does absorb what you put on it! One of the main reasons I decided to get into the business as co-owner alongside my mom is because I feel really passionate about sharing the information we've learned over the past 23 years of owning a natural skincare company. I want to help increase the vocabulary we have around our "skin diet" and empower women to make more thoughtful choices about what they use daily on their bodies.
What advice do you have for women looking to increase their use of natural body and skincare products?
It's really easy to be overwhelmed when you start to try to use natural body products or cosmetics. But, we like to tell our customers to just take it one small step at a time. Pick something (your body lotion, your mascara, your conditioner) and when you've finished using it, look around for a natural product to replace it with. Eventually you'll be using more and more products that reduce your daily exposure to chemicals and other synthetic compounds, and hopefully you'll be feeling better and looking great. I constantly reference the book No More Dirty Looks as a source of information, tips, and "clean" natural products.
Beyond what Rainwater Farms makes, are there any other natural products that you use on a regular basis?
Rainwater Farm has me pretty well covered, but I've used and really like Agradir's line of natural shampoo and conditioners. I rarely wear foundation anymore (I feel much more confident about my complexion now that I use our Illuminating Face Serum twice a day), but for special occasions I am liking Tarte's Amazonian Clay Foundation. It's not completely "clean," but it's better than most foundations.
I also think of what I eat and drink as a part of my beauty routine. I drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily, because it's full of amazing cell-repairing antioxidants. Kusmi's Green Detox Tea with Lemongrass is a bit of a splurge, but the packaging is so pretty and it makes me happy. I also love Kombucha as a way to help improve my skin, and have actually been making it at home, which is a lot of fun.
Have you and your Mom considered exploring developing a make-up line?
When we set out to develop or sell a new product, we always tend to ask ourselves if this is a product that we, or members of our family, could incorporate into their daily lives. For that reason, we've tended to focus on soaps, laundry soap, salves, balms, etc. as they are super practical (and also hopefully luxurious!). That being said, a good lipstick is something that I can't really live without, so maybe down the road that will be something we try to create--it would be so much fun!
We're both so excited to help share and promote a great product from an amazing family-owned business and can't wait to see what else Rainwater Farm has in store! Their passion for "doing no harm" to the people using their products and to the environment in which we live is truly inspiring, and we are both starting to look for small ways in which we can begin to introduce and increase our use of natural products.
And now for the icing on the cake! Beyond generously providing us with a full-sized bottle of their Illuminating Face Serum to give away to one of our lucky readers, Kathleen and her mother Colette are also offering up a 15% discount on their website, from today through Sunday, to all of you! To get the discount at Rainwater Farms, use the coupon code MISHAPSANDMIMOSAS at checkout! To enter to win the Illuminating serum all you need to do is provide your email address at the prompted pop-up window, subscribe up at the top of the page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Illuminating Face Serum give-away." We will select and email the winner this Friday!
We hope you enjoy using Rainwater Farm products as much as we do and best of luck to those entering the give-away!
-a & c.