Leanne Brown, owner of organic and natural skincare brand, Dream Cream, discusses skincare secrets, affordable luxury and her plans for the business.
Natural and organic skincare brand, Dream Cream is based on a small 20-acre block in rural Northland. It is also where business owners, Leanne and Pete Brown call home, along with 160 citrus trees, 80 feijoa trees, 45 espalier apple and pear trees, 300 (capacity) hydroponic lettuces - all which they have established themselves - plus a few beef cattle and six chickens for their own eggs.
Favouring naturally rich ingredients, such as organic golden jojoba oil, organic rosehip oil, wild orange and organic New Zealand beeswax, Dream Cream is fast gaining a loyal following.
We spoke to Leanne to get her top tips for keeping skin healthy during a New Zealand winter, why more men are using hand and body cream and why she is so committed to only using organic and natural ingredients.
What do you find so inspiring about Dream Cream?
The fact that all of the products are 100% natural and organic and only the finest plant-based ingredients are used, making them truly effective. Because they are natural and rich, and not watered down, only small amounts at a time are required – providing quality, affordable luxury. People are leaning towards more natural products these days, so we could see the potential in “filling a need”.
We could also see the potential and the freedom to be creative and develop new products, as well as introduce a men’s range which was a really exciting prospect.
Why is it so important to use products that don’t contain chemicals, parabens and artificial fragrances?
Research shows that many chemicals, including parabens and artificial fragrances used in skin products have been linked to skin disorders, irritations, defects as well as diseases and growths.
Parabens are an inexpensive and common type of preservative used in many different skincare products to keep the product fresh. The greatest concern with parabens is that they are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity.
Artificial fragrances are mixtures of various chemicals, which come from petroleum or crude oil that produce a desired scent, but contain harsh toxins like benzene derivatives, aldehydes, toluene, and phthalates. Studies show that many artificial fragrances have been linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders and allergic reactions.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
All of our ingredients, as well as our containers, labels etc. are sourced from within New Zealand. We’ve always been dedicated to supporting New Zealand businesses. Some of the companies we purchase from import the ingredients, as they’re not produced in New Zealand, but we don’t import ourselves. When we purchased the business, we also switched to a local printing company for designing and printing our labels, even though it was more expensive, so we could get behind Kiwi businesses rather than sending the money offshore.
You have a few products for men. Do you think that Kiwi men are getting better about taking care of themselves?
Yes I do. A fine example is Pete himself and other “blokey” men we know, who in years past would never have considered using a men’s hand or body cream. Now they can’t do without it - or our other men’s products. Men seem to be more conscious about skin, hair, and beard care than they used to be, now that there are more of these types of products available to them.
Do you think there are any particular trends or types of skincare products that will become more popular over the coming years?
I definitely think that men’s skincare is going to become even more popular. Tradies and farmers will continue to buy more hand and body creams, as they become more aware of the damage being outside in the elements does. I think hair, face, body, and beard care products will attract more of a market amongst men in general.
Do you have a favourite piece of customer feedback about the Dream Cream products?
I have two favourite emails from happy customers, though they are really only the tip of the iceberg. It always makes our day to get this kind of feedback.
“I love these products. They smell amazing, are gentle yet effective, affordable, natural, environmentally friendly and I feel pampered using them. For years I had reactions to different moisturisers and face care products until Face Gold. I can't live without it. Love it.”
"I have really sensitive skin, and this is the first time in 15 years that I have found something else that really works for me and feels so luxurious (have only ever found one other). It’s so nice to have new products that really do work! Super impressed and very happy."
What are your future plans for Dream Cream? What is the dream for the company?
Our plans – to further develop and introduce new products and to grow the business, while still keeping it small enough for personalised customer care and attention.
Our Dream – to be recognised as a leading New Zealand natural skin care company, providing genuine and sincere customer service.
What is your own daily skincare regime?
Obviously, using Dream Cream products!!
For my face I use Oil Cleanse and a face moisturiser twice a day. I alternate my moisturiser between Face Gold and Face Cream – I like to use both of them. I use the Face Scrub 3 or 4 times a week. And I’m constantly using Lip Balm all year round.
I use Hand and Body throughout the day. I find this does wonders for my nails as well as my skin and it is also incredible for cracked heals. For an extra treat throughout the week I also use my Hand Gold and Cocoa Butter Lotion Bar.
What are your top winter skincare tips for Kiwis?
1) Eat healthy and stay hydrated.
2) Limit shower time and temperature. It may be tempting to take a long, hot steamy shower in the cold weather, but your skin will be much better-served with a shorter warm shower, and also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands.
3) Face moisturising. It’s particularly important to use a rich fragrant-free moisturiser during winter. Use morning and night or as frequently as your own skin requires – everyone’s different.
4) Moisturise regularly - hands and body. To replenish the natural oils, robbed by winter’s harsh elements, use oil-based and fragrant free moisturisers regularly, particularly for your hands.
5) Use a gentle, fragrance-free oil-based cleanser. The wrong cleanser can cause irritation, itchiness, or skin problems.
6) Use a face scrub or exfoliant. It may be the last thing on your mind when you have dry, itchy skin due to the weather, but there are benefits to exfoliating your skin during winter. Not only will it take off the dry, dead skin cells, but it also helps regenerate new ones. Your skin will thank you for using a natural exfoliating scrub two to three times a week.
7) Apply sunscreen and lip balm, even on grey winter days. Don’t be fooled by darker, dreary days in winter. The sun’s harmful UV rays can permeate clouds and still cause damage.
8) Indulge in a glass of red wine every now and again. You deserve it (and it's good for you!)
You can learn more about Dream Cream here.