We have a basic human right to be well. Our love of a modern lifestyle with its fast pace and material trappings has blown many of us off course. In years past, life was gentler with time for family, friends, good food, fresh air and time to stop, think and be.
No one knows this more than Miriam Holcombe (Mim), the founder of Free to Explore Beauty.
It was an unwitting personal journey that led to Mim’s discovery of the benefits of adopting a natural, organic skincare and cosmetic routine. Here’s her story.
“In my native South Africa I had the support and love of an extended family whose passion for locally grown and organically reared food, fresh air, laughter and well-being was the mainstay of my life. Mealtimes brought the family together and our love of the outdoors and sunny weather allowed us to live harmoniously with nature. My life was one of wellness and balance.
I settled in the UK in 1993 and started to experience a totally different way of life. Not having the benefit of my extended family, I seemed to fall prey to a faster but oddly, more sedentary lifestyle. Outdoor activities were replaced by the gym four times a week and while I did my best to eat as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible and followed the general rules of drinking plenty of water and juices, there were still precious few minutes to prepare healthy food. So, supermarket ready-meals started to became the natural choice for my role as a busy working wife and mum.
In a nutshell, I got sucked into the Western lifestyle and as the years past, wellness was replaced by illness. I was completely stumped by the little niggling health issues, as I had always endeavoured to lead a healthy lifestyle.
My normally vibrant energy waned and I lost my ‘sparkle’. My skin lacked its normal glow and regular break-outs, dryness and itchiness became the norm.
With little self-confidence, a lack of energy and an inability to exercise, I became depressed. What’s more, I started to suffer from unbearable abdominal pain that became so severe I was rendered housebound.
The pain was real and debilitating and yet no one could pinpoint the exact cause. Blood tests revealed nothing untoward and I was incapable of leading a normal active life. Eventually I had no option but to have drastic surgery in an attempt to ease the crippling pain.
Despite the surgery my problems still seemed to be controlling my very being and I felt a sense of fear and hopelessness. Those feelings quickly turned to despair when a gynaecologist told me that there were plenty of other women experiencing the same problems and that due to the complexities of the female cycle and anatomy there was very little known cause for my symptoms. Whilst trying to be reassuring, he offered very little comfort to me at that time.
From that point I decided to take complete control of my health and to seek alternative ways of helping myself.
I know I’m not alone. Countless women describe similar experiences and they too have improved by choosing to use different products, eat nourishing fresh food and look after their bodies. In short they have taken responsibility for their own health rather than look to another to ‘cure’ them.
Having said that, it is essential that a doctor is consulted if any type of symptom persists as one cannot rely on only one approach to heal – it is always a delicate balance.
Exhaustive research became my obsession and eventual logic led me to realise that the prolonged ingestion of chemicals, preservatives and pesticides used in the food and farming industry had contributed to my poor state of health. The greatest impact being on my endocrine system and at a stage in my life when women are more susceptible to change and the harmful and stressful effects of chemical toxicity.
If that was true of food, then I concluded the same had to be true of what we put on our skin, through daily use of toiletries and cosmetic products.
However, each website or piece of information that I read gave conflicting opinions. When you’re standing in the shower in tears because of the excruciating abdominal pain it’s so easy to be influenced by anything and anyone who wants to help and I did then in desperation.
What claimed to be natural was in fact not the case. Ingredients commonly used in the cosmetics industry are not always derived from natural sources but in fact are synthesised in a laboratory.
So, in my quest for wellness, the first solution was to adopt as organic and natural approach to health as possible. The second step was to share my unquestionable passion for beauty with others.
In 2006, I founded Free to Explore Beauty in order to sell reasonably priced organic and natural products.
In late 2006, I received an e-mail reply from a company who I believed had long forgotten me. They sent me samples of their cosmetic products and the rest, they say, is history. The therapeutic ingredients suited my skin perfectly, resulting in a glowing skin and no more breakouts. I felt like ‘me’ again.
I continued to communicate with the company and developed an inspiring relationship with its founder who introduced and educated me to a whole new perspective on the world of beauty. I felt focused for the first time in ages and knew that I had to introduce this safe cosmetic brand to the UK market so that countless other women would benefit in the same way that I had.
Now my aim is to be totally transparent in our communication of ingredient listings, so that women and men are free to make an informative choice about the skincare and cosmetics that they love and adore.
I know that switching to natural cosmetics and organic skincare has changed my life. I feel cleaner, greener and relish the part I play in caring for the planet and for the future of the generations to come.
A commitment to an organic and natural way of life is only part of my road to recovery. Changes have to take place at many levels and it was a contribution of good food, a loving husband and careful research into the detrimental effects of chemicals that led me to wellness.
The price of beauty should not be the EARTH.
Today, I use only the natural and organic beauty products that I have personally tested as I believe that quality and integrity of ingredients should never be sacrificed in the quest for beauty.
I urge everyone to play their part in preserving our earth for our children and future generations, by adopting a more eco-friendly and ethical lifestyle to make our world a greener place to live.
Stay Healthy, Be Happy and Live Harmoniously.
Be free to explore.
“I’ve realised my dream but never thought it would take me this far. In trying to find a solution for myself, I have helped thousands of other women and men. I continue to educate and inform as many people who are ready to listen.
Do you know what is contained in that skincare product you used last night or the one you washed your face in this morning? You have a right to know and understand what’s in all your cosmetics, skincare, beauty and household products.
For the sake of your health and those of your nearest and dearest, go check them now!”
Kristin Adams, founder and mineral make up genius of Afterglow Mineral Cosmetics who inspired me with her focus on safe cosmetics and set me on the road to finding a better way of respecting my body through the use of quality natural and organic ingredients.
My husband who is my knight in shining armour for putting up with my constant mood swings and finding the most healthiest meals to cook for me during a time when I thought I was going to die.
My children, for the sacrifices they made and the patience they displayed.
Last but, certainly not least, my loyal customers who continue to support my web store and who actively play a role in endorsing a greener, healthier lifestyle.