A fresh approach: mixing science and philosophy into quality skincare

Since graduating with her Bachelor of Science, Jo-anne Day of McGinns Madefresh has had a few careers, but none have been as all-encompassing as being a busy mum and running a cottage industry from the kitchen of her home in Opawa, Christchurch. Her philosophy is to make batch-fresh, local, natural skincare – good honest products that your skin will love, tested only on willing human participants!


What do you make?
Small batch skin care. I use natural, local and organic ingredients wherever possible and limit negative effects to the environment whenever possible. I favour card tube packaging which is biodegradable – doing my wee bit to reduce plastic pollution. Unfortunately these can not be sourced from New Zealand – my tubes come from, and are made in, America.

How did you get into your craft?
A happy collision of two factors:
1. I was gifted a natural skin care book by my sister when I had my son six or so years ago, and
2. When I had my baby I started to examine what I was putting on my skin – being so close to a new, rapidly growing little body.
I started to experiment with natural recipes and discovered that what I was making was better than the natural skin care I was using from the shops. My skin had never been healthier, and it looked it too. This realisation changed my mindset from producing skin care just as good, to better than store bought. While I was making for me, I was happy to make for my friends and family as well, and so McGinns Madefresh grew.


Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have a Certificate in Food Safety and a Bachelor of Science, a healthy respect for the Cosmetic-Products-Group-Standard 2017 HSR002552 (regulated guidelines for the manufacture of Cosmetics in New Zealand), and a keen interest in the therapeutic qualities of plants.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Love working with local ingredients such as New Zealand beeswax and kanuka, Hawkes Bay olive oil and comfrey, and Wanaka Lavender Farm lavender.

What inspires you?
Solitude and nature, and seeing cool stuff that other people make!



Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I have a philosophy to let the ingredients sing as much as possible. That’s using ingredients as fresh as possible from local producers where I can. Keeping them as well as possible, in small quantities so the turnover is rapid, kept in the dark, at constant temperature, and heating ingredients to the minimum temperatures to achieve melting point. Cooling solutions as much as practical before adding essential oils which are prone to evaporation, and probiotics, which are likely to be harmed at temperatures similar to those we are. I keep batches small (often made to order) so that when someone buys a pot, tube or bottle they are purchasing something fresh and carefully prepared. And I opt to support local printers and stamp makers instead of ordering cheaper promotional and labelling material from offshore.

“I use natural, local and organic ingredients wherever possible and limit negative effects to the environment whenever possible.”

Describe your workspace:
Ok, this is going to take a while…! My workspace is in my kitchen, the heart of my home. It has the most amazing oven, a relic – glossy with curvy lettering and a two tone brown colour scheme, my Atlas Astonia. I use it to sterilise my glassware, stainless steel equipment, and jars/bottles. It has a door that opens upwards and rests flat to the wall, not down like a conventional wall oven, a space saving feature.

Having the unimpeded space is critical in my kitchen, which is a perfect size for one. Being compact with an island bench in the middle, I have everything I need at arms reach, and also a breakfast bar to sit at for stamping, labelling, and to work out recipes. And my ceramic cooktop is in the middle of it. This cooktop is a work-horse, is battered, and gets a thrashing everyday. I could not be without it to create waterbaths for gentle heating of my mixtures.

I have a nifty infrared thermometer that looks like a gun and is actually called ‘Blue Gizmo’. All my tools including Blue Gizmo get packed safely way in my Toolmate storage tower on permanent loan from my partner Shane’s garage, which has been repurposed for my ingredients and consumables. It’s on casters so it can be moved closer to where the action is happening if need be – I love castors!



What are you currently listening to?
Ladi6 is nice and mellow on the weekend. The White Stripes gets my toes tapping and head bobbing, and Portishead and The Beastie Boys for nostalgia depending on my mood (and if my six year old is in charge of the stereo, it’s Beastie Boys!).

Recommend an album:
Oe: Brazil, an oldie but a goodie.

Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
Aside from the fresh factor, its an efficient use of distribution time and resources, and it keeps the money loop going and growing in my neighbourhood, city and country. Also handmade goods are likely to be handcrafted and carefully considered, high quality and last longer than cheap, hastily constructed imports.


What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A cute little jug from Ash Ceramics at the last XCHC Makers Market in Christchurch. It was perfectly formed, coloured a simple grey-blue on white clay, and decorated with mini lightning strikes.

A favourite quote:
I have two: “Think global, act local.” (Not sure who said it.) I’m thinking about reducing plastics here. And “If you think you can, and if you think you can’t, you’re right.” (Henry Ford.)

What’s in store for the rest of 2018?
More markets at XCHC Makers Market Christchurch, my day job ‘til the end of the school year, then the summer hangin’ with my son, doing crafty things and waiting at the gate ‘til Dad gets home.

Prize draw!
Jo-anne has very kindly offered a fantastic prize pack chock-full of lovely McGinns Madefresh products for one lucky Felt customer (see below)! This prize pack includes a 50ml Creamy Cleanser, 20g Sunbalm, 3g Pepperpits Deodorant Stick sampler, two reusable food bags made with surplus fabric from New Zealand clothing production, and a gorgeous pair of yellow glazed Ceramic Sweet Heart earrings.

If you would like a chance to win this luxurious prize, just make a purchase from Jo-anne’s Felt shop in the next two weeks – easy! The draw closes at 5pm on Monday 1 October and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Prize pack product info:
Creamy Cleanser: Featuring coconut oil, which is high in Vitamin E and helps to keep skin moist, and also castor oil which acts as a cleansing oil in this formulation. Contains NZ kanuka to prevent problem spots and reduce inflammation. With a lovely sweet medicinal scent of kanuka and balancing rose, this cleanser is gently anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.

Sunbalm: Lips and hands are exposed to the sun every day and often neglected when it comes to sun protection. This is the perfect opportunity to slick on sun protection on backs of hands when applying your lip balm. This is a natural sun protecting balm featuring Zinc Oxide, which is effective at reflecting both UVA and B rays. This is a water resistant formulation with an estimated SPF5. Also includes calendula which is reputed to soothe and repair. Preserved from oxidation with natural Vitamin E which, as an added benefit, is awesome for dry skin. This is a one-stop sun protecting and nourishing balm, perfect to pop in your bag before you head out the door this kiwi summer. Do take care in the sun and limit time uncovered during peak burn times.

Pepperpits: This natural deodorant stick contains no artificial nasties, and fights odour with probiotics, baking soda and natural essential oils. Great also for stinky feet with an uplifting peppermint scent. A note of caution, this oil based product may cause marks on tight fitting items. Test wearing old clothes first before donning Sunday best!

5 thoughts on “A fresh approach: mixing science and philosophy into quality skincare

  1. I love the naturalness of your products and packaging. I have just ordered your “stick of butter” and can’t wait to try it. I will probably order your gel liner once I’ve finished my current one. Keep up the good work!

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