Join us as we sit down with Jane Gee, the founder of Nutritional Skincare, and the CEO of janegee, to discuss her journey in the botanical skincare industry, what she’s learned over the years, and steps you can take to be an informed consumer in the complicated world of clean beauty.
What started your interest in skincare?
In the beginning, I remember feeling curious about beauty salons. In those days they were upstairs out of the way with heavy curtains, chandeliers, plush carpets, and beautiful women gliding around the reception areas. I found it intriguing, glamorous, and mysterious. I was an earthy girl never wearing makeup or bothering with the latest trends. I was more into art, herbs, the health of the earth, etc. Whilst traveling around Australia I met a Master Esthetician, with over 20 years of experience, who felt I should look into studying Esthetics with a particular company based in Sydney Australia. She explained the natural skin philosophy and that the products they used originated in Paris. I met the head of the Ella Bache school in Sydney shortly after. At the time they only took 5 or 6 students per year, and as they say, the rest is history. I signed up for her program and studied under her, graduating in 1981. It was, however, my younger brother's acne that inspired me to explore skincare in a deeper, more compassionate way.
Did you ever consider another career?
Yes, I considered a career in law for some time, but quickly realized my passion was for health, art, food, and people. I studied Visual Art at Edith Cowan University and then continued my studies in Canada.
Is there anyone who mentored you early on in your career?
Yes, working with brilliant women at Ella Bache had a big impact on my early career. Lynette Knaap, an Ella Bache school of beauty instructor, was my first mentor in skincare along with Edith Hallas, the head of Ella Bache. They inspired me to help give women healthy skin and confidence. Lila Fennel was my biggest supporter. She was a natural health practitioner who had a deep connection to the natural world. She introduced me to the notion that everything we put on our bodies, around it, or on it, has an impact on our health. I carry Lila’s teachings into every aspect of our skincare line and treatments at janegee.
When did you discover the connection between the skin and the digestive system?
It was while trying to figure out why one out of seven siblings would get acne that I started to see the connection between the skin and the gut. There had to be a reason. My father believed in eating natural healthy food and would often talk about food and its relationship to our health. He was way ahead of his time. His mantra was, “If you can't eat it, hunt it or dig it up, don't eat it. Everything else is a food product.” In addition to the knowledge my father shared with me growing up, I believe that Lila Fennel was the biggest influence in regard to discovering the gut skin connection. I learned so much from her. I learned to pay attention to my own wisdom. Having wisdom and having the confidence to share that wisdom are two separate things entirely. When it came to expanding my confidence, David Singing Bear, an Eastern Band Cherokee elder, encouraged me. I have been fortunate to have had many inspiring mentors and supporters and hope to act as a mentor to the next generation.
How would you describe Nutritional Skincare?
I think nutritional skincare is the perfect description for what I do. Skincare is an inside job, acne is an inside job! I believe that all illnesses can be solved if we live harmoniously with our environment. I believe the five tenets of good health can be transferred over to skincare.
- Breathe correctly
- Sleep well
- Eat well
- Think well
Inspired by these tenets of good health, I have developed what I refer to as the 5 Tenets of Healthy Skin
By following these five simple steps, you will have healthy and glowing skin.
The food we eat has a direct correlation to the way we look, the condition of our skin, and our overall health. In this modern world we live in we are constantly being bombarded by toxins, we breathe them in, our skin absorbs them, and we ingest them. Did you know that the particles of pollution are finer than the pores of our skin and enter our skin easily? We absorb 60% of what we put in our bodies, on our bodies, and around our bodies is absorbed in 26 seconds. It really gets you thinking. But we have to take this one step further. We are not just what we eat, but what we assimilate. Eating certain foods will increase hormone activity such as androgens which in turn creates more sebum and keratinization of cells which form sticky plugs in the pores. This leads to acne. Eating too much sugar will create a type of acne and wrinkles!
So when it comes to taking care of skin, we look at what goes on the skin, in the body, and an array of lifestyle contributors to varying skin conditions.
What makes this different from other practitioners?
That's a big question. I have been in the industry for over 40 years. I formed my beliefs and my philosophy in the first ten years. I am a mixture of many things. I’m a visual artist and an observer of the human spirit. I'm a lightworker, having had the privilege of studying shamanic healing practices with medicine men and women on different continents. I am an herbalist and student of plant spirit medicine. My shamanic studies led me to the notion that we are all connected and a part of nature. The further away from nature we get the more likely we are to destroy it and this includes our bodies. Regain the connection and your body's wisdom will kick in. I am a flower essence practitioner and a PSYCH-K practitioner. I strongly believe that mindset is extremely important when we are attempting to make a change or going through transitions. As you can see I have many tools in my toolbox. It is a combination of all these things that have culminated in the Nutritional Skincare philosophy. It is a holistic approach to giving you the tools to heal yourself.
I don't believe in many of the current practices in skincare. I don’t believe in toners, exfoliation (the worst thing you can do for your skin), foaming cleansers, night and eye creams, etc. We need to lighten up, give the skin what it needs, and let it do its job. Funny how our body's wisdom can heal anything!
What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?
The rewarding moment is ongoing; it is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. It is the moment when seeing that glimmer of a spark in my client's eyes, the moment they get that the power resides within them and not outside themselves. That is when I know I have done my job!
What inspires your new products?
All products have been developed from a need a client has had. I am always determined to help on any level I can. If the answer does not come immediately I go sit in nature for a while until it comes. I work with a team of dedicated, like-minded women and together we create these beautiful products. When it comes to our products and our services, we work with nature and not against it. I believe that when given the right tools, the body can heal itself
Are you launching any new products soon?
We are currently working on two new and exciting janegee products!
The first product, a face creme based on tomatoes, was inspired by a tradition taught to me by my father. Growing up in Australia, we were often exposed to the sun. When we would burn, my dad would use tomatoes to help our skin heal, reestablishing the pH, and clarifying the skin. This same thinking is being applied to restore acne and oily skin. This creme is designed to hydrate without clogging, to clarify, and to balance oil production.
The second product in development is our very own natural toothpaste. Did you know the microbiome in the mouth is an important part of your overall health? We have actively been researching ways to develop a toothpaste that not only keeps your mouth healthy, but also is not full of synthetic ingredients. When the microbiome is balanced in your mouth, your gums and teeth are stronger and healthier.
Stay tuned for the release of these two exciting new products!
How can a consumer decipher which companies follow clean, natural, and botanical practices?
Number one, educate yourself. I tend to look beneath what a company says about what they don't put in products and I take a look at what they actually do put in their products... Big words can frighten people but both chemicals and natural products have descriptions that can be hard to pronounce. We are obliged by law to list the INCI (The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), on our labels. This is an international way of identifying ingredients. These are rules established by the Personal Care Products Council. You can find help with deciphering these ingredients on Think Dirty. Always look at the preservation system. Many natural brands are still using synthetic preservation systems. Some are worse than parabens!
We hope you’ve learned more about our Founder and CEO, Jane and have a better understanding of why we are so proud to have her expertise, knowledge, and vision behind our growing brand. This team of hardworking women is determined to help the women in our community find their voice, confidence, and spread kindness.
Let’s Become Better Together!