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Soaps That Heal

Aisling FitzGibbon

When Kevin Lynch’s son was born in 2009, he noticed the tell-tale signs of eczema on his little body. As a child, Kevin too had suffered from eczema and was repeatedly treated with steroidal creams. He didn’t want this future for his son as he himself had witnessed first-hand the long -term effects of steroids on his own skin. The skin on his hands had thinned from years of steroidal use.  Further research revealed the possibility of other physiological side effects of steroids such as bone thinning, high blood pressure and a disruption of the hormonal system. Both Kevin and his partner Tina began to look for natural skincare products on the market for their son’s skin but nothing worked. Tina herself began to experiment with chemical free alternatives for Caoimhin’s skin and eventually completed a professional soap making course. The initial seed was sown.

Pure Soap Created with love

Pure Soap Created with love

After a head injury in 2010 Kevin was prompted to rethink his career path and was drawn to study organic horticulture in the Organic College in Dromcollogher, Co Limerick. Gardens at his home in Clare soon had polytunnels and medicinal herbs growing in them. Tina, who had been made redundant from her work, continued to experiment with making her own soaps, using organic ingredients from their own garden and from other organic sources. Seeing the demand for their soaps at farmer’s markets and realising the unique potency and purity of their own products, inspired both Kevin and Tina to set up their own company. The business would use a combination of both of their skill sets using Kevin’s knowledge in herbs and plant biology and Tina’s training in graphic design, advertising and branding.

In October 2015 Airmid Natural Irish Skincare was set up. By October 2016, the business relocated to new premises in Waterville, close to the Ring of Kerry. I was introduced to some of Kevin’s products when I bought Airmid shaving soap and shampoo soap from Manna’s Organic Store in Tralee. At last I had found a natural shaving soap product that was chemical free and didn’t give me a rash. The shampoo in a bar nourished and softened my hair. I had discovered the Holy Grail of skin care and curious to know more I contacted Kevin and arranged to interview him in person.

Waterville, home of my maternal ancestors, is a beautiful setting for a natural and chemical free company. After a journey of 2 hours (had to stop in Cahersiveen to charge the Nissan Leaf Electric car) I found myself meandering down a country road into an almost silent countryside, punctuated with birdsong and the distant drone of a tractor. Trees and verdant foliage flanked the drive to Ireland’s most natural skincare company Airmid.

As I entered into Kevin’s premises, my sense of smell was ignited by the wonderful aroma in his building. Immediately I began to relax as I realised that what I was smelling was chemical free and pure. My sense of smell never lets me down. Kevin greeted me and showed me around. Kevin is a master alchemist who chooses pure essential oils firstly for skin benefit and then for aroma. His knowledge of the healing potency of herbs is apparent as he talks about their benefits on the skin. He assures me that all of his products are certified to EU standards and are suitable for the most sensitive of skin.

An ethical and humanitarian vision underpins this company- indeed it seems to be one of its driving forces. Kevin does not skimp on quality and ensures that his products are sourced from people who equally benefit from the commercial exchange. The 100% natural shea butter in Airmid’s products, is hand gathered by women participating in Fair Trade collectives in Ghana. Raw beeswax is sourced locally. It actually smelt so good I wanted to eat it!  I was particularly impressed with the reusable face scrubbies that come from Selkie Crochet in Waterville. The funds that go to Selkie Crochet, which sponsor two girls through ActionAid Ireland with their profits - one in Vietnam and the other in Kenya. The shampoo containers are recycled pulp that can be planted, the tins are reusable and all packaging comes from sustainable sources.

I was privileged to interview Kevin. His company Airmid is pioneering a new business model where everyone benefits and the environmental impact is negligible. Kevin’s company puts the customers health and well -being before profit. He would make anyone think twice about what they put on their skin since it’s our body’s largest excretory organ.  

Airmid is everything I would wish for in a skin care company. It is ethical, quality driven and natural. Moreover the products work.  My legs are already benefiting from the moisturising effects of the shaving soap and have been primed for summer exposure. I was loath to leave the heavenly aroma of Kevin’s premises but he gave me some bath melts and soaps. Thank you Kevin- the car never smelt as good on the journey home. The name Airmid is fitting as she was the Celtic Goddess of the Healing Arts. The name is in keeping with the emerging rise of the divine feminine. I was eager to get home to treat my inner goddess to a bath melt.

If you love the skin you’re in and are looking for products that are natural and pure, then I suggest that you check out Airmid. You can purchase their products directly from their website www.airmidsoap.com or from stores such as Manna Organics Tralee, Craft Makers, An Tigin Waterville, Waterville Pharmacy,  Skellig gift shop, Golden of Kells, Valentia Island Tourist Office and other stores around Ireland. Their range of products includes handmade soaps, shaving soap, bath melts, shampoo bars, lip balms, aromatherapy, eco soy candles and hampers for all occasions. You can follow Airmid Natural  Irish Skincare for their updates and news.