Beauty tourism. It’s the latest buzzword. But if you’re thinking spas, health retreats or even nip tuck holidays, think again.
Australian organic skincare manufacturer Sasy n Savy and sister company Nurtured Tours have begun operating shopping tours in Sydney that include workshops at the manufacturer’s new apothecary showroom (pictured) in Miranda.
It’s an opportunity for participants to create personalised aromatherapy products and experience a pampering session using skin care that harnesses the healing and rejuvenating properties of Australian botanicals.
Today our group is sampling the Sasy n Savy component of the tours. It bodes well from the moment we arrive, when we’re greeted by founder and CEO Samea Maakrun with a champagne flute containing a sweet, non-alcoholic Kakadu plum cocktail.
“Kakadu plum contains the most vitamin C of any fruit in the world, and vitamin C stimulates the skin cells to produce collagen,” Samea explains, adding that export markets go gaga over this Australian native plant, which has been known to Indigenous communities as a superfood for thousands of years.
“We’re very fortunate that we have an abundant natural supply of Kakadu plum in the Northern Territory,” Samea says, “because a bottle of 100ml sells in Singapore for US$250!”
All of the Australian native ingredients in the Sasy n Savy skincare range are high in vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients, so as well as Kakadu plum the products contain ingredients such as bearberry leaf, wild rosella, grass lily and rosehip oil.
Having savoured every sip of the precious Kakadu plum drink, we split into two groups, the plan being to swap later. While one group participates in a hands-on product-making workshop the other group enjoys a shoulder massage and an arm and hand treatment using Sasy n Savy products.
Though none of us has made skincare products before, we look the part in our white lab coats, hairnets, rubber gloves and shoe covers. Fortunately, Samea keeps it simple for us – today we’re making essential-oil-infused bath salts and massage oil, which requires only mixing and shaking. The difficult part is choosing which essential oils to use from the deliciously aromatic selection: marjoram, patchouli, lavender, rose, orange and lime.
Guided by Samea, we formulate our individualised oil blends based on the properties of the essential oils to alleviate anxiety and insomnia, promote relaxation or uplift. Samea is in information overdrive, trying to impart as many tips for using aromatherapy products as possible in the allocated time.
Her tip for relieving nausea associated with travel sickness is to rub rose or peppermint essential oil (in a carrier oil) onto the third chakra, which is located between the breastbone and the navel.
While we mix our essential oil blends with Australian rock salt or carrier oil, Samea recalls the evolution of the fledgling company she founded in Australia in 2000 into an internationally awarded skincare brand. Sasy n Savy is now stocked by the likes of Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Debenhams, Lloyds and Selfridges and is sold to Qantas, Virgin, British Airways and Emirates.
Recently, Samea expanded her operation to include the apothecary showroom, from which you can view the manufacturing area, and introduced beauty tours to educate visitors, both local and international, about the benefits of Australian native ingredients to skin care and wellbeing.
The move from Peakhurst to Miranda was a strategic one, she says, because the southern suburbs have become the hub for shopping in Sydney: “The Sutherland Shire now has 95 per cent market share of the factory outlet bus tours, while Alexandria has just 5 per cent.” Last weekend Sasy n Savy hosted 200 women from the Hunter Valley and Central Coast as part of a shopping tour.
The consensus among today’s group is we’ve had a great time making our own aromatherapy products and learning about the benefits of Australian botanicals. We realise it’s a rare treat when Samea tells us that she can count Australian-owned, Australian-made skincare brands on one hand.
“We’ve all been approached by overseas companies to buy us out,” she says, “but I’m standing strong, I’m supporting Australian farms and labour, because the minute we get sold out, everyone loses.”
Laden with all-Australian organic skincare products from the apothecary showroom, I can’t wait to use the nifty Sasy n Savy Travel Pack – airline regulation-size cleanser, toner, day cream and recovery masque – on my next jaunt.
When used correctly and safely, essential oils offer therapeutic benefits. However, it is advisable to avoid specific essential oils in the case of babies/infants, certain medical disorders, skin conditions and pregnancy. If in doubt, seek advice from a qualified health practitioner.