WORDS: LISA WITEPSKI IMAGES: SUPPLIED
Conny Oberrauter is used to people asking her to explain what her job as a cosmetic chemist entails. It’s something she wasn’t clear on herself when – by happenstance – she came upon a company that offered her the chance to spend a day in its factory. “Blown away” by what she saw, Conny enrolled to study cosmetic chemistry the following year.
With The Cosmetics Chef, she makes it possible for others to experience the creativity that lies at the root of her passion for the industry. In addition to hosting workshops where guests can learn to blend their own products – from soap to serum – the company also sells kits for cosmetics to make at home and a range of ready-made products that can be customised according to customers’ unique skin requirements.
Conny explains that the company got its start when she published her book, Crafting cosmetics in your kitchen, in 2017. “I wanted people to see how easy it is to make their own products,” she says. Since then, she’s taken The Cosmetics Chef to a number of events, gaining attention for her talks and blogs about the beauty industry. She uses these platforms to provide real information about cosmetics, she says, rather than the often-frightening reports that are common in the media.
Although she allows that it can be hard to do battle against large international brands that have become household names, Conny reveals that more and more people are becoming open to using natural products. The “clean beauty” trend has also helped to boost her following. Her own philosophy is that there’s room for balance – there’s a time when naturals are best, but other times when a synthetic ingredient is not only more effective; it also makes sense from a sustainability point of view.
Experimenting with ingredients to find this balance is one of her joys. “I love playing with textures and seeing how different ingredients and oils bring about a different feel.” Her goal now is to encourage more people to experiment in the same way by expanding the brand nationally.
In your hood: Sandton
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