Many folks in Gardiner know that Michele Tomasicchio has been making all-natural skin care products—with love, of course—for many years at her studio on Albany Post Road.
But the owner of Made With Love Natural Skin Care has branched into some new areas lately, expanding her skin care offerings to address the needs of older women and men of all ages, and presenting opportunities for clients to get a deeper understanding of their skin care problems.
What sets Michele’s products apart is that they are all natural, part of a growing trend in the U.S. towards products that don’t include any of the harsh additives that many retail skin care products do. Michele is very eager to enlighten people about what might be lurking in their favorite conventional skin care products: fake fragrances, cheap oils, and toxic preservatives. “The FDA doesn’t really monitor skin care industry labeling,” she says. “’Natural’ and ‘organic’ doesn’t always mean that.”
Michele uses only pure essential oils, high-performance botanicals, and natural preservatives to create products that Michelle says wake up the skin and spark lasting benefits. She has seen results on her own sensitive skin, and that of many of her customers. “When you try all-natural products, your body just knows, this is so good for me,” she says.
A Gardiner native, Michele was working as a massage therapist when she took an herbalism course about 20 years ago. She wanted to offer herbal teas and tinctures to clients to facilitate their healing, but during the course, the students also learned how to make body creams using wild plants and essential oils. After the course was over, she began making her own body creams at home. “I just became this mad scientist in my kitchen,” she recalls. Once she made the body creams, she “really went nuts…I made face creams, therapeutic balms, sugar scrubs, hair butter.” She also made a muscle relief balm to help her through a bad back injury—and then started offering it to her massage clients.
Around 2001, she gave skin care holiday gifts to friends and family, who started asking her for more. Her mother, Jewell Turner, who is Gardiner’s Deputy Town Clerk, brought some into Town Hall, and co-workers were soon placing orders. Made With Love was born soon after. Today, Michele makes all her products on her own, at her studio, with extra help brought in during peak holiday seasons.
Recently, she asked customers what they might want from her next, and found that many women were seeing the effects of aging on their skin. After researching it, she launched her new “Revive Graceful Aging” line. “I don’t want to call it ‘anti-aging’ because the women I connect with don’t try to fight aging,” she notes. Another product line, “Clarity,” helps women with skin care sensitivities that crop up later in life due to fluctuating hormones. Adult-onset acne is one of these. Michele also believes that some issues may be related to years of using conventional skin care products.
Michele has also branched out into her first men’s line, called “El Jefe.” It means “the boss” in Spanish, “but I use it tongue-in-cheek,” Michele says. “We let the guys think they’re the boss, but we know who’s really the boss!” The line includes face cream, body cream, a beard oil and a beard butter, and features more masculine essential oils, like bay rum, lime, and cypress.
For clients with more stubborn issues, Michele is now offering consultations (the first one is free) through her “Outside In, Inside Out Clear Skin Program.” She is trained in craniosacral therapy, kinesiology, and muscle testing, and uses those modalities to determine underlying issues that might be causing a person’s skin challenges.
Also new is a more user-friendly website (madewithloveskincare.com), e-gift cards, and an online discussion group on graceful aging. She offers nationwide shipping. Locals can order online and bypass shipping costs by choosing the “Pick up order at Gardiner Studio” option. And keep your eyes peeled for pop-up shop hours at the studio by the road sign or at facebook.com/MadeWithLoveSkinCare.
Michele tried selling her products in retail stores for a while, but she prefers small batch production to ensure the freshest products possible. And she loves being able to talk directly with customers. She particularly enjoys selling at area festivals and craft shows. “I love keeping it local,” she says.