Meet My Skin Feels:Skincare Made From Everyday Food Waste

Alice Hartwell

An in-depth interview with Danielle Close, Founder of My Skin Feels, the UK-based sustainable skincare brand making cosmetics from food waste.

March plays host to Food Waste Action Week, an annual campaign that aims to not only bring awareness to the gargantuan 4.7 million tonnes of food thrown away by UK households each year, but also to promote simple, small actions we can all take to help limit our collective food waste. To highlight this year’s initiative, I reached out to Danielle Close, founder of the sustainable skincare brand My Skin Feels, who you may have been introduced to in my recent coverage of conscious beauty brands to watch out for


My Skin Feels has a central aim – fighting food waste, one skincare routine at a time. Formulated using the by-products of ingredients you’d find in your kitchen on any given day, Danielle launched a range of skincare products determined to make a difference, both to your complexion and our planet. In this interview, we dive into the brand’s “rescued food” approach, Danielle’s tips for eliminating food waste at home and the surprising potential of the humble tomato. 

Hey Danielle, for those not yet familiar with My Skin Feels, could you introduce us to your brand?

I sure can, I’m the founder of My Skin Feels, an award-winning natural skincare brand born in Brighton. Our formulations derive from a unique blend of upcycled by-products from the organic tomato ketchup, olive oil, breakfast oat and orange juice industries, each delivering impressive skin benefits, naturally. 

My Skin Feels was created out of an ongoing journey with anxiety and the importance that my skincare routine has played in my processing. I know first-hand how hard it is to connect with yourself and your feelings when you’re not at your best, My Skin Feels is designed to give customers an easy, effective self-care routine that allows them to do just that.

Founder Danielle Close

We’re pro-healthy aging and don’t believe in over-complicated routines. Instead, we focus on multitasking products that get the job done, with better ingredients, better ethics and less impact on the planet. With a strong focus on sustainability, we’ve worked hard to think about the best option at every touch point, from our ingredients to where our packaging is sourced, all the while working with local businesses in Brighton, Sussex, and the EU. 

Manufactured in the UK at our COSMOS-certified and soon-to-be B Corp factory, our products are packaged sustainably in recyclable aluminium, are over 99% natural, Vegan, free from nasties such as endocrine disruptors and suitable for sensitive skin. 

Our innovative upcycled ingredients are processed in a way that means we get the very best active results, and thanks to our upcycled orange juice waste, we don’t use any new water in our products – one of the industries being waste factors. We’re also big believers in supporting others and we’re proudly giving 1% of sales to the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, helping fight food waste in our community.

What led you down the route of “rescuing food”, as you coin it, for My Skin Feels?

I thought long and hard for three years about whether launching a brand was the right thing to do in this day and age. Does the world really need another skincare brand? I came to the conclusion that we do if it’s the means for a message. So, I set myself on a mission to launch the most sustainable skincare brand possible, to prove it can be done and if I can do it on my own then why are the ‘big guys’ not doing it? 

When the option of using rescued food (aka food waste) came up as an alternative to virgin ingredients, it was an obvious decision. Why wouldn’t you use perfectly good, skin-loving ingredients that actively stop waste from going into the bin and releasing CO2? It was a fairly new process when we launched, so our rescued food comes from the Italian food and drink manufacturing process as, at the time, it was one of the only viable organic options. We are now hoping to move to UK food waste when launching our next products.

Can you share a little about the food waste products that play a key role in your product formulas?

Our rescued food comes from the Italian food and drink manufacturing process, including by-products of tomato ketchup, olive oil, orange juice and breakfast oats – it’s like a weird salad that you would never eat, but it’s super good for your skin. 

We rescue the leftover skins from juicy organic tomatoes (the best toms in our opinion) that go to make ketchup, puree and sauce. They include a super high dose of antioxidants and Vitamin C helping your skin to fight free radicals and pollution, leaving it bright, glowing and radiant.

Our rescued olive oil ingredient comes from the pressing of organic Italian olive oil. We take the ‘cake’ otherwise known as the pomace, which is the leftover pressed olives and packed with antioxidants. It’s what makes our moisturiser so silky smooth and perfect under makeup, helping to nourish, soothe and deeply hydrate your skin.

Olive oil food waste is upcycled as a central ingredient in the brand's award-winning daily moisturiser

Our active ingredient comes from our rescued breakfast oats. We take the stalk of the oats, also known as the ‘frass’, and pop them in a two-fold fermentation process (a bit like kombucha) to break down the cell wall of the plant. This releases a host of amazing antimicrobial and prebiotic properties and increases their amino acid content. A hero ingredient, it helps to soothe inflammation and balance blemishes, breakouts and oily skin, while restoring and preventing dryness. It’s literally an all-rounder and all skin types can benefit from the humble oat, I always knew Goldilocks was onto something… 

One of the coolest ingredients, and one of my favourites, is our rescued orange juice, if you look on the back of our packaging at the ingredient list, you’ll see that the first ingredient, the one that is usually ‘Aqua’, is ‘Citrus Nobilis’. This is because instead of new water we take juicy, antioxidant-rich recycled water from the organic fruit juice industry and use it instead. Not only does this save water, (one of the beauty industry’s biggest issues is the overuse of water) but it also helps to brighten and perfect skin tone and texture.

How do you feel that using discarded food produce makes your skincare range unique?

At the moment, there are a few select brands using food waste in their products, it might be one ingredient here and there, but I love that we’ve utilised as much as possible, multiple rescued food ingredients all working in harmony with each other. However, I think the most unique thing about us is the way that we think about the production and creation of our products. We haven’t used food waste to hop on trend or tick a box, we genuinely think if you’re going to launch a brand in this day and age, then you have to be more responsible with what you are putting out into the world – utilising food waste is just one of the ways we can do this.

What’s been the food waste product that surprised you the most in terms of its upcycling abilities? 

Well, we’re working on some uber-exciting plans with new food waste sources that I can’t wait to share with you, but for now, the oat and the olive oil combined are my heroes. We’ve been seeing amazing results on inflamed skin, eczema and psoriasis, and I just love that customers are sharing their results and stories with us. I always wanted to create an inclusive product and I’m so glad that the sensitive skin community is seeing such wonderful results from rescued food that would have otherwise gone in the bin – the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ has never been more fitting.

The MSF food waste-rich face wash - hailed a hero for sensitive skin

Outside of cultivating your award-winning, sustainable skincare brand, how do you eliminate food waste in your home life? Could you share a few realistic tips for our readers?

Honestly, the easiest thing to do is to simply buy less, plan your meals and stick with it. We’re lucky to have so many options for food in our lives and sometimes we forget just how lucky we are to have those options, let alone food. If you can plan your week and meals, you automatically save on food waste, so make this your step one. I also LOVE a tray bake and think you use up way more food when you chuck it all in one tray – check out this book, especially if, like me, you’re not great at cooking (the irony is not lost on me…).

Get a home food compost or find a community one. I’m so lucky that where I live, food waste is a conscious part of life when you look for it. My Skin Feels works with the Brighton and Hove Food Partnerships to give 1% of every sale towards local composting sites and initiatives, allowing everyone to dispose of their food waste in the best way

I am also a huge believer in shopping seasonally as much as possible. It’s not just about the food waste but it’s about the cost of getting the food to you. Be aware of ingredients like apples (a literal UK food-produced plant) that come from South Africa or from further overseas and shop in season, preferably locally too.

Discover the fullMy Skin Feels range here


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