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Meet Tracey Ryan, Herbal Alchemist and Master Formulator

by Codex Beauty Labs

Tracey Ryan

Where did you grow up?

“I grew up in the midlands of Ireland in County Tipperary. It’s a very rural part of a very rural country! I grew up surrounded by fields and mountains. There were always plants around me and I was always fascinated by them. We used to visit my great grandmother in County Cork each summer, in the tiny little village my grandmother grew up in, and I was never happier than when foraging around the fields and hedgerows surrounding her little cottage. She kept hens and grew vegetables, rhubarb and berries, and I thought it was the most perfect life.”


What are your earliest beauty memories?

“Standing in my grandmother’s bathroom with the door locked mixing all of her creams together to make ‘potions.’ I would set myself up in front of the mirror and narrate the whole process as if I was on a TV cooking show. ‘A little bit of this and a touch of that…’ And then lathering the finished product all over my face!”


Any beauty lessons that stuck with you?

“Yes, simplicity. My mother never wore make up but took good care of her skin. My grandmother wore a little makeup, but again, took very good care of her skin and used simple, beautiful products, like rose oil. They taught me to always, always moisturize and do a good cleanse before bed. And what you eat or drink has a huge effect on your skin. So it’s all about getting the basics right.”


What exactly is an herbal alchemist? Can you define what you do?   

“An herbal alchemist is someone who draws from the ancient wisdom of plant medicine and blends this with modern scientific knowledge to create something very special! Since I was a child, I’ve always experienced a deep affinity with plants. I love to be surrounded by them, to be lost in nature, and to forage in the wilderness. As soon as I started to study horticulture, I felt home. If there’s an old tale about a certain plant or a cure passed down over time, for example, I like to look at what constituents are in this plant. Then I think about how this plant matter can be best absorbed into the skin, how it can be carried, and if it will work synergistically with other ingredients. What I do is mostly science but there’s a little bit of magic or alchemy involved, too!”

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