Brisbane News Magazine February 21 - 27, 2018. ISSUE 1165

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Balm for the soul Andrea Ripper The worst of times has brought unexpected blessings for bayside blogger and beauty company founder Kirsten Smith. More than two years ago Kirsten was struck down with idiopathic intracranial hypertension – a build-up of fluid on the brain that can cause blindness if untreated. Losing sight and battling migraines and balance problems, Kirsten, a mother of two and blogger, had to take daily cocktails of drugs that left her skin so dry nothing would soothe it. “It (the disease) was something I’d never heard of. They don’t really know what causes it and there’s not really a cure for it,” says Kirsten, 44, of Thornlands. Enter her knight in shining armour, husband Scott, who blends automotive chemicals for a living. At her request, he created a special blend of natural oils to soothe her parched skin. “I just said to Scott one night, ‘I just can’t find anything to nourish my skin … Can you do the opposite of what you’ve done, can you make me something completely natural?’ “He looked into different oils and things and he made up a blend and I started using it and people started commenting on how good my skin looked and after a few weeks it really improved.”

That was the start of Skin Boss, which launched in July last year with a range of plant-based face and body oils that are now in demand throughout Australia and NZ, with growing interest from the US. “We’ve just been overwhelmed by how popular it is,” says Kirsten. “It’s sort of accidental skincare. It was purely a personal thing to begin with and now we’re helping hundreds of women and men.” Skin Boss’s three body oils and two face oils are packaged in the family’s Thornlands home, with son Bailey, 16, and daughter Sophie, 13, helping out when needed. A lip balm is in the pipeline, and Scott is perfecting a couple of other products they hope to release by Mother’s Day. These days the disease is in remission and Kirsten, originally an early childhood teacher, still shares her daily outfits with her almost 7000 followers via @kirstenandco on Instagram. Losing 28kg since diagnosis has also helped her recovery. “I am a bit too busy some days but it’s such a blessing,” she says. “I’m so grateful for it. I could never have done this even 12 months ago so to have the energy for this is something I’m really grateful for.” SEE and