Mexico woman creates a line of natural skin care products

Mexico woman creates a line of natural skin care products
Emily Stuart shows off some of her selection at The Gift Bar. [Dave Faries]
Dave Faries

Red dye and wrestling led to Emily Stuart selling soaps, lotions and other natural products at The Gift Bar in Mexico.

MLE Natural Wellness is a small batch operation, and Stuart plans to keep it that way. She is busy enough in the radiology department at SSM St. Mary’s Hospital in Mexico. Still, Stuart crafts a diverse line that includes fragrances, scrubs, pain relief, lip balms – “and I’ve dabbled in candles,” she said.

Aside from what she makes for family and friends, Stuart produces just enough to stock a shelf at the eclectic shop on downtown’s square.

So where do dyes and scholastic sports fit in? MLE Natural Wellness began when Stuart discovered her son was allergic to artificial coloring. She quickly learned that red dyes are found in a surprising number of products.

“That got me looking at ingredients and what they do to us and for us,” she recalled.

Herbs, honey, beeswax, clay and other natural ingredients have been used for millennia in the making of soaps and medicines, of course. Stuart points out that topical medicines work when healing properties are absorbed into the skin.

“All those harsh chemicals [in many commercially prepared skin care products], they’re also absorbed,” she added. “That’s something to think about.”

As a healthcare professional, Stuart could rely on her research skills. But she also had a resource close at hand. She turned to her aunt, Brenda Nichols of Centralia, a longtime home soap maker for some recipe ideas and went from there.

The soaps, lotions and such made for welcome holiday gifts, and that’s where Stuart thought it would remain – until she took her son to wrestling practice.

Alexis Burnett had a son on the squad, as well as an interest in Stuart’s handiwork.

“She said ‘I’m going to open my own store and I am going to sell your products,’” Stuart said. “It’s nothing I planned. It’s funny how things work out.”

So the story of MLE Natural Wellness is one of timing – happenstance, maybe. But the purpose remains simple: to help people and to shed awareness on the healing powers found in nature, applied as soothing lotions, essential oil sprays and even sugar scrubs.

“Sugar is not good to eat, but it is really good for your skin – a natural exfoliant,” Stuart observed. “A good skin care regime is preventative maintenance, really.”

Stuart’s recipes continue to evolve from the foundation provided by her aunt. She enjoys working with different herbs and natural fragrances. She also considers it a constant learning process.
Research leads to more research.

“You find yourself with all this other knowledge,” Stuart said. “It’s a snowball effect.”

And it all started to roll because of artificial dye and wrestling practice.

MLE Natural Wellness products can be found at The Gift Bar, 122 W. Jackson St., Mexico.


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