The story of Vanessa Megan: My best friend uttered one line to me when she was dying of cancer that changed my life. Now it’s at the core of my multi-million dollar skincare business

Vanessa Lindon lives by the motto: “Never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth.”

The 51-year-old was inspired by a quote told to her by her best friend Mel, who died of cancer almost 20 years ago, and uses it as the ethos of her natural skincare brand Vanessa Megan.

She’s always been a fan of natural remedies, ever since she grew up on a farm in rural Western Australia, treating spider bites with honey.

She also studied biochemistry and herbology to find non-toxic skin care products for Mel while she was undergoing treatment.

Vanessa told FEMAIL that she started creating natural ‘food-grade’ skincare products as a hobby while working as an actress and model alongside big names in the business.

In 2013, she introduced Vanessa Megan to a loyal following, which she gained by selling her products at Bondi Markets and talking to women about their beauty and skin concerns.

The brand is now a multimillion-dollar empire, with sales growing by 70 percent since last October alone.

Vanessa Lindon (pictured) launched her own skincare brand, Vanessa Megan, after years of developing her own all-natural

Vanessa Lindon (pictured) launched her own skincare brand, Vanessa Megan, after years of developing her own all-natural “food grade” products.

Vanessa’s deep understanding of what’s harmful in big brand skin care products and the natural ingredients we should use instead is based on years of research and a keen interest in non-synthetic chemicals.

She began researching natural ingredients when Mel was battling aggressive melanoma because she wanted to know which chemicals would help and which would harm her health during treatment.

“Mel was such a protector. She was a vegetarian and had always been very healthy, but she was eventually struck down by melanoma. It has spread to the lymph (nodes) and brain. It was pretty damn fast,” she recalls.

“It was that time when I saw it fade so quickly that I felt and understood what skin care is.

“I couldn’t believe we weren’t aware of this and that all these ingredients existed. We treat food very well, as if we know what fats, carbohydrates and sugars are.”

Vanessa said she “went down the rabbit hole of biochemistry” and dove head first into learning about the most beneficial non-synthetic ingredients and how they affect the skin.

What she found was disturbing.

She has always been a fan of natural products, from her days growing up on a farm to her studies in search of non-toxic skin care products for her best friend Mel, who was undergoing cancer treatment.

She has always been a fan of natural products, from her days growing up on a farm to her studies in search of non-toxic skin care products for her best friend Mel, who was undergoing cancer treatment.

“Mineral oil, which is produced under the guise of liquid paraffin, is a petrochemical product. It is the second leading cause of aging and is more carcinogenic than smoking. It’s like putting Glad Wrap on your skin so that nothing good is left,” Vanessa explained.

Parabens have been another ingredient used in many cosmetic and skin care products; Vanessa avoids it because it is associated with breast cancer.

“Parabens are an estrogen-mimicking ingredient. They are used in deodorants and when people apply them under their arms. It’s very close to breast tissue,” she said.

“They find parabens in the tumors of breast cancer patients. That’s why we see a lot of paraben-free products now. They are also associated with hormonal imbalances.”

In accordance with Partners in Breast Cancer PreventionSeveral studies have shown that parabens found in sunscreens, cosmetics and even mouthwash can affect normal breast cells and potentially lead to abnormal growth.

“Another ingredient that scares the crap out of me is phthalates, which are found in perfumes and are very toxic,” Vanessa added.

“Perfume is a melting pot of toxins. They use synthetic toxic ingredients that eliminate bad odors so you only smell good.”

Vanessa began creating natural skin care products as a hobby while working as an actress and model, where she worked alongside famous names in the business.

Vanessa began creating natural skin care products as a hobby while working as an actress and model, where she worked alongside famous names in the business.

In her teens and early twenties, Vanessa traveled the world, modeling with the likes of Claudia Schiffer in Paris, when she suddenly had a change of heart.

“When I was 23 years old, I experienced a midlife crisis. I just thought there was more to life than just a coat rack, I wanted to be a little more creative,” she said.

Vanessa focused her attention on acting. She graduated from NIDA and landed roles in the US and Australia, but continued to pursue her skincare hobby on the side.

“I worked with Ray Liotta and Dom Purcell, some big names, which was very interesting, but at the same time I was doing my skincare on the side, going to the Bondi markets and talking to women about what they were putting on their skin,” said she.

In her twenties and thirties, she bought ingredients and herbs in bulk to make medicine for her then-partner’s migraines, eczema, and psoriasis.

“A friend asked me what I do on the weekend. I said, “I’m making cream for (my partner), and she’s like, “You’re not.” I just thought that since I’ve been making cream for eight years, everyone makes cream, right?” She said.

Vanessa immediately invited all her friends to teach them how to make their own skin care products.

“They brought their Tupperware containers. Some had a calculator, some measured, some poured. They saw the raw ingredients and we made the cream,” she said.

“These were really smart, savvy women from Sydney’s eastern suburbs and they didn’t know what they were putting on their skin.”

Vanessa began selling her homemade products at Bondi markets and spreading the word about what she had learned.

In 2013, she began bottling and selling her homemade products under the name Vanessa Megan at Bondi markets, educating women about her skincare knowledge.

“It was like a forest fire.  Within six months the product had moved from Bondi markets to health food stores locally and nationally, and within a year internationally,” she said.

In 2013, she began bottling and selling her homemade products under the name Vanessa Megan at Bondi markets, educating women about her skincare knowledge.

“I’ve always pushed the issue of education, but people would say, ‘Well, you’re educating me, now give me something to solve this problem,’” she said.

In 2013, she began bottling and selling her homemade products under the name Vanessa Megan at Bondi markets, while educating women about her skincare knowledge.

“I did a lot of market research when I worked in the markets. People come up and say, “You’ve got this.” How about this?”, “My child is being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Is there anything you can do? and I was like, ‘Yeah, come back next week and I’ll get something,'” she said.

“It was like a forest fire. Within six months it moved from Bondi markets to health food stores locally and nationally, and then internationally within a year,” she said.

Vanessa’s acting career took a downturn when she met her husband and started having children, so she focused entirely on growing her brand.

“We weren’t really quite sure where we belonged in Australia. We raised the brand and it was too expensive for health food stores and we didn’t necessarily want to go to big department stores,” she said.

Vanessa marketed her products to luxury spas, who began using Vanessa Megan’s products for their clients.

Over the past four years, Vanessa Megan has earned over $8 million, and her biggest month just brought her $500,000 in September.

Over the past four years, Vanessa Megan has earned over $8 million, and her biggest month just brought her $500,000 in September.

Vanessa still sells the cream she made for her ex-partner to treat his eczema and psoriasis: “I knew it worked and now it’s our rose and calendula facial moisturizer.”

Vanessa still sells the cream she made for her ex-partner to treat his eczema and psoriasis: “I knew it worked and now it’s our rose and calendula facial moisturizer.”

“A lot of people don’t know this brand exists, so when people go to the spa and try it out and put it on their skin, they say, ‘Oh my god, this really works on my skin,'” Vanessa said.

Over the past four years, Vanessa Megan has earned over $8 million, and her biggest month just brought her $500,000 in September.

Under this brand, Vanessa still sells the cream that she prepared for her ex-partner many years ago.

“I would make this cream and his eczema would go away.” I knew it worked and now this is our rose and calendula facial moisturizer. I’ve always kept it because it’s soothing and calming,” she said.

Vanessa’s best-selling product over the past two weeks has been Metamorphosis The Other Lips Balm, which only went on sale last month.

With overseas opportunities to further scale the business, Vanessa Megan is looking to raise capital to expand business growth. The company hopes to raise up to $1.4 million through Birchal’s Equity Crowdfunding platform.