About me

Photograph of Mike Harmon, the author of Off Your Face Creams.
Mike Harmon, author of Off Your Face Creams

I’m Mike Harmon and I started dabbling around with a massage course over 30 years years ago. One of the massage oil blends we used with Sweet Almond Oil was Rosemary, Lavender and Geranium. It has stayed with me for decades and even now, that aroma takes me back to those days decades ago.

From there, I decided I wanted to know more about these essential oils and may I remind, you that in the 1980’s, that meant books. The World Wide Web did not go live to the world until mid 1991. No quick and easy searching on the internet for me!

What that did mean though was the books I found in libraries were, generally speaking, very knowledgeable and of good quality compared to the copy and paste stuff that is all too easy to find on the web today. I also sought out teachers with a good reputation. I was very lucky and started my training to become who I am now.

I spent 8 years studying Clinical Aromatherapy and in that time also studied Reflexology, Hand Reflexology, Auricular Reflexology and Diagnostic Reflexology.

Swedish Massage, Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage and my “go to” massage technique taking elements of many types of massage.

A 4 year Iridology course was next and just after that, I started my training in Cosmetology. That became my new obsession (that’s not too strong a word) because I could finally see how to blend my lipid and essential oil knowledge into desirable products that anyone could use.

It was during that time that I met my late partner Albert. I was living in London and he lived in Germany. So began the two city relationship for several years.

He was Dutch and grew his own cannabis – my first introduction to the herb. Albert worked in mental health care which probably explains how he managed with me!

He had peripheral neuropathy in his feet and I used to make a regular foot cream that helped with his foot problems. One day, I decided that instead of making the foot cream for him, he should learn to make it for himself. I was going to bring the emulsifier and preservative but told him to get in a good olive oil in for when I got there. Olive Oil is brilliant in foot creams.

When I arrived, Albert had gone to the delicatessen and bought a rosemary, chilli and garlic infused olive oil to use. Uhm, no – not a good idea. Just plain olive oil please.

Albert had a freshly dried harvest of cannabis that week and he asked if it could be used in making creams. I honestly had no idea but having macerated calendula petals in sunflower oil successfully, I guessed the answer would be yes.

Over the next few weeks, we macerated his harvest in a range of different vegetable oils. We used one to make up a face cream. Our first experiment in combining cannabis and skincare formulations. It was a huge success.

Albert applied it liberally all over and half an hour later it was starting to kick in. I have an everlasting memory of this gorgeous man grinning at himself in the mirror and saying “I don’t know how fast this beauty cream works, but I feel GORGEOUS!” and then rolling around the floor laughing. He coined the phrase Off Your Face Cream.

A photograph of Albert in Amsterdam, who first coined the phrase

I started my company Skinbuddy. That business name has now been taken on after I closed it down and the current company has no links or affiliations with me or what I write about. Not long after, I started supplying my lotions and potions to the spas at Aman Hotels. That was a great success and very quickly and Conde Nast Traveller rated the spa experience as one of the best in the world at that time.

A photograph of the author with his dear friend Dr Arnold Klein

I became friends with Dr Arnold Klein in Los Angeles and met many of his close friends – so much Hollywood royalty! I designed products for the late Michael Jackson and late Dame Elizabeth Taylor – and yes, the Elizabeth Taylor eyes were stunning! That whole period of time was such a whirlwind that I am glad that someone took some photos to remind me.

A photo of the author with Dame Elizabeth Taylor at the grand birthday party in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

 This picture was taken at one of her incredible birthday parties. I’m behind Elizabeth (it was when I had hair) and I think I am leaning on the others in the group – the Mai Tai’s were flowing quite freely! It was at that party that Elizabeth suggested the tagline for my Skinbuddy brand “naturally your skin’s best friend”.

However, when back in London, I missed learning something new. I told you I was obsessive! I decided to become a Naturopath and part of that would involve learning Colonic Hydrotherapy. I loved it! Finally, a combination of treatments that helped people inside and outside – it really did fit into my integrated health concept quite well. I did learn though that it was a good idea to keep the marketing separate. Not everyone wanted to know that the person who made their eye gel had also been washing out someone’s butt! On different days of course.

I closed down my Skinbuddy company and finally semi retired, moving  to a country where people grew cannabis legally. The old ways that Albert and I made our creams could now be updated as so much more is known now. I don’t think we even knew the word decarboxylation back then. So that became my next obsession, getting up to speed with what was new to me and also experimenting with making the cannabis cosmetics.

The preservatives and emulsifiers have changed a lot over the last 3 decades, but that was a comfortable territory for me already. Apart from doing Research & Development for a company supplying the raw materials, I had been teaching courses on making skin care for over 10 years.

However, when you add a herbal element to an emulsion or gel, you can never say for sure how it will turn out. For example, Coltsfoot herb is great for Naturopathic use but it makes nearly all the gelling agents split when you attempt to make a gel with it. A specific version of cellulose does work though and I learned this through a lot of trial and error. None of this information I needed was out there it seemed.

This book and blog website is the result of a long Covid lockdown in my adopted country and a lot (I mean a LOT) of practice, patience and research. I dedicate this book to the memory of Albert and here it is all ready for you to go off and enjoy.

I think a second book is already going to be my next obsession – well, what’s a lock down without a good obsession?

Disclaimer

The author is not medically qualified nor a doctor. Any information contained in the book, blogs and website associated with the author is intended for entertainment and personal interest only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

These formulations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. Any health concerns that the reader may have should be addressed by a professional medical practitioner. Please consult your doctor for more information and to talk about the dosage and cannabis strains that may help your medical condition(s), if it is legal in your state.

In some countries and in some states, cannabis use and possession is a criminal act. You should make yourself aware of the laws that apply to you. You are responsible for the actions you choose to take. The author does not encourage or condone you using materials that are not legal where you live.