We’re lucky enough to meet so many mums and mums-to-be in the salon - including our very own director Olivia. So this makes us doubly excited for our new product line launch both in the salon and online. Dani Kenney is a California-native, a mum herself and the founder of her range of beautifully natural baby and skin products, which we’re proud to introduce!
After struggling to find gentle, plant-based products to use whilst pregnant and with a small baby, Dani combined her passion for wellness and sustainability into a business - and a self-titled line of products that include everything from a nourishing stretch mark butter to a super gentle baby bum balm and shampoo. We’re really excited about these simple, natural products so we thought we’d have a catch up with Dani to give you a little more insight into her brand (and her life).
What inspired you to start making organic mum and baby products?
It started from a place of need when I became pregnant. I noticed that, while I had all of these lovely natural skincare products, some of them had essential oils or ingredients that were questionable or not safe for pregnancy. Plants are very powerful and most pregnant women would have no idea that jasmine, for example, while one of my favourite scents, is a little risky to use during pregnancy because it can cause contractions. Using certain essential oils, such as this and others like clary sage, can be great to stimulate labour if you go over your due date, but should not be toyed with before that point.
So I made products for myself that I could use during pregnancy, without having to worry. And then I just got inspired to make a whole line, so that my baby and I (and the world!) could enjoy safe products after pregnancy too. With a background as a classically trained chef and a focus in holistic nutrition, I had enough knowledge and skill to be able to do this, and I just continued to research and experiment more and more until I created a line of which I am very proud.
What do you think is missing/brands are getting wrong with baby products?
I think there are definitely natural products for mums and babies out there, but all of them seemed to be missing something in my opinion. There did not appear to be skincare products dedicated to pregnant women. Certainly nothing that felt luxurious. Natural bum balms and nipple butters are really the only things I came across, where I approved of the ingredients. There are a couple of good brands out there for that. But baby soaps even while claiming to be natural, all dried out my baby’s skin. That’s why I formulated my soap that is gentle and only has a few ingredients. Once I started using our baby soap on him, his dry skin went away. It’s really as simple as keeping it simple.
What do you do to unwind?
Balance is essential to me. I work hard and I play hard. But playing for me mostly means relaxing! As a new mum, it can be somewhat of a juggling act. I love a good date night with my husband. My favourite evenings with him are simple. Italian food with a little wine, and I’m a happy girl. As a new mum, we often have date night in. What matters is making that time and dedicating it to each other. My husband and I both believe that it’s crucial to nurture our relationship - and ourselves - because that is the foundation in which we can be better parents and better people. On regular evenings I make time for myself to have a hot bath. When my baby was just born this went out the window for a bit, but after a few weeks I was able to pull his bassinet by my tub while he was napping. Now, he is nearly four months old and I can leave the door open and hear him napping in his crib while I bathe. My view on this is that if it’s important to you (which self care is to me), you can make time for it. It’s all about getting creative with the how.
We know wellbeing is important to you - what kind of natural practices do you do in your everyday life?
I like to take walks with my family everyday if possible, I love kundalini yoga (as a new mum yoga DVDs are great), I like to swim and I always try to eat well. But I’m not rigid about it either. I eat for both health and pleasure. It comes back to balance again here for me. I eat lots of salads and greens, juices and smoothies (I try to get medicinal foods and superfoods in there when I can, like spirulina, chaga mushroom powder, etc.), and then I love a little bit of comfort food here and there too. But eating well can be both simple and comforting. Most nights I cook very basic meals, like greens, quinoa and grilled chicken. Or a vegetable stir fry with tempeh. I try to make bone broth often and drink a cup of that a day for good health. Now I only really use my own products on my body, on my baby’s body and in our home.
What’s the best thing about being a mum?
This question is hard to answer, because there are so many wonderful layers to motherhood, some of which are also very challenging. But I’ve thought a lot about this. I think the answer for me is getting to know and love another human being so intimately. The more you love and attend to your baby, the happier and healthier they are. It’s another source of nourishment, like food. It’s amazing to be able to give so much to another without holding back. And I love learning and discovering new things about my son as he develops. He is just a pure soul, fresh off the boat in this little body.
There is no judgement from me when he poops, no judgement when he cries, no judgement of what he looks like. And there is no judgment from him (“yet” at least!) of me being a crazy goof ball with him either. I love that it’s just pure, raw, non-judging love on both ends. He also teaches me lessons, like a wise old guru, without having to say anything. I learn patience more everyday, and I have to let go of planning and live more in the present moment. There is something very beautiful in letting go of selfishness and placing someone else’s needs ahead of your own. And also in letting your child teach you things about yourself. I am constantly growing from the lessons he gives me daily - like learning patience for example. And I cannot wait to show him this world when he is a little older. I love that having a baby gives you what yogis call “beginner’s mind”—essentially forcing you to see the world with new eyes again. Having a baby is very much a spiritual practice of unlearning and un-programming of ego-centric, fear-based living and replacing it with heart-centered living of being present, loving, accepting and letting go.
If you had to pick one product out of your range that you couldn’t live without what would it be?
For me personally, I guess I would have to say my serum or belly butter. I use my serum everyday but when I run out or also when I was in my first trimester, I used my belly butter as a moisturiser. Both have such good nutrients for the skin. I also keep the bum balm in my diaper bag and use that as a moisturiser in a pinch. For the home, my Clearing Space cleaner is a saviour, as it can clean nearly every surface (counters, carpets, wood, leather, etc.) and keeps germs away from my baby, while also keeping my mind at ease that I’m not bringing toxins around him.
I am also very much a fan of our Canyon Soap and baby soap, Soft Suds. Our soaps can be used both in the shower and in hand washing dishes! But I have to say, for new mamas, Vajay Spray is the must-have product! After delivering your baby it helps with the healing so much down there. And it is so soothing too. I blended essential oil hydrosols based on ancient Native American healing wisdom, and threw in aloe and other soothing plants for relief as well. I used an entire bottle in my postpartum healing, and not a drop was wasted. But if you do happen to have extra, it doubles as a lovely face toner for your skin!
Product Images: Rosie Herdman for Glasshouse Journal