Jennifer Villegas Sanford has been experimenting with creating her own recipes for skin care since she was a teen. First for herself, to try and find something to help clear up her acne. Later, as a mother she returned to her kitchen to cook up a remedy for her infant daughter’s eczema. Not surprisingly, she was successful. As she delved into what might have caused the eczema, the harsh chemicals in the family’s laundry detergent became the prime suspect.
Jennifer’s experience led to more research and eventually propelled her on the path to attaining her 500-hour yoga & meditation teacher certification – which included a section on Ayurvedic medicine.
As Jennifer’s daughters grew up, they showed a strong interest in face masks. Jennifer was alarmed when she realized that the masks were laden with chemicals and preservatives for a long shelf life. This previously unquestioned norm suddenly became unacceptable. Sanford recalled her earlier successes with her own acne and her daughter’s eczema and embraced what she had learned then: True skin health comes from nature, prepared in the kitchen, not in a laboratory. To gain expertise in the health-supportive aspects of food, she became certified in Food Therapeutics, and trained intensively for six months as a Health Supportive Culinary Arts Chef, earning her diploma and completing a 100-hour internship at the organic, wellness-focused, fresh meal delivery service Provenance Meals. Armed with this information, along with the traditional Ayurvedic medicine teachings, Jennifer established .
We could talk about Jennifer and S H I M M E R C H E F products for days! We love their commitment to utilizing fresh, organic plants to create pre and probiotic-friendly skin care products, that like fresh produce, has an expiration date. Paraphrasing Jennifer, “if it can sit on a shelf for years, it probably won’t do your body much good.” Keep reading to learn more about Jennifer’s company and the products they make for your skin (the body’s largest organ)!
Why are you proud of your MADE SAFE certification?We are extremely proud of our MADE SAFE certification because we view MADE SAFE as the gold standard for ensuring certified products are 100% nontoxic, safe, and healthy for consumers. Getting this certification entailed an intensive examination of each ingredient in our formulas – from their origin to how they were processed. We saw firsthand just how diligent MADE SAFE is about certifying products, and how dedicated they are to making the marketplace healthier for all of us. It is truly an honor that S H I M M E R C H E F lives up to their standards.
Why is it important to have third-party validation for your products?The beauty & wellness industry is flooded with false promises with very little regulation. We want our consumers to know that we stand by our promises, and they can feel confident that our formulas are truly safe and healthy for themselves and for their loved ones.
Why did you start your company?
As a mother of four young daughters who are obsessed with beauty masks and lotions, I became concerned with what they were putting on their skin. Even the neon-colored facial masks were labeled “healthy,” but had ingredient lists filled with unhealthy, unrecognizable chemicals. This brought out my protective instincts, and inspired me to create S H I M M E R C H E F – a fresh, organic, totally preservative-free skin and haircare line.
What do you wish shoppers thought about more, and why?
I wish shoppers were more aware of the connection between what we put on our skin and our health. During my 500-hour yoga/meditation certification and my professional Culinary Chef training, we studied Ayurvedic principles that highlight the link between skin and health. I was fascinated and motivated by the fact that our skin is our body’s largest organ, a gatekeeper to our health, and a direct link to how we feel. This knowledge is empowering because with it we can choose products we put on our skin and scalp that make us healthier and feel better.
I also wish shoppers had more information about the importance of using fresh, organic, fermented skin and scalp care products. S H I M M E R C H E F’s formulas use cutting edge science coupled with ancient Ayurvedic principles that prove how effective and necessary these products can be to living a healthy life. I’m hopeful that as information becomes more accessible to consumers, and more authentically healthy products become available they will naturally gravitate towards products like ours. In the meantime, we are thrilled to be a pioneer in this growing field.
What’s the one product in your line you can’t live without, and why?
I feel a bit like I’m having to choose my favorite daughter! My choice varies from day to day, but in the end, they are all my favorite. As for the nine products in the S H I M M E R C H E F line, I’ve become so in tune with my skin, scalp, and hair needs that I focus on the product dedicated to addressing that issue. But I never go without our Grapefruit Glacé Morning Face & Body Balm, and our Bergamot Beurre Evening Face & Body Balm. Without these balms It would be like going an entire day without water! These two products deliver fresh, nutrient-dense, feel-good ingredients to my skin. I love that I can use these balms from my face to my fingertips to my feet, and that my skin shimmers from nature’s best bounty.
What have you done to make your life healthier, and why?
I’d like to pretend I’ve always lived a healthy lifestyle. I grew up as a competitive soccer player, then a marathon runner, and now I’m a role model to my daughters. But I must admit donuts are my favorite food!
There have been two phases in my life when I sought healthier options. The first was in my teens when I developed cystic acne. I’m Mexican American and my olive skin tends to breakout. I started exploring with homemade masks, and they made a big difference in the frequency of the breakouts. My most effective recipe was a cornmeal and egg yolk mask, which became the inspiration for our Honey Lime Polenta Face and Neck Plaster (the egg yolk was replaced by organic golden flaxseed).
The second phase began 12 years ago when my youngest daughter contracted Bacterial Meningitis and lost her hearing. After several years of exhausting rehabilitation and constant worry, I realized I had to start taking better care of myself. I enrolled in yoga class and felt the sadness and strain ease little by little. Yoga became critical to my well-being. I went on to earn 500 hours certification in yoga and meditation. Both tools are crucial to keeping me mentally and physically strong. I also use S H I M M E R C H E F products exclusively as they help me look and feel happier and healthier.
Thank you, Jennifer, for helping us introduce the MADE SAFE community to S H I M M E R C H E F. We’re so thrilled to share about these MADE SAFE Certified products!
► For a current list of MADE SAFE® certified products from S H I M M E R C H E F, visit this page.