New Zealanders will likely remember Suzy Heazlewood, otherwise known as ‘the Puraz lady’ from television. I was recently sent some of her Suzy H Skin Nutrition to try and was very impressed by the formulas – top ingredients, no nasty fillers … just plenty of ‘the good stuff’. So I was keen to find out more about the brand and the woman behind it.
When did your passion for skin care begin?
I learned about looking after health and beauty from my mum and aunties who are still my biggest female role models to this day! I soaked it all up right from word go. At the age of four I broke into a neighbour’s house to borrow all of her creams and make up! When I was a teenager I read books on healthy skin and beauty as I adored the whole concept of looking after your skin and wellbeing. I was also a postie on and off for 28 years, which is tough on the skin as you are always in the outdoor elements so I have spent most of my life researching what works and what doesn’t in skincare. I went on to sell Nutrimetics, Avon and eventually becoming a skincare specialist cosmetician in Priceline when I came to Australia five years ago. That’s when I became aware of just how expensive some of these products were, despite the fact they didn’t contain many quality ingredients at all.
Just over two years ago I was fortunate enough to be working alongside well known compounding scientist Jack Hammond on the Gold Coast. One day I was in Byron Bay with my husband Dean – it was not long after Charlotte Dawson had taken her life which had really rocked me as Charlotte had been so supportive over the bullying I had received in New Zealand. Dean and I were talking about the importance of me doing more re my passion about anti-bullying. I was also saying how I was so over the exploitation in the beauty industry and Dean said, ‘Suzy, why don’t you make your own range and you can get your message out at the same time?’ Jack was already creating amazing products so I rang him then and there and asked him to create me a range named Suzy H using topical vitamins, glycolics and peptides. It had to be effective but it also had to be affordable. Jack said, ‘Sure it’s a great idea!’ and we were underway – just like that. Dean actually filmed me ringing Jack. I was so excited and still am, as I get so much feedback from women sharing their results and their stories.
Your ingredients lists are really sparse – which is great! It seems to be just the quality ingredients and none of the fillers. Is this part of your philosophy?
Yes, I am incredibly proud of that. When I worked in pharmacy I would read the ingredients on the backs of jars and a lot of the products contained minute amounts of nothing! I was shocked at how companies can actually get away with this. I also know that parabens and sulphates can create sensitivity so wanted to leave out the nasties that are in so many products. I very much believe that once you start using medical grade skincare you never look back and I get lots of fabulous feedback from women who are so pleased to find a product like this. It was very important to me to be able to create a really good skincare that every woman can afford which is why my motto is; ‘No supermodel, fancy packaging or hefty price tag. Simply skincare that works, at a fraction of the cost.’
Of course I love them all but my favourite is Matrixireline 6. It is peptide technology – your day /night/ eye and serum in one. I just love it and it’s great for those who are time poor as well.
You touched on the fact that you were bullied after becoming the ‘Puraz lady’. That must have been very hurtful. How have you overcome the experience?
I’ve realized that even ONE person’s opinion of you (let alone 100 peoples’ opinions) should never change the way you see yourself. If someone is speaking unkindly about you, gossiping or hiding behind negative comments on the internet, it says more about them, than about you. I used what happened to my advantage by creating my own skincare range and anti-bullying foundation, as well as promoting the ‘Sistahood’ group, which is all about women celebrating one another and building each other up, rather than tearing each other down. I give all profits of my coconut oil to reputable charities who also support the same message. ‘Rising from the ashes to shine’ is one on of my mottos and I encourage this as a message for others who feel like they have been mistreated or don’t belong. It is important to value ourselves, to know who we are, and to be strong in that knowledge.
What’s next for you?
‘There is no elevator to success … but it’s more fun on the stairs anyway.’
I never dreamed I would have my own range and I am so grateful that everything turned out the way it did. I have HUGE dreams about Suzy H one day being a worldwide name, not just because it is affordable medical grade skincare that works but because of the reason it came into being. We must stand up for ourselves and what we believe in – which is why after going to ground for a couple of years after the bullying I decided to stop hiding away and find the courage to put myself back into the public eye. I certainly did that when I put my face on every bottle, but it was my way of saying, ‘Hey, here I am and I’m proud of who I am! I also really believe in the brand I’ve created.’ And one day in the not too distant future, I also hope to be back on TV.