Since DelRae Cicinelli’s father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, she has seen the negative effects of Western medicine.
The 2010 Liberty High School graduate, too, has MS and is doing her best to help people in their shoes. Cicinelli founded Loil Life, which produces organic bath and body care products infused with herbs and essential oils.
“I saw what Western medicine did to him, and I didn’t want to do that,” said Cicinelli, who was diagnosed in 2014. “I think my diagnosis was a blessing in disguise. To me, I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor. I want to be a beacon of hope for someone else.”
Calling herself “medically intuitive,” Cicinelli said she always knew she had multiple sclerosis but wasn’t tested for some time. When she worked at a hospital, she was required to get a flu shot that, she said she believed, caused a multiple sclerosis flare up.
“I lost feeling on the left side of my body,” she said. “I had MRIs and a confirmation that lesions were on my brain. They told me I did have MS.”
Education is the key to multiple sclerosis because, she said, it isn’t spoken about enough.
“It’s not a death sentence,” she said. “You just have to educate yourself and make the best decisions for you.”
The name Loil Life reflects the base of her products — essential oils. She eschewed fragrance for essential oil- and crystal-infused products.
“Crystals have been a big part of my life,” Cicinelli said. “I’m a very spiritual person. It wasn’t something that was regularly accepted by people. But because it’s on trend, people are more accepting of it in the U.S. It was time for my full self to come into the brand.
“I take crystals, cleanse them, and charge them into the moonlight.”
Her products run the gamut, from lip balm ($6) to herbal toner ($24).
“We want to encourage you to live a ‘loil’ lifestyle,” she said. “We have products for everybody. In 2014, when I was diagnosed with MS, I found my way to essential oils, and that led me into herbalism. I took the culmination of essential oils and herbalism, and it has brought me to where it is today.”
Cicinelli has a well-rounded education. She earned a pre-med degree from ASU in 2017 and was on her way to becoming a neurosurgeon when she switched gears to herbalism.
“I do believe in Western medicine as well,” she said. “There’s a time and a place for it all. It’s about what works for you.”
A year later, she became a master certified herbalist through the Centre of Excellence in Manchester, England.
“I am focusing more on Western herbalism,” she said.
“You don’t need certifications in the United States to offer traditional herbalist products. You just have to be FDA compliant. I think having that bit of education is really important. As a consumer myself, I would trust someone with a formal education over someone who doesn’t, whether they’re an understudy to a master herbalist or certified through a college.”
Western herbalism focuses on what Arizonans would find in their state, like aloe, creosote and sweet grass. When she studied online through the Centre of Excellence, she learned about herbs that are common in the United Kingdom, like St. John’s Wort.
“It has various complications, so we don’t use it that much in the states,” she said. “It’s either a hard ‘yes’ or a hard ‘no.’ It’s a really controversial herb. Centre of Excellence really pushed that.”
Cicinelli has a brick-and-mortar store in Salon Boutique, 13547 N. Litchfield Road, Suite 38, in Surprise. She also sells her products at makers and farmers markets, and other shops under consignment. Her goal is to be a national brand.
She’ll participate in the Made for Mama Market and Expo from Friday, Nov. 5, to Sunday, Nov. 7, at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
“I’m moving toward more of an apothecary feel,” she said. “It’s going to be a place where you can come in and get dried herbs, rose petals and the like. Guests can make bath soaps or get dried herbs for herbal tea. There are a variety of uses for them.”
Cicinelli still makes all the products herself and works close to 80 hours a week.
“I have two little kids,” she said. “Balance is difficult, but I’m doing it for them. I’m doing it for me, too, as it’s a passion. I’m also doing this for them and their future so we have more time to be together and have financial freedom.
“My husband (Devin) works at the nuclear power plant, and I would love for him to retire and stay home full time with all of us.”