Ilhaam's Biozest Story

The inspiration of the business began in 2010 when Ilhaam was the Head of the Fine Art Department at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town.  As an art educator with 20 years of experience she realised that despite the new media developments within the art world, oil painting was here to stay. She was pregnant at the time, which made her ultra-aware of the toxic properties of regular crude turpentine, which was the standard painting medium and paintbrush cleaner for art students. Although they practiced the recycling of odourless turps, the sediment still ended up in landfills and most of them continued to suffer from degrees of toxicity contained in this product.

Collectively, Ilhaam and her students struggled to tolerate the fumes and inhalation of the vapours led to symptoms such as burning of their eyes, nose, throat, as well as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. She conducted research on the effect of turps and learnt that long-term exposure to it can impact fetal development and repeated exposure may damage the kidneys, bladder and nervous system and even contribute towards respiratory cancer. She discovered that the ingestion of as little as 15 ml by a child can cause gastrointestinal burning and pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and can even lead to fatality. Ilhaam felt responsible about the limitations of recycling turpentine and its impact on herself, her unborn child, the students and the environment.

She then conducted market research and found imported products at prices that her students could not afford. She collaborated with a biochemist and together they formulated an oil painting medium and paintbrush cleaner which artists have used with great satisfaction for the last ten years. Due to the success of Biozest, Ilhaam and her team are developing new ranges, expanding their business and making their products available throughout South Africa via their new and exciting ecommerce platform.

So, if you have a strong desire to paint with oils, but you cannot tolerate the fumes or toxicity of Turpentine, visit and place your order now.