FROM LONDON, WITH LOVE: A BEAUTY GUIDE “MADE IN ENGLAND”, PT. I
Carla Valois Lobo
Before moving to London, I didn’t know many cosmetic brands founded in England, or in the United Kingdom for that matter. When I settled here, however, I came across with a huge variety, I was indeed impressed, especially by the high standards in quality. After two months researching and trying several products, I selected Jo Malone London, Floris London, Atkinsons, Penhaligon’s, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, Burberry and Neal’s Yard Remedies to be in the first part of Morning Beauty’s very own “made in England” beauty guide.
Basil, blueberry, pomegranate, tangerine, ginger and even cucumber. Colognes and moisturisers with surprising ingredients; minimalistic packaging, extremely gracious; sophisticated stores with bicolour furniture; campaigns photographed by Tim Walker. Jo Malone London is, perhaps, the most emblematic brand from the UK; it brings in its products the British elegance, typically sober and without unnecessary extravagances, but very charming.
Even the experience of buying in Jo Malone London it’s different, since in its stores is possible to customize fragrances and, better yet, receive hand massages with creams and oils from the brand. The home range, also amazing, brings scented candles, diffusers, room sprays and linen sprays; the scented candles, by the way, are a tradicional gift to give.
It’s worth to mention, by the way, that all began by chance in the kitchen of Jo Malone MBE, where she did facials. To thank her clients, she created a bath oil with ginger and nutmeg; soon later, in 1994, Jo Malone London opened its first store in 154 Walton Street, in Knightsbridge. The success was so big that, in 1999, Estée Lauder brought part of the brand, buying it completely in 2006.
My experience: I was familiar with Jo Malone London only by name, but it was not until December 2013, when I moved to London, that I became client. Particularly, I love the Pomegranate Noir and Lime Basil & Mandarin colognes, both fruity, and the floral Peony & Blush Suede cologne. I’m also using the Pomegranate Noir body moisturiser that, like the fragrance itself, brings pomegranate, lilies and guaiac wood as top, heart and base notes, respectively.
Favourite perfumery and retailer of toiletries and accessories of Mary Shelley and Winston Churchill, Floris London exists since 1730, when was founded, in London, by the Spanish Juan Famenias Floris and his wife, Elizabeth. The first store, established in 89 Jermyn Street, is still open to this day; is worth mentioning that 89 is also the name of the fragrance that, launched in 1951, was the preferred choice of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.
In 1989, none other than Diana, Princess of Wales, inaugurated the factory of the brand in Devon, countryside of England. With 280 years, completed in 2010, Floris London still is managed by the same family, which makes it even more captivating. Besides the perfumes; moisturisers and soaps; shaving creams and aftershaving balm, it still has a home range with scented candles and room fragrances.
My experience: I really enjoyed visiting the store in Jermyn Street. There I met Edward Bodenham, 9th generation of the Floris family, and he showed me the brand’s museum and lab, which is organised chronologically, including a receipt for a purchase by Winston Churchill and a letter from Florence Nightngale, written in 1863. I fell in love completely with the floral Eau de Parfum Sirena, composed by jasmin, bergamot, musk, patchouli, sandalwood and peonies, other fragrance that I loved is Cherry Blossom. I came back home with the marvellous scented candle Cinnamon & Tangerine.
James Atkinson arrived in London in 1799 from Cumberland. He brought with him cologne recipes, instructions to produce his own toiletries and a sizeable quantity of rose-scented bear grease balm. By his side, believe it or not, there was also a REAL live bear. Atkinson then opened his first store – called Atkinsons, naturally – in 44 Gerrard Street, Soho, and soon became a success, especially with men. In 1826, He was proclaimed the Official Perfumer of the Royal Court of England by King George IV and, as well as the monarch, he also had clients such as Beau Brummell and French actress Sarah Bernhardt.
In 1832, Atkinsons inaugurated its new HQ located in an immense building between Old Bond Street and Burlington Gardens, where the brand created the fragrances 24 Old Bond Street, The British Bouquet and The Odd Fellow’s Bouquet, besides others not produced any longer. The rose-scented bear grease, by the way, only stopped to be made after 1918, when the Second World War finished. Following the end of the WWII, Atkinsons was ostracized and, just on September 2013, was relaunched by Perfume Holding.
After this “hibernation”, Atkinsons is producing again its classic fragrances and launched more five new scents: Oud Save the King, Oud Save the Queen, The Nuptial Bouquet, Fashion Decree and Jasmine in Tangerine. The brand now also has a home range of candles and bath items.
My experience: Atkinsons is available in Harrods and Selfridges, where I had the chance to experience its products first-hand. 24 Old Bond Street is great, but quite strong for me, maybe it would be a perfect fit for those who appreciate intense scents. I really enjoyed Oud Saved the Queen, Fashion Decree and Jasmine in Tangerine. In fact, I have the last two fragrances at home.
Claire Vero launched Aurelia Probiotic Skincare in January 2013, without any financial help, a venture completely self-funded. After years of working in the pharmaceutical industry, she hired a team of professionals to formulate the products she had in mind, all of them with probiotics, peptide complex and with no animal testing, mineral oils, parabens, silicons, petrochemicals or sulfates. The brand has now been stocked for over two years on Net-a-Porter and, in London, at Liberty and at Space.NK Apothecary; in Paris, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare is available on Oh My Cream! and, in New York, on Shen.
My experience: it was love at first sight! The philosophy, the packaging and the smell of Aurelia Probiotic Skincare’s products fascinated me imediately. I’m using daily the Miracle Cleanser, the Cell Repair Night Oil, the Refine & Polish Miracle Balm, the Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser, and the Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser; the latter which is my favourite by the way (it moisturises without leaving my skin oily and is perfect as a primer). The Miracle Cleanser is also great, it removes the makeup completely, while the Cell Repair Night Oil smells so good that I even forget that I’m not a huge fan of facial oils. My next step is buying the Cell Revitalise Rose Mask, the Eye Revitalising Duo and the Firm & Revitalise Dry Body Oil.
In an area almost forgotten in Covent Garden, Romy Fraser opened Neal’s Yard Remedies first store, in 1981. There she used to sell dry herbs, essential oils, Bach flower remedies and homeopathic remedies. Four years later, having already launched in Japan, the brand inaugurated a small factory in the south of London; still in 1985, it launched the best-seller product Frankincense & Myrrh Skin Cream, the facial moisturiser called today as Frankincense Nourishing Cream.
In 1986, Neal’s Yard Remedies opened two more stores – nowadays they have 40 retail shops, over 400 stockists, such as John Lewis and Fenwicks –; later, in the beginning of the 90’s, it became the first health and beauty company certified by Soil Association. Since then, the brand has enjoyed steady growth and, in 2006, was sold to Kindersley family, that maintained the organic philosophy and expanded the brand to Australia, South Korea, United States, Hong Kong, Mexico and also Qatar.
Besides the skincare, bodycare and hair care ranges, Neal’s Yard Remedies also produces tea, dried herbs, natural supplements, baby care and makeup. The makeup line, by the way, is about to expand in 2015, as well as the spa, located in Chelsea. The brand was certified carbon neutral, in 2008, by The Carbon Neutral Company and it doesn’t test its products on animals.
My experience: The Wild Rose Beauty Balm is marvellous, currently one of my favourite makeup removers. It cleanses, exfoliates and moisturises the skin, and smells so good (it is prepared with rosehip, geranium, sunflower and rosemary essential oils). The Frankincense Intense Cream is also great: it moisturises, tonifies and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles because it brings peptide complex, gardenia plant stem cells and essential oils of frankincense, bergamot and baobab. Another product that I tried – and approved – is the Organic Greens Complex, superfood in powder that I usually drink with one or two fruits and that helps to detox the body and increases the vitality.
On April 2013, Burberry reacquired the licence of its beauty line after 20 years franchised by Interparfums Inc., and, in less than one year, launched a complete collection of makeup and nail polishes, besides the fragrances My Burberry and Brit Rhythm. On December of the same year, the brand opened its first beauty store in Covent Garden, London, and made partnerships with Sephora, in Paris, and with Selfridges, which has retail shops in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
According to the “Business of Fashion”, Burberry earned £7,2 millions in direct sales with its beauty products launched just in the year following the purchase of the licence; in indirect sales, the amount is close to £144 millions (the fragrances are responsible for 97% of the sum). The brand, nevertheless, stills intends to grow much more: it’s said that in 2015 they’ll introduce a skincare range.
My experience: I went on a tour in the Beauty Box, Burberry’s beauty store in Covent Garden. The store is beautiful and I was able to test some products, including My Burberry, which has notes of pear, bergamot, geranium leaves, patchouli and apricot, and the nail polishes of the Spring-Summer 2015 collection. I really want to come back there to try the foundations and the lipsticks. As several of Burberry’s clothes, the packaging of the makeup line brings the traditional – and charming! – plaid of the brand.
Inspired by the Turkish baths, William Penhaligon created the fragrance Hamman Bouquet in 1872 and, subsequently, in Jermyn Street, Penhaligon’s was founded and stayed there until 1941, when the store was bombed by the Luftwaffe, the Nazi air force, during the Second World War. After came the ostracism and, just in 1975, more than three decades later, is that Sheila Pickes bought and “revived” the brand, now owned by Fox Paine group.
Nowadays, Penhaligon’s has over 40 fragrances and five stores just in London, as well as being available outside the United Kingdom in several other European countries, such as Portugal, France, Spain and Italy. The brand also produces soaps, hand and body moisturisers, bath oils, scented candles and an entire range dedicated to men with shaving creams, aftershave lotions and balms, moustache wax and toiletries, including brushes and razors.
My experience: I visited Penhaligon’s store in Covent Garden to meet the brand properly and, with the help of Sayed, the store manager, I tested some products and smelled almost every fragrance. I haven’t found any scent that I deeply adore, although I did enjoyed Artemisia, Malabah and Empressa. My husband, however, loved the Eau de Toilette Sartorial.
(Leia a matéria em português aqui)