Content lecture with Dr. Pauline Hili, founder of Nourish range

I first heard about Nourish range from Erin, who works at my favourite organic beauty store Content. She spoke highly about the range and particularly praised their Argan Skin Rescue Serum, the sample of which I took home with me that day. The consistency of that gel like serum was unlike anything I have tried before and not only did my face love it, but so did the ends of my hair ( thank you for the tip Erin !). My curiosity grew, so when Content was hosting one of their evening lectures, with Dr Pauline Hili, the founder of Nourish range and renowned academic researcher, I left my responsibilities at home and drove to Marylebone.



Finding  a parking spot was treacherous, so huffing and puffing I finally crossed the threshold of the store, where the lecture was already in full swing. A dark haired woman met my gaze and apologetic frown with her wise & kind eyes and instead of feeling annoyed with me, she waited for me to sit down and did a little recap of what she has already said.

Dr Pauline Hili has been working in the field of natural and organic product formulation, so to me she is like a cool professor, brimming with ideas and knowledge ( her particular areas of interest are collagen and elastin support, as well anti-microbial properties of essential oils ), yet you don’t feel overwhelmed or self-conscious in her presence, as she is so passionate about her research, it spreads like a tidal wave over you, making you drink every bit of information like a thirsty traveller.

I certainly learn a lot about vitamins in skincare that night:


Vitamin A ( retinoids ) is great for you, but you do need to be cautious if you apply it before sun exposure. Your first rule should be to know your own skin and its reactions. This vitamin is essential for maintaining smoothness of skin and helping to reduce wrinkles, as it keeps skin’s membranes healthy and is often prescribed for people with acne.

Vitamin B group ( including B3, B5, B7 & B12 ) is responsible for cell metabolism and helps to increase production of ceramides, which are in turn responsible for cell to cell communication, as well as helping to regulate sebum. Dr. Hili said that she actually has ‘a love affair with B3′, while B5 is responsible for replenishment of skin’s nutrients & helps to heal wounds, B7 is great for hair growth, B12 for collagen production ( as things stand at the moment, seven types of collagen have been identified ).

Vitamin C has been historically difficult to stabilise, but it is a very strong antioxidant. It is a component in many of skin’s enzymes, so you need to be careful in how much of it you use-a very sensible caution, considering current love affair with Vitamin C in skincare, as it helps the skin’s radiance. So you need to use only a tiny amount, otherwise you stand the risk of disbalancing your skin. Not all vitamin C containing products are made equal, so do make sure that the one you use has high quality ingredients.

Vitamin D ( or sunshine vitamin ) is lipid soluble but gets depleted with UV pollution-I don’t know about you, but I have definitely noticed that the strength of sunshine has been on the increase. A few years ago I could stay pretty much all day on the beach, using sun protection and drinking plenty of fluids-as things stand now, I make a conscious choice to disappear in the shade between the hours of 12 & 3pm and don’t regret a minute of it. Sun needs to be loved with caution!

Dr Hili told us many fascinating facts and dispensed great advice, looking at each one of us and drawing us in to the conversation, which I for one found absolutely fascinating. Did you know, for example, that you can’t stimulate elastin very easily and need to have consistent skin maintenance, as well as cleaning up your skin regularly from the effect that changes in weather, sunshine and pollution cause. That’s one of the reasons why antioxidants and good diet are essential in keeping us healthy. It’s a good idea to introduce turmeric into your diet, as it has very strong antioxidant properties, as well as aloe vera, which contains polysaccharides aka good sugars.

Did you know that vitamins have different ways of becoming active? That’s one of the main reasons why it took Dr. Hili about a year ( even with her encompassing experience of working and doing research ) to ‘nature & nurture’ the Nourish range, which was created around the idea that our skin is dynamic but each one of us has a) a genetic skin type b) is responsible for her lifestyle, which is very much responsible to not only for how one feels, but how one looks too.

When you choose a product for your skin you need to do it consciously and not absent-mindly, you need to engage and think about various factors, particularly bearing in mind that our skin is not static, it changes all the time. When Dr. Hili asked a question whether each one of us knew her skin type, I confidently started nodding ( mine is combination skin as far as I know-and I do re-asess it from time to time, during the facial or when talking to a dermatologist or a beauty therapist that I trust, as not all of them are trained equal. Same thing applies to sales people-do I trust Content staff? Absolutely YES! Space NK? A very definite NO!

You fundamental base principle should be to bring your skin into balance-sometimes you might need Vitamin C, for protection, radiance and brightening effect, sometimes you should go for Vitamin E, ginger and lavender oils that help the skin ‘to relax’ .

Did you know that British companies in general aren’t great at using the ‘waste’ chain, while French are fantastic about using food extracts-take an example of Caudalie and using grapes, pips and skins in order to harness their power and put them into skincare.

The lecture definitely reinforced the idea of good daily cleansing and importance of supplementation( Dr. Hili recently recommended bilberry to me, which is great for eye health and I am ordering a bottle of Solgar’s Bilberry Ginko Eyebright Complex  as soon as I can ). Our skin, like our body, is self-regulating, so you should form a habit of examining your face in the mirror daily-not because of vanity, but so that you know what’s normal for you and when you notice changes, you react to them, hence assisting your skin and not working against it. ‘I am into optimums, rather than mores’ stated Dr. Hili and I couldn’t agree more with her. She also added that ‘good skin starts with good diet. Eat less, live longer’ and again, that really does resonate. There were less obese people when I was growing up and what was once considered chubby is now becoming an obesity epidemic to which not doctors, but people need to respond. Big Mac might taste good but it’s not good for you or for your health, it doesn’t bring nutrients, if anything it overwhelms your body with sugars and toxins that will take some time for your body to shift. Dr. Hili suggests a detoxing or fasting day once a week, giving your gut a rest and allowing yourself to benefit from it long-term.

You don’t meet people like Dr Hili often, who are kind and knowledgeable, who talk to you at your own level, without presenting themselves superior to you because they have the knowledge that you don’t; what you get instead is a wonderfully educational lesson from the person who continues to evolve and remains curious, who generates ideas and shares them with the world. To me that seems like a priceless gift of humanity, kindness and great intelligence.

p.s Keep an eye on my article about Nourish skin range, as well as more tips from Dr. Pauline Hili, coming very soon  

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