There are many wonderful beauty professionals but I find myself more drawn to the holistic world and practitioners who apply their constantly evolving knowledge when developing products and who don’t rush to bring out more and more products, making skincare routine too complicated. I have been a long-term fan of Annee de Mamiel, having first heard of her from Home House staff and aromatherapist Michelle Roques-O’Neil and continue to follow her and her products with great interest because she never stops improving her products.
I don’t travel without Annee’s Altitude oil, a little magical potion that has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antiseptic properties ( put a few drops on a tissue and keep it next to you on a flight. You will arrive to your destination safe in the knowledge that you aren’t likely to have picked up any bugs from the plane’s ventilation system or do the same when you are coming down with a cold, with a few drops on your pillowcase before your head hits the pillow at night ). Annee’s concept of seasonal face oils is very applicable to the modern way of life and the idea that we should eat in season-why shouldn’t the same concept be applied to our skincare, as seasons put different requirements on our skin, body and internal health? She was at the forefront of mixing oils according to the seasons, addressing our beauty, holistic and emotional needs.
As yet I haven’t met Annee in person and or experienced her much-raved about facial but her approach to product development truly resonates with the way I view long-term beauty and well-being – simplicity, consistency and no gimmicks. Annee went through her own serious health issues, so she is the type of practitioner who is very picky about her product ingredient composition – hence whatever product she launches, genuinely can have words ‘safe and gentle’ on its label. Annee combines her knowledge of Chinese medicine with modern European beauty practises and creates her products by using aromatherapy, high-grade oils and infusing them, in small batches, with crystals. She doesn’t rush the process, letting things run its course and so when I heard that she was expanding her product range with Botaniques, I knew that when I will try them, I will be surprised like a child at Christmas.
Annee’s approach to creating this range came from her clients requests and she wanted to combine her healing energy with potent skincare formulas. Botaniques comprises of Restorative Cleansing Balm, Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate, Dewy facial Mist, Rosey Lip Balm, Restoration Body Serum, Salvation Body Oil and Pregnancy Facial Oil.
I can’t speak about all the products in the range, so will share my thoughts with you about the ones I did try and then will offer you the genuine scoop – some product & beauty insights from Annee herself.
Restorative Cleansing Balm ( 50 mls, £46 ): I have used it throughout this strange weather winter and have to say that it’s been a beautiful, soothing treat at the end of many grey, cold, dis-heartening days. It has a delicate consistency that seems to melt into your skin as soon as you spread it all over your face with the fingers, enveloping you in a subtle flowery smell ( notes of chamomile, honey myrtle, rose geranium and fragonia ) and soothing your skin gently, as well as giving you a dewy glow when you finish cleansing your face. Take a little bit of the balm from the jar, warm it between your fingers for a few seconds and massage it upwards, all over you face and then put a warm muslin cloth on your face, inhale the aromas, focus on taking a couple of deep breath and then take the balm off. It also works nicely with a Foreo brush, if you use it.
I found that my skin felt soft to the touch and has more luminocity. The balm itself is wonderfully calming and grounding at the end of the day, turning your evening skincare ritual into a mini-spa experience. Knowing how rushed off the feet women are, on a daily basis, I think Annee developed this product specifically with this in mind.
Ingredients: Camellia oleifera (camellia) oil*, Aleurites moluccans (kukui nut) butter, Calendula officinalis, Helianthus annuus (calendula) oil*, Squalene, Oryza sativa (rice bran) oil*, Borago officinalis, Tocopherol (borage) oil*, Polysorbate 20 (derived coconut oil), Cera alba (beeswax)*, Rosa damascena (rose) wax, Sclerocarya birrea (marula) oil*, Mangifera indica (mango) butter, Adansonia digitata (baobab) oil*, Moringa oleifera (moringa) oil*, Ricinus communis (castor) oil*, Astrocaryum murumuru (murumuru) butter, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter, Inulin, Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, (prebiotic), Bisabol, Manuka honey, Daucus carrota (carrot seed) oil*, Melaleuca teretifolia (honey myrtle) oil, Agonis fragrans (fragonia) oil, Pelargonium graveolens roseum (rose geranium) oil*, Eriocephalus punctulatus (cape chamomile) oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oil*.
Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate ( 100g, £38 ): I have only tried a sample of this product but it is definitely one of the gentlest, yet quite effective face scrubs I have tried lately ( even if you have sensitive skin ). Close your eyes and let the smell of warm hot chocolate take you back to memories of laid-back childhood afternoons. The cleanser/exfoliate has Vitamin C, Pearl powders, Rhassoul clay, Raw Cacao powder, Honey as well as Colloidal Oat Powder and no preservatives, so all you need to do is shake a little bit of the powder into the palm of your hand and add some water, ending with a mousse-like-consistency product. Apply it all over your face and gently buff-away dead skin cells ( be careful to omit your delicate eye area ). You can use it daily but I used it twice a week and found it a delicious and effective treat for my skin & senses ( nice to be indulged without consuming any sugar !). My skin felt brighter and smoother immediately and unlike with some scrubs, I can report no redness or irritation post use.
Ingredients: Moroccan rhassoul clay, Montmorillonite clay, French Pink clay, Colloidal oat powder*, Sodium bicarbonate, Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder, Pearl powder, Red jasper gem powder, Raw cacao powder*, Alaea Hawaiian sea salt, Buttermilk powder, Honey powder, Cucumis sativa (cucumber) powder, Santalum album (sandalwood mysore) powder, Aloe barbadensis (aloe) powder*, Camellia sinensis (green tea) powder, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) powder Chrysantheum indicium (chrysanththeum) powder, Rosa damasena (rose) petal powder*, Boswellia carteri (frankincense) powder, Commiphora myrrha (myrrh) powder, Cedrus deodara (himalayan cedarwood) powder, Panax ginseng (ginseng), Althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root powder*, Rose rubiginosa (rosehips) powder, Vanilla planifolia bean*.
Dewy Facial Mist ( 100 mls, £42 ): whatever your point of view of facial toners, this one is bound to change your mind and swing your vote if you don’t think you need one in your daily skincare routine. Spray it on your face once, inhale a beautiful aroma of wild rose & neroli and feel your skin feel cooler instantly. It’s drops feel like morning dew sliding off the grass stems and will sooth your skin by infusing it with extra moisture in the morning, reviving you during the day or soothing your tired brow at the end of the day. Even though I don’t keep the bottle in the fridge somehow it feels cooling against my skin ( possibly due to aloe and cucumber extracts ) and revives my senses as well, every time I spray it on. I re-apply it as I work late at night ( flower essences of Linden Blossom and Bee Orchid help to be grounded and stay focussed on any task at hand ) and thanks to Lupine peptides and Prebiotics your skin matrix will be strengthened as well.
Ingredients: Rosa damascena (rose) water*, Citrus aurantium (neroli) water*, Santalum album (Sandalwood) Hydrolat, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) extract*, Senticosus Root (siberian ginseng) extract, Punica granatum (pomegranate) glycerol extract*, Honeyquat 50 (honey moisturiser), Panthenol, Aqua, D-Pantolactone (pro-vitamin B5), Hyaluronic acid, , Hydrolyzed lupine protein (lupine peptides), Inulin, Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide (prebiotic), Preservative Eco, Aloe barbadensis (aloe)*, Terminalia ferdinandiana (kakadu plum) extract, Syzygium luehmannii (lilly pilly) extract, Equisetum arvense (horsetail) tincture*, Symphytum spp (comfrey) tincture*, Achillea millefolium (yarrow) tincture*, Polysorbate 20 (derived coconut oil), Rosa centifolia (wild rose) oil**, Pelargonium graveolens roseum (rose geranium) oil*, Pelargonium x asperum (geranium) oil*, Santalum yasi (sandalwood) oil.
Rosey Lip Balm ( 10 mls, £10 ): this balm blends together Camellia, Monoi and Evening Primrose Oils and deliciously feminine notes of Rose Otto, Rose Geranium & Rose wax, making you feel like a pampered princess of beautiful land of fields. It’s easy to carry around and I find myself applying it throughout the day, attracted by its fragrance and softness that it imparts on my lips. It’s a lovely gift for young girls, allowing them to start the journey towards becoming a young woman with no nasty chemicals lurking behind or for older women who feel that their skin is starting to feel drier due to hormonal changes. This lip balm might make a more lasting present than a bunch of flowers that will start wilting within a few days.
Ingredients: Camellia oleifera (camellia) oil*, Oenothera biennis, Tocopherol (evening primrose) oil*, Mangifera Indica (mango) butter, Cocos nucifera, Gardenia taitensis (monoi) oil*, Rosa damascena (rosewax), Calendula officinalis, Helianthus annuus (calendula) oil*, Cera alba (beeswax)*, Manuka honey, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Pelargonium graveolens roseum (rose geranium) oil*, Rosa damascene (rose) oil.
That’s the thing about Annee, through her experience, wisdom and life’s journey she seems to create products that pamper you and give natural beauty credibility and substance.
Q & As with de Mamiel & Botaniques founder, facialist & aromatherapist Annee de Mamiel
GAP: How did you become a facialist & aromatherapist?
AdM: At times I think I had so many things pointing me in this direction and I would tend to go on in my own direction, getting pulled off course and then an event would occur in my life which would put me back on this track. I have had problem skin as a teenager and well into my 20’s had severe acne and then, when I was undergoing treatment, my skin became incredibly dry. At that time there were no organic products that were readily available, so I began to make my own. This must have re-ignited a passion that I had as a little girl ,when the only Barbie thing I had was a Barbie perfume maker! Studying Chinese medicine also pointed me right back to skincare and essential oils and how these can make an impact on our wellbeing and therefore the way we age.
GAP: Why are natural ingredients so important to you?
AdM: Natural ingredients tend to work with the skin and the body. Oils are skincare in its richest and purest form. They deliver essential nutrients to the skin and go much deeper and are able to effect us on many more levels – emotionally they help balance, calm and ground us, as well as heal us in a way, by encouraging the body to make itself work. I love that we have years of experience in ancient cultures with natural ingredients. We can learn so much from their healing powers, how and what they were used for. These ingredients actually work and make a difference.
GAP: What spurred you on to create Botaniques and what was the idea/aim behind each of the products in the range?
AdM: Botaniques range began in my treatment room. I was making the balms and mist and using them in my treatments, so when clients started wanting to take them home, I thought I would offer the opportunity to others who had used the seasonal oils and would maybe like to try them. I have been very lucky as the word got out and my lovely retailers, who had been stocking the oils, also wanted to stock the range. Botaniques is just the foundation of what is to come next. I have been fortunate to work with some incredibly talented people when I needed extra information or advice, bringing everything together, as it is always about helping my clients look and feel their best. To give them the tools to slot well-being into their lives and wrap it up with the thing that concerned them the most ( which was ageing ) and at the very core of this is the stress they feel.
GAP: How did you come up with a beautiful name Botaniques?
AdM: Botaniques is French for Botanical, I came across it when we were living in France and to me it fitted the essence of where I was and what de Mamiel is all about.
GAP: Tell me a little bit about each product in Botaniques and the best way to combine using them?
AdM: The products within the range are quite multi-tasking. Both cleansers can be used as a mini masque. Here is a little on how best to use them:
Begin every morning and evening with a skin-reviving massage with Botaniques Restorative Balm, or if skin is in need of brightening or smoothing, the Botaniques Brightening Cleansing Exfoliate. The Exfoliate can be used every day on normal or combination skin, or every other day for skin that is oily, dry or sensitive.
Once a week, leave the Exfoliate on for 5- 10 minutes to deliver a deep cleanse and gentle peel that leaves skin bright, vital and wonderfully soft. It’s like a mini masque! Or if you need extra hydration after cleansing, put the oil on and apply another layer of the balm for 20 minutes before taking it off with a cloth.
Follow with the peptide and pre-biotic-enriched Dewy Facial Mist – simply spray directly over cleansed skin then massage in or spray onto cotton and massage in circular motions upward over the face.
Now that skin is perfectly cleansed and balanced, apply your Seasonal Facial Oil, taking the time to inhale its healing aroma – an essential part of the healing treatment!
Finish with a rose-scented slick of Rosey Lip Balm, to keep lips glossy and chap-free.
For the body, skin in need of deep nourishment is transformed with daily use of the essential fatty acid-rich Restoration Body Serum – a sensually scented shimmering elixir that takes skin from parched to peach-soft. And for skin in need of optimal hydration the feather-light Salvation Body Oil leaves the body beautifully supple, while brightening the mood with its zesty, uplifting scent.
Most importantly – breathe, smile, and always enjoy!
GAP: Are the products better suited for a specific time of the year/skin type?
AdM: The facial oils are formulated for where your are now, wherever that is in the world, to help you re-connect with what is happening outside and around you, but the rest of the range can be used by anyone at anytime.
GAP: Tell me a little about the special ingredients in each of the products and why you chose them?
AdM: Each product has a personality of its own, as it has a specific goal in mind but the one thing that unites the products within the range is ‘Alpine Meadows’, a bespoke blend of Flower, Gem and Environmental essences used to ease the tension within us to find a path to clarity, calm and happiness.
Cleansing Balm – The essential oil blend in the cleansing balm is all about really letting go of stress and tension that has built up during the day, a combination of Fragonia, Cape Chamomile, Rose Geranium and Honey Myrtle provide a cocoon of comfort while working a treat on your skin.
Cleanse and Exfoliate – this is such an incredible product, it is messy to use but I persisted with it, as the results are extraordinary. Your skin feels soft and velvety afterwards with just a gentle glow – Vitamin C brightens the skin, while Sandalwood and Rose petal powder nourish and ground us.
Dewy Facial Mist – The smell of the spray is incredibly balancing when we feel our hormones have gone a little haywire but the Hyaluronic acid and peptides will hydrate and strengthen the skin. This one sits in my handbag together with the Altitude oil!
Rosey Lip Balm – I could smell this all day, this glossy blend of oils and rose wax gives protection and shine!
Salvation Body oil – This has quite a funny story and it began its life as The Lost Season, which is the fifth season in Chinese medicine. As we moved around the world I kept losing the recipe, although always knew the ingredients – it was an adventure! But it is delicate and light on the skin but always just makes me feel so happy!
GAP: Where do you source your ingredients from?
AdM: Ingredients are sourced from around the world, I am really fussy and will get as much data as I can on the batch to ensure its vitality and potency, and we try and get as close to the source as possible, although being as small as we are, sometimes this just isn’t possible. We have farmers in Australia, Africa, France, Turkey and Bulgaria from whom I buy direct and co-op’s in Morocco and South America.
GAP: For what type of skin are your products best suited?
AdM: I don’t ever believe we have just one skin type, in Chinese Medicine it comes down to what is out of balance and our skin changes due to age, hormonal imbalance, diet and stress levels and by adjusting these aspects of our life we impact the quality of our skin health. So Botaniques works to balance us through the way we inhale the products, massage them in and they can be used by anyone.
GAP: Do you have any beauty tips that never let you down?
AdM: Always Cleanse and massage every product in!
GAP: What are the things that women should look for when choosing the products that they use on their skin in general?
AdM: They should work with a product that suits them and what they need right now. Listen to your bodies and skin, connect with it, know where your lumps and bumps are and what works to get rid of them – think about what you have been eating, stressing over or skipping, to create that change in your skin. When choosing something new, smell it and feel it, see if you can sense it somewhere else in your body. For me, I know that natural products work really well – that doesn’t stop me from trying other things. I think it’s good to experiment but I always go back to my blends and see the difference straight away.
GAP: How is important the smell of the skincare product compared to its efficacy?
AdM: The smell is inherent in the products efficacy for de Mamiel! This is because I only use therapeutic essential oils when blending and these all have a purpose. de Mamiel and Botaniques is about more than cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising, it is about how we nourish and nurture ourselves and let go of stress. Ageing and skin health is more than what we put on our skin. Getting the most out of the products we use means making every bit work for us, so integrating the powerful sense of smell and nature’s nuggets of gold in essential oils, they are in turn integrated into a ritual where we make them work for us physically on the skin but also emotionally and chemically.
GAP: If a person never tried your products before, what one or two would you recommend to start their road of de Mamiel discovery with?
AdM: The Seasonal Oil and Cleansing Balm would be the two items to begin with – both have a ritual to give back to yourself and let go of the stresses of the day.
The seasonal facial oil is what is right for now – it feeds and nourishes the skin but also helps us move through the emotional aspect of regeneration of where we are in life and in our environment.
While the cleansing balm allows us to massage and reconnect, to really see a difference in our skin – the act of massaging will work at a level which moves the build up of fluid under the skin and flushes toxins away and the scent will help to begin the release of the tensions of the day.
GAP: Someone who works closely with her clients, what would you recommend in order to preserve skin’s health & elasticity naturally?
AdM: Skin Health is not just about what we put on our skin, it’s also the result of how we put it on and what happens within – how we feed and nurture ourselves. Looking at everything as part of the whole contributes to the health of our skin, after all it is the bodies’ largest organ – but it is also the first to suffer from deficiencies. So it is about how we deal with the stresses of everyday life, taking time to ourselves, our food and exercise and what is going on internally – each is extremely important. Looking after all of these things will contribute to what we are doing externally and without a doubt oils and massage will always be most effective.
For further information about Annee, her products or webshop, please go here