Part of why I love what I do, is that it allows me to meet new people, who inspire and bring something of their own to the world. To be challenged, to be educated, to have an opportunity to grow and evolve-that’s what makes the world so exciting and what constantly feeds my curiosity.
Having met Dr Pauline Hili at the lecture that was hosted by Content well-being store, I was almost surprised when Dr. Hili agreed to meet with me and to talk to me about her recently launched skincare brand called Nourish ( thinking outside the skincare box). Why was I surprised, you would ask? Well, it often takes ages to find a suitable day and time to organise a meeting like that, considering Dr. Hili’s tightly packed professional schedule.
We met at my comforting bolt hole, Home House, on a sunny, but cold day and Dr. Hili came in sneezing a little and admitting to nursing a cold. We climbed up the winding & imposing staircase, sat down ( me on the sofa and Dr. Hili in the armchair ) and ordered some tea and freshly squeezed juices, to accompany our conversation.
Some people might find Dr. Hili intimidating, with her serious face and precision of her thoughts, but I feel like an excited pupil in her presence and tried to pace myself and not ask too many ‘what, when, where, why/s’.
Dr Hili is a scientist and researcher and her talents and achievements are recognised around the world, hence her daily schedule is pretty packed and she spends a fair amount of time travelling . She is considered to be a pioneer in the field of organic innovation and she constantly looks for ideas that can benefit people-this approach is quite rare, when many people seem to be only willing to pull the blanket over themselves. Dr. Hili comes across as a woman with a strong core and child like curiosity that is all encompassing.
Having worked for many years for Neal’s Yard and actually taking them from being a relatively small, niche brand to a well recognised one, she decided to start her own organic brand and launched Nourish skincare about a year ago. Her knowledge of ingredients is encyclopedic but she also looks at all the other relevant details-the design, how packaging ‘talks to the customer, how they perceive the brand or the product, what moves the client’. All those things are important to her and she didn’t launch until everything was ‘right’ or as she put it to me more bluntly ‘ I have Rottweiler like tendency never to give up until the job is done’.
From the start she was very much interested in developing a dialogue with her future customers and is almost obsessed, in a healthy way, with anything that has a story behind it. The world can be quite superficial and it’s the same thing that drives me forward-the person, the house, the product-what’s the story behind it, what sparked the idea to create it. An example? Pauline tells me a story about the wool jumper that she has, that was actually made from the wool of rams that were rescued from slaughter-well, it made me think of that jumper in a totally different light-do you see my point?
One of the reasons behind Nourish skincare was ‘to start working with something new, that had no history and to try to introduce new concepts’. Take Nourish Balance Refining Toning Mist-the first time I sprayed it on my face-and the mist has slightly bigger particles than in other face mists that I have used in the past-I almost got startled when I realised that I could smells a luscious green apple-the natural scent of it, slightly sharp and crispy, on the first inhale. There are actually three different types of apple extract used in this product and the apple was ‘deconstructed and reconstructed’ in order to create that fresh smell, making me think of lazy summer days at my parents country house, munching on an apple, while enjoying sunlight streaming through the windows and not rushing anywhere……
For Pauline the products that she creates need to be aspirational and affordable, with science and technology rooted in them too. She really does want to change people’s perception of organic beauty, as well as set up, consciously, a very affordable price point-to be honest, when you consider the quality of ingredients used in this skincare range and the fact that you are paying just £9.95 for a cleanser, £8.95 for a facial toner, £16.95 for a peptide serum ( argan oil one is absolutely magical, both in terms of its texture, as well as the smoothing & glowing effect it gives the skin almost instantly ), £14.95 for a face moisturiser, £9.95 for a 250 mls bottle of shower gel or £ 24.95 for golden glow toning souffle. It begs a question-how is that possible, when so many luxury brands are bombarding you with the idea that exceptional ingredients coming at a very steep price. Well, Dr. Hili won me with just one phrase, which comes down to ‘skincare is not a luxury, it’s a daily need and everyone should be able to afford it’. Add to that her research and knowledge of suppliers, her determination, her extensive travels to countries around the world and her desire to achieve things that sometimes seem unattainable and you get a clearer picture of things & qualities that Dr. Hili represents.
We talk about the solid supply chain, innovation and support network and Dr. Hili adds with quiet pride that Nourish is the result of organic and scientific excellence and each formula is created by optimising the ingredients, but never using more than needed or is safe, as too much of something can be a very bad thing, hence Dr. Hili does many tests before she herself becomes satisfied with the end result.
The year is divided into four seasons ( well, it was in the past .) and skincare should be seasonal too, which really takes the idea of the product from static to dynamic, if you think about it. Dr. Hili tries different ratios of water/ingredients combinations, as water in products is crucial in giving people a range of formats to use.
Life often revolves around stereotypes and that’s why the value of education is so important. For example with young people adopting a system of core values, respecting the community they live in, it benefits both the youngsters and the community. As Dr. Hili says, every person deserves to achieve the best of their abilities and in fact, things like creativity, are actually free. That why we need to inspire children to be creative and to dream, rather than to be driven by money and the idea of success.
Look at your skin in the mirror and think of how much it defines who you are-your face, your body, the role it plays in other people’s perception of you. Our skin is an investment, thus, in Dr. Hili’s view, it’s unfair to make skincare unaffordable. Instead the beauty industry needs to consider a possibility of sustainable economics within the industry and not just the huge profit margins benefiting large corporations.
Pauline studied in Melbourne University ( she gained a degree in biochemistry ), worked for Guinness UK for six years, which actually sponsored her PhD doctorate. The doctorate allowed her to become a Chartered Scientist ( I have never, until now, come across one ! ) and a Fellow in Chemistry. She published countless papers exploring, explaining and dissecting natural ingredients.
Our skin is a good indicator of health and each one of us needs to understand our skin needs better, not in a flippant kind of way, but in a measured, daily occurrence, when you can judge what your skin needs and choose an appropriate product, thus removing the element of passivity. We need to pay attention to our lifestyle, to the sun exposure ( as occurrences of skin cancer are becoming more and more common, sadly from a very young age too ).
Nourish seems to have a very close team of dedicated professionals who compliment each others talents. I met David, Pauline’s business partner, working his magic on customers during the weekend at Clifton Nurseries in Maida Vale, together with Christiana, who is responsible for digital marketing strategies and their enthusiasm was palpable but gentle. They answered all of my questions and I left feeling even more intrigued about the brand ( and happily carrying my latest purchases, Nourish Protect mini kit ( a great way to discover Nourish skincare without committing to the fully sized products to start with ) , as well as Nourish Relax soothing toning mist that Christiana recommended that I spray on my pillow before falling asleep ).
Now, let me tell you a bit more about Nourish itself. Skincare products for the face are divided into four groups:
–Protect, colour yellow, 94 % organic, ideal for dry skin (has phyto-active ingredients with super antioxidant ability, as well as the ability to quench thirsty skin & replenish essential collagen thus firming and smoothing the skin )
–Relax, colour purple, 98% organic, ideal for sensitive skin ( nurtures & soothes skin prone to stress & allergic reactions; contains anti-inflammatory plant extracts )
–Balance, colour green, 94% organic, ideal for combination skin (contains vitamin & mineral blend that helps to support skin’s metabolism, while purifying and toning )
–Radiance, colour red, 93% organic, suited to normal skin (contains alpine foxberry and an extract of tonka bean with light reflective properties; helps to brighten the skin and bring back luminosity )
Nourish face products are divided into the following categories:
–Toning mists ( my personal start point was Balance refining Toning mist and on advice of Christiana, I now spray my pillow and my face with Relax Soothing Toning mist that smells like lavender fields in Grasse-and sleep blissfully with its help )
–Peptide serums ( at the moment I am trying Nourish Protect Replenishing peptide one-imagine sunshine and the smell of oranges in the air-well, that’s how this serum smells to me and it helps to firm my skin ).
–Moisturisers ( I have tried Nourish Protect hydrating moisturiser and think it is particularly great for when it’s cold outside. You don’t need to apply much of it, as it is quite a rich formula. Make sure you gently tap it on the skin with the tips of your fingers for quicker absorption. My skin feels like it has a very slight, powdery feel to it and it looks clearer and more refined when I use it consistently ).
–Argan Skin Rescue Treatment ( well, it is definitely one of my top beauty finds of this year )
Nourish Body Product categories:
–Hand lotion ( I use Balance refreshing hand lotion and it really does smooth and nourish my dry hands-note to self, you can’t blame anyone for your dry hands unless you wear gloves when it’s freezing outside! Nourish hand lotions sink in within seven seconds –this statistic was given to me by Christiana but I am happy to confirm it myself. My only little criticism is that the pump bottle isn’t handy for handbag or travel, so maybe a travel version should be considered. The fresh apple fragrance and a slight powdery feel are quite enticing ).
–Shower Gels ( I have been using Nourish Protect on myself and gave Balance one to my husband and Radiance to my mother. While I am still waiting to hear my mother’s feedback, my husband said that he very much likes the lathering bubbles and the fresh feel that he gets post-shower but did say that he found the smell a little bit strong ). The gels create wonderful lather and release a wonderful aroma, leaving your skin feeling soft but not squeaky clean ).
–Body Butters ( now, those ones are just wonderful. Body butters come in glass jars with black screwed on lids and the jars actually fit rather nicely into your hand, as they have a slightly rounded bottom. The butter sinks into the skin very quickly, tones it and if anything, adds another layer of subtle fragrance post shower. My favourite is Nourish Protect, which contains orange and mandarin essential oils that brighten the skin, while phyto-active marine algin, combined with hyaluronic acid and peptides improve dermal cellular matrix; vitamin C and omega-rich Chilean Rosa mosqueta oil brighten and boost collagen. This oil is also beneficial is you have stretch marks or scarring on your skin ).
–Golden Glow Toning Souffle ( this, by far, is my absolute favourite when it comes to a body product that tones, moisturises and adds a slight golden sheen to the skin. It smells of Frankincense and Myrrh, so bear that in might is you don’t like a strongish smell. This body soufflé has light reflecting particles that add beautifully subtle gold sheen to your skin-accentuating it beautifully whatever the time of the year. In winter, when the skin looks pasty white, it will even out the texture and add a lovely hint of colour and in the summer it will moisturise the skin and enhance the tan. Phyto active marine extract helps to tone the skin, as well as boosts the firmness. Unlike many products on the market, this actually delivers what it promises and I definitely get compliments on my skin when I apply it in the morning or before a night out. Simply love this one !)
Nourish products have bright, distinct packaging that draws your eye to the surface where they are displayed and the colour of the actual product sort of relates to some of its ingredients-orange for oranges, green for apples, violet for lavender and red for rose-it might seem intrinsically simple but there is a lot of intelligence and practical knowledge behind each of Nourish product and the way it was developed and that is another reason why I enjoy this brand’s presence on by bathroom and shower shelves.
I have said it to some of my girlfriends already and I am going to share this with you too, my dear readers-Dr. Hili reminds me of Steve Jobs ( and no, I have never met him ), she seems to me to be a female version of him in some ways, with her endless stream of ideas and projects that she told me about-exciting doesn’t begin to cover it, as far as I am concerned. She is like a creative cauldron, spinning ideas and implementing them in real life, with people buzzing in excitement in her wake. She wants to better the world around her, to make it safer, calmer. She has a vision and is not afraid to share it, she asks questions and wants her customer’s honest feedback, she engages in interesting discussion where she has the patience and respect for the people, even if they don’t have the same knowledge. With the knowledge and experience like hers she could probably afford to rest on her laurels, yet she travels, gives lectures, attends fairs and exhibitions, unlike some well-known names in the beauty market who talk the talk but when it comes to walking the walk, they put their PRs forward to spin things. Dr. Pauline Hili thrives on challenges and I, for one, very much look forward to seeing her company grow and her ideas come to life, changing the way we view or do things.