When it comes to washing our faces, we all have different preferences. Some just use their nimble hands. Some love their Clarisonic, others prefer Foreo. But there[...]
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.
I have been using face and body oils for a few years now and while not all of them are made equal-in my view a lot depends on the quality of oils and the energy and skill of the practitioner who mixes them- some oils are exquisitely special and the latest launch from Annee de Mamiel, will be my case in point here.
Annee’s name has been popping on my radar for a while and we have at least one good mutual acquaintance, yet we haven’t met in person so far. People who used to see Annee for treatments at Home House in the past always talked highly of her, yet did so in hushed tones, almost afraid that other people will learn their secret. But Annee not only does treatments ( currently practising at Beauty a La Carte when in London ), she makes seasonal face oils and her latest, spring facial oil is launching in the UK on March 20th. Luckily for you, my dear readers, I have been using it for about a month now and even though spring’s arrival has been slow, my skin feels and looks grateful already.
The oil itself looks like liquid sunshine-a rich, amber like yellow with a hint of chestnut. It has a gentle smell of sun and flowers, so it not only works on your skin, it has a deep effect on you via your senses. The oil, contained in the dark glass bottle, in order to best preserve its contents, is hand blended and packs a powerful punch of antioxidants and Omegas that will help to rejuvenate your pasty skin after the harsh winter and give it the much needed-and welcomed, might I add !!- glow.
– juniper ( detoxifying ),
– grapefruit ( revitalises & uplifts the senses ),
– lavender ( relaxing and healing for the skin ),
– geranium ( helps to lift the spirits and balances the skin ),
– thyme ( powerful antiseptic and very beneficial for immunity in general ),
– rosemary ( stimulating for mental clarity & stiffness of muscles ),