I don’t know if it’s just me, but sustainability seems to increasingly be the ‘buzz” word in beauty. While I won’t pretend to be a sustainability moral compass in beauty, I do choose my products carefully. That’s probably the main reason why I only have two products to ‘showcase’ for you in my May Beauty Trials.
Both products come from niche British brands. One a relative new entrant – d’still – already gaining tractions with consumers and international retailers. Another more well-known and established – Pai -that recently had a packaging rebrand & launched a recycling programme. One will help to cleanse, calm and nourish the face. Another to add glow and luminosity to the pale and tired complexions longing for the actual holiday in the sunshine.
Founded and launched by Ula Blocksage in January of this year, d’still beauty is a British brand that supports slow skincare movement, as well as wellbeing rituals, ethical ingredient sourcing and recycling efforts. Ula calls d’still her “poem to Mother Nature, a ‘thank you’ for allowing me to harness the real and powerful medicine the Earth has to offer, to create a potent, natural skincare collection and to encourage a slower, more mindful approach to self-care/self-love”. She believes that when we take the time to be present in the moment – be it at work or in our personal lives – we get reconnected to our true, genuine selves. Our intuition and intentions become clearer, choices we make start making more sense and doubt subsides into the background. When we internally acknowledge the ‘being here now’, we also become more attuned to our body’s needs and make better decisions when it comes to our health and wellbeing.
“When you distill a plant or a flower, you get down to its very essence. d’still prompts and inspires a route back to the essence of our beings through the power of nature and the ritual of applying skincare.”Ula Blocksage, founder of d’still
d’still was born of Ula’s personal pursuit to heal her skin and to reconnect with herself and with nature. Having struggled with anxiety and with a variety of skin concerns (including hormonal acne and dermatitis), Ula embarked on a quest to develop a results-driven, 100% natural skincare range that would provide both physical and visible results. She qualified as a Herbalist, Holistic Facialist and certified Organic Skincare Formulator and after eight years of researching and formulating, she launched three d’still skincare products. The Calming Cleansing Balm, now d’still‘s best-seller, wasn’t the first product that Ula has formulated, but it certainly is the most multi-tasking one in the d’still range. Ula consciously worked on formulating this cleansing balm for a long time, determined to get it just right – for her skin’s needs and for those of her customers.
Ula loves all three of d’still products, but says that “the cleanser is a rather special product and the first step in d’still ritual for skin and mind“. A soothing, aromatic balm, blended from nutrient-rich oils, butters and extracts to cleanse and nourish the complexion, it is also rich in antioxidants and potent calming extracts. As all products are made in small batches, almost like the ‘made-to-measure’, but for the skin. I was lucky to receive one that was made the week before, so it was as fresh, as it gets, much to my delighted curiosity, as it was the first d’still product I got to experience. As soon as I lifted the lid and inhaled its scent, I was quietly enraptured.
This gentle treatment product, its colour akin to the depth of the sea on the cloudy day, smoothes beautifully over the face soothing the skin, effortlessly melting away make-up, excess oil and environmental pollutants. You only need a little bit of a product (make sure to use a spatula, rather than your fingers to lift the balm from the glass jar) which will not only cleanse and comfort the skin, but add an element of sensorial pleasure to your daily skincare ritual. I tend to use it in the evening and once it emulsifies with the water and turns into milk, I can’t help but continuously caress my face with it, before washing it off with cool water. Calmer mind, smooth and happy complexion is what I experience every time I use it. No dryness, nor the feeling that your skin was left stripped. Instead my skin feels and looks contented, balanced, smooth and nurtured.
Ula’s tip: For best results, leave on for 20-30 minutes to calm even the most angry and irritated of skins, before removing with a steaming facial towel.
CALMING: this cleanser was formulated to replenish and help restore the skin’s natural barrier, whilst feeding the skin with multiple anti-oxidants.
BALANCING: addresses skin’s natural oil production, whilst removing build up and bacteria.
PORE UNCLOGGING: provides an antioxidant boost, whilst effectively cleansing and decongesting the pores, removing oil, dirt and makeup, before it can cause oxidation and spots.
WHITE WILLOW BARK
Present as an oil-soluble extract in this cleansing balm, white willow bark is a natural source of salicylic acid (BHA), known for its ability to gently exfoliate the skin, decongest clogged pores and combat hormonal acne. Anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, white willow bark is a highly soothing ingredient that leaves skin feeling healthy and radiant.
Healing and soothing for the skin, this beautiful oil contains high amounts of beta-caryophyllene, a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
BLUE TANSY OIL
A strong anti-inflammatory oil that helps with redness and irritation, blue tansy is wonderful for soothing and calming, particularly skins prone to eczema and acne. Its aromatic compounds can help with relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety.
A super gentle ingredient, which has significant anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. Bisabolol is chosen for its ability to calm and soothe, whilst helping to stimulate and promote the skin’s natural healing process.
When initially seeing this product, I was reminded of May Lindstorm’s cult balm Blue Cocoon and de Mamiel Skin Recovery blend, yet when I experienced it, smelled it and felt it, this product came alive and stood completely on its own merits. The scent opens up and develops, skin responds like flower petals to the morning dew and the gentle caress of the caring gardner’s hand and I fell hook, line and sinker for the depth of the product that can indeed transform the appearance of the skin, while helping the mind be more at ease with the evolution of the world in all of its facets.
▵ Ula recommend storing all of d’still products out of direct sunlight, in a cool, dry and dark place, especially the Calming Cleansing Balm in order to avoid melting the formula. Originally formulated for acne-prone skin due to the products calming ingredients nature, the Calming Cleansing Balm can actually be enjoyed by all skin types as a meditative, nourishing and soothing start or end to the day.
Recycling tips from Ula:
◊ Outer Packaging made with recyclable paper
◊ The glass jar can be fully recycled in domestic recycling
◊ Upcycle jar and lid as a storage vessel for spices and tea or for use it as a tea light holder
◊ The product lid cannot be easily recycled at this stage. Please place in the general waste bin
To find out more about d’still or order the product, please click here
PAI The Impossible Glow, 30ml, £29
According to Pai, it’s possible to have beautifully radiant skin without boarding a plane. While lucky few were boarding planes destined for Portugal earlier this week, most of us had to content with doing school runs, while being pummelled by rain, and working from home or back in the office, our “lucky treat” now being able to eat in and out with the friends.
What about a chance to top up skin radiance and getting a light natural tan in the UK? Considering that on some days nature itself can’t make up its mind whether is spring or autumn outside, a natural tan seems elusive. Well, thanks to Pai The Impossible Glow, that was launched a few weeks ago, not only was my skin’s radiance boosted, but I actually look a little bit sun-kissed, while internally longing for the sea holiday skin and body.
This hybrid product has been in the works for a while, but it’s launch couldn’t be more perfectly timed. Along with naturally derived bronzing pigment ingredients, Pai included Hyaluronic Acid and Sea Kelp for hydration, as well as Vitamin C-rich Lemon Fruit Water to boost radiance.
What makes this product quite unique is the fact that it is totally and individually customisable, as there are multiple ways to build and layer the Impossible Glow. The clever natural pigment – MICA – contains particles that reflect and refract the light like a prism, which creates a bespoke glow for every single skin type.
This complexion-saving seaweed is an extremophile – meaning it can survive in extreme climates. Its ability to hold onto moisture in harsh, salty, high UV conditions is exactly what makes it so good at skin hydration. A sustainable crop, it grows at high speed and absorbs up to 20 times more carbon per acre than land forests.
HA that the body naturally produces, can hold 10-50 times its weight in water. It then stores it like a reservoir for the skin to drink from all day long.
LEMON FRUIT WATER
Extracted from lemons, this vitamin C-rich powerhouse brightens and moisturises the skin to leave it glowing and radiant.
This glow-giving natural pearlescent pigment – alongside natural Titanium Dioxide & Iron Oxides particles – reflects light. It’s the size and shape of these particles that change the colour and intensity of Pai bronzing drops.
Now to the really fun bit – where you get to build your glow to suit your plans. The Impossible Glow is not your usual bronzer, but rather a trio of products in one bottle.
For subtle radiance add one drop to your daily moisturiser or SPF – whichever is your last layer of skincare. For a more intense bronzing effect, massage one to two drops directly into skin. Or gently dab across cheekbones, on the cupid’s bow, under the eyebrows as a highlighter that hydrates the skin too. The Impossible Glow can also be used on the body either directly as highlighter or added to your body cream for a natural glow. Just allow to dry fully before dressing!
I also add a drop or two to my tinted serum or moisturiser (or foundation). In fact my favourite way to use this product is to get all artistic and apply, paint and spread it like a painter on my face with a light touch. Always start with a light touch and build up for desired effect.
While I have never been a fan of “fake tan” products, adding a little bit of colour to pale skin (this year it’s been more so than ever), making my skin look better and subtly sun-kissed is part of my daily skincare ritual. If I look good, it automatically makes me feel better. There are days when my hands reach out to Chanel’s cult Sun Illuminator or the liquid version that is Sheer Brilliance (and Pai is your green version of that product with even more colour vibrancy and natural build-ability of colour, depending on your skin). There are days when I use NiNi Organics Glow Illuminator, which is a face oil or illuminator – it’s all in the ‘shake’ of a bottle. And there are days when Manasi 7 Bronze Lighter in Roseate is my trusted skin enhancer side-kick – perfect product for the post-workout enhanced cheek flush & glow. But I am happy to say that Pai has outdone itself with the creation of The Impossible Glow, both in the beautiful colour gradients that one can achieve while using the product on itself or mixing it into the skincare or make-up product that you favour for your skin. A cult classic in the making would be my prediction!
Top Tip: scan the bar code on the side of the product box and get access to product application demos.
As to this product’s packaging, including Pai’s Recycling Scheme, instructions can be found here