Sanela Lazic, founder of the British “skin wellness” brand Saint Iris Adriatica, says that each product she crafts has a sunshine soul. Created with time-short and stressed people in mind, who are in need of some wellbeing TLC, the inspiration comes from a multitude of places – remedies and plants, Italian apothecaries, herbal remedies and spas on the sun-drenched Adriatic. What might also draw your attention to this niche, but promising brand, are the sensual formulas, green chemistry and ingredients sourced from by-products of juicing and food production in both Europe and the UK. The focus on reducing both the waste and reliance on precious ingredient sources is not an afterthought, but rather the engine that powers Sanela and Saint Iris Adriatica to do good by consumers and the Planet.
Having recently refreshed the packaging and branding, Sanela also participated in John Lewis beauty brand spotlight week in September, as well as added to her product family, a full-spectrum antioxidant oil for face AND body that smells as good as it makes the skin feel. What’s particularly wonderful is that 96% of its brightening formula is sourced from byproducts of the food industry – effectively food waste or as Sanela recently put it on social media #TrashIsGood
The full-spectrum antioxidant oil has quickly become a favourite in my daily skincare routine, particularly in the morning. Lightweight and potent, this oil protects, smoothes and plumps up the skin, making it great to be in the skin you are in. Combination of oils from raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and cranberry (shall we just call it berry goodness in a bottle?), the oil is a source of skin-brightening ellagic acid and helps to fade signs of photo-ageing, as well as fortify the skin against the negative impact of sun, pollution and even blue light damage. Nowadays some school children wear blue light glasses in class, so adults might as well look after their skin, while they are tolling at the computer screens too.
Rich in antioxidants, fatty acids and skin nourishing vitamins A & E, the oil visibly softens fine lines, improves elasticity and strengthens skin barrier resilience. I also have to praise its ‘slippiness’, as it is perfect for face or body massage – whether you do it with your fingers or Gua Sha. When I use it in the morning, it acts as a perfect base for make-up and adds to the pleasure of my personalised skincare routine. I am always short on time in the mornings, but equally want to make sure my skin gets all it needs and deserves, before I run out of the door. I press this oil into my skin in the morning ( Sanela’s tip is to add it to your lotion or make-up to deepen the level of hydration and add a little bit of natural glow to the skin ) and in the evening I massage my face with this oil gently or thoroughly – depending on how stressful the day might have been, easing the tension out of the muscles and nourishing my skin at the same time. I also use this oil of my neck, shoulders, chest area, and occasionally extending it to arms, thighs and shins – because looking after the skin all over the body is no less important than looking after our faces, I hope you will agree!
If you read through the ingredient list of this product, it’s not just the plethora of berries that you’ll find. There are also lemon, orange, mandarin and grapefruit peel oils, as well as sage, Palmarosa, Ho Wood, Neroli Flower & Petitgrain leaf & twig oils. Each adding not only to the enjoyable complexity of the scent of this product, but the additional nourishing and nurturing benefits for the skin.
Why Saint Iris? It’s a name inspired by the Sweet Iris of Dalmatia, traditionally offered to goddesses and saints for protecting spice cargoes en route from East to West via Adriatic ports. This delicate bloom, which thrives in the rockiest terrains, symbolises grace and resilience – the perfect emblem for SAINT IRIS.Sanela Lazic, founder of Saint Iris Adriatica
Saint Iris Adriatica Merry-berry Plump, 50ml, £65
Not the newest kid on the block, but another more recent launch for the brand is the Wake-Up Droplets, or Brightening Concentrate Serum that can also be used as effectively on the face, as all over the body. Even though Merry-Berry Plump won my all-rounded affection, the Droplets are no less interesting.
With the silky, gel-like texture this serum promises (and delivers) on making skin look more even and bright. Utilising potent Adriatic actives, the formula of this product includes mountain daisy extract, which helps to reduce signs of photo-ageing and Vitamin C, well-known for its positive impact on the brightness of the skin tone. The synergy of wild plant oils, which are rich in antioxidants, Omegas and Vitamins D & E help improve skin’s elasticity, something that those of us who are beyond the realms of their 30s will particularly appreciate. I noticed that after cleansing my face and applying this serum my face felt tighter, but in a way which signalled to me that I need a ‘top up’ of moisturiser or face oil (Marry Berry makes for a perfect pairing!). When I asked Sanela about it, she wasn’t at all surprised and told me gently that this serum isn’t meant to be used just on its own when it comes to your face care routine (my skin feels perfectly comfortable when I apply the droplets to neck, decollate, arms or legs).
With the popularity of fermented food, probiotics continue to have their moment in beauty spotlight as well. This serum contains a pomegranate enzyme that gently exfoliates, while smoothing and strengthening a rough and uneven skin surface, while Flower of Salt, which is hand-harvested from algae-rich sea salt basins of Central Dalmatia, adds the benefits of over 80+ essential minerals, including copper (that calms the skin prone to irritation and helps improve skin clarity as well).
Saint Iris Adriatica Top Tip: use as magnifying make-up primer or after sun treatment
If I close my eyes and think of Saint Iris Adriatica, the associations that come to mind are the lone pebble beaches, where not many people come, yet the soulful serenity that they grant, provide the internal nourishments that lasts for weeks, if not months. A brand that is a bit austere, yet accessibly elegant, holding its head high, if gently tilted, towards consumers that take a gentle pause before making a purchase. The matt green bottles that when the light of the day subsides, appear almost blue from a distance, the white packaging with clear font of the text and a roaring lion wearing a crown as the emblem, making me think of the Lion from the Wizard of Oz – not scary, but rather friendly. And Sanela, brand’s founder and mastermind, with her fashion retail expertise of previous years, having taken the decision to switch direction and bring something modern and scientific into the world, while paying homage to her childhood past, spent on Croatian and Italian coastlines. She harnesses the power of traditions and knowledge that have been passed from generation to generation and that remain as relevant today, as it was vital in the days when skincare products availability was scarce, yet women looked beautifully glamorous and confident to be in their skin. Something I often reflect upon, when gazing at the younger generations that are so spoilt by skin and body care choices, yet struggle to make decisions to suit their individual skincare needs. A timely reminder that less is more and whatever you use on your face, can happily be extended beyond your neckline for your overall pleasure. It’s not the number of the products your use on your skin that counts, its the quality, efficacy and knowing exactly what works for the skin YOU are IN.
To learn more about saint Iris Adriatica, please click here to go to brand’s website