Sometimes it’s hard not to feel drowned in by the amount of new beauty launches and to choose wisely, not impulsively. But the older I become, the better I understand not just myself, but my skin & body needs, so they are the ones to dictate my skincare choices, not the marketing or advertising. As consumers we also develop affinity with certain brands, which makes us keep an eye on their new launches & A.S. Apothecary is one of those brands for me. Amanda Saurin‘s latest launch, Wild Beauty Balm Concentrate No.30 came about ‘over a series of months, meetings & musings’, including with yours truly. Once I tried one of Amanda’s early samples of the balm I was intrigued, after using the launched balm for about a couple of months, I can now say that it has become tightly woven into the fabric of my daily skincare routine.
Unscrew the lid, close your eyes & take a few deep, slow breaths, inhaling the indulgently flowery, uplifting scent that brings an almost instant feeling of calm & comfort. Open your eyes & continuing to take deep breaths, dip your finger into the smooth surface of the balm (and feel the satisfaction, as it sinks into a rich texture, releasing its aroma even more).
Amanda developed this balm over months, testing & refining it tirelessly, trying to create a product that will nurture not just your skin, but your soul as well. Several moons ago, when I visited Amanda in her studio in Lewes, well before she opened her beautiful store, I showed her a multipurpose balm that I use for healing the skin. I stock up on it in Moscow during my visits, as I came to rely on it due to its multiple purpose use, but it has a big minus, as its texture becomes too runny when it is warm, which led to quite a few accidents during my travels in the past. A lovely, but in someways imperfect product (and not 100% natural), which clearly gave Amanda some food for thought & the end result of her creative process continues to blow me away with its nurturing loveliness. As I was writing this post & exchanging e-mails with Amanda, it was important for me to incorporate her wise & creative voice into the conversation about this product, as noone understands the process behind its birth better than she does.
‘I also find ridiculous pleasure in opening the new pot and pressing my finger hard onto the surface, feeling it give way to reveal the soft buttery interior…’ Amanda Saurin, founder of A.S Apothecary
‘I looked into the ingredients (note: the ingredients of the Russian balm that I showed Amanda) and knew I could make something so much more therapeutically effective. At the same time, I was asked to make a balm for walkers and cyclists to use to protect and treat their skin and then some of our wonderful therapists working in the shop wanted a balm to incorporate into their therapies. With all of this in mind, I decided to make the most beautiful, creamy, unctuous golden balm that could be used anywhere, but which had extraordinary therapeutic properties. I wanted it to be a single product to have at home or travel with that could meet all of your skin’s needs’.
It clearly took a village of people, voicing their ideas & needs to Amanda, but what I marvel at is Amanda’s ability to listen attentively & then create something that surpasses the expectations, yet be incredibly humble when it comes to fruits of her labours.
The golden balm, which has a mellow, pale yellow-green colour, glides on like silk, melts on contact with your fingers & skin & harnesses the power of no less than ten active botanical & five essential oils that hydrate, soften & rejuvenate the skin, while also repairing skin cells & protecting them against free radical damage. No matter what skin type you have, you will see a difference in how your skin looks, as with daily use it becomes more radiant & develops a natural glow, that might have not been there before, while also easing tension & anxiety that you might feel in the moment in time or have been gradually accumulating, rather than shifting.
When Amanda was creating this balm, she went through several versions. I tried one version of it, called ‘All Purpose Balm’, but it had a different smell & somewhat ‘softer’ texture – the Wild Beauty Balm made me pause for breath when I first used it & now, having payed with both formulas, I can say that a true professional can create something that seems perfect to the consumer, then refine it, so when it is launched you simple say ‘wow’ in awe).
When developing this balm Amanda ‘thought about UV protection, skin regeneration and treatment for inflammation, skin plumping (without hyaluronic acid), toning and brightening properties. I also wanted the scent to be restorative and warm, earthy but gentle. I wanted people to massage it into their skin and feel suffused with warmth and love’.
The alchemy that Amanda created when designing this all-purpose balm draws on the power of nature that comes through in botanical oils that Amanda selected, each packed with therapeutic vitamins, minerals & antioxidants.
‘My friend Marion and I cold processed our own pomegranate and black seed oil when I was over in Cyprus – both oils are magnificent, so rich and healing and brilliant for protecting from UV damage and brightening and healing the skin. I knew they had to be included. Jojoba was an obvious choice for its waxy, sebum like texture and proven track record in shrinking the size of pores & regulating sebum production. Our own beeswax was another obvious addition to bind all the oils together and fix the moisturising properties on to the skin (but in a very small quantity). The other oils which I won’t list for fear of boring you to death are the potent Rosehip, Olive, Borage, Hemp Seed, Argan and Almond.’ I also found it interesting to learn that a combination of Hemp Seed & Labdanum Oils work together to regenerate cells, plump & smooth the skin & effectively rehydrate without clogging the pores, something worth noting for those of you who have oily skin. For those of you with sensitive skin & skin prone to redness & inflammation, a combination of Rose & Lavender Oils will help sooth & calm the skin, while reducing redness.