Irish beauty companies are breaking new ground with natural, luxurious and sustainable skincare. Sarah Halliwell
is a fan
A new homegrown bounty of really exciting and desirable skincare and perfume brands manage to be both intrinsically Irish and absolutely international. In the footsteps of great names like Max Benjamin, Voya and Cloon Keen, all championing Irish ingredients, newer brands like Modern Botany and Nunaïa, an innovator in sustainable beauty, are gaining momentum on Ireland’s beauty scene and beginning to export abroad. They may be small, but they’re perfectly formed. It used to be just tan (Bellamianta, He-Shi and TanOrganic are all Irish): now we can buy Irish everything, from a sonic toothbrush (Spotlight) to herbal teas. Sustainable, local, organic and naturally powerful is the new luxury. Here’s our pick of the best Irish beauty, and what’s new for 2020.
1. BURREN PERFUMERY Coming soon from the natural scent and skincare company is a rare and entirely natural take on the rose – watch this space! www.burrenperfumery.com
2. West Cork’s MODERN BOTANY is famed for its natural deodorant, which has won numerous awards. Great things are planned for 2020, including new deodorant scents. www.modernbotany.com
3. OXMANTOWN skincare is one of Dublin’s best-kept beauty secrets. www.oxmantownskincare.ie
4. We were the first to pick up on the monochrome magic of PESTLE & MORTAR back in 2015 and it’s now an international hit, with new launches on the way; www.kilkennyshop.com
5. Natural and vegan MOSS OF THE ISLES is now the brand of choice at designer spa Douro44 in Portugal. www.mossoftheisles.com
SERUMS FROM WEST CORK
Owner and “potion maker” Réidín Beattie (above) describes her WARRIOR BOTANICALS as an “antidote to modern skin and body care”, and they do have a timeless feel. At her studio in an old grainstore in West Cork, Beattie concocts oils and serums using organic herbs and botanical extracts. ADD TO BASKET: All the facial balms, salves and serums are beautiful to use, but we especially love the lip balms, including Morrigan, tinted with beetroot; a set of three costs €20. NEW FOR 2020: “This month I launch a breast oil,” says Beattie, “for detoxing and improving circulation of the lymph. Breast massage is a really important practice that we seem to have largely forgotten about, but it’s regularly cited as being a good preventative measure for cancer and also a beautiful way to connect with one’s body.” Beattie is also launching her first herbal tea blend, Queen of My Heart, which features hawthorn, three rose varieties, violet, hibiscus and motherwort. And there are lots of new creations on the way this spring, including body and skincare using spring herbs; I especially love the sound of peach and orange blossom lip balm. NEED TO KNOW: Having sold the natural deodorants at Urban Outfitters in London and with new stockists in both London and Paris (if I had a store in Dublin I’d snap it up), Warrior Botanicals is fighting fit for 2020. www.warriorbotanicals.com
ESSENTIAL OILS FROM DUBLIN
There’s nothing Benoit Nicol (above) doesn’t know about the benefits of essential oils: THE NATURE OF THINGS is a beautifully presented collection of the highest quality, from vanilla oil to lavender (from €7). Nicol can put together personalised boxes of oils – a thoughtful gift. ADD TO BASKET: Lemongrass, for example, is good for sleep and anxiety, while mandarin is uplifting. Invest in the easy-to-use MAËL diffuser too, the first decent-looking affordable one we’ve seen. NEED TO KNOW: Try wearing Indian tuberose oil as a perfume, layered with patchouli. NEW FOR 2020: Look out for Nicol’s workshops to learn more about oils and their uses. At 60 retailers, including Kilkenny Design and Designist. www.thenatureofthings.ie
MASSAGE BALMS & CANDLES FROM CO TIPPERARY
Brilliant beauty therapist Jenny Faison introduced me to FLYING WILD’S handmade massage balms, which she uses at her CalmBeauty rooms (www.calmbeauty.ie). Flying Wild’s Arno Schouwenburg, based in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, traded publishing for beekeeping back in 2012, starting his artisan, eco-conscious business as a way to “share the goodness of the hives”. Raw honey and natural beeswax are used make everything from candles (including the “Fabergé egg”, left, €17.50) to facial oils and massage balms, only using organic, unrefined ingredients. ADD TO BASKET: The Menopause blend, with clary sage and geranium. And the rosemary and raw honey lip balm is a sheer bargain at €3.50. NEED TO KNOW: The whole range is great value, simple and sustainable. Arno is famed for his wonderful customer service, too. www.flyingwild.ie
THERAPEUTIC OILS FROM CO DUBLIN
Clinical aromatherapist Fiona Hedigan creates FLORA & FIONA therapeutic blends of quality plant oils. ADD TO BASKET Carry-On Travel Oil (€25), focused on oils famed for their therapeutic and antibacterial properties, has long been part of my on-board kit. NEED TO KNOW Hedigan recommends steam inhalations to help relieve winter cold symptoms: “Four drops of lavender and three drops of tea tree in a bowl of hot water is great for fighting infection and clear sinuses.” At Avoca and www.floraplusfiona.com.
ORGANIC SKINCARE FROM CO GALWAY
BARECHIC SKIN luxe organic skincare is a favourite of mine. Fiona Carr is the brains behind this tiny micro-batch brand based on the west coast. ADD TO BASKET: The Glistening Body Oil is a bestseller. It’s a multitasking product; try massaging through hair pre shampoo or apply to damp skin after a shower; and a few drops to the face adds extra glow. NEED TO KNOW: The Blue Flower Face Serum (€75) is part of facialist Amanda Nordell’s gua sha treatment in Dublin (www.amandanordell.com). NEW FOR 2020: Rose of the World, a really pure rose oil serum (available late February, an exquisite blend of organic, cold-pressed oils in a superior extraction that is wonderful for highly sensitive and oily skin. €105. www.barechicskin.com.
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