2 months ago

The Under-the-Radar Skincare Brand With a Conscience

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Italian luxury range skin regimen is created by a family-owned company with sustainability at its core.

Trying out different products all the time means that I only rarely stick with something for an entire year. But I visited the HQ of Italian skin and haircare company Davines earlier this year, and it has really stayed in my mind. Seeing behind the scenes at their specially created sustainable Village and discovering its ethos and practices was inspiring – and several of the skin regimen products have remained at the forefront of my own routine.

At the Davines Village just outside Parma (a tiny food and art-lover’s tourist-light gem), I talked to the company’s chairman, Davide Bollati, whose parents founded the company in 1983; it’s an organic family business that Bollati describes as still a small company. He started in the R&D lab and is now regarded as a pioneer in the beauty industry – and here’s why.

Many brands have now seized on the word “sustainability”, but Bollati always had a “sensibility towards nature”, adding “Sustainable Beauty” to the Davines logo back in 2005; it has taken 14 years to get to critical mass, he notes. He is constantly striving to be ever more conscious, transparent and careful of the environment in a wide variety of ways (their website features a detailed sustainability report and manifesto; the initiatives and aims are far-reaching and inspiring, and a long way from corporate box-ticking).

Bollati is emphatic that being a company with the best practices and ethos (they are recognised as a B.Corp, and an award-winning one at that) is more important than being the biggest. “Becoming a B.Corp is not easy – to engage with all these initiatives in an authentic way is a lot of work,” he explains. “But you are giving more than you take from society. And it’s very empowering when you feel that what you do has another purpose and the results are also good. We enjoy going beyond the beauty industry. We explored the reasons why we are in business and decided to raise our purpose, and to put purpose before profit – and we want to be the best company not in the world, but for the world through beauty, sustainability and ethics, our three pillars. But you also need a product that’s efficient and performs – no one is interested otherwise.” Everything the company does has a long-term view: nothing is short-term or opportunistic, from a strict list of ingredients used, from sustainable sources, to minimising packaging, which they are working on all the time.

I feel that their luxury Skin Regimen range is a bit of a hidden secret, and testament to the company’s aim of combining performance and sustainability. At the Village, I saw the care, dedication to quality and the research that goes into making this skincare – and then found I really love using it, from the light Cleansing Cream (received by our guests at Look the Business in their goody bag this year), which lightly cleans skin and protects it from pollution in the environment, to the sensorial texture of the Tulsi facial oil. The Microalgae Essence Energising and Illuminating Lotion is a first step for optimum hydration in the skin, and a rescue worker when your skin feels in any way tired, tight or stressed. These days, it’s not enough to just like the way a cream feels: you also want the packaging to be conscious and careful – and this will be a huge focus going into next year and beyond in the beauty world – and this range, for me, ticks all the boxes. It’s not cheap, but a sleek black tube of cleansing cream, at €35, will last for ages (and do far more for your skin than a greasy thick balm or sulfate-ridden foam).

Also under the Davines umbrella comes [comfort zone], which you might have come across in hotels (and it’s available on www.feelunique.com). The Tranquillity Blend body oil is one of my favourites, for its truckload of natural ingredients, such as rose, sandalwood, sweet orange and geranium essential oils, which give it a silky texture and profoundly relaxing natural scent. There are also endless categories of Davines haircare (available in salons including the lovely Romina Daniel in Sandyford) to suit every issue you might have. It would take hours to explain all the different categories and variations. So I’ll just say that my teen daughter has thick hair prone to frizz and oiliness, and I genuinely double-took the other day as it was looking noticeably shinier and healthier the other day – turns out she has been swiping my Love shampoo and conditioner. And yet it works for my own fine but dry hair too.  

Full credit to Arnotts for consistently bringing us the most interesting, sustainable and effective skincare in their beauty hall. My feeling is that Skin Regimen is a fine insider’s secret if you’re aiming for the healthiest skin possible, with an eye on the bigger picture …

www.davines.com and at Arnotts

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