Looking for gift ideas? This is hard to beat …
Irish family business Max Benjamin have just launched their first bath and body collection, building on the huge success of their candles. The company first launched in the 1990s, with the three Van den Bergh siblings making candles in a Wicklow stable – they were one of the first companies to use natural wax. While Max Benjamin already have soaps and hand creams (we are very partial to the French Linen Water scent), these are their first bath and body products – and they’ve clearly taken time and trouble to create something special, in a very crowded field.
So what’s in the range? First, Lavender, Chamomile & Magnesium Bath Salts (€27), designed to ease aches and pains, and generally help you wind down; then there’s a Lavender, Chamomile & Magnesium Sage Scrub (€35) to exfoliate skin naturally and gently – it smells amazing, beautifully herbal, and is rich in hydrating avocado oil. Finally, a luxurious Lavender, Chamomile & Magnesium Body Cream (€38): I counted at least nine essential oils in this blend, including vetiver and cedarwood, to soothe your mood and help you sleep, and Amyris oil (a West Indian sandalwood oil), apparently helpful if suffering from anxiety, a weak immune system or sleep disorders. Magnesium, meanwhile, is a natural mood-stabiliser. There’s a focus on fine natural ingredients: all three items have a subtle relaxing scent to help you wind down and sleep.
With all these qualities, I’d certainly suggest this range to anyone dealing with menopause symptoms such as anxiety, poor sleep, fatigue and dry skin – the combination of calming ingredients, luxurious textures and a general thoughtfulness makes any or all three products the perfect gift and bit of support.
Incidentally, I am also constantly recommending Andras Paroczai (www.andreas.ie) for a deeply therapeutic head, neck and shoulder massage – I can’t talk highly enough about his treatments for easing stress and tension, and having a “healing” effect on mind and body. Everyone I’ve recommended him to absolutely raves about him too – I genuinely think he is one of the best in Ireland. Book now (you may have to wait for a slot), and be forever glad you did. It is the best €55 I spend on myself all year, and I would forgo literally any other treatment or product to have this de-stress massage every now and then.
Anyway, other things to love about the Max Benjamin collection: it’s all made in Ireland – which sounds obvious, but many Irish beauty products are, in fact, not. It’s vegan and cruelty-free. It looks good – it doesn’t photograph particularly well, but in real life the pots (a very generous 200ml) are really elegant-looking, and you can recycle the weighty glass jars. They all smell beautiful – light, natural, and at just the right intensity (not too much, just enough). The feel of the body cream is as velvety as those costing three times as much, and it is sheer pleasure to use. This is not an ad, by the way – I have just been taken aback by the quality of each item and think they are very good value for money, especially when you look at the robustly good ingredients rather than synthetic fillers.
As one of the two brothers behind the brand, creative director Mark Van den Bergh, says, “With the world slowing down around us it became apparent to so many that prioritising ‘moments for me’ is crucial to our own wellbeing.” Many such ranges claim to help our wellbeing, but this homegrown luxury range really is a pleasure to use, and to treat others to, all under €40. In my opinion, it’s a great addition to the flourishing Irish beauty market.
Available at www.maxbenjamin.com and select luxury retailers nationwide.
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