Beauty in a jar

Art May 12, 2016 01:00


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England's highly reputed organic skincare brand, Neal's Yard Remedies, finds a new home in Bangkok

WITH AN increasing number of women reporting allergies, no matter how slight, to the chemicals contained in beauty products, it’s not surprising that organic skincare brands are grabbing a growing |portion of the market.

The latest to arrive in Thailand is Neal’s Yard Remedies, a British brand with a strong ingredients policy that follows specific criteria for safety, sustainability and efficacy. The brand recently launched at Siam Paragon.

A firm believer in the dictum that holistic health brings out the beauty from within, owner Peter Kindersley, who acquired the brand from its founder Romy Fraser in 2005, points out that plants grown in their natural ecosystem are the healthiest and most vibrant of ingredients.

A small shop opened in 1981 by Fraser in Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden in the very heart of London, Neal’s Yard Remedies today has more than 50 branches throughout the UK, and has expanded to 21 countries on five continents. Its success has been guaranteed by more than 50 awards from leading organisations and publications.

Fran Johnson, manager of natural health for Neal’s Yard Remedies, was in Bangkok for the grand opening and celebrated the event by holding a workshop on the brand’s highly reputed essential oil.

Since joining the company at its factory in Dorset 11 years ago, Johnson has been responsible for developing new products, and told XP that she particularly enjoys the challenge and limitations that using essential oils can bring/

“Not many people realise we smell all the time and the sense of smell is strongly linked to our memory. For example, vanilla reminds many of us of the kitchen, taking us back to the days when our mothers baked cakes at home.

“So essentials oil not only work physically on the skin but the fragrances themselves have emotional effects. So when you use an essential oil product, you get double the treatment,” she says.

Essential oils contain volatile aroma compounds from plants and are extracted from the flowers, the leaf, the stem and the root. Each essential oil is made of hundreds of natural chemical constitutions. Each constitution has the smell of the oil and one or more specific activities. Frankincense, for example, has fantastic constitutions that rejuvenate and tone the skin, while rose extract helps to nourish and reduce inflammation.

“Essential oils have been used medicinally for centuries, More recently, they have become part of the pharmacopoeia for wellbeing and wellness because they work in many different ways and have different benefits as well. So you can use essential oil for treating everyday wellness as well as long-term illnesses. You can use them in the bath or in a diffuser. You don’t need a degree to be able to use them, though you must study their safety background,” Johnson explains.

 “Ethics are the very foundation of the brand and our focus on essential oils and herbs has not changed. While we do update our formulations in term of texture, we don’t need to alter fragrances.”

In comparison to other natural derivatives, organic vegetable sources are not processed. “Certain processing can release toxins and at Neal’s Yard we don’t follow any of those processes,” Johnson says.

“Products still work even when they are processed. It’s all down to personal ethics. We choose to use organic raw materials where we can because of the lack of chemicals. We choose to support a non-toxic lifestyle. That’s who we are and organic certification is the way we ensure and prove what we are doing.”

Neil’s Yard Remedies already had a following among Thais. Lifestyle guru Ploy Chariyaves fell in love with the products – as well as the brand’s vibrant deep blue bottles – during a visit to Covent Garden in the late ’80s.

“Personally, I like everything that is organic. Most people think that it takes a long time to see the results of using organic products but that’s not true. I’m very impressed with the Rose toner, the smell is just like fresh roses and feels very clean too,” Ploy says.

Young celebrity Anutara Kiengsiri says she likes the gentleness of the Frankincense collection to protect and tone her skin. “I’ve been a fan since my days studying in England,” she says.