They may be small but their products are mighty.
I’d like to begin with a bit of an ode to Amanda Lacey’s Cleansing Pomade, a beauty classic since it was launched in 1997. Partly because it’s a luxurious and top-notch cleanser, but also because this week I’d like to focus on some favourite picks from small, independent beauty brands. I often champion niche labels, but this is a good time for us to support them if we can.
Amanda, in case you don’t know, is a brilliant facialist with dedicated clients from around the world. Her cleanser is one of those products that sums up grown-up beauty to me. It’s the kind of thing I’d have looked at longingly as a child and felt impatient about getting to an age or stage in life when I could use it. It comes in a pristine white glass pot lending it old Hollywood levels of retro glamour. Open it and you’re instantly enticed by the natural aroma of camphor and lily, a combination that’s at once aspirational and comforting. The formula feels balm-like; simply warm it between your hands, rub or massage it on to your face, then clean it off with water and a warm flannel. That sounds easy and quick – and it can be – but it’s such a pleasure to use I usually end up turning it into a bit of a ritual. It leaves skin clean, glowing and hydrated.
Now I appreciate that at £85 (amandalacey.com) this seems expensive. And I’m not saying that you have to spend a lot to get a good cleanser. But this is truly an uplifting joy to use – not to mention brilliant – and you can always keep it for a once a week treat and leave the daily grind to The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm (£9.99, uk.theinkeylist.com). For me, Cleansing Pomade is an adored and long-standing favourite of mine.
Another brand to love is Phoenix & Providence from the Isles of Scilly. It uses foraged seaweed – hand collected by the brand’s founder Ella Mclachlan with occasional help from her husband and children – which is dried and infused in cold-pressed organic oils. I recommend its Revive Body Wash (£13) and the Nourish Body Oil (£17.50, both phoenixandprovidence.co.uk).
For an excellent face oil try Willowberry Nutrient Boost (£26.99, willowberry.co.uk). This blend of rosehip, vitamin E, chia seed and geranium oils absorbs fast and has been helping keep my skin feel happy and hydrated.
For a bath and body oil, check out MontaMonta’s collaboration with My Lady Garden, a London florist opened by Kaiva Kaimins just before lockdown 1. Kaiva has harnessed some of her favourite botanical scents – geranium, clove, verbena – to create a very different floral delivery (£22, myladygardenflowers.com; find it under ‘Valentine’). @edwinaingschambers
Beauty assistant: Alice Robertson