Hands up if this past year has left you with a complexion duller than an episode of EastEnders? You and me both. Praise be, then, for Votary
Let’s face it, it’s been one hell of a year. Unless you’re a millionaire or an influencer (or even more annoyingly, both of those things), you’re bound to be stressed to the max right now. I know I am; prowling around the house like a bad-tempered crocodile, snapping at the cat or my husband if I've missed kick-off on Sky Sports or we’ve run out of wine. I'm aware of the fact that wine that doesn’t do our skin any favours either, but what can you do? I’ve been shielding for almost a year, there’s nothing else TO do but drink wine (and watch football, although I realise that's not everyone's hobby of choice). Before you call for an intervention, I do have both activities under control. Maybe.
So, if your skin is looking a bit worse for wear and you're in need of a treat, there are worse things you can do for it than splash the cash on a new skincare set from Votary. They’re a UK-based, vegan and cruelty-free brand who’ve won beauty award after beauty award for their organic, natural and very effective product range. Votary began at the kitchen table of make-up artist, Arabella Preston. She was blending pure plant oils to cleanse her own skin, and to prep the skin of her high-profile clients. As her magic potions caused a stir and folk far and wide praised said potions, Arabella saw a business opportunity, creating the brand with her friend, Charlotte Semler in 2016. Their Rose Geranium and Apricot Cleansing Oil (£45) is where it all began. It sounds wonderful, because it is.
‘I wanted a cleanser that cleaned my face properly, removed every trace of make-up, and left it feeling smooth, soft and plumped-up rather than taut and tight,’ explains Arabella. The original cleanser remains one of their best-sellers. I’d always thought using oils on one’s face would make for oily skin – it took me until I was in my fourth decade to realise that skin LOVES oils. The right oils, that is.
Not only are Votary products completely natural, but their packaging is super sustainable, too. Items are packed with Eco Flo chips which are made from 100% genetically modified-free starch. The beautiful recyclable glass bottles preserve the oils from over-exposure to sunlight and heat and are reminiscent of apothecary bottles from a time when the answer to any ailment was to spend a few hours covered in leeches. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad things have moved on.
The extensive and frankly mind-blowing range now spans cleansing oils, facial oils, deeply nourishing creams, masks and powerful serums to give you healthy, happy, glowing skin, even in the midst of a pandemic. When I win Euro Millions I am BUYING IT ALL. ALL OF IT.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret – it can feel overwhelming just looking at the number of products, but there’s an easy way to narrow them down. How? Take the skin test and you’ll be led to a selection of products that are right for you, right now. At 48, hormonal changes *shakes fist* are causing me some concern. I’ve also got more lines than a linen suit and I’m so stressed and exhausted my skin is screaming, ‘FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HELP ME!’ There’s also ‘mask-face’ to contend with – not being able to wear my usual pillar box red or bright pink lipstick means I don’t feel or look like my usual self. I actually put lipstick on to go for a walk now, and sometimes wear it indoors just to look less dreadful when I pass a mirror. It works, try it. At least the cat seems less afraid when I approach. I've also got one of those fancy face rollers - it's too early to tell if it's working but I'll tell you what, I don't even care because it feels SO nice, like being massaged with a polar bear pup's paw.
The Rosemary & Oat Clarifying Cleansing Oil (£45) reduces skin inflammation and gives you a glowing, even complexion. Bergamot oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to combat blemishes, so that's extra special right now when we're dealing with mask-rub and escalating stress levels. Oh, and to prevent skin drying out (central heating is the worst for dry skin) the oat oil absorbs into the skin and nourishes it like crazy. Also, Arabella seems to have reinvented the flannel, because Votary flannels - sorry, 'wash cloths' are THE BOMB. Do not use anything else. Ever.
The Brightening Hyaluronic Serum (£75) is a super-hydrating formula and just what parched, winter skin needs to feel brighter. Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient found naturally throughout the body, in our skin and tissues. It’s a natural humectant (I love that word), which means it’s able to attract moisture and retain it. Formulated with narcissus extract, it unifies skin tone and restores radiance to dull skin. Hyperpigmentation is rebalanced, and skin looks more even and luminous. It really does. That’s why this stuff wins awards, people.
I’m friends with the Watermelon Superglow Mask (£45) – best product name EVER, sounds like an '80s synthesiser band – which really cheers my skin and leaves it looking like I’ve just had a facial, although I'll be honest, I've never had a facial because I don't like anyone touching my face. Natural BHA salicylic acid gently exfoliates and smooths while avocado and peach oils nourish and condition. Neroli oil steps in to provide a fragrance uplift which can enhance mood and believe me, we need all the mood enhancers (legal ones, of course) that we can get right now. Going to sleep sometime this year? Good for you. Treat your skin to the Intense Overnight Mask Rosehip & Hyaluronic (£85) and wake up a thoroughly better person.
Take a look at the best-selling Super Seed Nutrient Cream (£65) which also contains the magic that is hyaluronic acid. Its natural, calming formula is fragrance-free and boosted with 21 richly nourishing super seed oils. That’s mad! Used on its own - or for extra power on top of your facial oil. It helps to create a layered barrier between your face and the (cruel) world. Its matte, smooth finish means foundation settles and fixes properly, so your skin stays looking luminous all day long. Unless, of course, you get caught in a dust storm, fall face first into a Victoria sponge or plunge headlong into a well. But you know that.
When you sign up to their newsletter you get 10% off your first order PLUS free samples, so go and get good skin NOW. Tell them I sent you. You can thank me later (most gift vouchers accepted, thanks) #votaryskincare #votary #veganbeauty #veganskincare #ukbeauty #ukbrand #crueltyfreebeauty #facialoils #geraniumoil #facemask #watermelon #hyaluronic #rosemaryoil #bergamotoil #ukskincare