In the (almost) 20 years since Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare appeared on the skincare scene, it’s revolutionised women’s beauty regimes. How so? Through a wonder product called Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, accompanied by its signature muslin cloth, which for so many women has become an essential finale to a busy day, melting away make-up, pollution – and the day’s cares, through its aromatic blend of essential oils, including wonderfully aromatic eucalyptus.
Founded by a former magazine and GMTV beauty editor, Liz Earle – who we’re proud to call a good friend – and her business partner Kim Buckland (also a friend!), we’ve watched the brand grow into a global phenomenon.’From that very first day in 1995,’ recalls Liz, ‘we have always remained true to our philosophy – to use the finest ingredients to create outstanding products which are fuss-free and deliver exceptional results. Our simple approach takes the guesswork out of beautiful skin, and will help you look and feel your confident best, whatever your age or stage in life.’ But from the word go, botanically-derived ingredients (many with aromatherapeutic powers) have been at the heart of the range. Liz, as we know, has a passion for glorious smells: scented plants, essential oils (she wrote a book about those) – all things fragrant, actually. So it was entirely natural that one day, there’d be a fragrance.
Botanical Essence No. 1 was three years in the making: a fresh, citrus scent with a rich floral heart, ‘perfect for spritzing any time your spirits need a boost,’ as they put it. (OK, so we’d better declare an interest, here: our own Co-Founder, Lorna McKay, worked on Botanical Essence No. 1 – you can watch Liz and Lorna talking about it, here). 98% directly derived from natural ingredients, the complex blend includes mandarin orange – and the high altitude lavender which features in many Liz Earle skincare creations.
The perfumer who created Botanical Essence No. 1 was Jean-Charles Niel. What he enjoyed most about creating the fragrance, he explains, was ‘A total freedom of creation, blending smells of my own choice, without cost consideration, keeping only in mind (or… in nose) the final harmony and character of Botanical Essence No. 1. (The perfumer’s own first connection to fragrance, he also recalls, was ‘weekends in my father’s vaulted cellars watching women practise “enfleurage”, an age-old process for extracting a flower’s fragrance. The mystery of this underground environment, combined with the intoxicating smell of jasmine and tuberose, is simply unforgettable.’)
For Botanical Essence No. 15, Liz Earle turned to ‘nose’ Alienor Massenet (you can read more about Alienor here, in our ‘nose’ interview). Unlike fresh, zesty No. 1, No. 15 – named for the 15 fragrant botanicals in the blend – is a ‘modern fresh Oriental’. As she explains, ‘Unlike more traditional Oriental fragrances, Botanical Essence No. 15 doesn’t have such a fruity, gourmand effect. This is because of the combination and concentration of natural ingredients we’ve used, particularly the cedar wood oil and cypriol in the background, which give the fragrance a very clean, fresh, sexy note.’ As she adds, this is very new, in perfumery.
And it was to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of London’s Royal Horticultural Society, in 2013, that Liz Earle turned once again to Alienor – for Botanical Essence No. 100. Fresh-floral, this time, it’s over 90% derived from natural ingredients: a bouquet of Damask rose, Indian jasmine, orange flower, garlanding softly sensual sandalwood, Bourbon vanilla, cypress. (And, to lighten and brighten, there’s the clarity of bergamot and mandarin.)
On the Liz Earle website, here, you’ll find ways to create No. 101 – an uplifting citrus floral, blending Botanical Essence No. 1 and No. 100. Or play around some more, to create spicily citrus No. 16, whose zesty intro melts into comforting notes of tonka bean, Bourbon vanilla and cinnamon leaf. Or try concocting No. 115 (No. 100 + No. 16), if you want to blend florals and spices in a D-I-Y ‘floriental’.
Last but not least, do follow the founder of this beautiful brand’s own tips, for fragrance application. Says Liz Earle: ‘I find that the best way to apply fragrance is to spritz the air and walk through it, letting the mist envelop me. This way my perfume is applied delicately all over. If you prefer to apply fragrance directly to your pulse points (wrists, sides of the neck and behind the knees) spritz onto the body 8-10 cms away. When applying to the wrists, remember not to rub them together as this will crush the scent. For an extra boost, try spritzing fragrance onto your hair for long-lasting freshness…’
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