LYONSLEAF, flying the flag for British beauty…naturally.
One of our favourite up-and-coming skincare ranges is the (already) multi award-winning Somerset brand Lyonsleaf. As in: winner of both a Gold and Silver in the 2014 FreeFrom Skincare Awards.
In fact their Natural Beauty Balm pipped Suti for second place and scooped a Silver in the Best Leave On Face Care category in a competitive group which included Neals Yard’s Wild Rose Balm; you can check the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners HERE
The Problem Solver: 100% natural, with pure essential oils of Palmarosa, Clary Sage, Patchouli and Rosemary
Dedicated to creating 100% natural products, Lyonsleaf’s co-founder Vicky Lyons has developed a capsule collection of affordable natural products and it’s British brands like hers that are currently flying the flag for green beauty in a massively competitive market right now.
The range is pure, clean and simple – Lyonsleaf even grow a lot of their own herbs, plants and flowers, including a field full of yellow and orange calendula flowers for their special Healing Blend Calendula Cream, Gold winner at the FreeFrom Awards, which boasts an ingredients label brimming with super-soothers including: cold pressed almond oil, organic shea butter, cold pressed apricot kernet and borage oils, calendula flower extract, vitamin E oil, juniper essential oil, frankincense essential oil, along with lavender and geranium essential oils.
Healing beauties: Vicky and husband Ben harvesting Calendula flowers for Lyonsleaf’s Healing Blend Calendula Cream
BEHIND THE BRAND
We caught up with Vicky fora few minutes this week while she wasn’t out harvesting herbs and flowers to go “behind the brand” and find out more…
Vicky, what do you think sets Lyonsleaf apart from other similar brands?
Our products are all water-free which allows us to avoid preservatives and emulsifiers and to be 100% natural. We also truly believe this is the best way to moisturise your skin. Water based moisturisers have become the norm because they feel nice, they are conveniently stable at a wide range of temperatures (and are, let’s face it, much cheaper to make), but they actually don’t moisturiser your skin as effectively as a balm.
“Water based moisturisers have become the norm because they feel nice, they are conveniently stable at a wide range of temperatures (and much cheaper to make), but they actually don’t hydrate your skin as effectively as a balm”
Lots of people don’t like balms because they’re so often greasy and can be messy and inconvenient. However, we’ve worked hard to formulate balms that glide on and absorb really well – it can be done! We have a special method of blending them, They can’t be mass produced, and you do need to care for them by keeping them reasonably cool (under 25°C), However they are far superior to any water based moisturiser you have ever used.
Lyonsleaf Republic of Natural Skincare is also very special because it’s committed to creating safe, effective, affordable skincare – we don’t feel it should be a treat, or just for the bourgeoisie!
You won two Freefrom Skincare Awards this year beating some top UK natural brands in the process. How does that feel?
Yes, we won a Silver for our multi-purpose, Natural Beauty Balm in the leave-on face care category and the Gold for our Healing Calendula Cream in the Problem Skin category. We were so proud to be shortlisted alongside top brands as well as a host of amazing artisan producers. When we actually got placed at the top of this stack, well, it was rather overwhelming. We are very flattered.
So pretty in such a simple way, calendula’s many forms include tea, tincture, oil, poultices, creams and balms to heal an amazingly diverse range of problems from menstrual disorders (teas) to cold sores and fungal infections (tinctures)
Calendula is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs
What’s your must-have product from your range?
I love our Natural Beauty Balm, which is ultra light and extremely easy and handy to use and it’s one of our most popular products – a fantastic multi-tasker. Like our other water-free products, not just a moisturiser, it can be used for oil-based cleansing, massaging into dry heels and ankles and applying to chapped skin. I even apply mine to the dry ends of my hair.
Calendula Oil is potent, so dilute it (4 parts carrier oil : 1 part Calendula) with a carrier like almond oil for example.
Calendula is commonly used for acne, eczema, psoriasis, nappy rash, sore cracked nipples, dry chapped skin, wounds, varicose veins, thread and spider veins.
“The key to skin hydration lies in maintaining and repairing
the skin’s lipid barrier”
Why is being water-free so important for our skin?
Dry skin is caused when the skin’s outer lipid barrier fails and too much moisture is allowed to evaporate. The epidermis draws moisture from the dermis below and from humidity in the air. if this water evaporates more water is drawn from below and the dermis dry’s out causing it to sag and wrinkle. The key to skin hydration lies in maintaining and repairing the skin’s lipid barrier – in other words, helping the skin to lock in moisture.
Although we may love the “feel” of products which contain water, in reality excess water disrupts skin barrier function – this is why people who have their hands in water a lot get dry skin.
Lyonsleaf believe that, rather than adding water to products, we should let the skin regulate its own water usage and help it hang on to that moisture by repairing damage to the lipid barrier caused by detergents, air con, weather, hot baths and so many other environmental factors.
Calendula flower heads macerating in the sun
What do you use in your products instead of water?
Most creams on the market tend to contain 70-80% water. Whereas Lyonsleaf products are all 100% natural, cold pressed oils and butters, all containing nourishing vitamins, free radical-busting antioxidants and all sorts of other beneficial compounds. Only the very best ingredients go into Lyonsleaf!
The fatty acids in these natural oils are the same as those your skin uses to create its lipid barrier. This means they effectively maintain skin barrier function without disrupting skins natural balance and workings
We cold blend our ingredients to preserve all the goodies in the carrier oils. Consequently our balms have a low melting point which is why they glide on so well, but also why you have to keep them cool.
Skin-softening in summer, skin-cocooning in winter: Lyonsleaf’s year-round beauty hero Body Butter
Why do we need to be wary of certain preservatives in skincare?
When I say preservatives, I mean anti-microbials, which kill bacteria that can harbour in the aqueous element of a cream. These are ingredients such as parabens, phenoxyethanol and formaldehyde. There’s also the not-so-nasty options like potassium sorbate, benzyl alcohol, and sorbic acid. All of these preservatives are designed to kill cells, so they’re bound to be harsh on the skin and many sensitive types have bad reactions to them. It stands to reason that if you can make convenient, effective skincare without them, then it’s got to be better.
We also have a real problem with putting products containing emulsifiers on the skin. Once you understand how the skin works, you realise that that outer layer, responsible for skin barrier function is a very delicate balance of water contained with lipids. Putting emulsifiers into a product is just asking for trouble.
Are your balms suitable for all skin types? Including oily skin?
Absolutely! Conventional products for oily skin strip excess sebum. It is now becoming clear that this causes the skin to overcompensate and produce more sebum exacerbating the problem. If you moisturise with natural oils and use essential oils that balance sebum, like palmarosa and geranium, skin often rebalances. The Oil Cleansing Method can be very effective for those with oily skin. Lyonsleaf products are all about helping skin regulate itself.
“If you moisturise with natural oils and use essential oils that balance sebum, like palmarosa and geranium, skin often rebalances”
Many people will be surprised to find they have dry skin even if it is oily. Remember, dry skin is a failure of the lipid barrier, this can happen even if you are over producing sebum. When the lipid barrier cracks, it’s not just moisture that escapes, pathogens can get in and cause spots.
What’s the best way to apply the Natural Beauty Balm for optimal results?
Less is more is the key here! And wait about 15 minutes before applying make-up. When it comes to adjusting to using an oil based skin care routine, there is almost a re-education issue here. We have become accustomed to watery moisturisers, which mean we automatically slap on huge handfuls. If you do that with a balm, you’ll end up greasy.
You only need to use a high quality balm like our Natural Beauty Balm very sparingly, and it’s also important to apply them 10 or 15 minutes ahead of putting on your make-up. Once you see this, you’ll be amazed at how far a small pot will go and how effective a pure, natural balm can be!
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