I love to wax lyrical about a product or company that I’ve discovered that has made a big and lasting impression on me – it’s even better when the company agrees to an interview! I first came across the English Rose Cosmetics last year – my skin is extremely dry and prone to itchy eczema occasionally around my eyes during my hay fever season ( Feb – June – tree pollen) – and I spotted a post on Facebook about English Rose Cosmetics night cream. Luckily enough Karin was looking for people to review the product, I applied and got my chance to try this cream. Thus started my love affair. So here’s a quick review on the Night Cream along with two other products I’ve used over the last few months:
Nighty Night Cream – on the tin it says it plumps out wrinkles, reduces age spots, controls oiliness & improves skin texture. I am used to putting on thick cream in an effort to combat the dryness/eczema. In contrast, this cream is light and very lightly fragranced – it soaks into the skin well, without leaving a sticky residue nor does it tighten the skin. It feels refreshing and soothing on the face. It has hydrated my skin and has improved my skin texture – as for the wrinkles, well, they do seem to have been smoothed away. 9/10
Bright Eyed & Bushy Tailed Eye Cream – I had noticed dark bags appearing under my eyes over the last 6 months or so, despite wearing make up to try and camouflage the effects. Combine that with my itchy eczema, I was at the end of my tether as to what to do. However, once I tried the night cream I decided to purchase the eye cream (it says it reduces dark circles, bags & puffy eyes whilst plumping out fine wrinkles). Dabbing the light cream around my eyes twice a day for the last 2 months I have found that my dark bags under my eyes are not as pronounced – in fact they’re barely noticeable; the skin around my eye area is smooth and virtually line free, no hint of dryness; and best of all, no sore eczema patches on my eyelids! Very pleased! 10/10
Fair of Face Facial Cleanser – I’ve only recently tried this cleanser. It is said to combat oiliness, soothe acne and inflammation without drying the skin. As my skin is dry, oiliness and acne has never been an issue. The cleanser is a light foam, which exudes a pleasant ginger aroma which is very refreshing and uplifting. A little goes a long way, and leaving it on your face for a few minutes before rinsing off, really wakens up your skin. It certainly made my face feel clean, no itching and no dryness. A fab base before applying moisturiser, foundation and make up. My face felt so clean that I bypassed the toner stage altogether. 8/10
Without further ado let’s meet Karin, the lovely lady behind English Rose Cosmetics… hi Karin, welcome…
Hi! I am Karin Mckay, and have worked 17 years in the cosmetic industry. I’m based in Reading and I do pretty much components, packaging, designing the packaging, the social media, sales and marketing.
What was the inspiration behind setting up English Rose Cosmetics?
It literally started out of nothing. My sales & marketing career had ended as due to neck and back injuries in 2009, I’ve had 2 back operations and several neck injections. So I really could only work 3 days a week, without commuting and needed adjustments made in the work place, so that basically made me unemployable. I had been out of work during 2012 and was getting more and more despondent as to what I could do with my life. So when I had the inspiration for the English Rose character, I drew on all my knowledge on ingredients, formulating, manufacturing of cosmetics and contacts in the industry and started working on my own products.
Have you always wanted to be in the makeup /skincare/ beauty industry?
The trends and innovation start with the cosmetic manufacturers, they train their agents around the world and then people like me would present the new ingredients/trends to cosmetic scientists and marketing personnel at the brands. We would make really fabulous example formulations to demonstrate new ingredients. Sometimes the marketing department didn’t “get” the science and sometimes the Cosmetic Scientist were on a tight budget or were under pressure to use existing approved ingredients. Really amazing ingredients never made it through, as brands continued on with the same old formulations and boring ingredients because they didn’t want to be innovators. So all this time I was thinking about the “perfect” skincare and what it should contain.
What products seem to be most popular with your customers?
Bright Eyed & Bushy Tailed eye cream is the biggest seller, as there are not many eye creams that tick all the boxes with under eye problems and customers are really seeing results, some instantly but the majority after a couple of weeks. Customers with more prominent eye bags really notice it’s working when they run and their problems become more noticeable. A lot of people try the concealer route with under eye problems, and this is fine up until the point when eye bags develop. I cannot stress the importance enough of using this eye cream to clear up dark circles and puffy eyes quickly, as in addition, you are putting back elasticity into the under eye area, which will help prevent bags in the future. For customers aged 38+ ideally you should be using this eye cream daily, as our skin loses elasticity and this can lead to under eye bags. The second best seller is Nighty Night Cream – I probably have more customers for Daily Defence Cream, but the ladies that use Nighty Night Cream usually buy 3 at a time online. This can be used day or night and I highly recommend starting at the décolletage and sweeping up the neck to the face. Mature skin needs more moisture and it needs actives that stimulate the cells in the dermis to improved firmness and elasticity and this cream really delivers in that area. I usually recommend to customers to try it on their neck and then feel that area where they applied an hour later. What they notice instantly is how quickly it sinks into their neck; any cream that sinks in quickly is a good indication at how compatible with your skins own oils it is, and how desperately your skin needed a ”drink”. Feeling the area where the cream was applied an hour later, gives a good indication on the ongoing benefits which high quality ingredients deliver.
I love the Nighty Night Cream – it smells fresh and makes my skin feel delightfully soft. What’s your personal favourite skincare item from your range?
Well, I do love them all and when I create them I think about how to make it the most perfect product in its category and use innovative ingredients with strong evidence behind them. My 48 year old face is a really good advert for my products. If I had to choose only one, I would have to say Fair of Face is very unique and I’m really impressed with every aspect of it. I rarely wear mascara, eye shadow, foundation or powder so I didn’t need an oil based cleanser, but I like to use a good product on my face in the shower as I’m a lazy cleanser. I used to get cyst like spots on my chin every couple of months that would last for about 7 days. Since using Fair of Face I have not had any spots, despite occasionally forgetting to remove make up. Also when I’ve washed with it in the morning and spritzed with Rose Kiss floral water, I have sometimes forgotten to put on moisturiser because my skin does not feel dry. Every other cleanser has left my skin feeling dry, but not this one. I have also put it to the test and used a makeup remover after Fair of Face to check that it’s removing grime thoroughly and it is. I have got into a routine of turning on the shower, applying Fair of Face and then rinsing it off in the shower, as that bit of contact time on the skin allows the plant actives to work.
In a nutshell, what ingredients have you used to make the Nighty Night Cream so effective at plumping out those wrinkles and softening my skin?
Bidens Pilosa (Revinage) is the hero ingredient in Nighty Night Cream. When I developed the night cream I knew I wanted to work in the dermis to boost collagen and elastin production (Extra cellular matrix), and that Retinol/Vitamin A was a good benchmark with proven deep wrinkle reduction. So when I came across a plant with retinoid properties that had strong evidence behind it, I was very interested. The problem with Retinol is it can cause irritancy, so it’s used at very low levels, or customers need to get a prescription to get a higher level and hope they don’t get a reaction. Bidens Pilosa doesn’t cause this type of reaction, which means it can be used at a higher level and therefore be more effective. In addition to plumping out wrinkles its’ been clinically proven to inhibit melanin cells that form age spots. Hyaluronic acid is also in Nighty Night Cream and this is something that’s present in our skin and its function is to hold water, which makes it good at plumping out wrinkels too. There are also a lot of plant oils; rosehip, shea, linseed, cottonseed, evening primrose oil, wheat germ oil etc. and they will provide essential fatty acids to the cellular wall in the epidermis, keeping that functioning optimally, healthy, moisturised and supple. The skin is the biggest organ in our bodies and its important to work with it and give it what it needs to keep it balanced and functioning optimally and this is t he theory which underpins English Rose Cosmetic products.
What plans, if any, have you got to extend your range of products? Any new products in the pipeline?
If the funds were there I would bring out 7 new products a year, as I really love researching and developing the best possible product. But it takes investment and faster turnover of existing products.
There are three formulations that are ready and they are:
1. Mermaids Cleansing water – a micelle water to remove make up with a seaweed active that calms inflamed skin
2. Moisturising lip gloss in 3 amazing shades, this feels like a molten lipstick and the base makes the colours look vibrant
3. Facial oil with trio of Omega oils and some collagen firming properties – I’m undecided about whether to add a fragrance or not.
These are ideas as I haven’t got the formulation right yet:
1. Land Girls Face Mask with honey, oat and apple
2. Powder Cleanser/Mask – that forms an interesting texture when mixed with water and has potent Vitamin C and fruit acids.
English Rose Cosmetics has been approved by PETA and is licensed to carry their logo. How important was it for the company to get this approval?
As animal testing on finished cosmetics was banned in the UK back in the 90’s, it was misleading to put on packaging “Not animal tested” as a UK or EU company would be breaking the law, and it inferred that other UK cosmetic companies were. The key thing is and always has been the ingredients selected, some products that have been in use for decades would have been tested decades ago, but the majority of EU and US suppliers do not test new ingredients on animals, which is why I prefer to source from them, so I can get declarations at the development stage. In recent years a lot of brands entered the Chinese market and the government there requires finished products to be tested on animals. I believe this will change as the Chinese industry catches up with EU testing techniques which have been adapted to deliver good results without using animals. However A LOT of brands have lost their PETA and BUAV status because of this. I like PETA as they don’t just focus on cosmetics, they focus on animal welfare in all areas, and it’s thanks to their newsletter that I made the decision to stop eating meat (I do have the occasional lapse) as I didn’t feel comfortable about the industrial farming of animals for human consumptions. I don’t judge meat eaters, as I acknowledge that some people love the taste of meat, I never really liked meat so it was easy for me to stop, but I do think it would be wonderful all round if everyone reduced their meat intake.
I love the names you give to your products – e.g. the Fair of Face Gentle Foaming Cleanser. Where does the inspiration come from when naming your products?
I try and stay true to British phrases that we all know and have a nostalgic feeling towards and try to make it relevant to the product. Example:-
Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed eye cream – gives us the impression of looking fresh and wide awake, exactly what one wants from an eye cream, but I make no guarantees on the Bushy Tail!
Lay Back and Think of England is a cheeky reference to the aphrodisiac properties of rose fragrance.
Rose Kiss Spritz – spraying pure Rosa damascene floral water on the face is like a kiss from a rose, with fresh rain drops on it.
Cocoa Ration Body butter references rationing during WW2 and contains cocoa butter as well as shea and avocado.
Daily Defence Moisturiser – I didn’t manage to come up with an old fashioned name, so I focused on the benefits of the day cream which are: protect against urban pollution and free radical damage.
Nighty Night Cream – most of us remember being told as children, Nighty Night sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!
Fair of Face – this comes from the Monday’s Child Poem, and as the Soap tree bark is very effective in regulating oiliness and clearing up spots, without drying the skin, thus users will have a clear, unblemished face.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Pretty much all of my jumpers seems to have glitter going through them! Everything I wear is well fitted and has some interesting detail to it. I like tailored suits and feminine tops. Because of back problems I mainly wear flat shoes now, brogues, loafers and patent leather or animal print flats. I also quite like a bit of camo and military looking jackets and have the most amazing camo handbag in the shape of a dog, even the zips look like dogs bones. It’s very unique but doesn’t really go with anything.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Online I like Campbell Crafts, I really admire Lindsay’s style, and she has a really good collection of vintage reproduction that is very wearable. On the High Street I like TK Maxx as you can really pick up something a bit different but affordable. Unfortunately I don’t have the finances to spend much money on clothes, so I often check out charity shops and Vintage Events for something wearable and Made in UK.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
The Edith dogtooth wiggle dress from Collectif! I ordered online before Christmas but it was too big, so I’m waiting for my size to come in! I’m always on the look-out for new outfits at Vintage Fairs, I have a love of Made in UK – good quality clothes in tartan, tweed, Prince of Wales, Herringbone, Dogtooth, and of course I would love to find a beautiful Dior Couture outfit from the 50’s, the epitome of feminine elegance.
Boots or Shoes?
Unfortunately I have large calves so battle to find knee high boots that fit, so for me it’s shoes. My favourite pair of shoes is a turquoise/gold Irregular Choice with swans and a Perspex heel. The first time I wore them was to a wedding and I was tasked with looking after the camera to take photos, but apparently when my friends looked at their photos they were mainly of my shoes!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/Facebook/twitter etc. so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and your products
STOP PRESS…. English Rose Cosmetics will be at the RHS London Rose Show 2015 at the RHS Horticultural Halls 29 – 30 May 2015. Do go & say “Hello” if you are there! As usual, let me know if you’ve fallen in love too with English Rose Cosmetics – what products tickled your fancy?
Photo Credits: Linda Hobden; English Rose Cosmetics