Our faces are important to us, that’s why we lavish tender loving care on them-moisturisers, exfoliators, mask, serums, facials-the list goes on and on. But often it’s not just our faces that can give away our age, but our hands, which we use endlessly daily without giving it a second thought.
Ambre Botanicals, a fairly young organic British brand that is already developing quite a following ( Content Beauty & Well-being team has told me that they already had to restock a few of the products from the brand due to their popularity ) uses highly concentrated formulations that don’t contain water or any nasty chemicals, making one of their star products, the hand cream, a very pure & natural treat indeed.
I have many hand creams dotted around my home-by my bed, by the bathroom sink, by the kitchen sink, as I often wash the dishes without wearing rubber gloves ( which can protect both the skin and the nails ) but most of the time I just forget to use them.
A couple of weeks ago I received a beautiful glass jar from Ambre Botanicals, which contains their best-selling ‘Mango & Carrot extra concentrated hand cream’. When I unscrewed the jar’s lid and lifted it up, a wonderful scent of lavender enveloped me in a hug and reminded me of Grasse ( France ) in the summer and endless lavender fields that surround it.
This yellow looking balm is highly concentrated, so you only need to use a little bit of it ( rubbing it between your fingers, while it warms up and then spreading it all over your hands ) and it makes your hands look beautifully groomed, with a slight sheen and a delicious smell. The cream comes from a 100% raw pant source and contains mango & shea butters, carrot seed, grapeseed & sunflower oils, natural vitamin E, rosemary antioxidant, as well as pure essential oils of clary sage, chamomile, rose & lavender-aren’t you falling in love already, just listening to the list of ingredients ?
At some stage my kids saw the jar on the kitchen counter top and while I wasn’t looking, they made it their mission to get their little hands on it and put the cream on themselves-while I wasn’t amused that they were using MY hand treat, they seemed very content putting it on their hands and faces and giggling at each other, while smelling truly scrumptious.
Since I started using the cream-and now I don’t go to bed without putting it on ( this month’s beauty resolution )-my hands feel softer and much nicer to the touch, as well as more pleasing to the eye. I think it makes a great handbag essential ( as well as a cute travel addition to your make-up bag that won’t spill or create a mess ) and you can apply it as a therapeutic treat, when you are feeling a bit stressed and let a relaxing smell of lavender lift the anger or frustration away, giving way to the sense of beauty and contentment.
I am very gratful that the brand’s owner and creative power force, Mira Ambre, agreed to answer a few of my questions about her work and her brand:
GAP: How long ago did you start your company and how long did it take you to create the products?
MA: I’m a third generation natural skincare crafter, following in the footsteps of both my grandmother and mother and using the knowledge and recipes handed down to me; I’ve been making my own skincare products for friends and family for most of my adult life.
When you deal with and learn about real natural ingredients, you develop a very certain understanding, philosophy and caring attitude. I was convinced that there must be commercial products available for like-minded people who want to use completely natural and effective skincare and was surprised when my search didn’t bring back any results – regrettably, even those big producers who claim to be organic and natural, use very different principles and approaches to mine.
Inspired by this gap in the market, I decided to utilise my knowledge and extensive collection of natural ingredients and developed my first commercial face, body and bath range. Most of the products in my range are not new for me – I have already been making and using them for years; I also had to re-invent some, and leave some out ( hopefully they will appear in AMBRE ranges in the future ). This work took me about a year and this is how AMBRE botanicals was born. The brand was launched in April, followed by an exclusive retail launch with Content Beauty & Wellbeing in May.
GAP: What makes your hand cream so special and so potent?
MA: Formulation, ingredients and how I use them.
Just like with all my products, I use highest quality, fresh, plant-derived active ingredients, rich in essential fatty-acids, vitamins and antioxidants. These ingredients are literally just a step away from their actual plant source – to retain fragile, heat-sensitive natural nutrients, I only use raw, cold-derived ingredients and cold processes during the production. This allows me to extract the best of what plant energy has to offer.
This cream’s key ingredients – infusion of Carrot seed oil and Mango butter are formulated to work their best in synergy to rejuvenate, heal, moisturise and nourish the skin. The formulation excludes water, which results in potent, extremely rich and highly concentrated product – up to five times more concentrated than some mass produced “organic” creams, which could contain up to 80% of water. Needless to say, it’s completely free of any synthetic chemicals.
GAP: Why do you recommend applying it at night?
MA: At night our body works hard to repair and renovate itself, which allows the product ingredients to work in the most effective way possible.
GAP: Can you put it over your nails – does it make them stronger?
MA: You can put it over your nails, but the cream wasn’t designed to work especially on them. Although I use a couple of preparations for nails myself, I also strongly believe that our nails reflect the state of our health much more than what we put on them from outside.
GA: Do you create all the formulations yourself?
GAP: Is it difficult to find all the necessary ingredients in the UK and why are you so committed to source your plants/ingredients here and not let’s say in Europe?
MA: It is difficult indeed to source the ingredients in the UK – only a few ingredients I use are grown in the UK, as this country’s climate doesn’t lend to this; I source the ingredients from Europe and around the rest of the world, truly believing that collection will soon represent most of the countries in the world !
GAP: Why did you choose the glass jar for the packaging-it must be more expensive than the plastic tube…
MA: This was not a conscious decision-I didn’t even consider using plastic for a minute. It’s not that I associate synthetic chemical content with synthetic packaging. This idea probably comes from my family tradition – we only use glass containers, jars and bottles of all sizes and colours to store any handmade preparations – be it for skincare or food.
GAP: How big is Ambre Botanicals team?
MA: We are very small – there are only eight people, including freelancers.
GAP: How long does it take to produce a batch of hand cream?
MA: I wouldn’t compete here with handmade chocolate, shoes or furniture makers; a batch takes only one day to produce.
Ambre Botanicals mango and carrot seed extra rich hand cream, 60 mls, £17