This is turning into something of a skincare week. While we wait for the weather to decide if we’re talking summer or (still) winter clothes, lets stick with ensuring we’ve all got our transitional skincare under control. Amanda Saurin, who runs AS.Apothecary and has, in my opinion, the best job in the world, continues her series of guest blogs from her idyllic sounding country base, this week she’s talking transitional skin. (ps, we notice Country Living has featured Amanda for June and French Vogue mentioned her recently, good to see everyone’s keeping up!)
I spent the weekend walking in the South Downs, aware that the sun was finally pushing through the unrelenting grey and warming the air. It feels as though the season is changing, the seedlings at the workshop have popped up and are eagerly awaiting the liberation of a pot of their own. I love this time of year. It has all the promise of the growing season ahead. At last I can look out at the flower beds and visualise the riot of flowers that will follow in a few short months.
As yet the hedgerows are sparse but where there are expanses of Hawthorn planted the bright green leaves are so full of life, the green almost luminous in the sun. Medicinally the flowers and berries are a tonic for the heart but just looking at it lifts the spirits and makes the heart sing.
It is a time of transition for the skin, a moment to contemplate the summer. Many women keep to the same routine all year round for their skin, familiar creams and oils often bought over years feel safe and solidly reliable. However different seasons require different products and although it can be challenging to move away from long treasured routines, your skin might thank you.
Summer skin is exposed to higher levels of UVA and UVB, is frequently sweatier and often dry. The sudden dash for the razor or waxing salon also leaves skin (and owner) somewhat stressed. As with most things in life, the better the quality of oils used in your skincare products and the fresher they are, the better the effects they will have on your skin. Products with very long shelf lives will probably have lost most of their efficacy long before they touch your skin. This is one good reason to use skincare made by a small batch producer who makes products regularly, has a rapid turnover and replenishes oils on a very regular basis.
At the moment, with summer in mind, at A.S APOTHECARY we are busily gathering what many people regard as weeds. Stellaria with its tiny starry flowers is one of our most precious plants, it has wonderful healing properties and is an excellent treatment for inflammatory skin conditions. We use it in our Dry & Parched Balm for dry skin, eczema, psoriasis and for irritation post shaving/waxing. Soon our Calendula seedlings will burst into flower giving us hundreds of flowers to make into an orange coloured rich, healing oil and our meadow will yield armfuls of Meadowsweet which we use in our Facial Serum #3 and Summer & Skin Balm.
A good serum is a magical treat for the skin, it moisturises deeply, brightens and heals the skin. With the right combination of seasonal plants and fresh oils it both hydrates and protects the face. Although the SPF of most serums is low, as a summer treatment it is really beneficial. Balms and Butters give a protective sheen to the skin and where untreated Shea butter is a key ingredient, the pleasure of it melting on warm skin with its aroma of white chocolate can’t be underestimated.
Finally our absolute ‘go to’ product for summer is an aromatic water. There are a multitude of flower waters on the market at the moment, many with the addition of extracts, leaf juices, hyaluronic acid and various peptides – we prefer to let the plants themselves shine, so when we distil with beautiful Pear Tree Well water we neither add nor take anything away, we simply bottle it and then spritz with wild abandon all through the summer.
For more on AS Apothecary’s lovely products, or to find out about the aromatic and inspiring courses Amanda runs check here.