For a while now I’ve been trying to find out more about ‘natural’ beauty – what goes in to beauty products and which ingredients can be harmful to your skin. Ellie Gill, a makeup artist based in Tunbridge Wells has become an expert on it – she previously worked for Neal’s Yard where she discovered more about using organic products and ingredients, and the rest is history.
At the end of October, Ellie held her first natural beauty masterclass in Darling & Wild, an absolutely gorgeous florists in Tunbridge Wells. I was really keen to go along and get an expert’s take on what we should be using to benefit our skin, both inside and out.
There were six of us attending, which was such a nice group size – it meant for the few hours we were there we could get to know one another. In the mix were yoga teachers, businesswomen and a teacher, so it was a nice mix of backgrounds with a common interest in wellness.
The session began with us creating a blend of different dried flowers and herbs so we could steam our faces. Ellie explained that steaming your face is a great thing to do because it cleanses the skin of dirt and debris, helps to remove toxins and enhances circulation.
Rose, Marigold, Cornflower, Mallow and Comfrey were all laid out for us to choose from, and we were able to create our personlised bowl depending on which ingredients worked best for our skin. I used a lot of rose in mine, which Ellie explained is good for balancing the skin, and cornflower also played a big part after learning it tones, brightens and lightens.
Once our ingredients were in our bowls, we spent a few minutes relaxing with our heads under towels, steaming our faces. I’d forgotten how nice it is to do that – in everyday life we’re always rushing around and I can’t remember the last time I steamed my face, but I’ll definitely be making an effort to do it more regularly.
The next step was to do a DIY facial, beginning with making our own face masks. This was done using organic clay, available from places like Neal’s Yard, and adding in different oils with different properties.
I chose to use the french pink clay which helps to draw out impurities whilst also being good for sensitive skin. It turned out that a little goes a long way, and when we started removing it, Ellie had to come and help me out – otherwise I would have continued to resemble a Donald Trump effigy for the rest of the day.
We also did an oil cleanse and then a tone using some amazing products, some from local company A.S Apocothery which not only smelled AMAZING but felt so nice on the skin too.
Ellie showed us how to do a facial massage on ourselves, using our hands across our foreheads, cheeks and around our eyes. She explained that this is one of the best things you can do for your face because it helps with circulation and lymphatic drainage. I’m sold.
Once our faces were suitably glowing, we had a talk from nutritional therapist Chloe Manlay, who explained why what you eat has a direct impact on your skin, and how we need to be listening to our digestive systems. I found this talk particularly interesting – as someone who struggles with food intolerances and IBS it was fascinating finding out just how complex your digestive system is, and the various reasons food could be affecting you.
The final part of the masterclass was all about makeup – Ellie showed us some of her favourite natural products to work with, and also the best way to apply them so they last longer. These products were really impressive, nothing like the mineral powders that claim to be natural but don’t really do anything for you. I now have a seriously long list of makeup wants – good job Christmas is coming up!
I was quite sad when the session came to an end – most weekends tend to be full-on, and it was so nice to take some time out to learn something new. We were all given a goodie bag filled with things to try, and I came away with a much better understanding of my skin and how I can really help it.
Did I come home and start a juice cleanse? No, unless grape juice in the form of wine counts. But I have ordered a couple of natural makeup products, and I’ve been trying to keep up with my facial massages. I’ve only poked myself in the eye once. Okay, twice…