It has been a while since I wrote a brand to watch post, but today’s discovery is really rather lovely, so in my opinion is worth the wait. My brand to watch series is all about highlighting smaller or up and coming brands that I think are noteworthy. I will say that as the natural and organic beauty space has grown, so has the number of brands starting up, making the task of finding the real gems that little bit harder.
I connected with the Maia, one of the founders of Handmaids at the Formula Botanica conference last year, where I was a speaker. Formula Botanica offer online, accredited, organic cosmetic science courses which means that a lot of new brands, or even existing brands who are taking qualifications online have been through the programme. The conference is open to current students and graduates, so for me was a great opportunity to connect with lot’s of lovely people. On a side note, the Formula Botanica founder, Lorraine Dallmeier has been someone I have respected in this industry for a long time because of the brilliant myth busting she does in the green beauty space.
Handmaids is a brand based out of Bulgaria, I have to admit that because we have so many fantastic skincare brands based in the UK it is easy to forget that there are some great brands coming out of the rest of Europe too. When I went to the website I instantly found lot’s to like about Handmaids, for example one of the sentences that stood out was “A place for people who buy less but better”. Beauty blogging doesn’t exactly sit well with minimalism, but I really do resonate with the idea that more isn’t always more, in fact often by choosing our products well we can have a simpler, but a more effective routine.
Maia and Tania started with a single product, the lavender salve, spurred on in part with wanting a connection with nature in their busy city life. Their story is also about the joy of creating something, being creative and growing a business from a passion, all things many of us aspire to do. The products are all handmade, certified cruelty free and use natural, organic and biodynamic ingredients. I loved their sore nose balm (I wrote about that in this post – Products that are perfect for a cold), so I also wanted to mention some of the other products in the range I have been testing.
Geranium night face serum – (£13.20 for 20 ml) I mentioned this product on my Instagram, some months ago now. It has a lovely blend of oils for skin that is dry and in need of some serious nourishment, hemp, avocado and argan oils as well as rosehip, pomegranate and Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is a brilliant ingredient for helping the skin to repair itself overnight thanks to it’s anti-oxidant properties. I loved this product for skin that is slightly sensitised due to the weather, or that is simply a little dry and in need of a treat. A couple of pumps at night left me with soft, calm skin in the morning and if you prefer you can use less and layer with a night cream as well.
Vanilla Face cream (£9 for 40 grams) – This lovely cream smells like a desert with it’s slightly warming vanilla and cardamom notes. It’s designed for dry and sensitive skin and I used this a lot during the cooler months and no doubt will return to it in the Autumn. The cardamom has a slightly warming effect on the skin, and the shea and coconut oil is really nice and nourishing. The Vanilla cream works well as a night cream or day cream, the consistency isn’t as heavy as the ingredients list would have you believe and is in fact very smooth and easy to apply. For a product of this price point I was surprised at just what a treat this is to use, it leaves skin perfectly nourished and soft and the scent reminds me of rice pudding on a cold winters day, comforting and sweet.
Carrot eye cream (£7.50 for 10 grams) – I saved the best until last, this carrot eye cream has been one that I have been consistently using for the last few months and have nearly come to the end of the bottle. The reason I love it so much is that it feels wonderfully hydrating and plumping on the eye area, but it isn’t heavy and certainly doesn’t add puffiness, which happens with richer creams. It has a gorgeous yellowy/orange colour thanks to the rosehip and carrot seed oils in the formula and feels slightly cooling thanks to the rosewater base. I wouldn’t pick this one if I wanted something specifically for dark circles, although it does give a slightly brightening effect, although I have found very little that does work wonders on dark circles, other than a good nights sleep! This is easily one of the best natural, budget friendly eye creams I have found and one I would repurchase in a heartbeat.
Handmaids are an example of how, if you search out niche, less well know brands you can find some gorgeous products at really good prices. The brand has lovely ingredients, formulas and a fun approach to their branding and packaging that makes them stand out, in what has become a very dull sea of samey looking packaging and brands. You can find out more and shop the full range at Handmaids.