By Natasha Dunn
I was delighted to receive a small package in the post and even more delighted when I opened it. Why you ask? Well they contained two samples from the House of Shea, kindly sent to me by founder Louise.
Divine is the only way to describe both the smell and texture of the Uplifting Body Souffle and Hand Balm. Sweet, soft and reminiscent of a countryside stroll. After this teaser I’m sure you’re on tenterhooks to discover more. I shan’t keep you in suspense any longer, continue reading for my interview with Louise and discover the secrets behind the products.
House of Shea is known for its organic approach and dedication to self-care. Could you tell us more about the House of Shea, how it was born and the brands mission?
Life’s very busy and stressful. For years I’ve been enjoying occasional trips to the spa, it just has such an amazing effect in restoring the mind, body and soul. I thought wouldn’t it be amazing to have that every day. With self-care you can’t just do it once a year and it’s important to integrate into your daily routine.
I’m qualified in level 4 aromatherapy and an advocate of essential oils and the spa massage experience. I wanted to incorporate that into the everyday, along with some mindfulness to re-charge and combat stress. If you have the right skincare it can be a really pleasurable experience.
Mainstream skincare just doesn’t feel like it lasts and left my skin feeling quite dry. Most moisturisers are diluted with 80% water, so they don’t maintain the level of moisture in the skin. House of Shea’s oil-based products are full of wonderful botanicals, are waterless, potent and lock in the moisture. They also last a lot longer because a little goes a long way!
Additionally all of my products are not just natural, but organic as well. Organic is better for the planet and research has shown that organic botanicals, without the toxic chemicals used in modern farming, result in the plants having a naturally higher antioxidant content which is fantastic at keeping your skin looking beautiful and fighting the effects of ageing.
Shea Natural Skincare is composed of House of Shea and Hurray for Shea? What are the main differences between these two sister brands?
House of Shea is about aromatherapy and a spa like experience which is very sensory. There are two blends, the uplifting, which is good in the morning and then the calming, which is very soothing and perfect before bed. The ylang ylang ingredient contained in the calming blend has the same components as anti-depressants, so is very good at warding off anxiety.
Hurray for Shea is for people with sensitive skin; not everyone can tolerate essential oils. But even though this range is fragrance free it’s still packed with rejuvenating, organic ingredients and additionally anti-inflammatory components.
With both ranges I was very careful in pricing them, so they don’t have silly price tags. A lot of natural skincare is insanely expensive so I tried to price my product so they’re accessible.
I understand that you grew up in the countryside and this has inspired the House of Shea. Could you describe any more influences that have driven your passion for organic skincare?
I was always shocked by how much mainstream skincare was synthetic and by the chemical cocktails they contained. There is no way of knowing the long-term effects and our skin absorbs over 60% of the various products we apply daily.
House of Shea began with my own skincare journey; I wanted to reduce my own toxic intake as a consumer. And I believed that other people should be able to share in this. There is so much greenwashing and confusing terminology, skincare should be simple.
You work with a lot of natural ingredients, specifically shea butter. Would you be able to tell us any little-known facts about this ingredient? And how it’s beneficial for the skin?
When I discovered shea butter I was blown away with how amazing it is, it’s so soothing and nourishing for skin without making it greasy. If shea butter is allowed to feature and star undiluted in a product it’s allowed to perform. It’s packed with vitamins and essential fatty acids that our skin needs, so it’s nourishing and healing. Shea butter is also really helpful with sun burn!
Apart from shea butter what is your all-time favourite ingredient?
Pomegranate seed oil, because it’s a ridiculously good anti-inflammatory. This with shea butter are superstars at fighting inflammation. With this combination blemishes and eczema are easily alleviated.
My favourite essential oil would have to be frankincense- it’s a grounding comforting smell. It’s also great at fighting the signs of ageing and keeping the skin tone even.
Would you be able to name some ingredients which are a big ‘no no’ in your products?
Water because it’s a diluter. Also any toxic synthetic chemicals, additives and preservatives. These are often used to stabilise a product when water is used and they can trigger reactions such as blemishes. I make formulations that don’t exacerbate the skin. The balance is important and useful to all skin types.
Could you tell us more about your new Radiance Beauty Oils? What are the main components?
I launched the Radiance Facial Oils in April last year and they contain a higher percentage of the age defying ingredients. For example rosehip oil and raspberry seed oil (which is a good defence against UV rays). Argan oil is also included, which has age defying effects. These oils can also be used on hands and cuticles!
House of Shea makes an annual donation of £1.00 for each full-sized product sold. Tell us more about the charities you donate to and why they are important to you?
As I’m really passionate about organics and organic farming, Wild-life Conversation Charity’s is where I put my focus. Because I’m an animal and wildlife lover it’s important to me that my range is vegan friendly and cruelty free.
Are there any exciting upcoming products in the works?
My Facial Oils have launched but because of the coronavirus I don’t feel like I’ve done them justice, so I’m going to try and put more excitement behind flagging up these products.
I haven’t got a lot of new products planned because when the brand was set up I aimed to create a multi-tasking, hardworking capsule range of versatile products. Its great if you can have one product that does many things. For example my Uplifting Facial Balm; you can use this product morning and night. It can also be utilised as a face mask and as a hot cloth cleanser.
And lastly what is your favourite product?
I love them all in their own right! But it would probably be my facial balm because it is so multi-tasking and makes my night-time ritual so easy. I can also use it under my make-up in the day. It’s a little one pot wonder!
How could you possibly resist House of Shea’s versatile and beautifully concocted skincare range. There really is something for everyone! Your self-care shouldn’t be put on hold, have yourself a mini-spa day morning and noon with House of Shea’s fabulous multi-tasking capsule.