I had the fortunate opportunity to interview Liz Earle from the eponymous skin care line, Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare. This busy mom of four has built an incredible business of natural skin care products with the philosophy that using the finest quality in natural products can make a difference in the health and appearance of your skin. See what she has to tell us about her line, what her favorite products are and what they can do for you.
What got you started with your own skin care line and what drew you to using natural products? I’ve always had a passion for researching the properties of plants and the effects they can have on the skin. This lifelong fascination led to my early career as a magazine health and beauty editor. I went on to write several bestselling books on the therapeutic power of herbs, plants, vitamins and essential oils. My research has helped me turn my passion into a career.
Despite having worked in the beauty industry for more than a decade, I had yet to discover high quality skincare with active botanical ingredients that really worked for all types of skin, even sensitive skin. It was my great friend Kim Bucklandwho suggested combining my research knowledge with her marketing skills to develop our own range. Together we created a dependable range of pampering and affordable botanical skincare treats with gentle formulations which deliver outstanding results no matter what your age or skin type. Kim and I hoped that we would be able to help women around the globe in their quest to achieve radiant, beautiful skin, but we never expected that 15 years on we would now be helping women in over 80 countries across the globe, and that one Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser would sell every 30 seconds- it truly has exceeded all of our hopes and expectations!
I read you travel the world to find some of the ingredients in your products, which means a lot of flying and a lot of dry airplane air. What are your must-haves for flying? Through my work I have been lucky to travel a great deal and I very quickly came to realise that there are some products which are worth their weight in gold for in-flight pampering. Although travelling long haul can take its toll on your skin, I find that a few hours in the air is perfect to focus on some simple beauty treats that will keep you in good shape as well as help pass the time. I don’t leave home without a Liz Earle travel kit in my hand luggage. My essential travel companion is Instant Boost Skin Tonic spritzer as this refreshing blend of fragrant essential oils, healing vitamin E and soothing organic aloe vera helps keep my complexion calm and hydrated, while giving on-the-spot instant refreshment. A travel-size of our Hand Repair is good for an in-flight hand massage, whilst the small pot of SuperBalm works as a wonder-salve on lips, cuticles and any dehydrated areas that need a bit of TLC.
Drink plenty of water, it is essential to keep the body hydrated which helps avoid that feeling of sluggishness and also helps prevent skin from looking tired and dull. Skin dehydration is the biggest beauty bore so I advise keeping the face make-up free, so you can liberally re-apply your moisturiser during the flight.
For many of us over 40 we are experiencing perimenopause, menopause and post menopause. What kind of changes with our skin can we typically expect during these phases of life? Not just with our faces, but with our body as well. And what do you suggest using to counteract some of these issues? Menopausal changes typically start around 44, often bringing stress, poor sleep (due to night sweats) and spotty outbreaks in some women. Declining levels of oestrogen, which keeps skin moist, supple and soft, contributes to skin dryness and lack of suppleness. Hair also tends to become drier and more brittle. But don’t worry; good skincare can make a real difference both now and for the future.
Look for skincare products that are plant-based because these bring so many benefits to ageing skin, particularly antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Battle skin dryness with rosehip seed, borage seed and cranberry seed oils. Try our Superskin Moisturiser which is packed with these potent botanical ingredients, and is specially formulated to help mature and very dry skin look and feel rejuvenated. For your body, use the luxurious Superskin Body Cream, with its ultra-rich formulation with 25% plant oils- it’s our most intensive body moisturiser ever.
I think a lot of women over 40 have “tired” looking skin – what causes that and what can help it? Is it just basically dry, dull skin? The natural reduction in sebum (oil) production brings drier skin and the potential of lines. Keep skin nourished and plump with plant oils, without restoring to injections of facial fillers or freezers. Generally, at this stage, cell turnover is slowing down, so the top layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum) tends to become thicker and less bright. You are also likely to experience a breakdown of collagen, with loss of elasticity. But while you wouldn’t expect to have the peachiness of youth at fortysomething, you can still have lovely skin. To combat these signs of ageing, I recommend you try our multi award-winning Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. The gentle exfoliating action of the muslin cloth increases cell renewal by buffing away dead skin cells, helping to keep skin clear of blemishes and excess oil – leaving it radiant and youthful-looking.
Other key products that I suggest, apart from our creamy cleanser, are a gentle facial scrub, non-drying skin toner, night cream, plus a multi-purpose balm. Specifically, for the days when your skin feels dull and tired, and you need a little extra boost, try Liz Earle Brightening Treatment Mask. Our fast acting ‘minute’ mask instantly revitalizes your skin. Containing stimulating camphor oil and toning hazel, it will reveal a natural-looking radiance.
One thing that many of us tend to avoid discussing is the excess facial hair that many women can experience as we age. Which leads us to plucking, waxing, using depilatories and in the end, irritated and sensitive skin. What products or ingredients should we be looking for to sooth irritated skin? Facial hair can be a problem; the easiest solution is to tweezer or wax away. All-over down (common on lower cheeks and chin) or mustaches also respond well to threading as it is gentler than other methods- a good option if you suffer from irritated and sensitive skin. Threading is an Iranian invention, where hairs are simply tugged out by a piece of cotton thread ‘scissored’ across the skin; experienced operators are simply phenomenal to watch as they work at tremendous speed, their fingers flashing. I also recommend making sure you exfoliate between hair-removals sessions to help prevent dry skin build-up and ingrown hairs. Avoid heat treatment of any kind (sunbathing, suna ot steam) for 12 hours before and after waxing to avoid skin irritation. Always keep your skin soft with a good quality moisturizer containing ingredients like shea butter or pure vitamin E to sooth irritated skin, especially after removing facial hair.
What are some of the mistakes you see women doing with/to their skin? Is it being too aggressive with exfoliation or anything else? I think that many women underestimate the importance of cleansing. Cleansing your skin twice a day is the foundation of fabulous skin as it is integral to achieving a clear complexion by getting rid of daily grime and impurities. At Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare we only make one cleanser because our multi award-winning Cleanse & Polish is the ultimate in concentrated, yet gentle, cleansing power and works on every age and skin type. Free from mineral oil, it has a rich and creamy texture and swiftly removes all traces of face and eye make-up, even stubborn mascara. Cleanse & Polish is rich in naturally active ingredients including purifying eucalyptus and skin softening cocoa butter which work in synergy with your skin. If you try just one thing, choose this.
If someone wants to have a facial for the first time – what should they be looking for when searching for the right place? I believe that regular facials are a blissful and effective way to keep skin clear and radiant, and are just as important as ‘cleanse, tone and moisturise’. Having regular facials as a mini treat can really make a difference to your skin and to your spirits. It’s the perfect boost for busy women to keep them looking and feeling their best. In search of the right facial choose a brand that you really like and seek out experienced local facialists. You should look for a place that tailors its treatments to meet your personal needs, that way you will see a difference after your first visit. I recommend a facial every 6-8 weeks, as your therapist can help with hormonal, seasonal or age-related skin concerns.
Now that Avon has purchased your company, will your role change? Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare will continue to operate as an independent, standalone beauty brand, under the leadership of myself and co-founder Kim Buckland, so my role will not change. Our new ownership will give us an international platform to fly the flag globally but we will remain firmly rooted on the Isle of Wight, which will remain the brand’s heart and home.
Will your products be more readily available in the US now? The reason we’ve joined forces with Avon is to be able to take our small but highly-prized Naturally Active Skincare range and our message worldwide.
As you no doubt know, Avon has widespread distribution spanning over 100 countries around the globe. By partnering with them, we’ll be able to achieve our aim of sharing Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare with women (and men!) all over the globe. We know there is a great demand for our botanically-based skin treats and we’re hugely excited by the prospect of being able to share these on a wider scale – and to fly the British beauty flag abroad! So yes, we are looking to make Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare more readily available in the US- so watch this space!
I read you have 4 children – obviously a very busy mother and business woman. What do you do to relax? I try to walk every morning, as I find this is the best time of day to get some exercise in before things start to crowd and complicate the day. Getting outside and seeing the changing seasons is a tonic, whether you’re in a park in town, or on the seashore. I love Nordic Walking as you use sturdy poles to give an upper-body work out as well as intensifying the aerobic bit of walking. It’s also fantastic for relieving shoulder tension, plus my skin really glows after a walk-out!
If we were to look into your makeup bag, what products would we find? You would find a travel size of the botanical wonder-cream, Superskin Moisturiser. This plant-based formula really does create ‘super skin’ and I absolutely always double-check I have at least one jar in my bag. I absolutely will not leave home without it! You would also find Superbalm (for keeping lips soft and glossy, cuticles well-conditioned and even taming ends of flyaway static hair frizz). We christened it Superbalm because it comes to your skin’s emergency rescue.
Thank you Liz, for taking time from your busy day to answer Fab Over Forty’s reader questions!