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Your complete guide for natural beauty

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Here's an outline of our key products and the materials we use, broken down into the three classic stages of any beauty regime: 'cleanse', 'tone', and 'moisturise'. Some things appear in more than one section - and that's because natural skincare products are, quite, simply, magical …

CLEANSE …

To cleanse your skin you can go for a water-based option, an oil-based option - or an emulsion of the two, giving the best of both worlds for everyday use. The most beneficial exfoliant for skin health is fine-grained natural sea salt, since it enhances the cleansing action of water, and also replenishes the skin's mineral content as it cleans.

You can choose to cleanse to remove the natural build-up of daily pollution, sebum and sloughed-off skin cells (ie, for ordinary everyday skin health), or to remove a heavy layer of waxy make-up and/or moisturising product. Whichever of the two you want to achieve, choose the right cleansing formula for the job, and you'll find your skin stays healthy and soft - whatever else you might do to it in the meantime!

For deep cleansing of built-up skin cells, product waxes and sebum, an occasional salt scrub is the ideal solution. And a luxurious sea salt soak is the ultimate therapy, helping to keep your skin's pores working efficiently at the same time.

Believe it or not, for quick daily facial cleansing, one of our moisturising handmade olive oil soaps is both effective and enjoyable to use. Don't listen to the anti-soap lobby! They've probably only ever used the horribly denatured, harsh and caustic, modern 'milled' soaps.

To remove make-up and oily material from the face - even hard to remove materials like mascara - our completely natural Classic Cold Cream is an absolute dream. And you can cut down on dressing-table clutter, too, since once you've wiped away the dirt of the day, a light application of the same magic cream will nourish and revive your skin overnight.

In short, we have the perfect solution to every cleansing conundrum - and all completely natural, too!

HANDMADE COLD PROCESS OLIVE OIL SOAPS

Ours are, quite simply, the finest olive soaps you'll ever find!

With a rich, creamy lather, and fragrances composed of nothing but the very best aromatherapy-quality oils, these lovely soaps will soothe and care for your skin, leaving it without any hint of dryness.

The secret is partly in the ingredients, partly in the process - and partly in the care we exercise in creating every single handmade batch.

We use around 80% olive oil, acknowledged worldwide to produce the very finest soaps. We then add amazing natural materials like melted whole honeycomb, goat's milk, dried herbs and flowers - plus our complex blends of aromatherapy essential oils, always selected with an eye on their benefits to the skin as well as to the nose.

We only use RSPO certified palm oil from Columbia, and have also recently made a small investment in Equatorial Palm Oil Limited, a pioneering company presently engaged in renovating the extensive oil palm plantations in Liberia, laid waste during the course of the war there. We're huge fans of Nobel prizewinning President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female premiere, and we're proud to be playing our small part in helping this very special African nation get back on its feet. One day the palm oil we use in our soaps will come from there.

The 'cold' process is the most ancient and ecofriendly of all soap-making methods, using only as much energy as it takes to melt the solid palm and coconut oils before processing. Once the main ingredients are blended, nature takes over, and during the course of a couple of weeks the fatty acids in the oils completely combine with the alkaline 'lye' solution and are converted into a salt - the soap.

A cold process soap batch is a temperamental creature, its behaviour uniquely affected by changes in temperature, air pressure - and even, we suspect, the mood of the maker. Even today, no-one - not even the general biochemist - has a complete understanding of the whys and hows of this incredible process, and that's one big reason why we're still in love with the job - even after something like ten years of doing it! Compared to milled, or even hot process alternatives, a cold process soap retains the maximum amount of natural goodness - and this means that it's extra gentle and nourishing for your skin. And each one of our bars is individually hand-cut, keeping it as close to the soaps of a hundred years or more ago as it's possible for them to be.

Our soaps are so gentle that we've found they're fantastic for use as a daily facial wash, and in combination with occasional with our Hand and Body Cream and intensive cream, are all you need to keep your skin soft, beautiful and spot-free.

CLASSIC HAND AND BODY CREAMS

We were asked to create a powerfully nutritious cream – and we immediately thought of this. Galen was an ancient Greek physician, and ranks with Hippocrates as one of the fathers of modern medicine. In fact, he eventually became personal physician to several Roman emperors as his fame spread throughout the Mediterranean basin – then known as 'the world'.

Galen's original cold cream – made by melting beeswax and olive oil with rose water and vinegar – would certainly have benefitted the skin; but we couldn't resist updating it for the modern world. We've also added a Northern European twist, Galen would probably have used.

We've used 100% certified natural extra-virgin olive oil, famed for its nourishing and antioxidant properties. And we have seen our wrinkles genuinely disappear!

Whole books have been written on this subject, so we'll keep our eulogy on olive oil brief: it contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, all of which have a beneficial effect on the skin. 

The acetic and malic acids give an acid pH to match the natural pH of your skin, and also inhibit fungal and bacterial activity – which helps to prevent all sorts of difficult skin conditions, most notably rough patches, blocked pores and spots.

This wonderful cream, in short, has everything. Simple, natural, and so gorgeous – yet still overflowing with 'the science bit'.

A NOTE ON ESSENTIAL OILS FOR CLEANSING

Lavender (inci name: lavandula angustifolia), eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus) and peppermint (mentha piperita) are all famously cleansing, refreshing and deodorising oils. Lavender, along with thyme (thymus vulgaris), sage (salvia officinalis) and rosemary (rosemarinus officinalis), has a powerful antiseptic action, so any product containing good quality extracts of any of these should quickly kill off those stubborn colonies of odour-producing bacteria, fungi and yeasts - leaving you smelling as fresh and fabulous as you feel!

Citrus oils are good to look for if you suffer from oily or spotty, clogged-up skin - but use with the utmost caution! They strip out natural sebum, and if overused can leave your skin feeling dried-out and sore. Our products contain these oils in small amounts, so should be perfectly comfortable to use for anyone, whatever their skin type.

TONE …

There are many natural ingredients to choose from when it's time to tone your skin. But what do we mean by 'tone'? Well, basically, it's a less harsh version of what happens when a chap applies his super-astringent, super-bracing aftershave. The key unifying factor in toners is that they wake up the skin, close up the pores, and that they're never oil-based.

The principal toning ingredients to be found in nature are nearly all what we call 'floral waters', hydrolats, or hydrosols. They're produced by distillation, a process in which the water and oil elements of plant material are separated. Apart from floral waters, alcohol (where plant materials are fermented and then distilled) and mucilages (water-based infusions of selected plants, yielding a slightly gloopy material), and home-made herbal teas are other toning ingredients.

With a little study, you can pick a natural toner to perfectly suit your skin type. Very oily, open-pored skins demand the most powerful toners. If you're lucky enough to have good, healthy young, strong skin, a splash of cool water is probably all you need, just to guard against the yeast and bacteria which will love to live on your skin.

MOISTURISE …

Despite the importance of cleansing the skin to keep it healthy, moisturising the skin is where all the action is! This is where the amazing range of natural plant oils really come into their own - and where the range of possible ingredients is most exciting.

Briefly, the drier your skin is, the richer the oils it needs to stay healthy - and in some cases, the balance of oils and waxes to water-based ingredients becomes critical too, especially if you are bed-ridden, suffer from eczema, or your skin has some other extra problems making life harder. If your skin has had a hard life, or there is some other reason why it's exceptionally delicate, avoid all compounds with a water element completely, since the water helps to weaken the skin, making it more prone to mechanical damage and microbial attacks.

Vegetable oils are incredibly varied in their strengths and special properties especially olive oil. Also who would imagine, for example that jojoba oil is actually a wax which happens to remain liquid at room temperature - or that it's the naturally occurring vegetable source of skin-plumping collagen?! The following list gives a quick guide to which oils are most beneficial for which skin types:

Dry but strong - use products containing apricot, avocado, jojoba, extra-virgin olive oil

Dry, papery, under stress - apricot, avocado, calendula, carrot, jojoba, starflower, extra-virgin olive oil

Normal - sweet almond, extra-virgin olive oil plus all the foregoing dry skin oils in smaller amounts

Oily - sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, plus all the foregoing in tiny amounts

All skin types benefit from all of the above oils, but the amounts of each one they need will vary hugely. You can tell if an oil is too weak or too rich for your skin because the time it takes to absorb increases the less you need it - and, conversely, speeds up the more your skin does need it. All skin types also benefit from the amazing properties of whole natural olive oil, cocoa butter, and the many other nutrient-packed butter type ingredients.

BODY BUTTERS

Our body butters are simply the most wonderful nourishment for face and body.

Both contain our fabulous natural olive oil and with their complex of soothing, moisturising and calming ingredients, make marvellous aftersun lotions. They're also great for use after exfoliation or shaving.

WHAT WE MAKE - AND WHY

All our in-house skincare products and toiletries are created by us from scratch on our own premises, and made according to our own exclusive recipes. These are drawn from more than seventy years' research into the natural materials and technically exacting methods which have been used to keep people looking and feeling good for many centuries.

People sometimes misunderstand our ethos, thinking that our reference to original historic recipes is all just marketing puff - and they may even suspect that we actually follow many other skincare brands, in buying huge drums of factory-made, chemical-laced 'base' products and then adding a bit of something interesting to make them smell good. In fact, we only ever started making our uniquely special skincare in protest against exactly that kind of degraded industrial product being shamelessly marketed as 'natural' - when it transparently wasn't.

Everything offered under The Still's name is handmade in small batches from natural raw materials. We're not going for volume - we're going for quality, and for user enjoyment. We make these products for ourselves, and we're just glad that we can make them in sufficient quantities to share our love of authentic natural skincare with you too.

If you see a material listed in the ingredients for a particular product of ours, you can rest assured that it's of the highest possible quality wherever the extra cost can be justified, and that it forms a significant proportion of that product.

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