I was meant to be in leafy Charlbury to chat about the luxury organic brand Ila with its founder Denise Leicester. More specifically, I was meant to be there to get acquainted with the brand spanking new Ila Gold Cellular Age-Restore range that promises a more targeted – though still beautifully-executed and organic – approach to slowing the signs of ageing/’ageing beautifully’.
It started off in the standard fashion with a chat about the new range/Denise’s background, but then segued into something somewhere between a retreat and an interview – first, I was whisked into a treatment room for a facial using all the new products, then a yoga session-cum-interview with Denise that was followed by sound therapy, a tour of the product ‘factory’ (a barn on site where workers beavered away to the sound of calming music), and a lesson in making an Ila scrub.
The reason for all of this corresponds with the heart beat of the brand – Denise may have been on the publicity roll for the new range, but she saw absolutely no reason not to fill the time we spent together with both soundbites for this feature, and a little calm for this frazzled Londoner. That right there is the Ila message: the skincare performs, but it’ll also do much more for your mood and senses besides.
My suggestion would be that you approach the products in this way: if you’re wealthy and grand enough to be able to afford to use Ila everyday, fantastic. They’re all made with bloody brilliant ingredients that Denise has personally sourced, vetted, visited the farmers of etc. etc. If not, use them as I do – as a pick-me-up as well as skincare. As a way to say ‘hey, body, you’ve had a mighty tough day – fancy a bit of something special in the bath today?’
Here’s what you need to know about the cult organic brand //
Denise used to be a midwife / At the Middlesex hospital to be precise. She made the shift from western to complementary after looking after the ruler of Dubai: ‘he’d had a stroke and needed water therapy but had an aversion to water as he was a bedouin. After seeing how he liked massage administered by his daughters, I started to massage his legs daily with oils and he loved it. Within a month I started to see huge changes – he was walking again, he was happier, he was eating. I started to read up on essential oils and it inspired me to look further. I then ended up studying aromatherapy, reflexology, counselling, yoga, marma therapy… ‘
The treatments are as mood-altering as the products / ‘Part of what we try to do with our treatments is to bring harmony – your body likes touch and gentleness. In a way complementary medicine can be viewed as part of a journey of aligning the body with the mind and giving sustenance and strength. I was in India years ago and one morning said to my teacher “I just don’t feel like it today,” to which she said “Denise, your mind doesn’t want to do it, but your body does – your body loves yoga.” Some of our journey harks back to that – your body has its own needs and frequency and we must learn to listen to it.’
Ila consider caring for the skin to be an act of self-love / ‘When I was teaching yoga years ago I’d talk about nourishing. I realised during that time that the skin is a huge way to nourish ourselves and reflects a lot about our emotional lives. I’d make products for the class attendees and saw huge changes and a big need. I felt there was a gap for something with integrity and a way to approach the skin and senses simultaneously.’
The new Ila Gold Cellular Age-Restore range is seriously comprehensive / To give you a rundown: the oil-based cleanser contains hydrating and anti-inflammatory boswellia extract, jasmine and babassu oils; the toner rebalancing orange blossom; the serum a powerful plant-derived humectant hyaluronic acid; the face cream three kinds of circulatory-enhancing gold dusts and sandalwood to protect by strengthening the barrier function.
It also contains Ila’s first foray into the beauty gadget world / If Ila have jumped aboard this trend, it’s pretty safe to say it’s here to stay – Ila is not influenced by fads. This one is nifty because it has a high and low sonic setting to send serum more deeply into your skin while also doubling up as a red light (to stimulate collagen and reduce inflammation) and blue light (to kill acne-forming bacteria).