Started with a simple idea of using an ingredient found in abundance on the doorstep of Ella Mclachlan, the founder of Phoenix & Providence, this seaweed skincare brand is on a mission infuse a sense of mindfulness and calm into everyday living. The brand offers luxurious spa-quality products made by hand in small batches, to be used and enjoyed mindfully. From facial oils, masks to body oils, sea salts, lip and body balms as well as self-care gift boxes, Phoenix & Providence with every purchase made the brand donates 10% to marine conservation charity, Blue Ventures.
Here we chat with Ella about her brand, seaweed in skincare and her near-future plans.
Can you tell us the backstory of the brand? How and why it was started?
When my children were very small, swimming became my place to find some head space, to tune into myself and immerse myself in nature. I began to wonder how I could bottle the feeling!
After giving this idea some serious thought, I knew I wanted to make natural products that not only nourished skin, but also encouraged a moment of self-connection, much like swimming does.
I studied for a diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation. This was a great introduction into how to formulate natural products and how to consider which ingredients to use. It also gave me a very useful understanding of the legal requirements for products to be sale ready.
What is unique about your products?
I live on the Isles of Scilly, 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall, and am surrounded by crystal clear waters. So, the idea of using seaweed as the core ingredient of P & P skincare seemed a natural choice. Seaweed is not only full of skin nourishing vitamins and minerals, but an abundant ingredient that we can harvest sustainably. Once the harvested seaweed has dried, it is either ground or infused in organic cold pressed oils for a full lunar cycle.
Our products are handcrafted in small batches on our tiny island home of St. Martin’s, using 100% natural ingredients formulated to soothe and soften skin. Each product has a ‘ritual for use’ breathing exercise you can follow. A few minutes focused on your breath can elevate a skincare ritual and help tune you inwards.
What are some of the benefits of seaweed in skincare products?
Seaweed in the core ingredient in all our skincare. Moisturising and detoxifying, plumping and hydrating, seaweed is rich in anti-oxidants and essential vitamins that help promote collagen, improving skin tone, texture and elasticity. The anti- inflammatory properties of seaweed, along with a unique blend of minerals, help soothe and repair, making it the perfect ingredient for all skin types.
The rest of the ingredients used in our skincare are natural, and where possible organic. Good for skin, and good for the environment.
Can you describe the 2-step skincare routine?
The Phoenix and Providence skincare collection combines simplicity with the essence of the sea, embracing the rhythm of nature, committing to a routine and immersing yourself in a self-care ritual.
Our two step skincare ritual begins with cleansing skin with our Balance cleanser. Restoring balance without stripping the skin, this organic oil to milk cleanser is deep cleansing, removing impurities, SPF and make up.
Whilst skin is still damp, follow with 3-4 drops of our Nurture Face Oil. Created from a unique blend of seaweed infused organic oils, our Nurture Face Oil is packed with essential vitamins and fatty acids that promote collagen production, brightening, plumping, soothing the skin and smoothing fine lines.
If your skin is congested or suffering an acne breakout you can incorporate a weekly skin treat with our Renew Seaweed and Clay Face Mask. The anti-bacterial properties of the seaweed detox the skin, whilst the addition of natural clays draws toxins and extracts impurities; toning, tightening and leaving skin refreshed and rejuvenated.
Your favourite product and why?
Whilst nothing eases muscle aches and sets me up for a good night’s sleep like our Rejuvenate Seaweed Bath Salts, my favourite product is our Nurture Face Oil.
Getting the formulation right for the Nurture Face Oil took quite some time, but I truly do think it is now perfect! It sinks in very quickly and is full of Vitamin C rich ingredients and fatty acids, and always leaves my skin soft and glowing.
The ‘Nurture’ element of this product is threefold, not only to nurturing your skin barrier, but also nurturing your wellbeing with our guided facial massage video. Finally, by purchasing this product you are nurturing the planet. 10% of all sales of the face oil are donated to are donated to marine conservation charity, Blue Ventures. Every two bottles of Nurture Face Oil sold provides a family with the inputs needed to start a seaweed farming business, diversifying income, and reducing fishing pressure.
Any plans for this year?
This year I am launching two new seasonal skincare products, one in Midsummer and one in Midwinter. Reflecting seasonality in our skincare and self-practices is at the core of Phoenix & Providence. I’m excited to introduce these two products tailored for the skin’s particular needs either in summer or winter. Capturing the mood and feel in the scent of the products has been a wonderful challenge and I love the essential oils blends we have created for each of them.
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