What I found at Neal's Yard...
I paid my first visit to Neal’s Yard recently, and what I found was pretty impressive!
Neal’s Yard Remedies (the correct full name) opened their first store back in 1981 in Covent Garden, London. In the 34 years since, the company has gone from strength to strength under the mantra ‘beauty should be natural, not synthetic,’ put simple they believe customers have the right to know what goes into the products they buy.
On my visit to their latest store at Grand Central in Birmingham, I found a vast array of products for men, women and babies. I spoke at length with staff to understand what makes Neal’s Yard’s products different to the other shops in the ever growing hair and cosmetics market … The secret to many of their products is frankincense. Now for me, the thought of frankincense immediately made me think of Christmas and the 3 kings … so I was very intrigued to hear about the benefits of this precious oil.
Frankincense, also known as olibanum oil, is one of the most important oils for treating ageing skin and wrinkles, rejuvenating and improving skin tone, as well as reducing scar tissue. It is also antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent, which makes it ideal for skin toning and minimising pores. Frankincense is also a great stress-reliever — as a rejuvenating essential oil it can induce a feeling of calm and be wonderfully up-lifting.
Neal’s Yard have a wide selection of products containing this precious oil which also has a wonderful smell and helps to firm and tone all skin types from oily, to sensitive to combination, there’s a product to suit every need and the distinctive properties of frankincense will leave you feeling and smelling great.
Talking of wonderful smells, my favorite product at Neal’s Yard is ‘bee lovely hand cream’ (£10/50ml), in fact it was this product that first introduced me to Neal’s Yard, this hand cream smells amazing. Bee lovely hand cream is made from bees wax & organic honey giving it a sweet aromatic smell, I’ve lost count of how many times people have said to me how great it smells. But the great smell isn’t the only good thing about this hand cream, it provides great nourishment for dry hands and comes highly recommended by me! If there’s one tip i’d give – because of the bees wax content, when applied it can be slightly oily, so remember that a little goes a long way — but that also means it will last a long time !
There’s also a very important motive behind this product, proceeds from the sales of bee lovely are put towards a campaign to ‘save the bees’ and although I’m not a great fan of bees buzzing around my ears, they do an important job in pollinating flowers and producing honey — which quite frankly I love and so am more than happy to support this initiative to protect them! – I’ve found that there’s an extensive range of bee lovely products such as a shower gel, body lotion and hand wash, which will likely be on my gift list for friends and family this Christmas.
Naturally I’m always drawn towards men’s products and there are plenty to choose from, as is becoming a growing trend there was a section dedicated to male grooming, from face washes and cleansers to shaving foams and face creams their extensive range provides a touch of luxury in their distinctive blue bottles.
One item that i’d certainly suggest looking at is the Mens Organic Grooming Collection (£30), this is a new product for Neal’s Yard but contains everything you’ll need for the perfect shave and will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth – and I know this to be true as I’ve used these products myself! Certainly worth checking out and also worth considering as a guys Christmas gift!
There were also a few items I found that I really didn’t expect to find, but demonstrates the diversity of this brand. Neal’s Yard have a section dedicated to products for the home, including one I took a particular interest in … the Lumie Bodyclock Iris, (£160) which is a really funky bedside alarm clock that combines gentle natural light therapy with pure aromatherapy. It’s a commonly known fact that maintaining a natural and regular sleep cycle can improve your mood, energy, productivity and quality of sleep all year round – and if you’re a sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder (often referred to as SAD) then it can help you cope with dark winter mornings which will soon begin to kick in.
Some other really nice products from their home range are the Aroma Diffusers. Two in particular caught my eye, the Zenbow Diffuser (£46) and the Esta Aroma Diffuser (£50). The Zenbow has colour changing mood lighting which moves through a rainbow of colours whilst emitting a cool, scented and relaxing mist to create a Zen like atmosphere for any space hence the name Zenbow. The Esta uses the latest ultrasonic technology to create a fine aromatherapy-infused mist, ideal to help counteract drying central heating. There’s an extensive range of aromatherapy oils to choose from either in-store on online via the Neal’s Yard website, that can be used with the diffusers, so whatever smell it is that stimulates your senses, you’re bound to find a scent to suit.