Insider Interview: Amanda Watson, Category Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies

I’m a huge fan of Neal’s Yard Products so I was honoured to be interviewed for their Organic Life site recently (you can read the interview here). Talking about some of my favourite NYR products got me thinking about men’s attitudes to organic products, though, so I thought I’d turn the tables on NYR and ask them a few questions.

So here NYR Organic Category Manager Amanda Watson, who is responsible for new product development, answers my questions about organic skincare.

GG: Men are often sceptical about organic skincare. What can you say to convince them it’s worth giving a go?

AW: By using organic ingredients on your body, you are reducing the amount of chemical residues that are absorbed by your skin.  We firmly believe that it’s just not necessary to use such synthetic materials.

The body benefits hugely from simple, natural ingredients as they are similar in content to the skins own sebum. Rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids, they are easily and safely absorbed, assisting the skin’s natural functions and helping improve its condition, leaving it soft, supple and nourished.  Some synthetic ingredients cannot be synthesised by the skin so they block pores and diminish the skin’s ability to function, and they may also irritate the skin.

Our NYR Men range has been specifically developed for men using natural ingredients and plant extracts to create effective products that care for male skin which may have been stressed by shaving and exposure to the environment.  The products are designed to nourish and soothe the skin and contain regenerative ingredients to promote a healthy complexion.

GG: There’s often a perception that natural or organic skincare products somehow aren’t as good, or long-lasting as other ones? What would you say to this accusation?

AW: This may have been the perception many years ago but now organic beauty products have become much more efficacy based and with a lot more scientific research and claims behind them.

GG: What ingredients in the NYR men’s range are the most beneficial to men?

AW: Lavender, witch hazel and calendula are very useful herbs for inflamed skin conditions as they have soothing properties which calm and refresh tired skin.  This is why we have used these herbs in the Calming After Shave Balm.

GG: Are there any essential oils you’d say were specifically good or useful for men? If so, which ones and why?

AW: We have included a unique blend of 13 essential oils and resins in the NYR Men range, which not only smell amazing, but they are also great for men’s skin and mood.  For example energising grapefruit is cooling on the skin, aromatic eucalyptus is balancing while uplifting clary sage is toning.  Together with our active plan extracts, they’re just what men’s skin needs to stay in perfect shape.

GG: What three NYR men’s products would you say are bathroom-cabinet must-haves and why?

AW: For a basic skincare routine, men should cleanse, shave and protect so I would recommend the following:

Gently foaming, Purifying Face Wash thoroughly cleanses, energises and refreshes the skin, lifting away impurities to prepare it for shaving.  It contains anti-oxidant rooibos herbal infusion to strengthen the skin, combined with restorative calendula, renowned for its regenerative properties.

Close Shave Cream creates a thick, creamy lather to deep cleanse and soften the skin and bristles, for a closer, smoother shave, with purifying red clay, astringent apple and softening olive oil.

Calming Aftershave Balm is fantastic for calming down that just-shaved skin with soothing lavender, calendula and witch hazel, leaving skin soft and comfortable.

GG: Finally, what’s your personal favourite essential oil and why?

AW: Grapefruit is one of my favourite essential oils as its zesty, zingy fragrance really uplifts me particularly in the morning when I need an energy boost to face the day!

Neal’s Yard Remedies products are available from Niven & Joshua

Grooming Guru Essentials: Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil

Call me an old hippy but I am utterly in love with the smell of patchouli oil. When I was a teenager is was the the preserve of festival goers, bikers and those with a penchant for gypsy skirts and gong therapy. In truthfulness, it still is. And yet, it’s also wonderful addition to any man’s bathroom cabinet.

One of the signature basenotes of many men’s fragrances –  not least two of my all-time favourites, Givenchy Gentleman and Le Labo Patchouli 24 – it has a delightfully earthy, musty, masculine aroma that’s long lasting and (to me at least) fantastically sexy.

I often use a few drops as an alternative to traditional fragrance (as with most essential oils you should dilute it with a little carrier oil though I seem to be able to use it neat on my skin without problems).

It also has the advantage of being very portable so is great for travel too. I’ve also found that a few drops on your ankles and wrists in the summer seems to guard against mosquito bites! The biggest advantage, though, is the price. At less than £7 a bottle this one is a brilliant recession-busting alternative to those £40 eau de toilettes.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil costs £6.75 from Neal’s Yard Remedies

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Neal’s Yard’s new men’s products are the perfect remedy

prod_2410Back in the mists of time, when I was a mere teenager with hair like Simon Le Bon, Neal’s Yard Remedies were a beacon for male grooming’s early adopters like me. Though they didn’t have any specific men’s products to speak of  back in those days, the neutral packaging, herby, unisex aromas and no-fuss formulations meant there was always something you could find to improve your daily routine. And there’s always been at least one of their products on my bathroom shelf ever since. Their Geranium and Orange Shower Gel is, without doubt, one of the best body products out there and regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re a mug if you don’t try the Frankincense Hydrating Cream. But despite the odd product and gift set aimed at men there was no dedicated real range for men’s skin. Until now.

prod_2412This month sees the launch of a whole array of specially  formulated (and packaged) men’s products under the banner of NYR Men. Of all the products, the Purifying Face Wash, Calming After Shave Balm and Revitalising Face Scrub are probably the must-haves but it all smells good, feels good on the skin and, crucially,  does exactly what it says on the beautiful blue bottle. What’s more, the labels tell you how much of each product is certified organic. Great stuff.

For more info and to get your hands on the gear go to:

www.nealsyardremedies.com

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