Plant (carrier) oils are packed full of different nutrients and benefits for the skin, but I have also selected oils based on a range of factors:

  • the feel of the oil: I prefer lighter oils, which are less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts
  • their protective properties
  • how rapidly and fully they’re absorbed into the skin
  • the smell of the oil 
  • the shelf life of the oil

Whilst the oils in my blends are carefully selected to ensure they are not too heavy they still provide moisturising and protective properties with a non-greasy feel. In particular, high linoleic oils (such as safflower oil, hempseed and sunflower oil) are prominent in my normal to combination skin formulation as these light oils are much less likely to clog pores, making them an ideal choice if you are concerned about congestion.

Organic ingredients

Organic ingredients are present in many of my formulations. However, some ingredients are not available organically, yet still possess important benefits for the skin. It is important to me that my formulations aren't constrained by the availability (or lack) of organic oils and because of this I do not rule out using non-organic ingredients in my formulations.

Spotlight on ingredients:


Niacinamide has a multitude of benefits and skin barrier health is just one of them (others include sebum regulation, antioxidant benefits and brightening). Niacinamide supports healthy barrier function by reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and improving the water content of the surface layer of the skin. It does this through different mechanisms including encouraging ceramide production, protein synthesis and accelerating skin cell turnover. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in acne and rosacea. I have 5% niacinamide in my barrier support formulation – an optimal amount to provide these benefits with a lower risk of irritation than might be seen with higher concentrations. 

hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate)

Hyaluronic acid is a well-known humectant ingredient that is found in abundance in the skin / body and helps to give the skin its volume and keep it supple. Topical humectants offer hydration to the skin. They draw moisture from humid environments as well as from the deeper layer of the skin (dermis) to the upper layer (stratum corneum). So HA acts as a hydration booster for the upper layer of skin, which is important as hydrated skin functions better. It also softens and smooths the skin, as well as “plumps” (improving how the skin looks) and forms a film on the skin surface, offering a degree of protection. It's even been shown to aid wound healing!  It works well together with glycerin, another reliable humectant in my barrier support serum.  My formulation includes a mix of higher weight and low weight HA to offer hydration on different levels and is plant derived (via biofermentation). HA works best applied to damp skin so it can hold on to that moisture and keep the skin surface feeling hydrated. It should also be immediately sealed in with an occlusive moisturiser which will help to reduce the amount of moisture lost from the skin.

ceramide complex

A number of different ceramides are found naturally in the skin and play an important role in barrier function and water retaining abilities of the skin. Skin dysfunction, UV exposure and ageing can deplete ceramide levels in the skin, thereby increasing trans epidermal water loss (TEWL). Topically applied ceramides have been shown to hydrate the skin and help to reduce TEWL, as well as having the potential to offer a protective mechanism from sources of irritation (e.g. SLS). My formulation contains ceramides 1, 3, 6 II as well as cholesterol (another lipid found naturally in the skin) and the ceramide precursor phytosphingosine. Phytosphingosine is a naturally occurring lipid which as well as having an ability to repair a damaged skin barrier, has also shown anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

biosaccharide gum-1

A polysaccharide (plant derived via biofermentation) which offers a complementary hydration effect in conjunction with hyaluronic acid amongst other benefits

organic hempseed oil

A wonderful balancing high linoleic oil suitable for all skin types, rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 with a very similar lipid profile to the skin. It's a relatively light oil and doesn't clog pores, so it's particularly ideal for skin prone to break outs. It offers protective and regenerating properties thanks to its essential fatty acids that fight against free radical damage and stimulating the regeneration of skin tissue. It smoothes and firms the skin and works against dehydration. As if that isn't enough, its anti-inflammatory properties also make it great for calming and soothing irritated skin.

organic safflower oil

This oil is high in linoleic oil, very rich in omega-6 and very lightweight, making it an ideal ingredient for skin prone to blemishes. The presence of active antioxidants in this oil provides a great protection for the skin. Despite its lightness and ability to easily penetrate the skin, this oil is highly nourishing and protective, helping to restore moisture to the skin.

olive squalane

The squalane I use is extracted from olive oil, not derived from sharks liver which has been found in mainstream cosmetics products in the past. Squalane is a lightweight oil with a silky feel. It has an excellent affinity with the skin and is highly moisturising as well as reparative giving your skin a glowing complexion. This fabulous ingredient protects the skin from dehydration and gives my face oils and nail oil a wonderful, light texture compared to other high end commercial face oils on the market.

sea buckthorn oil (unrefined & cold pressed)

Rich in vitamin E, carotenoids, omega -3 and omega -6 fatty acid this is a wonderful healing oil. Owing to its high vitamin content (A and E), sea buckthorn oil may offer protection from free-radicals, one of the causes of premature ageing. This oil is highly emollient with excellent softening, smoothing and healing properties, therefore ideal for scarring.

organic macadamia nut oil

This softening and nourishing oil is rich in oleic acid so it is highly effective at preventing moisture loss and is more moisturising than high linoleic oils. High oleic oils are ideal for drier, more mature skins that need more nourishment and are therefore used in higher ratio in my rejuvenating facial oil for normal to dry skin formulation. Despite the high oleic acid content, this oil still has a light feel and fast absorption rate compared to other high oleic acid oils.

evening primrose oil

As with other oils in my blends, this nutrient rich oil contains powerful antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental damage. This oil also has softening, revitalising and soothing properties, and is a rich source of GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), which plays an important role in hydration and maintaining elasticity of the skin.

organic jojoba

Technically a wax, jojoba is used in my SOS recovery nail & cuticle blend, cleansing oils and comforting oil booster for its nourishing, hydrating, soothing and softening effects, as well as its excellent affinity with the skin. It is suitable for all skin types, given its balancing abilities and unique fatty acid profile. In my SOS nail & cuticle oil it is easily absorbed without leaving a greasy feel. It helps to restore flexibility and elasticity, thereby reducing the risk of nail breakage.

grapeseed oil

This light oil which features in my cleansing oils and SOS nail & cuticle oil and it's fantastic for a wide range of skin types. It’s rich in linoleic acid, Omega-6 and vitamin E and therefore rich in antioxidants which help fight against free radical damage.

borage seed oil

Another fantastic nutrient rich oil, borage seed also possesses exceptional protective properties and is rich in antioxidants to fight environmental damage. It’s known for its ability to revitalise and restore elasticity of the skin and is particularly beneficial for dry, dull or tired skin. It’s for this reason and its effectiveness against brittle nails that this oil features in my SOS recovery nail & cuticle oil.

natural vitamin E (tocopherol)

This is a natural and potent antioxidant which helps prevent other oils from rancidity and prolongs the shelf life of my oil blends.  Vitamin E plays a very important role on the skin: it has an excellent anti-ageing activity by blocking the action of free radicals on the skin, including the reduction of cell damage linked to UV exposure. It also helps maintain the elasticity and hydration of the skin by strengthening the lipid barrier.

co-enzyme Q10 (ubiquinone)

This powerful antioxidant of natural origin fights against free radical damage and is known to protect the skin from premature ageing from oxidative stress, especially when exposed to sunlight. This fabulous active is said to prevent the breakdown of collagen and the formation of wrinkles, as well as restore the skin’s lipid barrier and promote proper function of cell membranes. It works synergistically with vitamin E, which is also included in my oil blends.

organic geranium essential oil

This is a wonderful essential oil for skin care. Geranium is renowned for its ability to control sebum production, making it ideal for all skin types. It evens and brightens the complexion and has anti-bacterial effects. Beyond skincare, it is relaxing and stabilising to both mind and body. It provides a floral and slightly sweet aroma with a fruity undertone. The scent will probably remind you of a spa!

organic frankincense essential oil

This oil is of significant value in skincare because of its renowned rejuvenating powers, making it an indispensable oil to use in skincare as it's believed to prevent fine lines, wrinkles and minimise scars. I love the beautiful woody fragrance of this oil which deeply relaxes the body and mind, ideal for bedtime!

sandalwood essential oil

Sandalwood essential oil is a fabulous oil with soothing and regenerating properties and is primarily used for dry skin conditions caused by a loss of moisture, though it benefits all skin types. It has a gorgeous smooth, woody aroma which is enhances the overall subtle scent of our face oil blends. Although East Indian sandalwood is considered the preferred sandalwood oil, for conservation reasons, I use Australian sandalwood in my blends.

linaloe essential oil

A protective, invigorating and regenerating oil, linaloe is an excellent alternative to rosewood essential oil which I have avoided for conservation reasons. This fantastic oil, rarely featured in skincare products has a delightful gentle and soothing scent, very similar to rosewood (but more environmentally conscious – win win!). Aside from its skincare benefits, this oil is appreciated for its soothing and balancing effects on the nervous system, particularly in times of stress. Overall a wonderful all rounder for wellness and holistic beauty.

lemon essential oil

Everyone knows and loves the fresh, zesty scent of lemon essential oil. However this cold expressed oil from Sicily offers so much more than that. Used in my SOS recovery nail & cuticle oil, this wonderful oil strengthens brittle nails and provides antiseptic properties. It also offers a brightening effect of the nail which can help with yellow staining of the nails caused by dark nail polish.

myrrh essential oil

This mystical oil was used by the ancient Egyptians in the embalming process for its notable preserving action on the skin. Today myrrh is used for its healing, and antiseptic properties and works wonders in skincare. I use it in my SOS recovery nail & cuticle oil to promote growth of smoother, less ridged nails, whilst keeping cuticles soft and moisturised.

organic lavender essential oil

Another popular oil known as an excellent all rounder in skincare and for good reason. It's renowned for its abilities in wound healing, treating blemishes and burns, as well as having proven analgesic action. It's one of the most active essential oils against MRSA and interestingly, it's also moderately active against P. acnes, one of the principal bacteria implicated in acne. This fantastic oil from France is used in my SOS recovery nail & cuticle oil for its healing and regenerating abilities, as well as in my rebalancing cleansing oil to help balance the skin and calm the mind after a busy day.