New skincare brand Seated Queen offers luxe vegan twist on traditional cold cream
There’s a long tradition in both fashion and beauty of either buyers or journalists launching brands and the latest interesting debut sees both a buyer and a writer (who happen to be sisters) unveiling skincare label The Seated Queen.
Starting with a single product, it’s an interesting mix of the old (a cold cream produced in rural Wiltshire) and the new (vegan, multi-function, de-stressing).
It contains an aromatherapy blend of organic essential oils “designed to help relax and de-stress in the evening”, while also being a make-up remover and overnight mask. And it doesn’t use parabens, lanolin, mineral oils, surfactants or synthetic fragrances.
The product is accredited by the vegan society, and all packaging is made from recycled materials, as well as being recyclable.
Premium-priced (a 100ml jar retails for £39), it’s the brainchild of Josie and Libby Banks. Josie’s background is as a senior buyer for brands including made.com, QVC and M&S, while Libby is a freelance journalist and editor for Vogue, the FT, BBC, and New York Times, as well as having worked in trends forecasting.
COLD CREAM REVIVAL
The pair are now part of a wider cold cream revival that has led to a number of interesting launches in the past few years. So how did the Banks sisters decide to join in and what do they see as different about their offer?
“Josie is trained as a facial massage therapist and a senior buyer for several major retailers,” Libby told Fashionnetwork.com. “I have always made my own skincare products, and as a trends forecaster, I regularly worked on consultancy projects for major global beauty companies”.
As well as being "an effective and nourishing product for dry and dehydrated skin that is unctuous and cool-to-the-touch,” Libby explained that the product “also had to have beautifully balanced aromatherapy blend that works for night use. We worked with a hugely talented cosmetic formulator to perfect it. She specialises in luxury organic skincare and is behind several cult prestige skincare products”.
Between them they rejected the usual cold cream ingredients in favour of cold pressed organic rose hip, borage seed, apricot kernel and argan oils, and natural bisabolol.
But why cold cream? “We’ve always been obsessed with it because it’s a product our grandmother always used. She was an extremely stylish East End woman who had worked as hostess at Walthamstow dog track in the 1940s, and spent her youth rubbing shoulders with film stars and gangsters”.
To continue that chic inspiration into the product itself, the two worked with the art director at Luncheon Magazine to get the look and feel of the brand right. “We think that if you are taking a product from your bathroom shelf every day, it needs to look amazing, as well as work brilliantly,” Libby said.
One interesting element of the concept and the brand itself is its night-time focus. Cold cream is an evening product and Libby said “it's tailored to give skin cells what they need at night. It works as cleanser/makeup remover, 10-minute facial, or as an overnight mask on cleansed skin”.
The product also comes with an organic cotton jersey headband to use as part of the skincare ‘ritual’ and she added that “as a night brand, we’re interested in ritual and relaxation techniques as the body and mind prepares for sleep. The aromatherapy dimension of the product is important to this and we have created a scent experience that is deliberately calming and soothing. We have also developed a simple four-step face massage that relaxes muscles and improves blood circulation before sleep”.
And the name itself also comes from that night-time connection. “The Seated Queen, officially known as Cassiopeia, is the name of a star constellation, which is perfect for a night skincare brand,” Libby said. “The constellation takes its name from a vain queen in Greek mythology who boasted about her unrivalled beauty. We love the idea of this mythical woman who is strong, beautiful, but also imperfect and unpredictable”.
It’s currently available on the duo’s own website,Theseatedqueen.com, and their next step will be to add a cleansing cloth created specifically for use with the cold cream for launch this spring. “Beyond this, we plan to create one or two complementary skincare products to complete the routine, but the idea is that everything is of the highest quality, and nothing is superfluous,” she explained. “We have no desire to clutter up bathroom interiors for the sake of it”.
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