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The Artisan Spa Company

PUBLISHED: 15:13 28 May 2013 | UPDATED: 15:13 28 May 2013

The Artisan Spa

The Artisan Spa

The Artisan Spa

Finding an Authentic Mermaid as far inland as the Cotswolds is unusual to say the least. ‘After living near Oxford for the past 25 years I suppose I just had to finally bring the Ocean to my own front door instead!’ laughs the Authentic Mermaid herself Amanda Nelson, Director and head of Product Design for The Artisan Spa Company, a small group of specialists based in Oxfordshire.

Amanda’s passion for the Sea is evident in everything her team creates for their nourishing skin care range, and the ingredient list of unrefined salts, pure gels and butters, cold pressed virgin oils, fragrant pods and fruit peels, flower waters, honey, white beeswax, macerates and aromatic essential oils would happily sit in a foodies kitchen cupboard rather than a chemist’s laboratory.

It is little wonder that this unique and essentially Artisan range has been snaffled up by exclusive destination Spas and Resorts in Europe. ‘I offer interesting twists on established Spa favourites and use time tested nourishing recipes that most skin types really enjoy, so I was thrilled when the Spa manager at the Orient Express Spa and Resort ‘La Residencia’ in Majorca phoned to ask me to work with her on her signature treatments again this year!’ says Amanda.

Amanda believes that too many skin care products are overly complicated nowadays and she feels the effects of the chemicals and irritants are starting to show, quite literally, on people’s faces. In The Artisan Spa’s range you won’t find the chemical enhancers like SLS or SLE, paraben preservatives, synthetic fragrances, alcohols, artificial ingredients or colourants. The range is essentially vegetarian too. ‘It’s skincare that has simply gone back to basics’ adds husband and co-founder of The Artisan Spa, Matthew Tidbury. ‘Amanda originally designed the recipes for the soaps, body polishes, bath soaks and body oils for use on herself and that meant she could throw out the established rule book and start again, she had no idea when she started designing the products that what she was creating would turn out to be so popular. Amanda’s created something incredible and it comes from her heart. It is a natural range of products with simplicity and nurturing of the skin at their core. You use these products to nourish your skin to being the best it can be.’

Amanda openly talks about how she has suffered with reactive skin. ‘My skin’s appearance went down hill after I’d taken a long course of prescription medication. Even after I had stopped taking the medication though my skin continued to be such a disappointment and if I put anything apart from the most natural of products onto it my skin it would have even more of a tantrum! Funnily enough though there was always such a marked difference in how my skin looked after I’d been SCUBA diving, people even commented on it. My skin looked fresh, illuminated and clear. One day I made the connection, it had to be the blend of hydration, nourishment and nurturing that my skin was enjoying from being immersed in the warm, mineral rich sea water as I spent time while diving. My skin never looked better.’

It has not always been easy for Amanda, who, like many others that suffer with problematic skin, has ended up pretty down about having such reactive skin ‘It was pretty disheartening at times. So many of the products I adored were in the glossy side of the shop and I was relegated to products that were on shelves in among the verucca ointments and stop snoring products. I craved shiny cellophane packaging with ribbons and boutique bags, pretty bottles with creamy fragrant contents - Mmm! ...but I also understood I needed products that were going to help my skin be the best it could be, and most of these glossy products really wouldn’t help at all. At the time I couldn’t understand why you couldn’t have best of both worlds - so that’s probably the reason I ended up with such a fabulously nutritious yet luxuriously upmarket product, I treated myself to my hearts desire!’.

The Artisan Spa’s range sounds home spun but it quickly outgrew the original kitchens at the root of where it all started. Amanda adds ‘We won our first award in 2011 within 48 hours of launching, shortly after that we caught the expert eye of Beauty Bible’s Jo Fairley and then we got the attention of Imperfectly Natural beauty guru Janey Lee Grace. Janey simply adores the all natural Sea inspired products, awarding The Artisan Spa ‘Winner - Best Luxury Spa Range 2012’ in her Imperfectly Natural Beauty Platinum Awards. Up until recently our skincare has only been available through exclusive destination Spas and Resorts, but we reconsidered when Janey Lee Grace suggested The Artisan Spa should launch a small selection of their skin nourishing products for the general public to buy under the ‘Authentic Mermaid’ label. Janey knows I’m potty about the Oceans, so, she says, who else but an Authentic Mermaid to bring their passion ashore and share their secrets of nurturing from the Sea!’

All the aromas used are natural and the team at the Artisan Spa invested time with perfumerers and aromatherapists to come up with their fabulous natural fragrances, and as well as smelling divine the blends have mildly therapeutic benefits. Currently you can choose from Citrus, Frankincense and Rose, Soft Mint, Vanilla and Orange, Jasmine and Rosehip and Ylang Ylang.

The products would seem to be more at home on a gourmet’s menu than in a brochure. ‘We often find bite marks in our soaps’ laughs Matthew’ but I wouldn’t recommend you eat them!’. So, let’s take a look at what is already available: Glycerine spa soaps with unrefined sea salt suspended throughout the bar (the salt is there to feed the skin and not to exfoliate); a multi dimensional body polish with fine sea salt that polishes and smoothes the skin while the fragrant oils and butters mingle and disappear into the skins dermal layers; A fun and fizzling bath froth to soften and cleanse your skin as you stretch out in a warm tub (sounds like the shoreline tide as it rushes over sand and shingle); a thick and luscious corn coloured mother of pearl lip balm to protect your lips against the elements all year round ...we could go on and on!

Buy online and find out more at http://www.theartisanspa.com/authentic-mermaid

Prices start from about £4.50 for their luxury lip balm and go upto £20 for their vitamin rich super hydrating face mask.

The Authentic Mermaid blogs on all things Mer-folk at www.authenticmermaid.com and her first book will be published shortly. Follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/AuthMermaid

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