Thursday, 6 October 2016

Isla Apothecary | Interview + review

Brand: Isla Apothecary
Name: Kate Protopapas
Age: 33
Where are you from?: Born and bred in London. My background is Greek Cypriot.

Let's talk scents, how do you decide? I must say you've done a fantastic job because the range smells incredible. 

Thank you!

I think aromatherapy is so imbued with ritual and rituals should be mindful and enjoyable. I want the offerings in the range to be used with anticipation, and not to be burdensome.

During 2014 and 2015, I took various courses that really broadened my knowledge of blending essential oils and creating accords and that education remains really important when I’m working out aromas.

But most importantly, the choices of essential oils are informed by the intention behind each product, and they all have purpose beyond scenting the product.

What inspired you to start your own business?

I strived for years to find what I really wanted to do and it happened when I sort of stopped striving and started doing. I took courses, and read more books on the subjects I naturally gravitated towards. The thing that stuck was natural skincare, so I scaled up my experimentation, handed out samples and the encouragement I received was lovely. From then, I just started working at it and I found that I was getting my ducks in a row as it were, in terms of turning it in to a business.

I think having your own business is a lifestyle choice in itself, and it’s one that I’ve just found so fulfilling and fun, from conception up until now.

Which is your go to product from your brand and why? 

The Coffee + Cinnamon Body Polish for a morning boost is the one I reach for the most. It has the benefits of massage and skincare in a jar. For cell renewal, circulation, and lymphatic drainage, I love it- and I love the crisp and uplifting aroma. I use the bath salts most weeks, and Neroli Body Oil for its versatility- I love using it in the bath too.

As a child what did you aspire to be?

A barrister.

Have you always been a lover of green skincare?
I would say I switched on to it in my early 20’s- that is I was questioning the conventional, mainstream products I was buying that perhaps I hadn’t previously put much thought in to. And then there was my obsession with all things alternative and holistic. Holistic felt very alternative then. My dresser was mainly Patchouli essential oil, oats and hopi ear candles.

Artisan skincare options were few and far between, and my main criteria were just to keep things pure and simple. My skin can’t handle too much so DIYing has been part of my regime for a long time. It’s been a fun way to have control and choice over what goes on my skin.

Are you a greenbie in other aspects of your life?

I strive to be.

My diet is largely plant-based (pescetarian). I also buy local, organic and fair-trade where I can.

Waste is a big thing- I, inevitably, generate so much more now with the business and I try to minimise it by re-using as much of it as I can and obviously, recycling it where I can’t. I’m a bit obsessive about unnecessary waste- whether that’s lights needlessly left on or too much paper- I’m pretty paperless these days.

As for healthcare: my fascination with researching ingredients and bringing them together was in many ways my rejection of the pharmaceutical industry back then. That sounds dramatic but many trips to my GP for one reason or another and the thing most notably lacking was a) dietary advice and b) conversations about well-being. The generalist approach I fostered led me to a whole new world of nature-derived options.

Once I opened the door, it was hard to turn back!

What green advice would you offer someone who is new to the green industry? 

I’m a firm believer in progress over perfection and I’m happy going about my green choices without the need to preach about them because despite all good intentions, greener living won’t work for everyone. I think awareness and keeping an open mind around our everyday, small but impactful choices is a good place to be. It’s important to step outside of what we know and consider the bigger picture.

All in all, my positive experiences have come from seeking beauty in simplicity, and maintaining a degree of realism. I’m realistic about the fact that it is difficult to be green in every aspect of my life but there is more balance there and probably over-compensation in parts where I feel I lack in others.

Is there anything new we can expect from Isla apothecary? 

Plenty! I’m currently preparing some special gift sets for Christmas, but I’m also taking time to experiment with some ideas for new products that I hope to add to the range in time for Spring/Summer 2017.
I’m also working to make the products available across Europe, and hopefully beyond!

This beautiful oil is crafted with immortelle helicchrysum essential oil it's known to have a regenerative anti ageing effects. It can be used on the face to prevent new scarring as well as tackling previous scars. It can be used on the body too. I have been applying this to my face and noticed a huge difference in scarring from breakouts. I have also been using it on my scar from my spinal operation and noticed that it does not look as dark. I've been using it around my belly button area too in hope that it may prevent my previous stretch marks from getting worse during pregnancy number two. This products smells absolutely divine. A little goes a long way.

This awesome mask contains, coconut milk, sandalwood and turmeric. Full of vital vitamins that help replenish and soothe problematic skin. It's great for those who suffer breakouts, need some moisture and those with oily skin. I absolutely love using this mask when my skin is out of control. I notice a difference instantly. It helps calm down redness and add's moisture to the areas that need it and leaves my skin with a beautiful glow. I sometimes choose to mix this with apple cider vinegar or honey for extra benefits for my breakouts. Again a small amount of product is needed. Highly recommend for those with problematic skin. Just don't leave it on too long as the turmeric can leave you looking a little jaundice!


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