Jasmine Pradhan interviews Dr Pauline Hill founder of Nourish London
Hi Pauline, you’re the founder of Nourish London, an award-winning certified organic, vegan and cruelty-free skincare brand made in Battersea, South West London. Can you tell us a bit about the brand and what inspired you to start it?
Nourish London is on a mission to make healthy skin available to all, in the most innovative and sustainable way possible. We develop and make all our products in our ISO registered factory in the heart of Battersea. Having spent over 30 years as a Research Scientist in Skincare at Neal’s Yard Remedies, I have seen a lot of ingredients and gained a really good understanding of how the skin works. This knowledge all fed into the creation of Nourish London’s stand out formulas. The inspiration behind the brand was a fundamental belief that high quality, organic and vegan skin care that delivers results should be readily accessible to all. Having already worked with supply chains from around the world made delivering on the brand promise relatively simple once we got going.
Why is it important to opt for organic products when choosing your skincare?
Choosing certified organic product can really speed up your journey to healthier skin, not only by avoiding unwanted chemicals in the products, but also in a more holistic sense by taking care of the soil that feeds us.
Where did your passion for skincare begin?
Eating healthy, fresh food and a Mediterranean diet is in my DNA and gave me real insight to how good health can be influenced by diet. I grew up in a family of really great cooks and was introduced at a young age to interesting smells and textures. I have always had a real fascination for what happened when you combined ingredients in particular ways. I think the combination of these influences was the early foundation for my career as a Skin Care Scientist and my interest in how our skin reflected our emotional and physical wellbeing. Studying Human Physiology and Chemistry at University really cemented my passion for skincare.
The brand is cruelty-free, can you explain what that means and why it’s important to you?
Cruelty-free means at no point our products or our ingredients were involved in animal testing. We are certified by Cruelty-free International and support the end to the use of animals in experimentation worldwide. We operate to the HEK principle which means our products need to be Healthy, Effective and Kind to people and planet, so Cruelty-free is a natural choice for us as a brand.
All your products are produced in the UK, why is it important to you not to outsource your production?
I set up our Battersea factory myself and it was great to see all our hard work culminating in our ISO certification at the beginning of 2020. All our products are formulated and produced by us in-house which is crucial for traceability. It is important for us not to outsource our production, not only to ensure the maximum quality and reproducibility of our formulas, but also to play a role in our community and provide jobs for young scientists and creatives – to make opportunities happen. I became a Scientist to make a difference and having a small factory where people can learn, and ideas can be generated is a great way to make that progress happen.
You’ve recently teamed up with Swansea University to research how algae could be a key ingredient in sunscreen. Tell us about algae’s potential…
Algae are incredible plants which grow 10 times faster than land plants and need much less land to grow, and could therefore play a vital role in our climate change challenge. They also produce a particular type group of chemicals called mycosporine. like amino acids. These mycosporine amino acids have shown great potential as photoprotective and anti-inflammatory ingredients and could lead the way to a new generation of sunscreens. We are really excited about our collaboration with Swansea University, and the opportunity as a small company to make a difference in the industry.
What’s the biggest mistake people make with their skin?
The biggest mistake people make is thinking that their skin type is static. Our skin is a dynamic organ affected by many changes in our outside world. I love to encourage people to observe their skin and not be afraid to change routines to get the personalised result that works for them.
What are your top skin care secrets that you can offer to our readers?
- Get sufficient sleep regularly – our circadian rhythms can really impact the health of our skin.
- Start using a facial oil or balm regularly – this can really help protect the integrity of the skin.
- Apply products with topical Vitamin C – it is crucial for healthy skin and much more effective for the skin when applied topically.
- Exfoliate with a non-abrasive exfoliator regularly to ensure removal of the potentially damaging particulate matter from air pollution.