Holistic facialist Annee de Mamiel shares some of her non-negotiable daily rituals and self-care skincare habits to combat stress and anxiety.

How do you start your day?
Early! I start with a glass of warm water and lemon, and then I usually have a snuggle with our puppy Willow, before doing some breathing or meditation. I find that grounds me and helps me focus on what I need to do that day. Exercise in some form is next to clear my head to begin the day!

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome?
I think for me it’s been in creating my newest product, First Fix, which is a stress response serum that works to reduce the impact of cortisol on the skin. It’s been such a long time in the making, around 13 years, so inevitably over that time, I’ve faced some hurdles, from figuring out how to do a great texture, creating actives that weren’t commercially available and finding budgets to do testing in a way that would confirm and support my theories.

Dealing with constant walls and failures to throw it all away and begin again and again – to trust in the process and the answers were there – somewhere!! What got me through was my unerring belief in what I was doing. I knew this was an incredible one that needed to be created and I had to just persevere and get through it. And I’m so glad I did because here we are!

We understand de Mamiel products undergo a unique process before they are sold to customers, could you take us through this?
I want to always ensure our products arrive in the most vital state they can – ready to perform, heal and calm. To ensure that this is possible, there is no stone unturned when I am formulating. There are so many parts of us as humans that make up who we are – the science – pure anatomy and physiology, the mind, the emotions and the soul. My intention has always been to create products that work on all of those levels – physical, cellular and emotional.

Each batch is made with intention and consciousness as what we put on our skin can nourish and nurture our emotional happiness as well as nourishing the physical skin.

The starting point in my process always begins in clinic with listening to my patients, gathering data and information – observing. I really try to understand what might be creating the issue on their skin, finding the cause of the problem and formulating something which will be a solution. The western science gives me the physiology and chemistry of the imbalance and by tracing back through the metabolic pathways of what I am seeing on the skin. This will inform the research into a targeted active ingredient and provide a solution and understand the why and what is out of balance. I think this is where the eastern and western science meet and merge.

Provenance and sourcing are key steps in the formulation process, the chemistry of the oils are decisive in how each one performs on the skin so it matters where the crop comes from, climate, topography, what the soil is like, how it is harvested, how it is distilled, time between harvest and distillation so many factors can impact the quality and therefore the efficacy of an ingredient. So, understanding the chemistry of each ingredient is a part of the process before it arrives in the lab.

Once the ingredients arrive in the lab they go through a blessing and as they are blended. This is specific to each blend, there is a vibration component as they sit in singing bowls and tuning forks as I like to work with each product’s own rhythm. I meditate over them and then three words of intention come up in that mediation process, which are then written on the bottles and labels. The blends will then sit in a cupboard with crystals for an amount of time until they’re ready and the aroma has opened up and maturation process is done. While they are in the cupboard we play music to them 24 hours a day. This is all repeated with base oils and then everything is put together. I use a lot of frankincense to cleanse the space as well as on our hands before any part is done. We pour by hand and in each bottle, we place a drop of flower essence before the product and when they are boxed the music continues to play ensuring that each product leaves us as vital as it possibly can be.

We have just finished a new lab, in which there are crystals under the concrete that take the ingredients on a journey and the floor has been sealed with crystal powder mixed in, so we really do embrace the whole process. We do this because oils are living entities and I want to respect and enhance their energy; there is also evidence to show that vibration and sound can change the energy of a product. For me, it’s about creating something that is as vital as it can be so it performs on the best level it possibly can, I have done the science in the product development and this process is about adding the soul. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned.

Do you have any non-negotiable evening rituals?
Breathing, cleansing and face massage. Sometimes, On the weekend I take a real switch on/switch off approach, so I will have a bath on Friday night with our Altitude Bath Soak which is all about letting go of the week, and then I have another one on Sunday night where I take time to embrace the new week ahead.

What effect does stress have on the skin and how can we try to combat this?
Stress is a common side effect of the busy lives we all lead and something each of us experiences every day. When we become stressed, hormones are released via the adrenal glands, one of which is cortisol, one of the body’s primary stress hormones. While a small amount of cortisol isn’t an issue, when exposure becomes frequent and chronic, the effect can be hugely detrimental to the health of our skin, causing it to become overwhelmed and leading to symptoms that are constant and it doesn’t matter what you do they just won’t go away until you truly address the cause – being your stress levels. It includes dehydration, dullness and increased sensitivity, thinning skin, inflammation, dryness, oiliness, acne, delayed healing. Thanks to a breakdown in the production of collagen and elastin, it also experiences a loss of elasticity and firmness. To address this, you need to implement a skincare routine that looks not just at the symptoms of stress but also the root cause. Lifestyle changes such as ensuring you’re getting some endorphin-boosting exercise every day, as well as plenty of restorative sleep, finding something that will help you switch off and eating a diet abundant in anti-inflammatory omega-3 go a long way in seeing real change.

How has traditional Chinese-medicine and acupuncture influenced your products?
TCM is a vital thread of a process which is layered with anatomy and physiology and aromatherapy. The Chinese medicine allows me to look at everything holistically and keeps me coming back to what is creating the problem so the solution will really work and it won’t keep returning. It truly informs the products from a very basic level, it’s in the DNA and the core of everything that we do.

What does your daily skincare routine look like?
My morning ritual consists of a cleanse with our Pure Cleansing Dew, a press of the Dewy Facial Mist, followed by our Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir, which is a supercharged antioxidant serum. I finish with a couple of pumps of the Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar SPF30 and then move on to a bit of body care, which is some lymph brushing and a generous layer of the heavenly Salvation Body Oil (this is my happy oil!). In the evening I use our Restorative Cleansing Balm, which is just the perfect way to begin my wind-down ritual and is ideal for doing some facial massage. Then I use our new First Fix which helps fight the impact of stress on the skin, followed by our Autumn Facial Oil which I love for reinstating suppleness, hydration and radiance and at the moment I will add a layer of the Skin Recovery Blend as it becomes chillier and the central heating swings into action.

Your new product launch, First Fix, could not have come at a better time. Talk us through how this ground-breaking response serum is so beneficial during heightened stress?
When the body is flooded with excess cortisol during times of stress, it affects our skin. The skin barrier becomes disrupted and weakened and collagen and elastin start to breakdown. In turn, cells lose the ability to repair themselves and the result is skin that is red, irritated, dehydrated, lacking in firmness, dull and prone to blemishes. Our wonderful First Fix formula is a serum that treats both the causes and the symptoms of stress via a multi-layered approach which incorporates extensive scientific research and both Western and Chinese medicine. We use the proven power of aromatherapy to help address the impact of stress on an emotional level via our unique Cortisol Resilience Complex™ blend, which includes Rose, Cape Chamomile, Vetiver and Sandalwood. Then to lessen the physical impact of stress, we combine hardworking ingredients that act as a first-stage line of defence to repair and protect skin’s functional health. These include cortisol inhibitor Neurophroline, moisture-boosting Ectoin and Sodium hyaluronate and Seabuckthorn to restore lost density and definition. I really believe there is nothing else like it out there.

What do you do when you’re feeling stressed or anxious?
I exercise and do some breathwork. What that looks like evolves over time as I find I’m listening more to what my body needs. Walking with my dog Willow or Qigong is my go-to to help centre and ground me, though, it’s like a walking mediation as the puppy doesn’t like you on the phone so it really is time to switch off from the outside world. When I need to just release, I will always go running.

What has been your biggest lesson in 2020?
I sort of feel this year has been a lifetime of learnings and if you don’t take those learnings on board they keep coming back to you!! I think I have been reminded to be grateful for what I have and it is such a privilege to help so many people in my clinic and with our products, that there’s always a way through and sometimes if you change your perspective it will reveal itself. There are days when all you can do is look forward and not necessarily move forward – be kind and gentle to yourself when those days are with you. Above all Dare Greatly!

Discover de Mamiel First Fix.