I’ve been working on a gorgeous new launch project with one of my most-loved beauty brands, Roger & Gallet, and today I’m proud to introduce their first ever skincare line, Aura Mirabilis. Small but perfectly formed, it shows the same impeccable attention to detail that Roger & Gallet have displayed for many years with their fragrance and body products but brings a completely new and unique twist to the skincare world.
Ever heard of a “beauty vinegar”? A stilligoute? Can you think of a range that’s based on a three-hundred year-old natural remedy created by monks?! Roger & Gallet’s new Aura Mirabilis line has plenty of these quirks – things that seem to lend a touch of antiquated mystery and Shardlake-esque* fantasy to the proceedings – yet the formulas are distinctly modern and the products beautiful to use. Just four of them; an Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask, a smoothing and refining Beauty Vinegar, a light-but-powerful Double-Extract treatment and – possibly the most recognisable item in the range – the sumptuous, moisturising Legendary Cream.
The Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask and the Beauty Vinegar have been my most-used products so far, possibly because I spend the most time cleansing and tinkering with my face – the serum and moisturiser stages are usually over in a flash! Actually, though, one of the things that most struck me about Aura Mirablis when I first tried it was how each stage sort of forced me to slow down and really think about what I was doing with my beauty routine. Perhaps because the types of product were unfamiliar to me (beauty vinegar?) and I had to actually read the instructions, but also because the application methods don’t lend themselves to a quick-fix splash-at-the-sink sort of routine.
The Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask doesn’t have to be left on as a mask at all. In fact as a cleanser, it’s one of my favourite types – a multi-phase melting cleanser that turns oily upon the skin when massaged in and then milky when mixed with water, making for easy removal. Left on, it’s said to be a “detoxifying mask”, but it all depends how much time and inclination you have and I’m usually keen to get on with my favourite step, the Beauty Vinegar.
Initially, I found the name of this step rather off-putting. I’m not keen on vinegars outside of the food world – Mr AMR is always using them for various household chores (brilliant for getting that mouldy smell out of laundry when you accidentally leave it in the washing machine for six days and great for leaving mirrors and windows nice and shiny!) – but the smell of neat vinegar really turns my stomach. Fortunately the Roger & Gallet vinegar is as far from actual vinegar as you can get – not even a trace whiff of it, though the formula effectively uses its refreshing and purifying properties. It’s a bi-phase product, so you shake before use – fruit vinegars in the “watery phase” to clarify and refine and an “oily phase” containing the eighteen distilled plants that are at the heart of the Aura Mirabilis.
This eighteen plant recipe is the formula that has inspired the entire range. The Aqua Mirabilis was a natural elixir that could be ingested or applied topically and it contained the most powerful and rare medicinal plants. Most of them, now, we are very familiar with – lavender, neroli, thyme, lemongrass, bergamot, geranium – but centuries ago, this was something of a miracle water and in 1727 (history lesson alert) its virtues were patented by the faculty of Medecine of Cologne. And it became known as – any guesses? – Eau de Cologne.
I think that it’s in the Double-Extract and the Legendary Cream that you really get a sense of this Aqua Mirabilis; the former concentrates it in a light-as-water essence that can be patted over the skin and the hydrating cream combines it with a white lily extract to help renew the skin and add radiance.
A note on the Double-Extract and its very snazzy dispenser (second history lesson alert): the pipette is based on an old French mechanism called the stilligoute, which used a goose feather (stem part, not fluffy part) to release a liquid from a bottle drop by drop. No goose feather in the modern bottle, but it’s the same precise system – the exact amount of Double-Extract is dispensed, just enough to do face and neck, I find, though if you like to do your entire décolletage and its an expansive one then you might find you need two goes…
And there’s nothing wrong with having two goes whatsoever – pamper and indulge, that’s what I say! Whenever I have a spare moment I’ll usually spend it pootling about in the bathroom, slathering on new potions and lotions – it’s my proper unwind time. Which was the idea behind the launch campaign for the Aura Mirabilis; a sense of indulgent time-out and luxurious beauty routines.
I flew to France to a beautiful old chateau to shoot the teaser for this launch campaign. It was all very fitting – a whimsical, secret-passageway sort of castle with carved angels in the bathrooms and the most brilliant old wallpaper everywhere…
And there I was, trussed up in a rather racy corset, with Marie-Antoinette hair and sultry-sexy makeup – the “Modern Empress” – lying in an empty bathtub with my five-inch stiletto heels resting on the edge… All in a day’s work!
You’ll be able to watch my Modern Empress teaser video next month. There’s also a behind-the-scenes vlog coming at you so keep an eye out for that…
You can find the Aura Mirablis range at Marks and Spencer – the prices are as pleasing as the range itself (one of the reasons I love Roger & Gallet so much), starting at just £15 for the Extra-Fine Cleansing Mask and the Beauty Vinegar. Take a look at the whole range here!
*Shardlake is a character in one of my favourite series of books ever, written by CJ Sansom. He’s a hunchbacked detective in the tudor times and the books are dark and mysterious and filled with secrets. Possibly not the literary character Roger & Gallet would choose to endorse their newest beauty line, but it’s this sense of history that I love about the range.
**this post has been sponsored by Roger & Gallet