‘Bespoke’ is old English word meaning “for someone.” And, to get that very special handmade something, your creator, your craftsman, your artist will need to get to know you. And, that’s just what Audra James (15-year aromatherapist veteran of the corporate and personal organic skin care industry) does when she starts the process of her signature made by hand Bespoke Facial Oil ($65). While countless mass marketed brands vy for the legitimate claim to fame their serum/treatment/face oil is the fix-it-all for your skin, Audra’s deceptively unassuming bespoke service and philosophy insist on products tailored towards your personal thresholds of stress, specific skin ailments that you wish to address, some subtle lifestyle habits, or perhaps purely choosing the aromas that drive your emotive states. It’s this type of up-market luxury that connoisseurs and corporate big wigs covet alike. Audra also consults and designs select blends for some top cosmetic brands, spas, and even pharmacies, which have amounted to thousands of blends though you’d never know it. Her unassuming charm lends to the thoughtful, luxurious minimalism of her organic skin care, one that is never lacking in her stunning, sensual oils. It’s this conventional gentility of her blends that gives a near iconic mystique to your bespoke bottle when it arrives. See, with Audra, it’s all about you.
But, how Audra sneak a peek into your sensory and skin neuroses from across the oceans? First off, she’ll send a detailed questionnaire, designed to uncover your garden-variety skin concerns. From here, she’ll ask you for what scents will project your mind and spirit into some place inward.
"Once I get this information, I start to formulate the blend - I work out the essential oil formula first for their skin type and blend that together and leave it to settle (rest) for 2-3 days, then I would add the plant/carrier oil formula that would work for their skin type. I also take into account any oils that the client may have said they don't love the aroma of - which is also an important part. No point formulating something for someone if they don't like the aroma, but at the end of the day it has to be something that works for their skin type. There has been a lot more research into plant oils for skin and a wide variety to choose from now. When it comes to essential oils - for facial oils - I limit myself to 4 at the most as it's important there is enough of the active ingredient in each one to work."
But, when you think you’ve done your side of the work, don’t forget hers. Since starting this blog, I realized how Audra has been quietly studying the nuances of my preferences – Sambac over Grandiflorum, exotic carriers over the usual players, and a daily dislike for my age spots. And, that’s what I have here – a Huile de Me. A blogger’s dream realized.
All in all it takes about 7 days to create a specialized facial oil for an individual - Audra
The super slick texture is what I first took notice. Audra brought together a blend of Blackcurrant Seed, Argan, Rosehip, Camellia (these three are 100% organic), Evening Primrose and Peach Kernel carriers to give what ends up being an ultra lightweight oil. To give the face elixir an evocative depth are hefts of infused Calendula – a touchable expression of the plant extract, which is often used to protect the skin from premature aging, thinning of the skin, and even helping wounded skin heal faster. Audra knew to add this to the Rosehip, as she must have been reading about tweets my failed attempts at using chemical peels (which sometimes leaves minor skin flare-ups) to fade away my age spots. The holistic Calendula is also safe enough to be used on the delicate skin under the eyes to prevent crow's feet. And, the scent? The anti-aging oil opens up with a surge of Frankincense with sneaky animalic accords of Jasmine Sambac and a whiff of shimmering Neroli blended into one synergistic sweep of skin softening oils. The essentials are softened, though there is enough complexity and development to hold my attention. Even Audra’s a crib sheet (full of hints & application suggestions advises me to stop and smell the oil before rushing to a quick morning slather. And, I do. Before skin, I inhale the heart of this floral medley to balance out my nerves. The Sambac note is distinct and outstanding, bringing an earthiness that refuses to fade away. How I now want this as a body oil for the complete thrush of the sweetly resinous swanky Franky – plush, sexy, and even a touch of risqué.
The artfulness of essential oils and their fragility here proves just how skin is fed right with nature’s splendidly fabulous and fragrant elements. Audra's essences and oils are imported from down under and go beyond the botanic basics to bring true to form aromatic exhalations. Seriously, the lusty bottle of cool artisanal oils is well worth the splurge and wait, so I say...bespoke is the new black.