Earlier this month we met Arabella Preston, Founder of natural plant oil skincare brand
Votary London. We found out all about the revelation that is oil cleansing and the benefits
natural oils can have on all types of skin. Read on to find out more about Arabella's journey
and what inspired her to create her own range of beautiful skincare products.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your brand?
I am a former make-up artist and beauty editor. I was in the enviable position of being sent every product I could wish for but started to go through a personal journey with my own skin. Complicated routines simply didn't suit me, and my skin felt overloaded and dull. I discovered oil cleansing which turned out to be truly transformational on my own skin and at the same time was using facial oils to prep the skin of my clients. Nothing gets your skin glowing and plumped like massaging in a beautiful natural oil. I started to blend my own oils at home but honestly never intended to turn it into a business. A close friend had other ideas however! Charlotte and I launched Votary into Liberty in September 2015 with just four products and haven't looked back since.
Have you always wanted to work in the health and beauty industry?
Yes! Probably from when I was a child playing with my Girl's World doll. I adore the beauty industry, it has more female executives and entrepreneurs than any other sector I can think of.
Where did your inspiration come from to create natural skincare products?
Natural plant oils are packed full of nature's super-ingredients and are rich in soothing nutrients. When you're a make-up artist it's important you can trust what you're using on your client's skin. My clients had thrown so much at their skin; make-up full of silicones and mineral oil that I felt it was really important to keep the skincare I used as natural as possible. It is so noticeable that oil cleansing leaves skin beautifully clean without any tightness. As moisturisers, they can hydrate, heal and even restore balance to oily and combination skin.
We love that your range is hand-crafted and sustainable. What are the core values behind your products?
We are passionate about the skin-transforming power of natural plant oils. Votary use the best quality oils in small, fresh batches. We are naturally vegan and cruelty-free, and our products come in glass bottles that are recyclable.
How does our skin benefit from natural oils?
I firmly believe in the power of natural plant oils. Our skin needs oils! We have natural lipids in our skin, but levels decrease as we age, so it's always a good idea to keep your skin as hydrated and moisturised as possible. In my opinion natural plant oils are the best way to achieve this as they are so pure and nourishing.
Can you talk us through your morning and evening skincare routine?
I always start the day with Rose Geranium Cleansing Oil at the moment it's followed by Super Seed Facial Oil and Super Seed Nutrient Cream as it's mattifying and the perfect base for make-up. At night I like to use Super Seed Cleansing Oil which I leave on while I slip into a bath and the oil acts like a mask. I then remove with one of our flannels and follow with Toning Serum, Intense Night Oil and Intense Eye Oil both of which contain gentle retinoids to smooth texture and tone.
What is your favourite product and why?
Rose Geranium Cleansing Oil is my desert island product. There's a reason it's our best seller! I always recommend this product to customers new to Votary as it's so gentle and nourishing and benefits most skin types. It also removes make-up so effortlessly you will never return to cotton wool pads!
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I'm often dashing about to meetings in London so will team smart trainers with Victoria Beckham jeans as they are so long and perfect for someone of my height (I'm 6'1"). I always feel a blazer can effortlessly pull a look together and gives an outfit a bit of structure.
What are your wardrobe staples?
I'm genuinely a bit obsessed with comfort and layer my clothes. As I'm tall I never wear heels and won't be without a pair of smart trainers.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to start their own beauty brand?
Be passionate about the products you are creating. I created my products because I couldn't find what I wanted to use on my own and on my clients' skin. I believe in our products and it makes it so much easier to do my job!
If I wasn't running Votary... I'd still be a make-up artist and may have ventured into the world of photography too.
My ideal breakfast... honestly...would not be cooked by me! I love a hotel breakfast of fresh fruit, eggs and coffee.
Words to live by... be kind.
My handbag essential...lip balm. It's become even more of an obsession as I'm currently working on my own lip product.
The best thing about my job... is chatting to our customers over email and social media. I love hearing positive feedback and our customers are usually the catalyst for new products.
My guilty pleasure... crisps.
My favourite London hangout... is Liberty beauty hall - I always find time to visit! It's so buzzy and central and they are always discovering amazing new beauty brands.