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The Story of our Modern Botany Oil

Posted by John Murray on
Modern Botany multi-tasking oil
In 2016 Simon and John moved back to John’s home County of Cork in Ireland and landed in Schull on the Wild Atlantic Way, which sits on the Mizen Peninsula, the most South Westerly point in Europe. They were attracted to this place in the world because of its intoxicating rugged and natural beauty. The incredible Azure blues and Emerald greens that manifest from the Atlantic swell and the endless array of wild plant-life in all its glory was the captivating call to up sticks and settle here in this unspoilt paradise.
Modern Botany multi-tasking oil boxed
Botanical ingredients are used in Modern Botany products
Oleic Acid chemical structure

Simon choose this refined wonder oil with all its skin-health benefits as the perfect carrier oil to carry the other reparative, regenerative, and healing natural plant extracts into the skin. These pharmacy grade natural ingredients include:

Chamomile – long been used traditionally for its lenitive, soothing effects on skin and smells divine – really calming with a natural soporific effect on your senses.

Calendula – used since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory effects on skin, great for taking down redness and healing broken capillaries, and improving the appearance of skin; especially great for rosacea.

Arnica - Long used for reducing bruising and swelling and helps improve the appearance of damaged skin

Borage: Rich in GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) its great as a topical preparation on the skin particularly for skin conditions such as Dermatitis and general anti-aging.

Frankincense essential oil: traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory and wound-healer and known to be effective in reducing the appearance of scars. This incredible ‘King of Oils’ is wonderful for minimising skin infections associated with adult Acne.

The choosing of the above ingredients was not just accidental, but rather based on the scientific credentials and their potential therapeutic effect on the skin. This is where science plays its vital role and sees Simon bringing his expertise in pharmacognosy to create this formulation as per our original remit. Central to the principle of pharmacognosy is the study of the combined action, or 'synergy' of various plant actives that result in greater effectiveness together than individually. Efficacy is key for ensuring our products are safe, good for you and do what they say they do.

Following the production of our prototypes we tested these on various groups of people including reputable Make Up Artists (MUA) in the beauty world and the results returned were very favorable indeed, with the latter loving the quick absorbency of the product, its ability to keep the skin supple throughout a daily photo shoot and also that make up could be applied on top as it dries matte. The oil is also great for removing makeup and mascara as the latter are oil-based it comes off easy on a cotton pad. One MUA, uses this a staple now as he loves the dewy appearance it leaves on the skin of his clients.  

Ok, so what about the Oil, I here you say? Well, it was their dream having years of natural product research in Pharmacognosy and working knowledge of the beauty and wellness industry to establish a green and clean company together in Schull. This new company would have ‘Elevated Personal Care’ as its focus and be universal and inclusive in its ethos with a strong sustainable and eco-conscious foundation. This company would promote the best of natural medicinal plant ingredients (sourced from Ireland and beyond) by producing personal care products that would be safe, unisex, fully natural and offer therapeutic effect on the skin.

Both Simon and John having done a lot of research in this market sector and were also disillusioned by the beauty world’s marketing spin on pushing consumers to buy multiple products, for the face, the neck, or body when a lot of these have more or less the same moisturising bases.

They wanted to create a signature product that would be multi-tasking to its core and easy to use for face, body, hair and nails. A 100% unisex, natural plant-based and effective moisturiser that would be a safe ‘one-stop-shop’ bathroom staple for all the family.

For this, their first hero or signature moisturising product, Simon, from his formulation experience, found that oils were a great medium for easy use being highly penetrable and absorbent, that is, once we found the right carrier base oil. From their experience in the beauty skincare market, the most important thing that every woman wants from their moisturiser is that it can dry quickly so that a sunscreen, or foundation can be applied on top. The carrier oil would have to be very refined to absorb easily and quickly into the epidermis for this to be achieved.  Being an Irish company, they naturally were looking for an Irish star ingredient and it was not too long before, the wonder that is, Flax Seed Oil (Linum usitatissimum) was put forward as a prime candidate. Flax Seed Oil, more popularly used as a nutrient-rich tonic, was at the time rarely used as a topical skin preparation. In doing his research on Flax Seed Simon discovered a wealth of its health benefits, being packed full with omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids, namely ALA or Alpha-linolenic and oleic acid,  both clinically proven to help reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. It is also deeply moisturising and hydrating, that even just a few drops massaged into your face and body in the morning can keep your skin moist and supple all day and creates a great protective barrier to protect your skin.

Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) chemical structure
View from the home of Modern Botany, Schull, Ireland

Our Modern Botany Multi-Tasking Oil was launched in Ireland in October 2016 and saw a great uptake for it within the lifestyle, health food and pharmacy sector. The prime reason being was that we set out to make a personal care product that transcends a mere beauty product, but one that would be a problem-solver for people with problem skin conditions. At its core Modern Botany was formulated to be a safe universal product that was designed for all skin types, ages and skincare needs.

Since our launch, we have won many awards and received great press cover but more importantly for us as a brand, is the consistent testimonies of our users.

This ranges from customers suffering with eczema, psoriasis, acne, dermatitis, or general skin conditions such as dry or blotchy skin and feeding back how the oil has relieved their symptoms and eased the severity of the said conditions. In general, the feedback from normal to combination skin types too has been extremely positive with customers feeding back that they are loving the oil for its great moisturising capability, quick dry action, silky feel after-effect and great botanical scent. About 30% of our oil users are men and we are seeing this product being used more by men as a general moisturiser, but also as a pre and post-shave oil, beard and for hair conditioner.

It’s humbling getting all the positive feedback and makes us feel that we are doing something we love on one hand, but greater than that is the feeling of producing and creating a product that brings a particular benefit to someone that makes their daily living that bit easier and more comfortable. It makes it all worthwhile.

Also, Pregnant mums have been using the Oil since its launch as a gentle moisturising natural alternative for their bump as they tell us it’s great for reducing stretch marks when using it during pregnancy. We were also delighted to get our Modern Botany Oil pregnancy safe approved this year too.

Along with securing Pregnancy Safe approval, the oil is also Vegan society, Vegetarian and Cruelty free International certified and more recently we are very proud to be COSMOS Natural approved.

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive from customers is, ‘how do I use the oil’. I think for some, who are so used to using creams see oils as a new medium, but the process is easy. Just follow these simple instructions:

How to use:

For Face and all over body treatment, hair and nails.

For Face, post wash, apply a few drops on the palm of your hand and rub vigorously to activate the oils (you will feel a warm sensation). Then gently pat on to your face. The oil absorbs quickly, and you will note a lovely silky texture to your skin. It will dry matte in 1-2 mins and as such you can then apply your SPF day cream or foundation/make-up. You can also repeat this process during the day and apply direct to your makeup to bring it to life by gently patting the skin.

Likewise, apply generously all over body particularly as a post wash and before bedtime. You will note the essential oil fragrance of Frankincense and Chamomile. These are very sensual and soporific and will help you relax and rest.

Note: It’s important as always for customers with sensitive skin to patch test the oil initially

Author: John Murray (Modern Botany, Co-Founder)

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