Co-founder Arabella Preston gets under the skin of her no-nonsense facial oils
A facial oil business with common sense skin care at its heart, Votary was dreamt up by friends Arabella Preston and Charlotte Semler and launched at Liberty in 2015. Here, Preston reveals the story behind the brand.
What’s the Votary philosophy?
Our philosophy is about healthy, strong skin. Lots of brands advocate taking layers off, but Votary is about preserving the skin’s mantle. Taking a layer off can work in certain situations, but as a rule, no. It’s about respecting your skin.
How did it come to fruition?
Being a makeup artist meant I got sent every product under the sun to sample. I loved trying them out, but my skin was never happy. It always felt dry and tight. So, I started mixing facial oils at home and used them on myself and to prepare clients’ skin for makeup. The idea for Votary started with my now business partner, Charlotte Semler, asking me what she should be doing with her skin. I told her about the oils and we had our eureka moment. We trademarked Votary a week later.
What’s your hero product?
Our Rose Geranium and Apricot Cleansing Oil is our hero product and bestseller. I don’t know of another product like it. When I started out I had no idea I could use a cleansing oil and my skin would feel completely clean and soft. I love that it comes boxed with a gorgeous, big, fluffy flannel.
When I started out I had no idea I could use a cleansing oil and my skin would feel completely clean and soft.
What three products to do you recommend to get started?
Our Super Seed product are for people with sensitive skin who can’t deal with fragrance. So, start with a Votary Cleansing Oil, add our Super Seed Facial Oil and nourish with our Intense Night Oil, which contains vitamin A for overnight cell renewal. You’ve got to be the best judge of your skin. Mine feels different every season, every day. It can be affected by the weather, diet, ageing, central heating... I always start my day with a Votary Cleansing Oil and follow with whatever Votary Facial Oil I feel I need – currently Neroli and Myrrh, which is great for glowing skin.
“Mindfulness” as a term gets overused, but that is what does it mean to you?
Closing the bathroom door. Taking a hot bath. Using beautiful oil. The smell, massaging it in. It’s a ritual. One feels calmer, better. It’s common sense.