Penny Frances Apothecary is one of the best kept secrets on Instagram, but that might not last.
As the popularity of these handmade, organic beauty products increase, so does their reputation.
Founded and managed by Sarah Craig, Penny Frances Apothecary provides a skincare and beauty range which combines the professional with the personal. Small batches of meticulously blended serums, oils and fragrances made up from what Craig refers to as ‘Elixirs of the earth‘.
It all began almost a decade ago, when Craig’s friends asked her to make them some of her Geranium Face Oil; most recently, the company was listed in The Financial Times, Best of Beauty 2016.
Originally trained as a chef, Craig was introduced to herbalism through her family at a young age; particularly in the areas of beauty and self-care. When she was pregnant, she began to truly explore the possibilities of creating her own beauty products.
There was also a little online boost which came from a well-known source;
“Alanis Morissette became a fan, which was wonderful,” Craig told Rip & Tan in a recent interview, “She’s an avid supporter of green beauty products. I have also had lots of local support which is very important to me; customers and other likeminded brands.”
It was also in this interview that she outlined some of the practices and sources which lead to the end result:
“I carefully select only the finest, freshest, organic and wild crafted ingredients. I have been buying my ingredients for over 10 years so I know my suppliers. I take it very seriously and I know my oils. My mum goes to the South of France every year and she brings me helichrysum and lots of beautiful varieties of lavender flower oils. I source the more exotic oils and extracts from smaller companies; one grows her geraniums right outside her window for her small batch geranium distillate.
Whenever friends go anywhere they usually bring me back something gorgeous. My best friend sent me Sicilian blood orange oil and Tunisian Neroli oil from Ravena in Italy, and another sent me Bulgarian lavender. Whenever I travel I am always on the lookout, too. I was recently in India and brought back some beautiful rose and champaca oils. I also make every single potion, all in very small batches.”
Needless to say that, after coming across the Penney Frances page on Instagram, I was drawn in by the beautiful looking little black bottles as much as I was the ecological ethos behind the company, and so decided to test some of the products out.
I’ve got two young boys and there have been a lot of sleepless nights in my house; as a result, I’m always on the lookout for products which might give me a little bit of a boost. These really appealed to me, because they were all-natural and not tested on any animals. The idea of replenishing and rewarding my skin with natural substances held far greater appeal than heavily chemical-based compounds.
I was delighted to see how beautifully everything was packaged when it arrived (really swiftly too, considering I’m based in Ireland). There were even a few extra treats inside!
The products that I picked up were the Geranium Botanical Face Serum, the Black Cumin and Rasberry Antioxidant Eye Butter and some Jasmine Parfum. Each item came hand-numbered (again, those small batches are always a good sign) and in ultraviolet bottles to avoid damage / spoiling from the light.
While I’ve only just started using them, they already feel fresher and less oily than some of the big brand cosmetics that I’ve used in the past. The scents are just heavenly; evocative of long summer evenings outdoors. They’re delicate, without being overpowering, and I think it’s safe to say I’m hooked already.
Social Media can be a bit of a minefield sometimes , but when you stumble across treasures like this every now and again, it makes it all worthwhile.
Check out the Official Penny Frances Apothecary website here.