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“The Biggest misconception about plant-based beauty is that it isn’t science based” Arabella Preston, Founder of Votary

Skindays: What is your earliest skincare memory?

Arabella Preston: I have to answer truthfully here….scooping handfuls of vaseline from a huge tub in the bathroom and smearing it all over my face. I think this would now be known as slugging. My mum was not thrilled!

SD: Can you share the story behind VOTARY?

A.P.:I was working as a makeup artist and using oils I blended at home on my clients skin. I had also discovered oil cleansing and become completely obsessive about it. Charlotte (my business partner) and I had worked together years before and she felt really strongly that we should be taking my passion to the next level. VOTARY launched in September 2015 with 4 products – we now have over 30!

SD: What was the first product that you created and why?

A.P.: Our Rose Geranium Cleansing Oil was the first product we made and is still our bestseller to this day. Many skincare issues I see arise from poor cleansing or stripping the skin whilst cleansing – switching to oil cleansing can be truly transformative. The VOTARY Cleansing Oil leaves skin properly clean, but not dry or tight. It is my ride or die VOTARY product and the one I press into people’s hands over and over again!

SD: What results do you hope that customers will achieve from using your products?

A.P.: Healthy skin. Beginning, middle and end. Healthy, balanced, happy skin is always the goal.

SD: Can you share your biggest business challenge to date and how you overcame this?

Scaling up for growth is a challenge in any small business. That’s why we decided to grow slowly and on our own terms. However it also means big decisions fall entirely on our shoulders – that’s where having a business partner becomes sanity saving.

SD: What has been your most rewarding moment while building VOTARY?

Anytime I interact with our customers always reminds me why we do what we do. Helping people with their skin is a privilege and one I find immensely rewarding.

SD: Skincare is key when creating a great base for makeup – what VOTARY products do you always reach for to prep skin for a glowy look?

A.P.: I am completely obsessed with our Radiance Reveal Mask. It’s a gentle acid mask with lactic and mandelic acids and it leaves my skin so soft and smooth. I’ll follow by smoothing Super Seed Serum into my skin. It contains peptides and hyaluronic acid to smooth and plump. Then of course, I finish with a facial oil. Dew Drops is fantastic for wearing under make-up as they are so lightweight. The trick is to not use too much and to spend a minute or two massaging the oil into your skin.

SD: What is the best skincare advice that you’ve personally ever received?

We’re all different! Get to know your skin and what it likes and doesn’t like. Just because something works brilliantly for your friend, doesn’t mean it will be right for you. Learn to be intuitive and don’t get stuck in a rut with your products.

SD: And what skincare myths do you wish would stop being perpetuated by the industry?

A.P.: I am so fed up with filtered images. Any time I see real skin with texture and imperfections online I do a little yelp of joy. It is hugely problematic that a generation is growing up thinking that skin is meant to look in a completely unrealistic way.

SD: What’s next for your brand?

We have an exciting new launch in the autumn and are also working hard developing our new brand VERDEN – a natural fragrance brand for bath, body and home.

SD: What is the biggest misconception about plant-based beauty?

A.P.: That it isn’t science based. The plant-based ingredients we work with have years of research and data behind them.

SD: Vegan, sustainable and natural skincare brands have been steadily rising in popularity, what continues to set VOTARY apart from a rapidly expanding marketplace?

A.P: We’re not trend led as a brand and try to just keep focussed on what the VOTARY customer needs and wants. I think that helps keep us on our path and our standards high.