As you know, I’ve been an avid fan of ila products and treatments for years. I love them for their purity (not for nothing are they dubbed ‘beyond organic’), their integrity and ethics but, most of all, because they smell divine and they really work.
ila’s latest range is called the Gold Cellular Age-Restore Collection which is, to be honest, a bit of a mouthful. I was sceptical. The Collection was premiered at Harrods who will stock the range exclusively for a certain period of time. Gold + Harrods = Beauty Bling was my first thought. But not so.
The range has been three years in the making and ila founder Denise Leicester told me that, at times, she wondered if they would ever crack it. The first part of the equation was easy. She had come across a group of German research chemists who had trademarked three types of boswellic acid, derived from the boswellia (frankincense) tree. The formula acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, soothing and healing the skin at a deep level.
Next up is the gold element – not just 23-Carat gold but also homeopathic gold (Aurum) and colloidal gold. I always remember my mother (a homeopath) using Aurum for depression and all states involving a ‘heavy heart’ – was this yet more ila magic sneaking in? A beauty product that also heals the heart? It wouldn’t surprise me as ila products work on all levels – not just the physical but the mind and emotions too.
Colloidal gold can, apparently, also work on inflammation. Denise explained that the three golds work together to help boost the production of collagen. In addition, the products contain a vegetable-based hyaluronic acid.
Now here comes the problem. If you put hyaluronic acid on the skin it will (just as collagen will) just sit there looking pretty but doing nothing. The key is getting it through the epidermis to the coal-face, so to speak. ila achieve this by splitting and breaking the hyaluronic acid and then using sonic waves to push it under the outer layer of the skin. Once it has penetrated the epidermis, it reconstitutes itself and gets to work plumping up the skin from the inside out. Pretty clever.
As with most beauty ranges there are a range of products that, ideally, are used in combination. I often find this irritating – do you really need all those steps, all those products? ila are honest about it – no, you don’t need them all – at least, not all the time. But they do recommend giving yourself the full works about three times a week.
Let’s take a look at what’s what. Denise calls it a ‘journey of smells’ and it’s easy to see (or should that be smell) why – as they’re heavy on some of ila’s signature scents.
Face Cleanser (100ml, £55)
First up, the cleanser. It’s oil-based and comprises Babassu oil, sea buckthorn (massively rich in healing omegas and vitamins), Boswellia extract and old ila favourite Jasmine. It smells heavenly (that’d be the Jasmine) but it does feel greasy. I wouldn’t use this without the toner that follows.
Face Toner (100ml, £40)
This is scent-heaven again. Just as you’ve got over your Jasmine rush, your nose is transported by another of my all-time favourite oils, Orange Blossom. This sweeps away every trace of the greasiness left by the cleanser.
Face Serum (30ml, £180)
This is the real powerhouse of the range, with hyaluronic acid alongside all the other good stuff. Its aim is to strengthen and hydrate each cell, countering inflammation and restoring and nourishing the skin. It works well on its own but, for the real salon effect, you use it in tandem with the Sonic Wave Therapy tool. This one smells more earthy and woody (that’ll be the Boswellia).
Face Cream (50g, £120)
This contains those collagen-boosting golds with added white lily and earthy sandalwood. It’s got the most curious texture – almost mousse-like – with a faintly yeasty smell. I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite scent for sure. It feels slightly tacky on the skin and, unlike many moisturisers, it doesn’t immediately sink in but sits as if considering its options. It is, to my mind, definitely a night-time cream. Go to bed and let all that organic goodness do its bit while you gently slumber (thanks to soothing sandalwood). Come morning, your skin feels just…dare I say it…dewy?
Sonic Wave Therapy tool (£135).
You don’t have to use this but it does work well with the range (and you can get friends over for the evening and do facials for them if you’re a generous soul who’s willing to share your ila – frankly my friends, much as I love them, can go whistle!). It uses gentle sonic waves to help boost the production of collagen. There are also three colour therapy settings to further soothe the skin in whichever way your own pelt most needs. Yes, it’s a glorified girlie Sonic Screwdriver really – what’s not to like?
I’m hugely aware that these aren’t cheap, not cheap at all. But, if your budget allows, they are certainly worth investigating. Unlike many other top-end ranges, they aren’t stuffed full of chemicals. For me, the proof of the pudding is in the results. These work, they really do.
The ila Gold Cellular Age Restore Collection is available from Harrods.
For full details of the other ila ranges see www.ila-spa.com