Nowadays models are quite savvy, branching into arts, beauty, fashion design and photography but even a decade ago things were very different ( apart from the exception of savvy business-minded ‘supers’ like Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford or Elle Macpherson ), that’s why when I heard about Georgina Jones, a former model who now lives in Wales and creates skin and bodycare products under the name Bathing Beauty, I knew I wanted to know more.
When I met George at the VegFest in Olympia earlier this year, what struck me initially was the fact that her stand was done with such creativity and attention to truly eye-catching beauty, I just couldn’t take my eyes away from it. George, with the kind, shiny eyes and luminous skin, wearing an apron over a pretty dress, welcomed me with open arms and asked her lovely husband to take over serving her customers, while we had a quick chat about the products ( some of which I was already using ). It becomes apparent within seconds not just whether you like the person or not, but also how passionate he or she is about what they do. With George the attention to detail is riveting-imagine taking old crates and cleverly organising a beautiful stand that showcased to perfection her various products, her Welsh roots, her bran’s ethos and drew both men and women in.
I have a habit of looking closely at people who work in skincare, to gauge how well they look after their skin and George has beautifully even, radiant skin. Yes, you can tell that she is a former model from the way she holds herself but she also has a motherly air with a coquettish streak. She doesn’t just repeat things about her products that you can read on her website, she tells you stories and gives you tips, asking about your skin type or concerns that you have. She looks you in the eye and helps you chose things that you will love using. In my case I started with Mount Olympus, Bathing Beauty‘s fresh lemon and rosemary sea salt body scrub that transports me away to sunny moments on the beach in Europe.
You take a small handful and spread it over your skin, inhaling a strong zesty aroma that wakes you and your senses up, while your skin sheds old, dull layer, like a snake and reveals a clearer, brighter skin. A winter staple that would work beautifully when you escape on warm holidays and will help you build a more even tan. It does have a rich consistency fused with oil, so you might want to give your shower or bath a lovely clean after using it – I view it as a lovely duality of skincare and physical activity .)
Ingredients: Sea salt, Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil, Lemon Zest, Rosemary Herb & Oil, Limonene, Linanool, Citral, Geranioul ( all four of which are naturally occurring in essential oils).
Bathing Beauty All Things Nice: this brown sugar body polish fuses together Fair trade brown sugar, Peach kernel and Vitamin E oils, as well as vanilla and cardamon essential oils. To me it smells like Christmas – warming, spicy, uplifting, intriguing. I love using it in the morning, particularly if it’s cold or raining outside, as it wakes up my senses and gets my circulation going. It also leaves a gently subtle smell on your skin, like a warming veil. Add a steaming cup of freshly made coffee with cinnamon or cardamon, a little of coconut sugar and milk, as well as a steaming bowl of organic porridge and see if the day ahead goes better than your average day.
Ingredients: Fairtrade unrefined brown sugar, Healianthus Annus Oil, Peach kernel oil, Cardamon essential oil, Madagascan vanilla extract, Tocopherols, Citral, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene (naturally occurring in essential oils ).
Sock Foot salve: this product has been given to me as a gift and I find that it reinvigorate my feet at the end of any given day. Massage it into your heels, as well as the nail beds, curl up under a warm blanket and wake up feeling light-footed. This concentrated balm comes in a handy screw top tin, which is handy in your travels, particularly if you go skiing or snowboarding.
Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii, Persea Gratissima calendula officinalis, Mentha x piperita, Melaleuca oil, Cera alba, Limonene and Linalool ( both naturally occurring in essential oils ).
Blanket: truth be told, I am completely and utterly smitten with this lavender and chamomile body balm ( or Balm lafant a chamri i’r corff in Welsh ). It has a texture that is like a ‘set’ whipped cream with a little oil undercurrent and it will envelope you in the soothing, comforting blanket of serenity. Take a little bit of it between your fingers, warm it up for a couple of seconds and spread it over your body. It will leave behind a gorgeous sensuous sheen, while moisturising and soothing your skin and imparting a sense of tranquility via your senses. Somehow this product makes you feel very feminine from the moment you open the jar and inhale its aroma.
Ingredients: Shea butter, Peach Kernle, Borage Oil, Lavender essential oil, Roman chamomile plus naturally occurring in essential oils Geraniol, Limonene & Linalool.
Anoint Facial Oil for Shy skin: George was truly kind to send me this one to try together with Mount Olympus ( she did ask me what type of skin I have prior to it ) and I have to say that among the face oils that I already use and love, this one has now become a firm favourite. There is something in its name that makes me smile when I apply it but I also know that it soothes and cushions my skin and even when I have little blemishes or areas or redness, this oil makes it disappear, as I sleep at night. Pomegranate oil helps to regenerate the skin ( it is known for its revitalising and nourishing qualities ), chamomile calms it down, borage oil contains gamma linolenic acid, known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. This clear oil has such a calming aroma that serenity descends on me, when as I massage the oil on my skin. Anoint face oil also sinks into your skin almost immediately, so you can literally apply it and float off to sleep.
Ingredients: Pomegranate oil, Borage Oil, Vitis vinefera, Mandarin Oil, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile oil ), Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol, ASS05
Balaclava: this one is not a cream nor is it an oil – it is a protective face salve that George developed due to her own skin’s needs ( read about it in the Q & A below ) and that is bound to become your cold months staple, once you try it. Melt a little bit of it on the tips of your fingers and then spread it around your face ( I also moisturise my lips with it as well ), paying particular attention to the areas where your skin tends to be dry. Do it for a few days and see if you notice a difference, like I did. Somehow my skin tends to be better moisturised and gets less red even when you can feel the biting cold air, as you venture outside of your front door. I love everything about it product from the simple glass jar with its screw on lid to how wonderful it makes my skin feel. It seems rich when you see it in the pot but once you apply it on, you realise that the eye deceives you-it glides over your skin and puts a gentle, protective shield over it, while looking like the lightest honey that has just been collected by the bees. This Face Salve is truly unlike any other protective face product that I have tried before and I can’t imagine my evening routine without it !
Ingredients: Prunus Persicus, Peach persica gratissima, Avocado borago officinalis, Borage Cera Alba, Bees was Anthemis nobilis, Roman chamomile, Citrus reticulus mandarin, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol – naturally constituents of essential oils.
There are several things that set apart Bathing Beauty products in a very saturated market. Somehow models can seem hauty and unapproachable, yet George, while being self-assured, radiates kindness, compassion and care when she speaks to you through the products that she creates. She doesn’t waste words or recommend something to you in order to make a sale. She holds her Welsh roots dear and incorporates traditions of her land into her products and brand’s identity. Have a look at the lid of the jar of Blanket and you will understand what I mean.
Q & A with George Jones, founder & creative mastermind behind Bathing Beauty
GAP: George, how did you get into modelling?
GJ: I grew up on Dartmoor & spent all of my time on the moors or in the garden, watching the hill ponies or making potions. At 17, my boyfriend entered me into the BBC clothes show competition, which I won for the South West Heats and went on to become third in the Nationals. It was 1989, I just turned 18 and was about to sit my A levels, which I actually did and gained a place to study law at Middlesex.
Over the summer the Agency, which ran the competition, was quite insistent that I join them. My mum was naturally cautious, whilst I was youthfully over-enthusiastic. As a middle ground we went to see another agency, called Models One, which offered to take me on and in the September I moved to London and was living in a models apartment next to Chelsea football ground. It was a huge culture shock. I have hardly ever taken the bus, never mind lived on my own. Spending all day, every day, travelling all over London on castings was exciting and frightening in equal measures. My first job was heralded as ‘The Face Of The 90’s’ but I didn’t really appreciate the magnitude of this. By Christmas I was living in Milan.
GAP: What personal lessons did you learn from modelling?
GJ: To be very self-sufficient. To be very good at packing and quick at getting changed. You had to be able to get on with everyone and to be very careful about what you say.
GAP: What did modelling teach you about beauty?
GJ: To keep my skin in perfect condition ( at the time I was working, images were shot on SLR cameras and real film and air-brushing wasn’t mainstream). I used a lot of homeopathy, herbal medicine and ate a very clean diet, although far too sparse. I worked with the world’s best hair & makeup artists and photographers.
GAP: How did Bathing Beauty come to life? What prompted you to start creating your own products?
GJ: When I weaned my youngest, Titus, his skin reacted severely. Doctors called it eczema, but it wasn’t like anything I have seen before. I had to body-wrap him at night and none of the prescription medication worked, so I returned to my roots and started to explore alternatives, beginning with the diet and topical products and bined everything I hadn’t made myself. I started with bags of oatmeal and oils, which I blended with lavender essential oil. Eventually we managed to make a real improvement using dietary restrictions, homeopathy and my topical preparations.
Over the years I have developed a compulsion to create natural skincare recipes. My husband now binds a journal each year, for me to keep my thoughts in one place. During eight years of my active modelling career I blended facial oils for other girls and the 13 years I have been practicing as an osteopath really informed my work, as do my customers and patients.
GAP: What was the first product that you created for Bathing Beauty?
GJ: The now legendary Oat and Honey Soap, now simply called Miracle. I wanted to make a more cleansing product than a bag of oatmeal and researched traditional soap making. During my research process I discovered that a local spring in the next village, St Dyfnogs Spring, was a fifth century pilgrimage site and reputed to have skin-healing properties – a great start.
I combined it with local honey and organic oatmeal and my own special blend of coconut, sunflower and olive oils. I refuse to use cheap Palm oil, even ethically sourced or animal fats. To this day it continues to be one of my biggest sellers!
GAP: Do you prefer natural, organic products to mainstream ones? If so, why?
GJ: I prefer handmade products. There is far too much ‘greenwashing’ and it makes me really cross. People have been known to turn their nose up at my products because they are not certified organic. I do use some certified organic ingredients and a lot of uncertified organic ingredients. At the moment the prohibitive cost of Soil Association accreditation rules it out. However, I don’t use any preservatives or emulsifiers, not even naturally derived ones. I grow and wild-harvest many of the ingredients and would defy anyone to find a purer product range.
GAP: What are your favourite products from Bathing Beauty and does the choice vary with the change of seasons?
GJ: Usually the ones I created for me! With three children and two full-time jobs, I haven’t got time for anything that doesn’t t work. I have zero tolerance. I fulfilled a lifetime dream to own a horse and found 6am starts in sub-zero temperatures really challenging for my skin. Gauntlet Barrier Hand Salve was born out of necessity, as I needed serious protection from callouses and freezing weather. The salve has gone on to win a commendation at The Free From Skincare Awards 2013 and I have been overwhelmed by the fantastic feedback I have had from people suffering from awfully dry or cracked hands. More recently, it has been selected to go on expedition to Antarctica!
I also love Balaclava, the ‘no eau face salve’. For years I couldn’t control the “crisping effects” of freezing weather and it dawned on me that all creams, lotions and emulsions contain water. Surely, in very cold weather this chills against your skin ?! Since using Balaclava I have completely cured myself of this problem. My products are really seasonal and functional – I love that and it is a very conscious decision. I often call it the Ronseal effect!
GAP: How long does it take to make your products and where do you source your ingredients from?
GJ: My strap line is ‘Close To The Source’. I take it very seriously and only work with people I like. My soaps take four weeks, the exception to this is Rosebud, which has added shea butter and takes five weeks. I am trying to increase the amount of plants and herbs I grow and wild-harvest, such as Calendula and Hypericum. My skin-healing and anti-inflammatory products using these, take weeks to grow from seed to flower, then two to four weeks to infuse, before I can make the final product. I hope to build up to distilling my own essential oils. Bathing Beauty truly is the slow cooking of the beauty world!
GAP: Why is being eco-consious, particularly when it comes to product packaging, is so important to you?
GJ: It’s a no brainer & a good challenge ! Part of my Bathing Beauty mission statement is to keep our “footprint” as light as possible. I have spent hours formulating the purest, therapeutic skincare, so to wrap it in a non-recyclable or non-reuseable packaging would be offensive to me ! And I love the fact that I can have tea with Alan and Krithia at Anvil Pottery, discussing new pots for my products.
GAP: Your Reviving Bath Salts come in a beautiful Welsh pot. Why is it important for you to support local craftsmen and suppliers?
GJ: I love the fact that I can choose to use local producers, such as Anvil Pottery and Halen Mon Sea Salt, as I really admire their skill. If I don’t support local crafts people, how can I expect people to support me? We all must do our part!
GAP: Can you share some of your beauty & lifestyle secrets?
GJ: Work really hard, keep busy, care for people – in these days of superficial niceties I think it’s so important to be passionate about people, causes and what you do.
As an osteopath I spend a lot of my time listening and caring and most importantly actioning those feelings in a constructive therapeutic manner. My clients skin problems inspire me to create products.
It really helps to count one’s blessings, to keep an open heart and let it shine out through you, it’s such a beautiful thing.
I really try to fight against insecurities and being jealous, it’s an ugly emotion.
More superficially, my mother told me her Italian grandmother always drank hot water with a slice of lemon first thing in the morning. I used to do this religiously when I was modelling in Milan and Paris, but now I’m slightly more inconsistent. I try to drink a lot of water ( but not chilled one ).
I have never smoked.
Plenty of fresh air, sounds silly, but I love being outside, it really balances and calms me down, particularly at times of stress and gives me a mental breather.
Sun protection !!! Always use factor 30 and up it to 50 if I’m at the beach!
I’ve used my Universal Cleansing Oil and Anoint Facial oils for the last 20 years.
My husband and I detox every January, believe me it ‘s not that we are virtuous, in fact, the opposite, as we love cooking and sharing meals with our friends and family! So in January we usually give up alcohol, sweets and cakes. Sometimes we’ll give up tea, coffee, dairy and wheat too. It’s really tough for the first ten days but after that we feel amazing! Most noticeably for me, I feel more steady and have less ups and downs. That’s a good thing for the family too!
GAP: You blend face oils yourself. Do you find that they benefit skin more than a moisturiser or serum?
GJ: Any cream, lotion or emulsion is a combination of water and oil, the largest ingredient usually being water. In order to blend water with oil it must have an emulsifier and because of the water, is must have a preservative. It sometimes requires stabilisers too. I feel stabilisers, emulsifiers and preservatives are unnecessary ingredients. Most recently the preservative MI has been getting a lot of press attention, as it has been linked to skin allergies. It also usually means that your product is over 50% water. My products are plant oil based, as I don’t believe in adding unnecessary ingredients and pride myself on developing products which are suitable for all skin types, especially those suffering from eczema.
GAP: The ingredient list for your products is simple and very easy to understand, without having any specific insider knowledge. Why do you think many conventional brands choose to use lots of ingredients with unpronounceable names?
GJ: When I formulate recipes I only use those ingredients that are necessary for that result. I strive for the utmost purity and will not use bulkers or fillers. Rightly or wrongly profit margin is not a top priority when I formulate, while functionality and efficacy are my main concern.
GAP: How do you choose the names for your products?
GJ: I love thinking up the names for my products, it’s like a reward for working on their formulation! I try to make them simple, to the point, descriptive and sometimes amusing. I have a special hand-bound book that my husband made for me and I tend to write all my ideas in it most nights.
GAP: What skincare routine do you follow? Do you advocate use of face masks?
GJ: Mine is always quick. I like to use my Universal Cleansing oil and always use Balaclava at this time of year. My skin tends to be dry, so body balms, Balaclava and Gauntlet are my heroes during the winter months.
GAP: How often do you add new products to the range? What inspires you to create them?
GJ: I seem to have a small problem with new products, as I just can’t stop thinking of new ideas. I love inventing them, it’s a compulsion! I have a Mother and Baby range, as well as Men’s range in my head, but this year was a year of consolidation.
GAP: You are based in Wales, what makes living there particularly special for you?
GJ: I was born and grew up on Dartmoor. Maybe it’s the rural connection or maybe it s a Celtic thing, but I love living and working in Wales.
GAP: What drives and motivates you?
GJ: I have changed careers almost every ten years. I modelled between 18 to 26, focussed on osteopathy from 30 to 40 and when I turned 40 Bathing Beauty became a reality. I feel completely consumed by the absolute conviction that Bathing Beauty is a mission and a vehicle to do good and have a very clear vision. I will build Bathing Beauty over the next few years, then look to relocate and amalgamate Well St Clinic and Bathing Beauty as a centre for health and well-being.