Whether it’s a bag of dried buds in between your pillows, or a tiny bottle of essential oil, lavender is often a staple in every household. Famed in the world of aromatherapy for its near-instant calming effect and ability to send us drifting off to sleep, it also has an impressive roster of powers when it comes to skin.
Open your bathroom cabinet and you’re likely to find at least one lavender-infused product in your skin or body care arsenal. In recent years, the gorgeously scented plant has become the latest ‘it’ ingredient in skincare products and for good reason! Commonly known for its relaxing scent and conjuring up images of lavender fields under Provençal skies, lavender oil’s effects actually extend beyond its fragrance, and this powerful herb boasts a variety of properties that can help clean and calm your skin.
It’s not only Provence where row upon row of fragrant lavender grows. Just outside Gifford, nestled at the foot of the Lammermuir Hills, is Lothian Lavender. Dublin-born Sue Tait began making hand-embroidered lavender bags at her kitchen table in 2010, using lavender from her garden. These proved so popular, she planted a field of lavender to keep up with customer demand – and Lothian Lavender was born. Fast forward ten years, and Sue now married to a local farmer and the mother of the two young girls, the business along with the lavender has grown from strength to strength. Sue says; “Running my business alongside family life is important to me. My husband and my young daughters are at the heart of everything I do – my youngest dead heads the flowers (she’s our flower girl) and the eldest helps put the labels on the products.”
The product range has developed from dried lavender gifts to a luxury body-care range and hand-poured home fragrances, and includes; soaps, hand creams, pillow mists and natural soy wax candles. In 2019 Sue’s home-distilled lavender oil was certified for cosmetic use and is used in their hand creams, as well as the traditional cold processed soaps hand-made by Planet Soap in Crieff. Although not open to the public, products are available online and stocked in various outlets throughout Scotland and Northern England.
Studying for a diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation has enabled Sue to further her knowledge. This, alongside a new herb garden created to grow more lavender and a variety of beneficial herbs, means the launch of a natural skincare range of products later this year. Sue adds; “The focus on the business will always be the humble lavender plant. With all its wonderful properties of calming, antiseptic and healing being incorporated, more and more, into future products.”