We’ve all been there: you go through your nightly skincare regime, removing makeup, cleansing and moisturizing your face, thinking you’ve taken all the right steps to ensure you have clean and clear skin. However, the next morning you wake up to find a massive zit, hives or – worse – an unexplainable rash all over your face and neck. Help!
Sarah Brown went through something similar with her skin and when prescription medication failed to remedy the problem she took matters into her own hands, turning into a Sherlock Holmes of skin. She researched the products used in her skincare regime, looking for correlations between their ingredients and what triggered her breakouts. This eventually led her to quite her fulltime job, retrain in cosmetics and skincare, and start her own organic skincare line named Pai Skincare in 2007, which caters to people with very sensitive skin.
Scroll down to read this lady’s secrets to happiness, success and how she made the jump to become a skincare maven.
Astrological sign: Scorpio
English crumpets or English muffins: Crumpets
Amy Winehouse or Adele: Amy Winehouse
Fairies or unicorns: Unicorns
Skin conditions, such as acne and psoriasis, can deliver a huge blow to a person’s self-confidence especially when nothing alleviates it. How did you feel and deal with your personal skin struggles?
When my skin was at its worst, my self-esteem took a real nosedive. It was the unpredictability of it that I found most upsetting and frustrating.
My way of dealing with it was to try and take back the control, previously my skin controlled me. So I set out to understand my skin better through product and food diaries, and exhaustive research of my condition (chronic urticaria). I then started dissecting ingredient lists – to understand beauty products better and how they are put together. I was so inspired and enraged, in equal measure, I quit my job and retrained in cosmetic formulation. A mere two years later (!), Pai was born.
In your opinion, what are the worst and best things women can do to their skin?
The absolute best thing you can do for your skin is to cleanse properly – so many skin issues and imbalances stem from poor cleansing products and regimes.
A good cleanser should be detergent, alcohol and irritant-free, like our super-gentle Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. It removes makeup, dirt and impurities without tightening or drying the skin, so it’s left clean but also comfortable. Avoid foaming products that contain detergents like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) or Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB).
In terms of the worst thing you can do to your skin… Wipes. Wipes. Wipes. They are soggy tissues soaked in buckets of alcohol and preservatives to stop them growing mould. Why would you want to rub them all over your face? Why?!
You’re constantly on the go, running Pai Skincare and being a mother. How do you slow down and find time for yourself?
It’s a tricky balancing act involving early mornings with my son and late nights with my laptop, but I do try and find time to slow down throughout the week. We have a brilliant yoga teacher who comes in and teaches the whole office at Pai HQ, and I find that hour essential for re-centering my mind.
Stress is one of the major triggers for sensitive and unpredictable skin, so I try and keep perspective on things to stay calm. If things get too much I like to completely switch off – so no phones, laptops or TV – and kick back with a large glass of wine (always red) and some music. Getting into a good book is also remedial for me. But I can’t persevere with books like I used to, if it doesn’t grab me in the first few pages it’s game over.
Who in your life are pillars of strength and support?
My husband, my family (I have two wonderful big brothers) and my best friend, though I don’t see nearly enough of any of them.
Finish this sentence: I want women around the world to ___________.
Be more confident!
What are three things in your wardrobe you cannot live without?
If you could create a recipe for happiness, what would it contain?
Love, laughter and a bit more laughter. You’ve just got to see life for what it is – one big adventure.
Name a famous person (celebrity or historical figure) you would like to have afternoon tea with and why?
Vivienne Westwood – she strikes me as wonderfully bonkers, opinionated and principled.