February 02 2011
Lucia van der Post
There’s something satisfying about the notion of “purity”; it’s a word that triggers all sorts of mental associations, making one immediately think that all things “pure” must inevitably be better than those products containing high-tech ingredients that the people in white coats are fond of adding. (This, of course, isn’t always true – some of the most advanced beauty treatments do what they say they do only because they’ve incorporated some mightily unnatural technical advances.) Nevertheless, if “pure” is what triggers your pleasure neurons, then skin and body products don’t come much purer than a line called Ila, the name itself coming from the Sanskrit word for “earth”.
The entire range has nothing but plant or natural mineral ingredients, many of them coming from wonderfully romantic and exotic places. For instance, the rose petals used in many of the products (most particularly the bath oil, but also in the bath salts and the face oil, all of which smell sensational) are hand-picked at dawn in India and a single litre of the oil costs £10,000. Ila’s argan oil comes from the highest point in the Atlas Mountains (the lower slopes yield less fine oil), while its Rainforest Renew range uses extracts from four rare plants found in the Amazon rainforest.
The products are truly beautiful to use, and the range has already been taken up by some of the world’s most respected spas – Ananda in the Himalayas, the Four Seasons in the Maldives, the Shangri-La in Tokyo – so it must be doing something right. Suffice it to say that I can think of few lines that deliver such an immediate sense of deep pleasure. You can shop online. Prices start at £15 for an energy spray, but the products I most recommend are the face oil (£55), the bath oil (divine – £45) and the body cream (£50).