I was staying at the wonderfully renovated Casa Fuzetta, a private-home rental in the fishing port of Olhão in the eastern Algarve, when I came across La Eva. In the midst of the villa’s impressive interiors, the beauty products held their own in amber recycled glass apothecary bottles – but it was the interesting and unusual scents that stopped me in my tracks. The Rosēum Wash emitted an ethereal, rose-suffused cloud of geraniums, citrus notes of petitgrain and the warmth of cloves. I quickly added La Eva to my “look up later” list.
What I found on La Eva’s website was an appealing-sounding array of scents and products, as well as the “taster” capsule box (£80 for six 85ml bottles plus 30ml of jasmine oil) I opted for. It would make a great gift and is clearly a popular choice as it’s currently sold out and being reissued. The Rosēum scent that had hooked me in comes as a wash (£18 for 200ml) as well as a lotion (£20 for 200ml) – both multipurpose, for the face, hands and body; as does the smoky Blū scent with its vetiver undertones. There’s a Spīce Shampoo (£18.50 for 200ml) with vitalising ginger, patchouli and cinnamon leaf, plus an accompanying conditioner (£20 for 200ml) with added organic argan oil, black cumin and mango seed to nourish the hair and scalp. Lastly, there’s the delightful jasmine oil (£25 for 50ml) for the face, body and hair; containing thyme and black pepper, it has none of the normal sweetness of jasmine. And this is the important point about La Eva – its scents are far more complex than those of the majority of lotions and potions on the market. Rosēum remains my favourite, and I have bought a big 500ml bottle (£35) of the wash to use in the bath.
La Eva was started by former clinical psychologist Louisa Canham as an experiment in cold-process soap making and it has developed into something that lifts the body and soul. Based at an old saw mill in Oxfordshire, the brand is ethical and cruelty free, and the skincare is certified organic. Integrity is key to Canham, who is currently working on providing a refill service so that customers can top up the stylish glass containers, which are finished with painterly labels by artist Rose-Marie Caldecott. I am deriving as much pleasure from their aesthetically pleasing appearance as my skin is from their contents.