We love a tale of fashion journalist-turned-beauty-entrepreneur, and recently at Because (virtual) HQ we found out about sisters Libby and Josephine Banks' new venture (Libby having published work with various fashion publications...) Locally produced in Wiltshire, small batch runs and stunningly effective in its simplicity, Caroline in particular has been discovering the joys of a new nighttime ritual. Oh, and it smells GREAT. If you Zoom us post 7pm, you'll find us with the Seated Queen slathered all over our faces...

We grilled Libby on their new brand - first question? What exactly IS Cold Cream?
Good question! Simply put, cold cream is a gentle, rich and thick cream that is cool to the touch and is primarily used as a facial cleanser. It was apparently first formulated by a Greek physician called Galien in the 2nd century AD using a mixture of oils, beeswax and rosewater, and prized for its soothing and protective properties.

What appealed to us is cold cream’s in-built versatility. It can remove makeup, it can be used as a mask, it can even be used as a lip balm. As an oil-based cleanser it dissolves dirt and makeup from pores, this is removed with a damp cloth for a gentle and effective cleanse. The Seated Queen’s formulation is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids like GLA thanks to ingredients like organic borage seed, argan and rose hip, and it includes organic essential oils like yarrow, which has natural cleansing properties. Used as an overnight mask on cleansed skin, the thick cream creates a permeable – or
breathable – seal that allows ingredients to penetrate and replenish the skin cells overnight.

The Seated Queen is £39 and available HERE.

What lead you both to dream up the idea of a locally produced cold cream?

We always had an obsession with cold cream, which tends to be popular with French women but is rarely seen outside Parisian pharmacies. Cold cream is a skincare product that has endured; it is effortless, sumptuous and versatile. There is something wonderful about the ceremony of sitting down and coolly wiping away the day with this unctuous cleansing cream. This is why our headband is an important part of The Seated Queen experience. In the era of complicated 10-step skincare routines we wanted to pair things right back and create a new kind of cold cream using high quality nourishing modern ingredients.

Traditionally cold creams are an emulsion of mineral oil and waxes in water but we use a combination of emollients that include cold pressed organic rosehip seed, argan, sunflower seed and borage seed, which work double-time to hydrate and replenish skin cells. Josie suffers from eczema so it was important from the off to create a product that is gentle and anti-inflammatory.

Our cold cream is made in a small-batch lab in the UK because that way we were involved with every stage of development – which took more than two years – and could ensure the quality and provenance of the ingredients used.

We want to encourage a meditative moment in the evening. Scent is a really important part of The Seated Queen experience so we developed a calming aromatherapy blend structured with organic essential oils with base notes of myrrh and patchouli, middle notes of rose otto, clary sage and lavender and top notes, bergamot.

Why The Seated Queen name? 
The Seated Queen is a star constellation in the northern sky, also known as Cassiopeia. In Greek mythology Cassiopeia was a vain queen who got into big trouble when she boasted of her beauty. We liked the idea of this mythical woman who is strong, flawed and unpredictable. It can sometimes feel like the wellness and beauty industries promote an unattainable level of perfection and self-optimisation, so we liked the idea of someone who is the precise opposite. The logo is a handmade lino print created by our brilliant friend Giulia who is art director at Luncheon Magazine. The design is the result of a mild obsession with old tarot cards.

What's been the most surprising thing you've learned having launched the Seated Queen?
As sisters we’ve never worked together before so we were a little nervous about the impact it would have on our relationship, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the way our different personalities and skills have come together and complement one another (at least most of the time!).

We’ve also been surprised by positive reaction to the cold cream through word-of-mouth – we launched in February this year, which wasn’t ideal timing for a new business venture. Clients are particularly into the scent and multifunctional nature of the product. They seem to love the fact that the use can be tailored to their needs and timeframe on any given evening – whether as a makeup remover, a facial or an overnight mask. When we launched the brand the idea was to create a considered and uncluttered approach to skincare – especially compared to the countless products and steps advocated by some brands – so this has been gratifying.

Using The Seated Queen should always feel unapologetically joyous, never arduous.

Discover more and shop the cream for £39 HERE.