Made in the south of England, d’still beauty is a skincare line that is focused on highly-effective, natural ingredients used in luxurious formulas. The brand was created after seven years of intensive research by founder Ula Blocksage; during this time, Blocksage became a qualified Herbalist, Organic Facialist, and Organic Skincare Formulator. Her knowledge and passion for high quality, organic skincare informs the simplified yet holistic skincare routine she has created through d’still.
The three d’still skincare products constitute a simplified yet comprehensive skincare routine including cleansing, a serum, and a mask. The Calming Cleansing Balm is not your typical facial cleaner. The rich balm smells amazing and can be left on the skin for 20 – 30 minutes as a mask before removing; the result is that highly irritated skin feels instantly more calm. All of the key ingredients of the cleansing balm are anti-inflammatory: willow bark, blue tansy oil, copiaba oleoresin, and bisabolol.
The Rejuvenating Botanical Serum both nourishes and encourages cell renewal. Seabuckthorn CO2 contains beta carotene, vitamin C and omega 7, creating a nourishing and plumping base. Another key ingredient is Bakuchiol, a phyto-retinol that significantly reduces surfaces wrinkles. It’s a rich serum that feels luxurious on the skin; it’s instantly brightening and hydrating.
The final element of the routine is the Brightening Radiance Mask, which should be used once or twice per week. It’s a powder that turns into a mousse when mixed with water and feels pillowy against the skin. The mask is exfoliating thanks to papaya extract and white willow bark, and soothing thanks to marshmallow root. The mask is recommended for people with acne-prone skin, as it helps decongest the skin’s surface; for those with sensitive skin, adding some honey to the mask will make it a bit more gentle!
D’still beauty isn’t interested in only the topical elements of skincare, but in the ritual of it as well. They have two facial tools as part of their products: a gua sha tool and a facial roller. Both of these tools are made from Aventurine stone.
The gua sha tool, originally used in Chinese medicinal practice, can be used for traditional facial massage that results in lymphatic drainage and a lifted look.
To learn how to use the gua sha tool, we recommend this video by Chinese medical skincare professional Sandra Lanshin Chiu:
The combination of gentle, effective ingredients and the ritual of skincare creates a feeling of luxury and replenishment with every morning and night skincare routine. It doesn’t take a lot of time to use the d’still skincare products, but the time it does take is well-spent; your skin feels protected and nourished after every use.
We spoke with d’still beauty founder Ula Blocksage about why she launched the brand, her own skincare journey, and the essential elements of a skincare routine:
On the website you talk about your own skin journey inspiring you to help others. What was it about the skincare you used while having skin troubles that made you feel turning to natural products was the right route? Were you using particularly harsh products previous to that?
I have always known deep down that I wanted to be of service to others, which is one of the main reasons I came to manifest d’still. It was during my long journey of reconnecting with and understanding my skin that I started coming across other individuals who were also looking for alternatives to do the same, without the use of harsh, synthetic chemicals.
Prior to creating d’still I had tried every over the counter and prescription medication available to treat my hormonal acne but my skin either didn’t like the formulas or the medications had serious adverse effects. I knew there had to be another way to heal my skin and so I decided to embark on a quest to find the ultimate healer, that healer turned out to be nature.
I then went on to study herbalism, became a qualified holistic facialist and then studied a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation and Cosmetic Science. Fast forward another eight years and d’still, my 100% natural, high-performance collection of skincare, was born.
It is so wonderful reading our customer reviews online and receiving messages about how our formulas and self-care rituals have helped heal our clients troubled skins naturally and have also helped inspire beautiful daily practices for inner calm and reconnection.
What is the most important part of anyone’s skincare routine?
For me, without a doubt the most important step in anyone’s skincare routine is cleansing the skin… or better still double cleansing. I have always found it interesting that many people prioritise purchasing high-performance serums and moisturisers over a high-performance, quality cleanser, simply opting for something that will “do the job.”
Although these aforementioned leave-on products are also super important to a healthy complexion and skin microbiome, cleansing has got to be the most crucial step in any skincare ritual. In order for your skin to take advantage of all the beautiful ingredients inside your leave-on products the skin needs to be properly prepared.
I always cleanse my skin twice in the evenings. The first cleanse works to remove excess sebum, build-up, grime, dirt and makeup from the skin. The second cleanse is when I treat the skin and prepare it for the next step in my skincare ritual. People often reach for cleansers that are water based and astringent in nature for their second cleanse, with the thought that in order for the skin to be thoroughly cleansed, it must feel squeaky clean… This is not necessarily true. When cleansing with heavy duty products you can disrupt the skin’s natural barrier function, resulting in dehydration, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and excess sebum production. Instead of using harsh sulphate laden cleansers, I always recommend using a nourishing cleanser, that is soothing, calming and contains some added active ingredients such as antioxidants and natural salicylic acid, which is exactly why I developed the Calming Cleansing Balm.
This treatment cleanser/mask works to effectively cleanse the skin without completely stripping it and disrupting barrier function, whilst still feeding the skin with a mountain of extra nutrition.
You include a jade roller and gua sha tool in your products. Can you talk about the origins of those items and how you came to learn about them?
I was first introduced to these beautiful facial tools around 5 years ago during a facial treatment. The aesthetician used them on my skin towards the end of the facial treatment and I just loved how they felt against my skin. Cool to the touch and super smooth and soothing for the skin. Both the gua sha tool and jade roller find their origins in China. They are each used in different ways to help the qi or chi energy that exists in all of us to flow more freely through the body.
I love the gua sha tool for its ability to relieve facial tension, boost circulation and sculpt the complexion. This tool takes a little practice to be able to harness its full potential but when you do this age-old ritual of gently ‘scraping’ or ‘spooning’ the complexion can help your skin to appear lifted, brightening and sculpted. A facial roller is somewhat more easily mastered and works to firm the complexion and reduce puffiness by stimulating the body’s lymphatic system. It helps reduce inflammation and boost circulation, giving your skin a natural healthy glow.
We chose to make our tools out of aventurine stone as it is loved for its ability to harmonise emotions and bring your body into balance. It is said to have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, is cooling, wonderfully calming and extremely soothing for the skin.
The name “d’still” brings to mind distilling your skincare routine down to the most essential elements. What are the essential elements of skincare to you, both in terms of ingredients and in a more generalized sense?
This is such a beautiful question as we have found that our brand name can be interpreted in so many different ways. At the very heart of d’still is a call to slow down, breathe deep and reconnect. We often get so caught up in our 21st century lives that we forget to take the time to check in with ourselves.
The application of skincare can allow for this time even for the busiest of us. Through daily skincare and self-care rituals we encourage greater harmony and a deeper connection between skin, self and nature. When we establish and nurture our connection with what is essential, we come to better understand ourselves and our bodily needs. The name d’still speaks of a distilling down to the very essence of something and in this case to the very essence of our beings, to what is most essential to us as individuals.
Our skincare collection is so much more than a carefully curated range of products, for me it always had to go deeper than that. The collection also had to offer something more. All of our products have a real sensorial and aromatic experience to them which helps guide the reconnection I spoke of. For now, we have distilled our collection down to three products; a treatment cleaner, a mask and an oil based serum to give our customers a strong and connected foundation to care for their skin and to start exploring or re-exploring a connection with skin, self and nature.
You created a “yes” and “no” list for ingredients. Can you talk about this and why it was important to you?
10 or so years ago when I first began incorporating 100% natural skincare into my routine, there were only a handful of phone apps and a few very confusing websites and online journals that could assist the skincare consumer in understanding what is inside their skincare products.
I spent hours trawling through these sites and scanning every product in the skincare isles of my local pharmacy, attempting to understand toxicity ratings, jotting down the names of all of the synthetic chemicals I wanted to avoid in products, whilst reading about and researching the natural ingredients I wanted to incorporate… it took up so much of my time. I knew that when I came to create my own collection of skincare I wanted to remove this process for my customers.
I want them to feel confident in making the best decisions for their skin and this starts with transparency, which is why I created the Yes List and the No List; two comprehensive overviews of the ingredients we use and that we avoid in our products, so that our customers can reach inner calm and achieve the skin of their dreams without compromise or confusion.
Where do you source your ingredients? Where are your products made?
Since the very beginning of my skincare formulation career, I have been committed to helping deliver real skin results. I have spent years researching, testing and understanding every ingredient that is included in our high-performance formulas and have selected only those with the most clean, green and effective profile.
We work very closely with our small handful of ethical and ecological suppliers in the UK, Italy and France and purchase our ingredients in small amounts to ensure potency, freshness and no wastage. We make all of our skincare in small batches, by hand in our seaside studio lab in the south of England. Everything is measured, mixed, blended and poured by hand with so much love.
Can you briefly talk about your packaging; what is it made of and how do you incorporate sustainability into it?
Thousands of units of unused or unopened skincare housed in plastic packaging makes its way into landfill each year… so making the right decisions and choosing sustainable packaging options was and continues to be of paramount importance at d’still.
We package our products in glass and have all of our glassware screen printed (instead of using labels) to make the glass easily recyclable. Our boxes are made by a local company located less than an hour from our skincare studio, they are covered in a biodegradable laminate so they can be easily recycled. We also include a section on each of our product pages on our e-boutique which explains how to correctly, recycle, repurpose or dispose of our packaging correctly.
See more on d’still.