As we women know, enjoyable as it is living in sunny climes, it is not something our skin will thank us for in years to come. Enter Lotus Lilly Skincare: the new anti-ageing skincare line created by Canadian expat Kristen Davies.
Davies, who has lived in Siem Reap with her family for nine years, started the range as a hobby 18 months ago.
“It started a little bit by accident,” she admits. “Over the course of a year or two there were a few products I had that I found I’d put on my face and I’d be really happy in the morning – they had quite a smoothing effect and a nice texture. I’m quite picky about consistency. You want something that’s not really sticky and soaks in well. And for me I want to see a result. I want to see a difference after I’ve used it.”
Davies started experimenting with different lotions and potions which, left on her face overnight, would smooth her skin and reduce wrinkles.
“I ended up doing a little bit of research and a lot of mixing,” she says. “I’d take a lot of products and try mixing them together in different quantities, in different batches. I started looking into different supplements – things like ginkgo biloba, ginseng and moringa – and researching into anti-oxidants and grape seed oils.”
The result, after several months of trial and error, was the Radiance Skin Smoother, now her best-selling product. It contains, among other things, grape seed oil, essential oils, vitamin E, collagen and shea butter. Davies says she can see a difference the morning after she’s applied it.
“I ended up with a formula that I really liked and I just started making it for myself,” she says. “And I realised I was buying less commercial products, that I was sort of replacing them with my own. I started giving out samples to friends and just had really, really good feedback.
“A friend suggested a wider spa range, so I created some additional products, for example ginkgo rice scrub, moringa mask and spirulina sea salt scrub. A lot of ingredients come from overseas, but I’m trying to incorporate local products as well.”
Mother-of-two Davies (the range is named after her seven-year-old daughter, Lilly) whose day job is working as a monitoring and evaluation consultant, is a one-woman band: mixing, concocting and marketing the line herself.
“I source all the materials, do my own labels and to a certain extent did my own design,” she says.
The face creams are presented in expensive-looking attractive little silver pots, while scrubs and masks come in stylish wooden and glass jars, all from Bangkok.
With all this mixing and inventing, one would assume Davies’ background was in pharmaceuticals or chemistry. But no.
“I have a degree in food security and natural resource management,” she says. “So as part of that you have to do all the basic biology and chemistry. And it’s actually quite nice how many retailers want to know about that, they’re quite interested in my background.
“But I’m not an expert chemist by trade or anything like that. I think it certainly does help me know about hygiene standards, and where to research safe products for instance, stability of products and how to make them last.”
Lotus Lilly Skincare can be found at Navutu Dreams Resort and Spa, Wild Poppy and Sao Mao, while the Radiance cream is available at L’Atelier Coiffure, and The Rose Apple guesthouse.