It’s a super exciting day today.
Jane Cunningham, aka British Beauty Blogger is launching her first skincare product. And it sounds brilliant. Japanese Cleansing Cloud is a cloud-shaped solid balm bar (£12) that she describes as the tipping point between a cleansing oil and a soft solid balm soap. It can be used ‘everywhere’, from the hands to face to body. I love the sensorial ritual of cleansing oils and balms but have I ever tried a solid balm bar? Nope. And definitely not one that sounds as appealing as this one.
I’ve known Jane for years through the blogging circuit, and she is a true product geek. She has also written for the mainstream press, including How To Spend It and The Times and has consulted for brands. Her Japanese Cleansing Cloud is available from today from Victoria Health. Please do check out her blog (her beauty business news posts are always excellent) and read our chat below…
Disneyrollergirl: How on earth did you come up with this delightful product (and why)?
Jane Cunningham: I like cute things! I also have a long-standing love of Japanese kawaii beauty and it’s taught me that cute and quirky doesn’t doesn’t mean the product isn’t effective or serious. Times are so tough at the moment that I wanted to make something that feels happy and light-hearted but still does the job it’s supposed to do.
DRG: Do you have any previous experience in product development?
JC: I worked with fashion illustrator Nuno de Costa on a beauty collection for Marks & Spencer several years ago, and developed a palette for Make Up Revolution. I’ve also advised brands creatively regarding packaging and aesthetics.
DRG: What sort of market research did you do?
JC: One of the great things about having a beauty site for as long as I’ve had it is that you are continually market researching on behalf of other brands. Feedback is so important, and I’ve listened and learned. Not everyone loves world beauty as much as I do but everyone likes something to make them smile.
DRG: What challenges did you have in creating the cleansing bar?
JC: Literally, loads! I was really clear on what skin friendly ingredients I wanted in it. Meadowfoam seed oil for example – such a lovely oil – as well as it having a citrussy yuzu fragrance. But, the family-run company that produces the Cloud for me is so good (and patient) and really listened to what I wanted so production wise, it wasn’t too complicated. However, Covid meant raw ingredients were hard to get and we had to wait for the best quality ones to become available again. We also had endless sagas over the shape, the size, and the stamp to print the face – which was initially made too big and the Cloud looked like it had taken drugs. But, we got there!
DRG: Did you test on friends/family? What have most people been using it for?
JC: Yes, it’s been tested by friends and family for several months. Mostly they’ve used it on their faces (I didn’t prompt them at all because it is an ‘everywhere’ bar) and bodies rather than as an at-the-kitchen skin soap. It does go through the saponification process, so can be used for hand washing too.
DRG: Why do you think cleansing products have gone from end-of-day chore to sensorial pampering ritual?
JC: They haven’t for everyone – a lot of people want a do-it-all product to cut down on the amount of packaging and product they’re using. A simplification if you like. But, when you feel as though you are caring for your skin – face, body or hands – with lovely ingredients that feel and smell amazing, it’s an act of kindness to self and we all need that.
DRG: You don’t seem to be marketing the Cleansing Cloud as ‘clean beauty’, although there are ingredients derived from nature, like Rice Milk for gentle exfoliation and Meadowfoam Seed Oil for hydration. What’s your stance on so-called ‘clean beauty’ and can you briefly explain the term and why it’s a thing?
JC: ‘Clean’ beauty is a marketing term – it doesn’t really mean any one thing so I’ll let the ingredients label speak for itself – it’s a beautiful, safe formula with nothing to hide so I don’t need to make it sound better. It’s more than good enough.
DRG: So are you the next Marcia Kilgore? What other products do you have up your sleeve?
JC: Wow, imagine that! I don’t think so – it may only ever be a one-off production run but who knows? There is plenty of scope to offer different fragrances and colours – and faces – so we’ll see. I don’t have expectations – I’m happy whatever happens.
DRG: What are your other predictions for emerging bath time or cleansing trends?
JC: Fragrance is a strong growth sector that is out-performing other aspects of the luxury beauty market. I can see that perfume brands might want to start focusing hard on bath & body ancillaries to take more of the market share in ways that speak to self-care. There are a million facial cleansing products (you can safely use the Cloud to cleanse your complexion unless you have any contra-indications to the essential oils listed because the natural oils are full of fatty acids, minerals and vitamins), so I see a focus on body cleansing as a next trend.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Japanese Cleansing Cloud
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