Meet the Philosopher of Essential Oils
Geraldine Howard is not just President and Co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates — she has also personally had hand in each of the company’s formulations. Founded in the UK in 1985, the mission of Aromatherapy Associates is to create unique products to meet professional and therapeutic standards for spas across the globe. Geraldine received City & Guilds diplomas at the London College of Fashion & Beauty for her studies in beauty therapy and then trained with Micheline Arcier in the Marguerite Maury technique of aromatherapy. Her focus on education led her to found the International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA), where she formed the educational committee and went on to become the second chairperson.
Where did your interest in aromatherapy begin?
I was at the London College of Fashion and met some amazing teachers and was lucky enough to be offered a great job, learning with some of the real pioneers in aromatherapy. That was way back in the early 70’s – nobody had heard of aromatherapy, but I was fascinated by the thought of using natural essential oils to improve your wellbeing. It was strange, I believe it was meant to be, it was a real turning point in my life. Even at college I was mixing natural things in my kitchen to make beauty products.
What is the hallmark of Aromatherapy Associates?
Our quality and the fact our products really do work. But equally, at the heart of our company is a collective spirit of energy and enthusiasm for what we do and whatever it is we set out to do, we’ll only be happy if it’s the very best it can be.
Tell me about the range you formulated for Mandarin Oriental spas all over the world? Which spas will they launch in?
We formulated five blends (Awaken, Bloom, Flourish, Reflect and Release), which are incorporated into the new signature treatment and a range of bath & body oils, scrubs, washes and body lotions, for use at home. The treatment was developed to achieve a highly effective spa experience, which we developed alongside skilled specialists in Traditional Chinese Medicine and the wonderful trainers at MOH. Each signature therapy combines the powerful effects of oriental meridian massage with the therapeutic benefits of the custom-blended essential oils. Designed to restore balance and minister to the needs of the individual, the exclusive massage oil blends harness the finest pure essential oils, to ensure a thoroughly tailored and results-driven treatment experience and product portfolio. Each blend is designed to treat specific emotional characteristics and work on the systems of the body that are prone to vulnerability in the particular body type. Both the treatment and the product ranges will launch at all Mandarin Oriental Spas, globally.
What are your hero products?
In terms of a bath oil blend, Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil has become rather a cult product for us, for which we have won awards the world over. It contains a blend of Vetivert, Camomile and Sandalwood and really does what it says – instills a great night’s sleep. We recently launched our new Anti-Age line, which is based entirely on natural ingredients. I think it has been a revelation for some people, seeing the incredible results natural skincare can deliver. Our Overnight Repair Mask has already got quite a following…
What’s in your bag?
I never go anywhere without Pure Essential Oil of Frankincense – I find it incredibly grounding and regularly take a few seconds to take a few inhalations in the midst of a busy day! I travel regularly and am never without Breathe Inhalation Essence, which is an antibacterial blend, perfect for warding off bugs in hotels and in-flight, as well as my Overnight Repair Mask, which I always apply at the beginning of a long-haul flight. It makes me look and feel human when I land! I am a big fan of Chanel mascaras and love Bobbi Brown eye shadows and anything by Laura Mercier.
What’s your favourite bag?
I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful collection of bags. But I think my all time favourite is a beautiful tan leather one that my husband bought me in Mallorca. Such soft leather and reminds me of being in the beautiful sunshine on a relaxing break – bliss.