Sustainably sourced, small batch bath and body products that reimagine relaxation.
Words by Hannah Tapping
In conversation with founder of land&water, Pix Ashworth, I discover how her love for the outdoors, and its resulting awakening of the senses, inspired her to create a set of British-made natural bath and body products that offer a combination of invigoration and calm.
Pix grew up in Sussex. With family holidays spent in Scotland she was no stranger to the majesty of the mountains and the cool clear water of the lochs. Marrying a Cornishman, whose family were hoteliers, Pix moved to the north coast of Cornwall where her and husband Will started a family of their own. “Will was running Watergate Hotel when we met in our mid 20s. I was working in finance in London, and then in Paris,” explains Pix. “This was in the heady days of British Airways flying all the way down to Newquay, so long distance love was doable. I then moved to Cornwall and got involved in the family business firstly, working with Will at Watergate Bay and then after about six months, I set up our self-catering holiday business, Beach Retreats. This was all pre-children and I then essentially took a career break for five to six years while we raised a young family. I was still involved as a non-exec, but took more of a backseat.”
Her love of the outdoors, whether that be a bracing walk on a cliff path, a cold water swim or indeed time spent in the mountains, brought her to realise that relaxation doesn’t need to come in the traditional sense of physical stillness. It can equally be achieved, as Pix explains, by an active experience, as long as it’s one that “makes you feel more alive and resets your head space”. Pix and I have an instant affinity. I, too, believe that mental stillness can be achieved through activity and a connection with the natural world. “When our youngest was two, it seemed an opportune moment to continue to capture that emotional sense of invigoration and calm, so we moved to the Alps. I find the mountains, even though they are vast in their size, to be very, very serene – and there’s a gentleness about them. I get that same sense from Cornwall and the Lake District. So, quite different environments, but it’s all about the relationship you have with the elements, and for me it’s always one of great simplicity. I feel totally invigorated but also relaxed and happy in a very uncomplicated way.” Taking their young children on a year-long sabbatical to live in the French Alps in 2015 only reinforced this connection for Pix. “It was really fun. Because our business and home are so intertwined, it was lovely to go and do something for ourselves that was totally different. Having had this time out when the children were really young, when we came back to Cornwall our youngest was nearly three. I then slowly started to get back into work.”
“I wanted to create a brand that would articulate my belief that time outside makes us feel better inside, something I think is very poignant for a lot of people. As hoteliers we’ve witnessed that amazing warm glow as guests come off the beach or in from a cold water swim in the lake. You just see that wonderful sense of invigoration; it’s a sweet spot that is achieved via a balance between exhilaration and calm. There is a sense of being uplifted from time spent outside, while underneath there is a serenity and relaxed sense of happiness; land&water came about as a natural evolution from those observations.
“We wanted to have a range of body products that recreated that fresh skin feeling you feel on the shoreline; and by shoreline that can really be really anywhere. While we are fortunate to live by the sea you can get that same feeling from being by a lake or river. I wanted to help people to find a balance that feels right for them. For some that could be paddling out and being in the water for a couple of hours catching waves. For others, that could come from curling up in a quiet corner and just wave watching while reading a book. Wherever you find balance, I believe the location is very relevant.”
When it came to creating the bath and body products for land&water, Pix wanted to capture an emotional sweet spot: “We’ve used essentially a blend of very buoyant citrus, but at the same time added in more serene green woody notes underneath, using frankincense, cedarwood and sandalwood in some of our products. Apart from the shampoo and conditioner, no one product has the same fragrance as another, but they all speak to each other; they all have that same DNA in terms of citrus and then woody notes underneath to emulate that sense of invigoration and calm. So, that’s the fragrance, and then the actual formulation underneath all of our products contains ingredients that create a land&water DNA.”
In all land&water washes you’ll find spike moss. It’s known as the ‘resurrection plant’ for its seemingly miraculous ability to recover and rehydrate after dry spells. Spike moss’s hydrating extract, hydranellys, uses the same biotechnology to restore your skin’s lipid balance and retain water. Another essential ingredient, used in land&water’s oils and scrubs, is sea buckthorn oil.
This comes from the berries of the sea buckthorn plant, which clings to rocky sea cliffs and thrives on sunshine. High in vitamin C, it’s a natural antioxidant with skin rejuvenating properties. Samphire, which grows on the fringes of land and sea and has the most incredible capabilities, is also used in the lotions. It has impressive capabilities for protecting itself from dehydration – despite the high salt content of its environment – and its oily extract, hydrosalinol, helps moisturise, restructure and smooth out skin.
Pix wanted land&water to have that same sense of the outdoor environment reflected in the product’s scent, so that with every use they would evoke memories of what it smells like to be on the threshold of land and water. “I wanted our products to give people a space to breathe. And likewise, the design of the bottles and our brand identity is very much trying to hit that same sweet spot between timelessness and the contemporary.”
Product sustainability is a huge factor for land&water: “Launching in 2020, I wanted the brand to be as sustainable as possible,” says Pix. “I didn’t really see it as a USP, I saw it as absolutely necessary, so it was an obvious priority for us from the outset and we are also now working towards B Corp status. Everything in all of our products is made in the British Isles, the whole range is 100% vegan and made with natural ingredients. All our plastic is 100% post consumer recycled, prevented ocean plastic. We have some products in glass bottles and then we have five litre refills. I think a lot of people find resonance in our products because they’re drawn to the fact that our ethos reflects their own ethos and how they feel about the wider world.”
The products are created in collaboration with a leading apothecarist and perfumer: “He knows our brand so well and we will sit with him and talk about what we want from a product in terms of perfume and also what we want in terms of efficacy. He is both an artist and composer, translating an emotion into a fragrance using both high and low notes. Interestingly, our senior technicians are all ex-chefs, meaning they nurture the ingredients, applying the same philosophy to making our product in small batches using the freshest ingredients as they would to create a dish.”
Having enjoyed a lifestyle of ‘active relaxation’ all their lives, Pix and husband Will set about capturing that essence with launch of land&water and have literally bottled it for all to enjoy!
The range includes hand wash, hand lotion, bath & body oil, bath salts, body wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner available in varying sizes including handy 50ml bottles ideal for refilling to take when you’re travelling. Candles, reed diffusers, pulse point oils and a gorgeous salt scrub, which you put on to dry skin and then wash off in the shower, complete the collection.