There was a time not so long ago when the beauty industry lacked wellbeing products that were both luxurious and purposeful.
We didn’t seem to be having many progressive conversations about self-care, and me-time was seen as a luxury, rather than the necessity it is.
The landscape has since changed, and continues to do so. From #selfcaresunday to social media memes insisting ‘self-care isn’t selfish’, our attitudes have significantly shifted. One person not playing catch-up, however, is Nicola Elliott – founder of Neom. Back in 2005 the London-based journalist started looking to natural ways to feel the best she could, as her hectic job resulted in stress, lack of sleep, no energy and low mood.
Neom Real Luxury Scented Candle Dhs350
She turned to natural remedies and aromatherapy for help, and soon saw the power of essential oils working as therapeutic treatments. Nicola also realised she wanted to buy the products she was making, and they didn’t exist. And thus the concept of Neom – merging luxury with organics – was born. That was 14 years ago, and it’s safe to say plenty has changed (sustainability, anyone?). With this huge buzzword in mind, both brands and consumers now have a much better understanding of the colossal impact that plastic has in the beauty industry. How does Neom fare? “We are on a journey to become zero-waste by 2025, meaning all our packaging will either be refillable, reusable, recycled or recyclable,” Nicola promises Grazia. “Our ingredients and materials are sourced sustainably and we are working to reduce the environmental impact of our supply chain wherever possible.”
Neom’s candles are certainly leading the way in this department. They are made from a blend of entirely natural vegetable waxes and natural pure essential oils, which means their fragrance is eco-friendlier, as natural waxes are toxin-free. Plus, they are all biodegradable, smokeless and soot-free.
Neom Feel Refreshed Reed Diffuser Dhs279
But just how straightforward is the process of creating natural and organic beauty products? “It’s hard!” Nicola exclaims. “And not to mention more expensive – you can’t be sure if a particular plant or ingredient is going to have a good harvest or not, and you have to batch test, batch test, batch test, because no single ingredient we use is the same – it’s not like working with chemical mixes where you just press a button and you churn out what you want.”
Speaking of ingredients, does Neom – whose name is derived from Nicola’s initials plus her business partner’s, Oliver Mennell’s – use any Middle Eastern offerings in its products? “Frankincense is a key ingredient in our Sensuous fragrance, and Moroccan Blush Rose is added to our Complete Bliss fragrance,” Nicola replies. “We recently launched these fragrances into our Wellbeing Pod Essential Oil Diffuser, which is great for the Middle East consumer as [the heat means] they are more likely to buy our Pods than they are candles and bath products.”
Excitingly, Neom – whose celebrity shoppers include Gwyneth Paltrow, Daisy Lowe and Nicole Scherzinger – is going into Galeries Lafayette, the largest department store in Dubai, and Nicola reflects on the opportunities the beauty brand has had in the region. “We are proud spa partners of Burj Al Arab, Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Zaya Nurai and Palazzo Versace. In fact, the UAE is the biggest market for our treatments, outside of the UK.”
Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist Dhs140
When it comes to practicing wellness out of the office, Nicole is a realist. “I certainly don’t live a staunch green lifestyle, but what I do is try to swap little things out to try and get the ‘chemical count’ of our household down. I don’t want toxins coming from a candle just to make my room smell good, I want to feel good too.”
Would Neom move into make-up? “We’re focusing on our amazing new skincare for now.” Fair enough. And with Christmas around the corner (where does the time go?), what Neom product do we need to ask nicely for? “Any of our amazing limited-edition fragrances,” Nicola advises. “Christmas Wish is a traditional festive fragrance. Perfect Peace is a fresh Nordic scent for modern vibes, and Precious Moment is a super cool alternative to a traditional festive fragrance.” Nicola’s beauty philosophy is to use what nature has to offer; the world is buying into it, and with good reason, too.
Neom is available at #lab at Galeries Lafayette