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  • A Brief History of Cowshed

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    In 1998 a very British beauty brand was born deep in the Somerset countryside. If you've ever wondered why we are called Cowshed, there's a simple reason: we opened our very first spa in the old cowshed at Babington House, Somerset in 1998. The products that were used in the spa treatments and bedrooms at Babington were made using ingredients from the Victorian walled garden on the estate and those are the very same products that you can buy and enjoy at home today. The original scents - or 'moods' were created by master perfumer Richard Howard but the whole idea originated with Soho House founder Nick Jones. Here's the Cowshed story in his own words...

    ‘There was always a plan to have a spa at Babington House, it was just a question of where it was going to go. After looking at all the options it ended up in the old cowshed where the cows used to live. The Cowshed was the obvious name to call the spa because I never try and do a tricky name, I always try and use a name which is simple.

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    There was a derelict walled garden filled with herbs which we wanted to start using and then I met Richard - ‘The Professor’ and he started persuading us to make our own products. I liked the idea because I wanted much more of a sense of generosity in the rooms. At that time there wasn’t a huge choice to put into the rooms and I wanted Babington House to be different.

    So we sat down on a Saturday lunch, drank a lot of wine and came up with all the names. There was a group of about eight of us and the more wine we drank, the more ridiculous the names got – ‘let’s call it Horny Cow, Moody Cow...’ - and that’s how it all happened.

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    I love a massage. I travel a lot and a lot of my stress sits in my lower back so if I can get a massage it’s better for everyone really! Whenever I go in there, the people who are giving me a massage always say what one do you want and I say you choose. I think it’s more about them than me. I’m always looking to be uplifted!

    I think there’s a proper back story about what Cowshed is, there’s proper DNA and there’s Richard and the walled garden where the herbs come from. It was an accident – when we did all this we didn’t plan to sell them anywhere else apart from have some products at Babington House. But then people would come down to Babington House and say ‘well can I have these at home?’ That has grown into a substantial business. Now to see them in all the department stores and it becoming a proper boutique bath and body brand is fantastic.

    Cowshed is much loved and we’re going through a process of keeping the love but also making it more relevant for today. So we are refreshing all the packaging and branding.’

  • Editor's Note

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    Hi, I'm Phoebe, Cowshed's Editor. When it comes to my beauty 'regime', I am both lazy and time-poor which means a product has to be seriously excellent to bag a spot in my bathroom cabinet. Anything that feels like a chore is out, instead I’m all about elevating mundane tasks like washing your hands or having a shower into little everyday rituals by using products that have beautiful formulations and are packed with gentle, natural ingredients. Here are some that have made the cut, which I repeat buy year after year.

    Gorgeous Cow Blissful Shower Scrub
    In summer, after getting home from a holiday this is ideal because it stops my skin from being scaly and lizard-like. Rose and lavender extracts mean it smells divine, while coconut fibre and jojoba beads act as a natural exfoliant. But best of all it’s a shower gel too so it sloughs off dry skin and gets you clean at the same time. Win!

    Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
    This serum feels like proper ‘grown up’ skincare - an extra step that only takes seconds but makes me feel like I’m investing in my skin beyond my usual slapdash application of moisturiser. It's got vitamins C and E to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and also fight free radicals.

    Chamomile Refreshing Toner
    I first encountered this in my bathroom when I stayed at Babington House - it’s part of the little kit they give you, along with cleanser, toothpaste and other handy things. I like to drench a cotton pad with the cool, light chamomile-infused water when I get home to help my sticky, grubby skin revive after a long, hot commute. It's a tiny little moment of spa-like bliss at the end of the day.

    Knackered Cow Bath & Shower Gel
    All Cowshed shower gels smell amazing and leave skin feeling soft, but Knackered is my all time favourite. There's something about the scent - lavender and eucalyptus - that just striked the right balance between relaxing and uplifting. Use it in the shower and enjoy the heady clouds of scented steam that fill the bathroom, or slosh a good amount into the tub, lie back and enjoy the ultimate bubble bath.

  • Spa of the Month: Cowshed Barcelona

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    No trip to Soho House Barcelona is complete without a trip downstairs to the Cowshed spa.  Based on a traditional Spanish pharmacy, with typical Catalan vaulted ceilings and glazed tiles, the space features a tranquil pool, four treatment rooms, and our signature comfy mani/pedi chairs. Manager Helena Bosch explains what makes her particular Cowshed so special...

    'I’m half Dutch and half Spanish and I’ve been working the hotel industry for 13 years, with four of those in spas and wellness. I love living in Barcelona, going to the gym and exploring new restaurants in the city.

    Our spa has the most beautiful indoor pool with a traditional Catalan ceiling and a very peaceful atmosphere. Our most popular treatment is the Cowshed Moody Massage and our most popular product is Cow Pit deodorant. What makes Cowshed different to other spas is the approach we take to our clients. We are very friendly, familiar with and close to our guests. We like calling our guests by their names and offering them tailor made treatments.'

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  • Tried & Tested: Olivia Davies reviews the Cowshed Mani

    After two and a half years as Fashion Editor for the Dutch edition of L'Officiel, Olivia Davies recently swapped picture perfect Amsterdam for London where she is working freelance across editorial and production projects whilst enjoying a resurgent love affair with London life; starting with some R&R at Cowshed.

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    'Having torn through frantic Shoreditch on my childhood mountain bike, one working brake (front, so handlebar trajectory impending) and apparently the only cyclist succumbing to safety over style on this scorching Saturday morning, you might deem my arrival at the salon somewhat flustered. Now calm and composed having ditched the helmet, I saunter smugly into the refined oasis of Cowshed for my first visit.

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  • Tried and Tested: Our New Bespoke Body Treatment

    We sent Grazia Beauty Editor Hannah Coates to try out our new bespoke body treatment. Here's her verdict.

    'There’s very few of us nowadays who aren’t feeling constantly stressed with tense shoulders, rigid backs and clenched fists to match. With very little respite day to day, sometimes it’s essential to put time aside, book in for a treatment and totally let the world go – scheduled relaxation really can work and I found it at Destination Relaxation, Cowshed. And luckily for me, the new Bespoke Body Treatment was on the menu.

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  • Tried & Tested: SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight

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    Lucy Quick is a travel writer, mother to Nina and Editor at The Ned, the hotel and members' club in the City of London from Soho House. We asked her to try SkinCeuticals' latest release and share her findings...

    'Is there anyone better to test a new SkinCeuticals product that a Knackered Cow - sorry, I mean, knackered mum? I think not. So, when Phoebe, Cowshed’s editor, asked me to road test SkinCeuticals' new Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight I practically bit her hand off.

    I’m all for natural and organic products, but when it comes to my face, months of broken sleep (thanks to my teething toddler) have left me in need of some definite tightening and brightening, which is exactly what this promises to do. The main ingredients are 10% Glycolic Free Acid and 2% Phytic acid, which are designed to improve texture, radiance and overall glow. Just to flag from the outset – some sensitive types might need time to get used to the (wonderful) glycolic acid, so use this every other night for a week while your skin adjusts, after which you can slap it on daily.

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  • Massage Your Face

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    It's easy, it's free and it'll give you a more defined, 'lifted' look - why wouldn't you try facial massage? Build it into your bedtime routine and it'll soon become second nature. Here's a step-by-step guide to a super-easy at-home facial massage routine. Follow the motions in the video and start gently working up to a firm pressure to really see results.

  • Emily Johnston trials our new bespoke facial

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    Emily Johnston aka Fashion Foie Gras is one of the original style bloggers and has been sharing her love of fashion, food and travel with her readership since 2009. This all-American girl hails from South Carolina but lives in London and as anyone who follows her blog or Instagram @fashionfoiegras will know, she spends a LOT of time on planes, trains and boats, documenting it all in colourful images with snappy captions that reveal a positivity and passion for life that never fails to inspire her followers. With her non-stop schedule, we thought she'd make the perfect candidate to put our new bespoke facial to the test, so we sent her for a spot of R & R at our Selfridges spa. Here's what she thought...

    'Twenty four hours after touching down in London and 48 hours before stepping onto my fourth long haul flight in three weeks, I caught a glimpse of my reflection as I entered my flat. My skin was tired, lacklustre and looked like it was preparing to go on strike. Planes are not kind to anyone’s skin. When you practically spend your life on one, it’s a completely different story. Frankly speaking, “getting the glow” becomes a battle.

    For years, I’ve heard the name Nichola Joss thrown as around as the woman with the magic touch when it comes to facials in London. Apparently her client list is as long as Portobello Road and the only thing longer is her waiting list. I’ve sat in many a brunch as her name is whispered, shared as an elite secret. And I’ve finally had a chance to see, first hand, why she lives up to her name. Nichola Joss has recently passed down her golden techniques in teaching the facialists at Cowshed spas all of her trademark massage techniques.'

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    'With 48 hours in London, I booked into Cowshed Selfridges to try the 60 minute Bespoke Signature Facial. The facial, featuring Joss’s massage techniques, Cowshed products and SkinCeuticals skincare, is tailor made for each client. As every face comes with its own set of dilemmas, this is the ideal situation for anyone looking for a pampering solution to skincare problems. After a thorough cleanse, my skin is examined and the problems read like the usual laundry list from too much time flying high in the sky. My sky is dry, congested and tired. I require extraction (which is surprisingly somehow less painful… thank you talented facialist), massage and a moisturising mask.

    It’s the massage that left me feeling as if I was walking out the door with the skin of a ten year old. The swift movements of the fingers across my cheekbones, jawline and forehead awaken muscles in my face that seem to have long ago given up on youth. As the moisturising mask is applied, I’m offered a foot massage while it works its magic. In less than 60 seconds, I’m in a deep sleep and embarrassingly only awakened by my own snore. I’m not sure who was more surprised – me or the therapist. I blame the Cowshed oils. There is nothing like them in the world. The scent is heaven on earth, for each and every one… but I’m partial to Horny Cow.'

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    'While I made a mental note to make this a regular event in my calendar, I also promised myself to book the 90 minute facial for the next course. 60 minutes is fabulous, but this pampering experience is meant to last as long as possible. Could Cowshed perhaps introduce a two hour version? I’d be all too happy to lay there all day and come out looking this fresh all over again!'

    Book your bespoke treatment now >

  • A glow-getting skincare edit

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    ‘Glow’ is the beauty buzzword of the moment - everyone wants products that get skin glowing with health and vitality and there are countless ways to achieve it through smart skincare, tools and treatments, not forgetting the stuff that goes on top - make-up. It’s best to start with good foundations (before adding a little dazzle dust, because why not?) Hydrated skin that’s not been frazzled by the sun or stripped of moisture through overly aggressive cleansers will give you a glowy, dewy look before you even pick up a highlighter. Here are our favourite glow-getters...

    1. Lavender Gentle Cleanser
    Gentle enough to use even on sensitive eyes, our cleanser will remove makeup and impurities while prepping skin for the rest of your regime. Lavender is the hero thanks to its therapeutic properties (the fragrance aids relaxation), as well as its antiseptic, antibacterial and healing values. Stabilising geranium helps normalise dry and greasy skin while aloe vera supports good skin health and treats inflammation.

    Therapist’s tip: ‘Massage two pumps over dry skin, rinse with warm water and remove excess cleanser with a warm flannel or muslin cloth.’

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  • Nichola Joss on developing our new bespoke treatments and the power of facial massage

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    ‘I remembered going to Babington House when it opened and how amazing Cowshed was and the natural, ethical, healing message that the spa, when it was created, gave. The products being natural, British made. I liked the heritage so I said I’d like to meet the guys and chat. They wanted to look at updating things, so I spent a couple of months doing some secret shopping, chatting with the therapists, spending time with Jessica and Amie, trying to establish how we could move forward and if I could help.

    My spa experiences have always been holistic and hands on, very different to any other salon environment. What came up was there was a need for change, to make Cowshed a future destination for spas. As great as it is and how it works, let’s just revamp it a bit. I gave a few proposals for what I thought needed to be done to make it a more bespoke service. It was about making it very personalised, adding signature elements onto everything. Then it was a case of supporting the training of all the therapists, adding a bespoke approach to make the journey of the clients’ facial, skincare, body treatment very specific to them.

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