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02 Jun, 2014

Queen of Pai

Sarah Brown taught herself cosmetic chemistry and launched the first range of certified organic salon skin care products - Pai Skincare. We caught up with the beautiful founder to talk balance, avoiding sugar and growing old.


Sarah Brown taught herself cosmetic chemistry and launched the first range of certified organic salon skin care products - Pai Skincare. We caught up with the beautiful founder to talk balance, avoiding sugar and growing old.

What’s the key to beautiful skin?

Quite simply – balance. When your oil and pH levels are perfectly balanced, skin will be healthy and calm. Unfortunately, there are lots of obstacles that get in the way of balanced skin – foaming detergents and alcohol being the main culprits.

These ingredients both strip the skin of its natural oils leaving it exposed and prone to reaction.

The first step to achieving skin balance is to invest in a detergent-free Cleanser – you’ll see a difference pretty quickly.

Can you share a sneaky beauty tip?

One of the writers at online beauty bible site, Into The Gloss, recently wrote that she uses our Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream as a lip prime. I tried it out last week and it works really well.

Another tip is if you’re using both and Oil and Cream you should always apply your Facial Oil after your Cream, otherwise it can prevent the Cream from penetrating and hydrating properly.

Top beauty treatment in London?

I’m slightly biased, but I think our organic Skin Confidence Facials are pretty great! I also find acupuncture really helpful - and have a brilliant acupuncturist in West London.

Beauty Icon?

Kristen Scott Thomas is pure class!

What’s in your handbag?

Too much. I’m always on the go so I carry round a load of stuff. Mainstays are Fragonia & Sea Buckthorn Hand Therapy Cream, my Pacifica Persian Rose Perfume and some almonds for snacking on the move.

What’s your beauty advice when flying?

Hydration, hydration, hydration! The re-circulated and filtered air on planes is dry, with only 10%-20% humidity, compared to an average of 80% humidity outside.

Low humidity dehydrates our bodies from the inside out, leaving skin dry and lacklustre. To minimise this, I drink lots of water and moisturise regularly inflight.

Our BioAffinity Skin Tonics are also the ideal travel companion as they actively hydrate, brighten and soothe the skin. I spritz liberally on long haul trips.

If you could take one think to a desert island what would it be?

Best to be practical about these things, so probably a Swiss Army Knife.

What would you tell people trying to launch their own beauty ranges?

Do your research, strive to bring something unique to the party, stay true to your principles and be prepared for an almighty slog.

What made you set up Pai Skincare?

I started Pai as a solution to my own skin allergies. In my mid-twenties I developed a condition called Chronic Urticaria which made my skin very reactive and hyper sensitive.

In desperation I turned to natural and organic products, but couldn’t find anything my skin could tolerate. After wasting a ton of money on products I couldn’t use, I took matters into my own hands, retrained in cosmetic formulation and started making my own. Almost ten years later, here we are!

What’s the best advice your were ever given?

A quote from James Thurber, “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around us in awareness.” I think its pretty good advice to live by.

What would you tell you 18 year old self?

Don’t compare yourself to other people – it only leads to disappointment and everyone is different.

Do you think diet is important?

Absolutely – there is such a complex relationship between the food we eat and our skin, this is particularly true for anyone who has unpredictable or delicate skin.

I’m a big believer in eating a slightly alkaline diet. Ragnar Berg was the first scientist to support a 70% alkaline and 30% acidic diet, claiming that disease could not survive in an alkaline environment.

Berg also showed a link between acidity in the gut and eczema flare-ups. Anyone suffering from an inflammatory skin condition like urticaria, eczema or psoriasis should think about tipping the acid/alkaline balance in their diet.

Are their any foods you try and avoid?

I try to steer clear of refined sugar, it’s one of the most inflammatory foods out there. Sugar causes a process called Glycation to occur - this causes the skin to age prematurely and also makes it more sensitive to environmental stresses such as sun exposure and free radical damage from smoke and pollution.

Refined sugar consumption can also disrupt hormone levels, which in turn causes breakouts. All in all, one to avoid or cut down on.

How can we stay young forever?

Why would you want to? Ageing is a privilege. I believe that the beauty industry has demonised ageing to such an extent that people now believe ‘youth = beauty’ and that we must do everything in our power to ‘fight’ the dreaded wrinkle!

I found it so intensely annoying it led us to launch our Age Confidence campaign as an antidote to the beauty industry’s ‘anti-‘ageing message.

Our campaign, now in its second year, is all about celebrating confidence at every age and encouraging women to prioritise skin health rather than striving for the impossible.