If you want something done, ask Nicola Elliott. The co-founder of wellness beauty brand NEOM is a doer, a dynamo and a force of nature and by way of example she whistled through her top product lists for FIIVE in record time. We don’t mean to make our other guest editors feel SLOW (seriously, we love a long, drawn out beauty chat) but she actually did it in half the average time, sitting in her car at her local stables, pre-horse ride. And we’re talking knew every brand, name, shade, back of the hand knowledge. We tell Nicola we’re amazed by her instant beauty recall and she laughs, “The only reason I know them all off by heart is that I’m so boring and I’ve been using the same products forever! Once I find something that really works I stick with it. ” If it ain’t broke… but there are a few new products in her beauty haul as we will discover.
A little background on Nicola, who we have to confess we know pretty well, having met her while working at heat magazine ( yes, it is supposed to be lower case, grammar nerds) in the early noughties. Nicola was the editorial assistant for a very brief stint before skipping off to the heady world of Glamour magazine. ( We like to relive asking her to order more printer ink, knowing that she is now the founder of an internationally acclaimed, wellness and beauty brand.) After an incredibly successful chapter as an Editor at Glamour magazine at the height of its print sales, where meeting endless deadlines and flying long-haul for interviews and fashion shows was par for the course, Nicola was confronted with burn-out and started looking for ways to slow down, re-charge and take some moments of self-care. Aromatherapy was her route to finding balance and made such a huge difference to her life she decided to turn her passion into a business.
Read on for Nicola’s TOP 5 skincare, make-up and book recommendations >>
When someone creates skincare for a living you want to know what they really rate...
I use Neom Perfect Night Sleep Cleanser and Perfect Night Sleep Facial Oil on an evening and I’m aware I’m plugging my own products here but then again, I often have to try out other products for my work and I am always SO happy when I get to go back to my NEOM favourites. This combination just works so well for my skin. The cleanser gets literally everything off. It is the deepest most nourishing cleanse and leaves my skin feeling great.
After cleansing, I apply the Perfect Night Sleep Oil. I just use a couple of drops, you only need a little bit, and that is all my skin needs.
I’ve just started using this Exfoliant by Dr Goldfaden. It’s quite expensive but it is really good - it's high performance natural skincare. I’ve got quite oily skin so I don’t want to strip it too much because that makes it worse but I do need to exfoliate just to smooth it. I use this just once a week and I find that works really well for me.
Another thing I’ve just bought is the Sisley Black Rose face mask - again, it’s quite expensive but it is really, really good. It’s something you’d probably only use once a week or once every fortnight and it is a really plumping softening, hydrating treatment.
While everyone else Nicola’s age (that’s us) was faffing around with fake tan mitts and getting their real mitts on fake handbags from a mate in New York, Nicola sold her car to fund launching her own wellness brand with business partner Oliver Mennell. NEOM was formed (the name is the fusion of their initials – numerology has to be a thing!) and is now stocked in stores like Selfridges, John Lewis and Space NK as well as their own beautiful stand-alone shops. Having started out with organic, non-toxic candles and essential oils NEOM then added beautiful organic skincare that really works and doesn’t cost eye watering prices to their range. The brand is also know for its product innovation and has injected serious design kudos into the wellness sector with their sell-out essential oil diffuser, the NEOM Wellbeing Pod. Just as we were marvelling over this porcelain inspired, quilted beauty, NEOM launched a mini, portable version that is designed to sit on your desk or even in the cup holder of your car. Genius! Wellness on the move? That has Nicola written all over it. Now, could you please get some hobnobs in for the next editorial meeting and get someone to look at the photocopier? Sorry, were we reminiscing again?
As a self-confessed bookworm and someone who reads around the topic of wellbeing for work, Nicola really wanted to share five of her bookshelf favourites...
I’m re-reading Solve for Happy at the moment and it’s so good. Mo Gawdat was the Chief Business Officer for Google – an incredibly high achieving business brain – and he lost his son when he was 19 and thought he could never be happy again so he set about finding out the equation for happiness. You just need to read it – it’s a brilliant book.
This is one of my favourite ever books. Annoyingly, Jonathan Tropper has only written about three books and I’ve devoured every one. This book is SO funny and it’s such a good premise. There aren’t enough funny writers like him – there really aren’t!
When I set up NEOM I trained as a nutritionist as well as studying aromatherapy and this book was really pivotal for me. Eating seasonally, eating fresh and eating unadulterated food is what this book is all about and I go back to it time and time again.
If anyone suffers from anxiety, and I have done, this is a really useful book to know. Josh Fletcher is brilliant and I love his Instagram He’s a really calming character and this book is really helpful at the more extreme end of wellbeing.
She knows what works for her and could tell us the exact names and shades of her favourite products without even rummaging...
I’ve just come right to the end of my Pot Rouge, so this has reminded me that I need to get another one. I love it because I’m a lazy cow and it does everything I need in one pot! It's that one product I always keep in the car so I can quickly use it if I’m going to see parents I know on the school run.
I’m a bit of a concealer freak. At the moment I like Rodial Banana lowlighter it’s quite light but it is really good. I think When you’re a bit older concealer is one of the most important things so I think you need a few of them. This one is quite light and I use it under my eyes and round my nose - you don’t need much of it.
This is a favourite lipstick that I wear a lot when I want something bright and again it’s a really good shade for more yellow or honey coloured skin tones.
Charlotte Tilbury's full fat lash is brilliant. It doesn’t crumble or flake and it's not too voluminous. Some mascaras are a bit too much for me - too over the top - and this one is just enough.