Happy Monday: an interview with the glorious Margaret Hema

More often than not, the average facial is administered by an overworked beauty therapist with her mind on the next waxing, and finding a true facialist with a passion for their work is a rare and marvellous thing. They are out there, but they often take some tracking down, and once you’ve found your bellwether amongst beauticians you never look back.
Wellington, New Zealand based Margaret Hema is a specialist firmly in the latter camp, with a history of almost forty years in the business of beauty and a reputation that spans around the globe. For those that can't visit her ethereal salon in the heart of Wellington city, she thankfully sells a range of hand blended, organic oils that she creates herself with the mantra that “all skin should be treated like beautiful fabric” firmly in mind.
Margaret Hema originally created her range of only seven skin care products - including a recently added day crème - purely for her facial clientele, her compelling concept being the non-use of exfoliants and skin tightening clay masks in both studio facials and home skincare regimes. In those formative years, clients, after they had their facials with Margaret, would take home hand-blended oils in a plain brown bottle with a handmade sticker describing what was in the oil. The product had no name. The Hema branding came three years later due to demand - word of mouth had spread the message and people wanted to stock her hand-blended products.
The world renowned facialist's objective from the outset was to give her clients “a minimal method to obtain maximum results”, with each product representing excellence and skincare integrity. Good skin depends on a compact pore structure, so the Hema range is fortified with moisturising ingredients that both nourish and condition the skin. In line with her skin as a “beautiful fabric” philosophy, she still has no exfoliants, toners or clay-based masques in the range or in her salon, as well as no water (or “aqua”) - the liquid components in both her day cream and facial spray is organic hydrosol of Pacific lavender.
One of the facialist's proudest moments took place when she ”travelled from Wellington to London and nothing in between in the Northern Hemisphere Summer of 2004. It was a very hot late afternoon and we were launching Hema at triyoga in Primrose Hill”. She had spent the week facialing a contingency of the brightest British beauty editors and was buoyed by the experience to such an extent that she wanted to make the experience a “deeply spiritual one” by being lead by a Powhiri (a Maori ceremonial welcome) at the spa's doors. “My daughter Tamara had organised the launch and was happy to also put together a Powhiri, which made the whole event truly amazing and so meaningful for me,” she explains, “and hopefully for the guests too. It really became a haven of peace and beauty.” The evening was declared a success, and the Hema brand had cemented its rightful place in the eyes of the often cynical beauty media with Tatler awarding her signature facial a 10/10 and hailing her as “beauty's new heroine”. Rave reviews in Harpers Bazaar, UK Vogue and Australian Vogue were soon to follow, and word was soon to spread to the US with similar results.
As well as restoring the skin to a texture akin to velvet, Margaret's creations also proudly lead rather than follow when it comes to performance, and were the first to include organic Totarol in hand-blended oils as an antioxidant and antibacterial ingredient. Hema Organic Floral Facial Spray was also the first to contain manuka honey as a humectant moisturising ingredient, and has received numerous accolades honouring both its formulation and its proven results. When asked to pick a favourite though, Margaret has no hesitation in naming her Organic Millennium Face and Body oil as her potion of choice, and uses it as the signature oil in all of her facials. “Millennium is a love affair to me,” she unabashedly rhapsodises, “I have my hands dipped in it all day. It is a magic formulae. It is such a gift.”
To the world of natural beauty, so too is the wonderful Margaret Hema.


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