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Catherine Beattie meets up with Denise Leicester, the inspirational founder of ila to hear about the company’s latest product range – the Gold Cellular Age-Restore Collection.

An Afternoon in the Country with ila

Gatefarm (17)

Tucked away in the heart of a pretty Coxwold village is a ‘beyond organic’ skincare brand that is taking the world by storm. Named after the Hindu Goddess of Truth and the Sanskrit word for ‘Earth’, ila products contain only the finest natural plant and mineral ingredients, sourced from remote, untainted parts of the world by artisan producers who value traditional, sustainable practices. Since founding her company less than a decade ago, Denise Leicester has created the world’s most ethical organic skincare brand, sought after by A-list celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Weisz and used in a growing number of leading spas around the world.


I’ve been invited for an afternoon at ila’s headquarters near Woodstock, to learn more about the company’s ground breaking new product range – the Gold Cellular Age-Restore Collection. It’s a pleasure to meet Denise, ila’s charismatic founder – a qualified nurse, aromatherapist, yoga teacher and yogic healer who has devoted her life to exploring the dynamics of natural healing. Her inner serenity and spirituality are reflected in ila’s holistic and environmentally-conscious ethos. Even the company’s location in rural Oxfordshire – a picture perfect series of barn conversions, surrounded by rolling countryside and fields of grazing sheep – has been carefully chosen to ensure that the finished holistic products contain nature’s exquisite pure energy.

ila Gold collection


While I enjoy some organic refreshments, Denise explains that the Gold range keeps to ila’s strict ‘beyond organic’ philosophy and combines nature with the latest anti-ageing science. The collection has taken three years to develop in partnership with a world-renowned German pharmacy. The products contain precious rare ingredients including a trio of naturally occurring pure gold minerals and ethically harvested Ethiopian frankincense, renowned for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. The collagen-boosting gold deeply hydrates the skin, while the serum’s plant-derived hyaluronic acid, boswellia extract and argan oil reduce fine lines and wrinkles and promote a healthy cellular structure. The serum is effective on its own, but gives even better results when used with the  Sonic Wave Tool, a special gadget that creates gentle sonic waves to push the hyaluronic acid through the outer layers of the skin and down into the epidermis.  Trials of the collection have delivered exceptional results.


ila precious oils and sri symbolDenise shows me around the company’s attractive headquarters and workshop – a light and airy converted barn where all the artisan face and body products are hand blended on large wooden tables. I notice these all have Ayurvedic sri yantra symbols to channel good energy into the products. Many of the divine smelling ingredients (distilled oils, essences and potions) are stored in enormous glass jars neatly stacked along walls of pine shelving. hand blending precious oilsDenise formulates all the products herself, which are made in small batches, carefully packed and blessed before leaving the factory.


After carefully opening one or two of the large glass jars so I can smell the different concoctions, Denise encourages me to blend jasmine oil (my favourite), with sandalwood, ylang ylang, argan oil and rosehip seed oil to create a sample of the best-selling Body Oil for Inner Peace to take home.


Then it’s time to experience the new Gold collection with a Gold Cellular Age Restore Face Therapy treatment. Therapist Jo shows me to a quiet room in one of the barns for the 60-minute treatment. First, she asks me to take three deep breaths of soothing sandalwood oil then cleans my face with the Gold cleanser containing sea buckthorn, omega 7 and vitamins A, C and E. It smells deliciously of jasmine. The refreshing Gold toner smells equally good and ensures my skin is as pristine as possible before the Gold serum containing the hyaluronic acid is applied. A light mask is put over my face and a Sonic Wave Tool is rolled across my face, encouraging the formula’s tiny molecules to penetrate into the deepest layers of my skin to plump and hydrate. By now I am so utterly relaxed that I fall asleep to the gentle background sound of chanting. Jo later tells me this hypnotic music is one of Denise’s own recordings. Impressive! Waking from this delicious treatment, my skin appears noticeably brighter and refreshed.


It seems fitting my visit finishes on a spiritual note, with a short sound therapy meditation session led by Denise that involves more chanting and crystal singing bowls. Afterwards, when I thank Denise for her hospitality and the generous samples to try, she hands me some neatly packed organic goodies to eat on the train  – a thoughtful gesture ensuring I arrive home nourished in spirit, mind and body.


The Gold Cellular Age-Restore Collection is available online and from Harrods.

The signature Gold Cellular Age Restore Face Therapy is available in spas.

For information on all ila’s products, treatments and spa locations visit



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