We chat to Nicola Jones, the founder of skincare brand Face Junkie, about monikers, simplicity and moving to Loughton
What’s the story behind you originally being dubbed the “Face Junkie”?
It was said jokingly to me by a lovely client back in the 90s and I remember thinking to myself, “that’ll be my brand name one day”. She was the one who introduced me to Yoga when I had sciatica during pregnancy with my daughter, she said that if I started it, I would never suffer from it again. I still do it regularly to this day and she was right. She also taught me all about Zen which teaches one to apply kindness, peace, patience, happiness and compassion to all aspects of our lives. I had never heard of it before, but that was the start of my love for all things holistic. She’s out there somewhere now not knowing what an impact she had on me. I think she may have been an angel.
Pre-launching your own skincare brand, what was your background in the beauty industry?
Like many therapists in their early careers, I worked through a lot of different salons, learning the art along the way. In the early 2000s I worked briefly for Estee Lauder and dreamt of being a makeup artist, I even went to the Glauca Rossi School of Fashion and Photography Makeup and learned skills there that I will use forever. My main love though was product knowledge training which I undertook at The Refinery in London. I enjoyed training new therapists all about the ingredients and benefits of the products. I enjoyed writing new treatment protocols too, my favourite one was the Ice Facial and I remember my manager saying that you’d have to be mad to have a cold facial, but it proved very popular and is a massive trend in the industry now. I stayed here for several years and became a certified practitioner for SkinCeuticals, Medik8, Dermalogica and Aromatherapy Associates. Later on I took a different path and worked at sk:n clinics carrying out aesthetic treatments such as laser hair and tattoo removal and advanced skin treatments.
What actually inspired you to go it alone and launch Face Junkie?
It sounds a bit woo woo, but I really believe the stars aligned and that was it. I had reached my mid 40s and felt more self-assured and confident than I’d ever been before, I had rid my life of negative situations and toxic people and I was surrounded by my amazing girlfriends who insisted it was about time and had already been using all my lotions and potions for many years, my daughter was grown up and excelling at university and I had the love, support and encouragement from my wonderful husband and family.
What do you offer?
Face Junkie is based on simplicity; for years I’ve seen people expecting a lot from their skincare, and although those needs can be relatively complex, the solutions are, more often than not, incredibly simple: fast-acting, effective, uplifting products, designed to address what I call the six elements of skincare. Our Hero Collection is a range of six transformative products that provide your skin with everything it needs from AM to PM. Each product is specially formulated to address what I call the six elements of skincare: prepare, prevent, protect from the morning, to re-cleansing, replacing and regenerating in the evening.
We have also added Neroli oil in the mix, which is an ancient oil used in skincare for thousands of years due its beautifying actions and the scent gives a little drop of wellness with every use.
Throughout my career I noticed one common concern with clients, which was all the noise around which products to use and in which order to use them in so we applied an easy to follow hashtag system which leaves the user in no doubt about how to layer them. I also wanted the design aesthetics to be easy to read and calm as I think a lot of packaging can be quite chaotic and fussy.
What has the early response been like to what you do?
As much as I believe in Face Junkie, I’ve never been arrogant enough to think everyone else would, but I can honestly say that the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve had hundreds of messages from people saying thanks for the hashtag system and that it has made them take up a daily routine just because they are now confident that they are using all the right products in the right order at the right time of day. We’ve had amazing reviews from skincare bloggers and other press, which I always believe is a real testament as they do not have to show bias.
How does running Face Junkie fit in with your home life?
Running the business from home is an excellent fit for me, I’m up at 5am every weekday either doing Yoga or some sort of HIIT workout on YouTube. Then it’s a few minutes of meditation and straight into the home office at 7am to start work. My daughter is living the dream in Bali at the moment, so we Facetime every morning when I’m at the desk drinking my cacao. She’s the content creator for Face Junkie’s social media, so it’s amazing to have her on board. We love brainstorming new ideas together, she knows Face Junkie inside out and always showcases the brand to its best potential. During the day I get to do whatever bits and pieces of housework need attending to, but my husband and I share all the responsibilities as we both work from home so it never feels like I can’t handle it all. By 4pm I’m usually good for nothing so I sneak a little cuddle with my dog Mia and catch a power nap.
How long have you lived in Loughton and what initially attracted you to the area?
I moved to Loughton with my daughter in 2016 from South London where I was born and raised after having a seven year ‘long distance’ relationship with a charming Essex boy who is now my husband. We always went to Loughton for dinner and I remember saying to him that when I move to Essex, Loughton is where I want to live, and he was living in Chingford at the time. Everyone is so lovely and there’s such a sense of warmth and community. I like to think I’m an honorary Essex girl now.
Where are your favourite places in Loughton or further afield in Essex?
My favourite place in Loughton is Tom, Dick and Harry’s, I literally go there for breakfast, lunch and dinner with my husband and our daughters and family. We enjoy a good relationship with the staff there and I always take my friends and family when they’re over from South London. Queens Road in Buckhurst Hill is another favourite place for me, I love the boutiques, I sometimes spend all day there shopping and sitting in the cafes. There’s also a health place there called Be Superhuman where I go and have Cryotherapy, a full body 3 minute blast at -75, you come out feeling on top of the world.
With spring around the corner, are there any Essex outdoor hot spots you particularly love?
I’m lucky enough to have Epping Forest just a few minutes’ walk from our house. It’s a great place to walk, run or just sit and chill out amongst the beautiful nature. Some parts look so mystical like something out of Harry Potter, the trees must be hundreds of years old. During the first lockdown, my daughter and I used to walk and sprint up the steep hills, once we had to use Google maps to find our way out.
How do you see the future of Face Junkie evolving?
I have rounded up my years of experience in the beauty industry and have developed a brand which covers a multitude of needs and demands. The need for a glowing complexion with every use but also, long-term healthy skin and the demand for wellness on a daily basis.
My vision for Face Junkie is to be a global skincare and wellness go to brand for people who demand much more from their products.
Face Junkie will provide results for the skin and mind and will continue to launch innovative skincare which protects and fights against environmental damage alongside aromatherapeutic solutions to make every application like a moment at the spa.