It was a few years ago...I refer to it as my 'blue period' (minus the amazing artworks). I'd founded Façonner (Luxury Design Curators) in 2011; proffering the experience of having a successful company (one that was actually fairly transformative in its time) from an extremely young age. I was wildly passionate about the message I was trying to convey. I'd simultaneously also built up a family environment that I felt had solid foundation and was even designing my first home. And then, it all came crashing down when I lost a loved one to an illness that I still can't talk about to this day.
Trying to pick up the pieces just felt like sand slipping through my fingers. Unravelling and falling apart. Literally. My hair. It sounds extraordinarily stupid: I was going through something so deeply devastating, so serious: wading through the relentless and unswimmable currents of grief and yet, something as trivial as my hair thinning upset me.
My hair had always been my crowning glory. 'Francesca has amazing hair'. Saviour to all my other insecurities. I felt I was losing a part of my outward identity.
A couple of years later, I remember walking into a meeting to discuss the potential of reviving Façonner (I'd let it fall by the wayside) and catching sight of myself in the mirror. I was wearing my hair up constantly at that time but I was still taken aback by how much hair I'd lost at the front. Not to mention, I was tired all the time, had chronic back pain and the world had now become about the speed of social media while I'd literally spent my entire career advocating for the slow and artisanal. So I was fighting against mass-production and now apparently my hair too. I was 27 and felt decades older.
That day was the turning point. My late loved one would have given me a serious talking to also at this point (she was elegant and graceful and passionate about beauty) - 'put yourself together; try on the outside first'.
I went to different hair specialists only to be told that the solution would be synthetic injectables. And that I was suffering from hair thinning (which would only get worse if I didn't do this). There was no other solution. With my entire background being centred on pureness of materials; this was a major problem. I’d chucked all of my luxuriously packaged skincare and makeup in the bin in favour of cleaner alternatives years ago (if I start disclosing the reality of what's allowed to be in some of the most popular cosmetic products globally, you'd make the switch too). But I couldn't for the life of me find anything that was simultaneously natural and effective. Sure, I found some lovely smelling oils (some ayurvedic) that were enjoyable to use but to be honest, they didn't really do much. I knew what my hair needed in the form of organic hair oil and I couldn't understand why nobody else made it (spoiler: because it's incredibly expensive to produce).
Almost out of frustration (read: desperation), I mixed the formula myself together with our lab. Thanks to the synergy of very specifically sourced essential oils as well as a unique plant-based ingredient, I got phenomenal results. And around two months later, I noticed something awesome after washing my hair: I didn’t have this overwhelming desire to put it up because it was falling around my shoulders like it used to.
I started sharing my formula with a few friends and family members who I’d heard complain about their hair for all sorts of reasons: colour damage, menopause, post-illness, thinning, hair loss…and they all came back after using it and said the same thing, ‘bottle this’.
I knew that with my background, I was in a unique position. And I was still just as passionate about advocating for slow materials as I always had been. So with my experience together with a pinch of anger thrown in that there still weren’t enough brands at the top of the market seeming to care about half the crap that goes into our products, I decided this had to be done. It was also really important to me that CHES Editions exemplified that products can be natural AND aesthetic: that the oil smelt good, for example, without synthetic fragrance and that our packaging was just as beautiful as what was on the inside (that meant sourcing everything in England and our bottles, from Italy).
CHES Editions (named after the nickname my loved one used to call me and then ‘editions’ as each scent I put to the formula is its own ‘edition’; a little nod to my love for my love of magazines!) was born.
And here’s what you will find in ‘The Ultimate Oil for Hair’ (well, there really wasn’t anything else to call it!):
- The most targeted and highest-grade natural ingredients for hair’s hydration, growth and shine that transformed my hair back to its health so you can too.
- Not 1 synthetic ingredient that will pretend to 'feel good' but won’t actually do you any favours longterm.
Today, we are featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Country & Townhouse Magazine and Harpers Bazaar and have never paid for editorial endorsement because we haven't needed to. We have won 2 Beauty Shortlist Awards. We are stocked at Daniel Galvin Jr (a pioneer of organic hair products) in London and Galeries Lafayette in the Middle East. We have been sponsored for a TV campaign with ITVBe and E! network based on our brand merit.
But I think I’m most proud of the phenomenal testimonials from our amazing clients and some of the stories that they've shared (in fact, it was them who inspired me to share my own) which you can read here.
I am not willing to compromise on any part of CHES Editions and The Ultimate Oil for Hair. We're Made In England; using the highest-grade ingredients and though we're not exactly about high profit margins (I've always had expensive taste), it's the quality of our ingredients that make our products effective and set us apart.
I hope you love The Ultimate Oil and can’t wait to welcome you to the CHES Editions family. We're a cool bunch.
And as for the rest, I've had to jump through quite a few more hurdles since then (a health scare of my own followed) but I know my loved would be proud; as long as I keep doing what I love the most: putting beauty into the world.