Our lives have changed dramatically in the last 50 years, and now we find ourselves returning to some of those traditional practices when looking after our mind and body. But a new small batch eco-skincare range has been created with those very sentiments at their heart, taking you back in time, and your body to a more natural state.
Menteath was created by Felicity Stuart-Menteath, whose family tree has deep roots in Perthshire.
She explained: “My Scottish heritage is really important to me – my father came over from New Zealand and he was part of the Stuart-Menteaths that emigrated. But they always kept their close connection to Scotland and so have I.”
When Felicity decided she was going to start creating a range of smoked oils in 2019, it made sense that it would start where her family did.
“Scotland, and Perthshire in particular, is known for its ancient woodlands so I started with bark from fallen trees in the area, like pine, and oak.”
Keen to move away from artificial ingredients, Felicity began the process of testing various blends of oils looking to find the perfect formulas using the very best plants derived oils she could find.
She explained: “While growing up in a remote village surrounded by farmland and countryside, I learnt to be self-sufficient.
“Back then, the abundance of natural ingredients that was available to me was taken for granted but it was where I learned to use them.”
She also spent a long time finding suppliers around the globe who work ethically, organically and provide alternative livelihoods programmes supporting organic farmers that grow and harvest our plants every year.
“We get our roses from farmers in Afghanistan who are being encouraged to grow them instead of poppies.
“And with every batch we want to share stories about our growers so people can see where the ingredients come from and how much of a difference it can make.”
Felicity works seasonally, releasing about 140-200 bottles per season using bark from only one fallen tree. In return, Menteath plants a tree on behalf of the customer, creating a cycle of use and regrowth.
Menteath only uses recycled or recyclable products for packaging where possible, and proudly offers a refill service to all customers.
What makes Menteath’s products extra special is that the oils are smoked, which doesn’t just create a beautiful, nostalgic smell, but has long been believed to have healing properties.
During her journeys worldwide, Felicity discovered the ancient ritualistic practice of smoke bathing, often referred to as Dukhan in countries like Sudan.
This Arabic ritual involves the smoking of scented wood – such as talih and shaff and often sandalwood – trees which are considered to have spiritual and healing properties.
Felicity embodies the traditional practice across her range, capturing the beautiful aroma and acting as a treatment to heal and showcase the skin and hair.
And the origins of Menteath have great personal meaning to Felicity.
“All of Menteath’s packaging features quotes from Alfred Wainwright, who was an avid fell walker. He reflected on nature in Scotland and the north of England and was someone who my grandfather admired. When grandad passed away in 2019 we lost the centre of our family and I wanted his legacy to live on so I wanted to pay tribute to him through our products.”
Felicity, herself a keen walker, added that she always feels she experiences an “emotional reunion” when she walks in Scotland.
“For me walking is one of my loves and it’s a time for me to reflect and connect and I’ve tried to capture that in every product I make – I want people to stop and connect, with themselves, with the past and with nature when they embody Menteath skincare.”
Menteath’s range includes products for skin and hair highlights your complexion and blends with the body’s natural ecosystem.
Find out more, and view the whole range of products, at the Menteath website.