Irene Forte knows a thing or two about luxury beauty. She’s the Wellness Director at British hotel group Rocco Forte Hotels (founded by her father, Sir Rocco Forte), and last year she launched her sustainable skincare line – Irene Forte Skincare – inspired by her Italian heritage and travels across Sicily.
“Sustainability is part of our DNA and is not simply an afterthought” Irene tells us. “People, community, and planet all fall under sustainability for us, and we’re committed to ensuring that all of our processes are as sustainable as possible. No one is ever perfect, but we are constantly striving to find ways to improve.”
We chatted with Irene about sustainability, her Italian roots, and her beauty rituals while travelling – which includes lots of hydration and iodine water to combat plane germs.
How important was sustainability when creating your skincare line?
We source ingredients from our organic farm in Sicily and local farmers, and we don’t use harmful chemicals or plastic micro-beads in our skincare, minimising soil and water pollution. Additionally, we use glass for 90% of our packaging, and avoid plastic wrapping, instead using boxes made from 100% recycled fibres.
View this post on Instagram
#SustainableSunday ♻️💚We believe beauty is more than skin deep. Our company’s existence is part of a much wider system of people, nature and other organisations, and we’re committed to ensuring that our processes and products are truly sustainable and ethical at every stage of their lifecycle. Our ingredients come either from our Organic Farm at @verduraresortsicily, other areas of Sicily, or reputable farmers in the Trentino region of Italy (where our lab is based). We aim to be as seasonal as possible and always work to support the local community. #sourcinglocally
We also support the local Sicilian community by using hand-painted ceramics across all of our spas globally, as well as handmade Sicilian bells. We are exploring how we can further support the local community, with a volunteer garden programme on the farm and educational programmes for local children.
What inspired you the most when creating the brand?
As an Italian who grew up in the UK, I’ve always wanted to create something that connected me to my roots, hence why I created the ‘Mediterranean Diet for Your Skin’. I also fell in love with Sicily when I first visited in 2003, and wanted to do something that tied me back to this magical island. I realised that Sicily’s rich ingredients and the bounty of Verdura’s organic farm were the perfect base for a skincare line.
View this post on Instagram
Thank you @womenschapter @browns_hotel for letting us be a part of a very inspirational breakfast panel discussion with leading women in sustainability. The power of women in business is definitely an undeniable force. We are super proud to be a part of the WomenLed Directory.✨💛Check out our page for more information. Link in bio☝🏻
The Irene Forte Skincare approach is synonymous with the very best that Sicily has to offer, distilling the benefits of the Mediterranean diet into skincare that nourishes the skin from the outside in.
What are your must-do beauty rituals/treatments before you travel?
I like to do an at-home massage with Lucja Maslowska; she’s a truly amazing masseuse. I also love to have an at-home facial with Desi Valentine, who uses my skincare and can be booked through her app called Skinned. If I need a blow-dry or a mani/ pedi then I will use the Ruuby app. I also always use my Pistachio Face Mask before travelling to give my skin extra nourishment and hydration pre-flight.
How do you adapt your beauty routine when you travel?
I carry sachets with me when I travel so that I don’t need to be selective or adapt my beauty routine.
Do you have a regular plane beauty routine?
I start with my Hibiscus Serum, often adding my Rose Face Oil followed by the super-hydrating Hibiscus Night Cream. I’m also never without my Pistachio Lip Balm which is perfect for an added hydration boost. I also have a wellness routine, which includes adding 4 drops of Iodine (I use Lugol’s Iodine Tincture 15%) to my water to drink on the plane. It counteracts air-conditioning germs, supporting immunity.
How do you overcome jet-lag skin/eyes when you land?
I layer a lot of products. I massage my Almond Cleansing Milk with circular motions onto my skin. I then pat my Helichrysum Hyaluronic Toner with my fingertips; this application technique boosts circulation and starts to bring life back to the skin. I follow with my hero Hibiscus Serum.
View this post on Instagram
Irene realised early on that Sicily’s rich ingredients and the bounty of Verdura’s organic farm made for a perfect skincare line. Irene has worked closely with Dr Francesca Ferri of Effegilab and her team of dermatologists and biologists in Trento, Italy to bring to life this extraordinary range. “Commendably sustainable” and bursting with active ingredients to maintain youthful and beautiful skin, Irene has created creams, oils, serums and scrubs. Considered beauty, hydrating and nourishing, with no nasties. #FounderFriday 🌟
What are your top skincare tips when travelling?
I’ve learnt that hydration is the key to avoiding the tell-tale signs of long-haul travel and jet lag. I like to layer products to ensure minimal moisture loss and maximum nourishment.
Is the beauty industry doing enough to support sustainability?
Many brands have switched to more sustainable packaging, with materials ranging from recycled plastic, glass, wood, fabric and even seaweed pulp. Other brands are committed to planting a tree for each product sold. Nevertheless, it can be challenging for smaller brands to find more sustainable solutions, as both minimum quantities and prices are often high. For big brands, since there are a lot of stakeholders involved, it can be difficult to make changes quickly.
What products are in your must-pack beauty kit right now?
THE PACKING LOWDOWN
Travel light or over-packer?
Facial or massage?
Vacation air-dry or blow-dry?
Skincare wipes, yay or nay?
Faux tan or au naturel?
For more Beauty Haul Diaries, take a look here