In a world where hundreds of beauty products are released each month, few creams manage to hang onto the shelves for more than a few years. Pommade Divine has been around for more than 300. And it’s still going strong. Now, that’s an amazing feat!
Pommades, waxy salves made with animals fats (like lanolin), herbs and essential oils, date back to the Middle Ages. Monks made them (hence why they were called “divine”) to treat all kinds of bruises and wounds.
Their popularity soon spread all over Europe. Over the centuries, every pharmacist created its own version, competing against one another for customers. The winner was Butler & Co. Their Pommade Divine was made with ingredients from the Far East, including cinnamon, benzoin, nutmeg, clove, and stirax. Even Queen Victoria was a fan.
Soon, Pommade Divine became a staple in every British household. Until the late 1980s, when the company that made it, axed it. When Diana Heimann, former Vogue editor, heard the news, she was distraught. To please, her husband David did what any decent husband would do: he bought the brand (if that’s not love, I don’t know what is)!
Thanks to them, and Ania Macadam, who’s now leading the brand, we can still enjoy the little pot of awesomeness that is Pommade Divine. Well done, ladies (and David)!
A Multi-Tasking Balm
Pommade Divine is a versatile balm that cures many ills. It treats dry skin, chapped lips, rough heels, rashes, bruises, itches, insects burns, cracked nipples, blisters, and even stretch marks.
Ok, it did not have much of an effect on my stretch marks, but I can vouch for everything else. Super moisturizing and soothing, Pommade Divine helps calm down irritated skin and hydrate dry and cracked patches, getting them back into top shape.
My favourite use is as hand cream. The cold winter weather is trying its hardest to crack my hands up and ruin them. Just a touch of Pommade Divine helps restore all the moisture the harsh temperatures have stolen from them, keeping them soft and healthy.
I also reach for Pommade Divine when my lips are particularly dry and sore (taking all those lip swatches doesn’t do them any favours). The thinnest layer is enough to soothe them, and keep them soft for hours. I’d use it a lot more often, if it only tasted better. The herbal flavour is not horrible, just not as delicious as vanilla or cherry.
What makes Pommade Divine work so well?
The secret of Pommade Divine? A blend of lanolin and shea butter. Alone, they are both excellent moisturizers. Used together, they turn any moisturizing cream into a godsend for dry, damaged skin.
Lanolin is derived from the sebaceous glands of sheep. It’s what protects these animals from harsh winter weather, allowing them to stay out in the cold for hours without freezing (lucky them!). It works by creating a waterproof, protective barrier on the skin that prevents water loss.
But, wait, isn’t lanolin bad? Nope. When it was first used in skincare in the ’60s, it was full of pesticides and other impurities that gave people allergies. These days, before ending up in our creams and lotions, lanolin is purified. Now, unless you have very sensitive skin, lanolin is unlikely to cause any problems.
My favourite of the two, though, is shea butter. Rich in hydrating fatty acids (oleic, stearic, linoleic, palmitic, and linolenic), it too creates a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss. Studies have shown it does this better than mineral oil, which is considered the gold standards by most dermatologists. So that’s impressive stuff! Oh, and did I mention it has anti-aging properties too?
Pommade Divine is infused with a blend of exotic herbs and spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove that make it smell amazing. Far from medicinal, the herbal scent is aromatic and soothing. Every time I sniff it, it takes me back in time to a medieval garden carefully tended by monks. It’s not too strong either. It doesn’t stay too close to the skin, but neither does it enter the room before you do.
Not So Divine Texture
Even divine things aren’t perfect. The amber-coloured texture is thick and somewhat greasy (that’s lanolin’s fault). It spreads easily on the skin, but takes a couple of minutes to fully absorb. When it does, it leaves no sticky residue behind.
Jar Packaging: Good Or Bad?
The modern Pommade Divine is housed in a simple white jar with a silver lid. It’s embossed with the image of a mother gently applying the pomade on her son’s bruised knee, reinforcing the healing properties of the pommade and its value as a household staple.
Although it’s a jar, I like it. There’s not much here that will spoil when exposed to light and air, so the pommade keeps all its beneficial properties till you reach the end (or forever, as that’s when you’ll hit bottom).
Besides, there’s no way this stuff can be packaged in a tube. The thick, slightly sticky, texture simply wouldn’t come out of a tube well, no mater how much you’d squeeze it.
My only gripe is the size. Yes, it lasts for ages, but it’s too big and heavy to carry around with me. I wish it came in a smaller pot as well. That way, I could keep the big jar on my desk, and its little sister in my bag. How convenient would that be?
Lanolin, Olus Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Acacia Decurrens/Jojoba/Sunflower Seed Cera/Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Parfum (Fragrance), Styrax Benzoin Resin Extract, Liquidambar Orientalis Resin Extract, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Oil, Eugenol, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon) Leaf Oil, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (Cinnamon) Bark Oil, Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Benzyl Benzoate.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Pros: Very moisturizing and soothing, makes even the driest of skin soft and smooth for hours; Versatile, can be used to treat dry skin, cracked nipples, bruises, insect bites, chapped lips, and more; Doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind; Divine scent; Jar lasts for ages.
Cons: Herbal flavour doesn’t taste very nice; Takes a couple of minutes to fully sink into the skin; The jar is too bulky to carry around with you.
Summary: Infused with shea butter and lanolin, Pommade Divine is a versatile balm that treats and soothes dry skin, chapped lips, bruises, insects bites, and anything else you can think of. The thick texture takes a wile to sink in, but doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind. The scent is divine too (too bad the taste isn’t, though!).