The Price of Beauty

The Price of Beauty: is your product worth the price tag?

The real beauty in this world costs nothing. Love, a smile, a hug, a compliment, our time –they don’t cost, and yet their value is priceless. But what about the beauty you pay for? Is the price justifiable and what exactly are you getting?

I am going to reveal some industry secrets so you can understand what is in your product and whether it’s worth the price you pay!

To comply with cosmetic standards, ingredients must be listed in descending order, starting with the largest percentage down to the smallest, in a universal language known as INCI (international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients). Any ingredient below 1% can be listed in any order. Active ingredients are usually at the end of the list, as smaller percentages are needed, followed by essential oils and their allergens. Watch out as some preservatives can actually be listed simply as ‘perfume’ or ‘fragrance’- hiding a multitude of chemicals!

The majority of your product will be the first half of the ingredients, with the bulk being the first 3 (depending on how long that list is!) and often only the first one, with others appearing purely for a label claim.

Although beautiful, some oils are more abundant than others and therefore cheaper (think safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, orange, lemon), whilst other ingredients are less abundant and more costly to produce (think rosehip, argan, prickly pear, jojoba, rose, frankincense, neroli, jasmine).

The price of beauty | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai

If your ingredients start with the more expensive botanicals and end with some of the more expensive essential oils, listing also some extracts, antioxidants or vitamins, then it’s worth paying a premium, however if your ingredients are mostly the more abundant botanicals and cheaper essential oils, then the price should also reflect this. 


Is YOUR Face Oil Fresh?

HOW TO tell if your face oil is fresh

Oxidized face oils are definitely not something you want to apply on your skin, as they are full of free radicals that damage the skin causing premature ageing!

Face oils are generally more expensive than face creams because they do not contain any water and with a higher percentage of plant ingredients, they achieve more rapid results. However, formulating face oils that are both highly effective and remain stable requires a level of science.

The best way to ensure your face oil is fresh is to use your senses…

  • Aroma
    Fresh oils have a smooth and earthy scent on the nose. If your face oil smells pungent, it’s probably bad!
  • Color
    Oxidized oils lack color. Fresh organic oils have a depth of color resembling the plant they stem from, for example avocado is a lovely green color, argan is sunshine yellow and rosehip a deep orange If your oil is colorless, it’s probably rancid.


Is your Face Oil Fresh | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai

HOW WE keep our face oils fresh

After buying our oils we add natural vitamin E from sunflower oil and high percentages of potent antioxidants to prolong the shelf life, keeping them fresher for longer.

We add only CO2 botanical extracts because they are pure and gentle without the use of oxygen, heat or solvents in their extraction.

We store our oils in dark glass to protect against sunlight, preventing oxidation and further prolong the shelf life.

Is your Face Oil Fresh | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care DubaiHOW YOU can keep your face oil fresh

 Use your oil within 6 months of opening. Store your face oil in the fridge or in a cool dark place out of direct sunlight. Do not allow water to enter. Replace the lid after each use and always use clean hands. Never shake your face oil.

Shirley Conlon
interviewed in
CP Magazine, July 2017

Shirley Conlon

Interviewed by Edna Trogen for CP Magazine

Shirley Conlon, founder and owner of Shirley Conlon Organics, was born into an Irish family and influenced by her studies in the UK and Australia. Shirley has developed a special range of organic skincare that is perfect for hotter climates.

With your roots in the UK and Ireland how did you end up in Dubai?

I followed love to Dubai. My husband was opening offices in Dubai and Shanghai. We decided on Dubai over Shanghai as I had been coming to this part of the world since I was a child (my sister is married to a national). I absolutely love living in Dubai.

CP Magazine Intervew Family 2 | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai

Being a busy business woman and a married woman with children, do you get time for yourself to go to a spa or gym?

I include my kids in everything I do. We do Cosmic Kids Yoga and meditation together which often ends in fits of giggles. For spa time, I call home services and we enjoy that as a family. Living in Dubai makes it all so easy

How did you begin your journey with skincare?

I trained as a beauty therapist and particularly loved the facial side of things.
Whilst working as a freelance facialist in London, I was offered a job with a distribution company in Italy where I was responsible for brand placement and staff training on luxury high-end niche products throughout the north of Europe. This was when I became more curious about the ingredients side of things.

What is your background? Have you always worked in the skincare industry?

Most of my life has been around skincare but I also worked in real estate in Chelsea, London for five years whilst freelancing as a facialist. It was through this that I got my job offer in Italy with the skincare company.

CP Magazine Intervew Family 1 | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai

What inspires you and why?

I am very inspired by nature and by my family. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful large family with a countryside upbringing. I really appreciate nature and believe it holds the key to most of today’s ailments. My family is very hard working and inspires me a lot.

What are the key ingredients of your formulas?

Love and passion! I believe in being passionate about everything I do. If the passion and energy are not there, the results will not come. On a scientific basis we use only certified organic food grade ingredients from nature and we have a no -tolerance policy on harmful chemicals. This is the essence of who we are.

0f all your products, if you would need to choose one, what would it be? Which one is your bestseller?

I personally love the Hydrating Serum with Argan, pumpkin, q10 and Omani frankincense. It’s so hydrating and I’m fascinated by the medicinal benefits behind this fabulous essential oil found only in Oman. Our Rosehip Oil (nicknamed Botox in a bottle) is our best seller and has been voted ‘best beauty buy’ by several magazines in Dubai. I love the way this transforms and repairs sun exposed skin.

CP Magazine Intervew Shirley 2 | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai How is Dubai, in terms of having your own lab and developing your own brand? Have you found any difficulties in the process?

Dubai has very stringent rules and regulations on manufacturing and they expect anything that states ‘made in Dubai’ to be over and above exceptional. In order for a product to say organic, I needed to present all documentation and certifications. We are GMP approved and ISO accredited and our lab is inspected by Dubai Municipality on a regular basis.

How is it to combine family life and work in the Middle East?

Finding balance is not always easy when working for yourself but I try to keep a healthy balance between family and work. We always make time for date nights and we have a family tradition on Thursday evenings where no technology is allowed – only board games and stories.

Do you teach your kids how to take care of their skin from a young age?

Absolutely! They are both aware of good habits in skincare and diet. They are very curious about the effects ingredients have on both the skin and the environment. My kids love massages and facials and love to experiment with ingredients. My eldest daughter makes fabulous deodorants, lip scrubs and bath bombs.

How are you with social media? Are you active on Facebook and Instagram with your brand?

Yes we are active on both platforms and try to keep things interesting for our audience. However, I must admit, I am old-school and prefer direct contact and conversation than spend time on technology.

CP Magazine Intervew Shirley 1 | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai

I read on your page of organic skincare that you started your journey with a simplistic line of pure ingredients. Could you tell us about a simple routine of yours? Any advice or tips to keep in mind?

Purity is key; the higher quality the ingredients, the better the results will be. We use only cold pressed certified organic botanicals in our products.
It’s about keeping a simple routine. In the evening I cleanse with Olive and Castor Bean Cleansing Milk and finish with Rosewater and Aloe Toner followed by a Serum (either Rosehip or Hydrating). I don’t like to wear creams at night as they disrupt the skins natural detox process. The skin cannot eliminate toxins if there is a cream applied but our bodies naturally accept oils as they are more like our own sebum. An eye cream is also very important at night and I am loving our new Eye and Lip Cream.
A gentle cleanse in the morning followed by Fountain of Youth Face Cream and sometimes a little make-up. My hat is my sunscreen and I aim to take sunshine everyday as my skin and soul feel fabulous afterwards. I believe we need sensible sun exposure to maintain healthy glowing skin.

Your skincare is available in some salons in Dubai. Where can we find them in Kuwait? Can we buy them on the internet?

For the moment we are focusing on our online presence and finalizing our new website where we offer worldwide shipping. A good distribution channel is our next journey and we are looking for some good collaboration worldwide.

What are your plans for this summer? Where do you go to get away from the heat in Dubai?

I have already escaped the heat and am currently buried deep in the Irish countryside. It’s all about fresh air and long walks. For me it’s a paradise and I want my children to experience the simplicity of Irish life, the green, the music, the hospitality – and the rain!
We will spend some of the summer in our home in beautiful Venice, my husband’s hometown.


This article originally appeared in CP Magazine, July 2017


















Our 5 Tips for Healthy Skin

A good beauty routine does not have to cost the earth, not financially nor ethically! Organic plant ingredients effectively nourish the skin much better than their chemical counterparts, keeping you and the world around you, Beautiful!

Who said beauty is only skin deep? Stay beautiful to your core…

Hydrate from the Inside | Shirley Conlon Organics | Organics Skin Care Dubai


Drinking plenty of water is not only necessary for health but compulsory for healthy skin. How much is enough? I believe this differs from person to person depending lifestyle, diet and environment. Begin with 5 glasses, and listen to your body, it will let you know when it needs more.

If like me, you find water boring, get creative and spice it up with some herbs, fruits and vegetables. A few of my favorites are: lemon, mint & basil, lime & thyme, orange and rosemary, apple and cinnamon, lavender and berries or a dash of rosewater. And don’t forget to invest in a good filter and eliminate plastic from your life.


The best gift you can give to your skin is a “double cleanse” every evening. Choose a gentle cleanser like our Olive and Castor Bean Cleansing Milk followed by a toner to remove any remaining impurities. Take 2 minutes to massage a good serum like our signature Rosehip Oil into the skin, preferably lying down with your eyes closed – come on it takes less than 5 minutes total!


The essential nutrients found in colorful food feed into your skin and I believe these are best eaten whole and raw – sorry to all the juicers out there. I love my juices too, but whole foods are whole foods.


Laughter is the best medicine you can give to yourself and to those around you and it costs nothing! A smile can light up a room and instantly transform your own beauty, and in turn the karma behind a smile shows on your skin and soul. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder!


Time is the most precious gift you can give yourself. Make some guilt-free time for you to re-connect – no excuse! Treat yourself to a massage, a nice facial, a Moroccan bath, a yoga session, or my favorite of all… some meditation, a candle lit bath followed by a nice body oil, an afternoon nap, or just a sunshine stroll, but not a phone in sight.

I hope you try and enjoy some of our beauty tips. Wishing our beautiful customers a nice weekend…










Serums, Oils, Moisturisers
What’s the Difference?

Bamboozled and confused by what sort of hydration you should be using on your skin?

You’re not alone.

It’s estimated that over a whopping 7 billion toxins accumulate from within the skin, impairing its ability to maintain radiance and rejuvenate itself. Your skin needs protection from external influences, too – pollution, toxins, free radicals and the weather – as well as help to counteract the effects of ageing.

The combination of an oil, elixir, serum and moisturiser is ideal. These products are designed to work in conjunction with each other, providing maximum hydration and protection for the skin.


The primary difference is that serums, elixirs and oils are able to penetrate the skin on a deeper level, whereas a moisturiser locks in hydration and protects the surface of the skin, enhancing the overall effects and benefits of the oil or serum.

The basic premise is that the layering effect will ultimately assist with balancing and hydrating the skin. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about when or in what order to apply them. Rather, it’s a matter of trialling what works best for you and your skin. It can also be dependent on climate and other extrinsic conditions.


antioxidant facial oil

An oil is an oil and technically not a serum. Confusingly, it’s become a misnomer in the skincare industry to call an oil a serum.

A face oil adds hydration and nutrition. It should consist of a blend or synergy of potent and active oils high in essential fatty acids or omegas, otherwise known as EFA’s. Because our bodies don’t manufacture EFA’s, we need to apply them both topically and we also need to ingest them. EFA’s also contain vitamins and minerals that feed and nurture the skin.

Oils have a natural affinity with our skin’s cutaneous lipids. They work down to the base of the epidermis, which allows them to be rapidly absorbed. Facial oils may also consist of essential oils that work together to functionally to create optimal results.

Essential oils alone can contain hundreds of different molecules. The benefit of the inclusion of essential oils in a formula is that they work on a physiological and psychological level. They can calm, uplift and/or sedate the body, mind and senses.

Only two to three drops of an oil are needed. Oils can sometimes invoke fear of breakout for those with oily skin, but the opposite is true. They actually assist with balancing the skin. The most wonderful thing about oils is that they penetrate quickly and don’t contain heavier waxes and emulsifiers that can sit on top of the skin and clog pores.

If you have oily skin, a bi-weekly application assists with keeping those deeper layers of skin hydrated and plump.

If you suffer from eczema or rosacea, you may benefit greatly from a gentle face oil layered with a moisturiser to help strengthen and protect the external layer, as well.

How to apply:

I recommend using an oil after cleansing and applying to damp skin that has been lightly spritzed. This assists with penetration, as the skin requires both water and oil. I then follow with a serum and a moisturiser.

The main thing to remember with layering is to allow each layer to penetrate before applying the next. I like to apply oil at night and also during the day when I’m in colder climates. You only need a few drops and it’s best to press gently onto the face, neck and décolletage with the fingertips.



I like to think of serums  as ‘repair’ products that have a multi-functional effect that targets more than one concern. Most facial serums are water-based, containing vitamins, antioxidants, peptides and other specialised ingredients.

They’re formulated with smaller molecules that are able to penetrate further into the skin, making them extremely effective.

The beauty of a serum is that most of the fluid is eliminated, so what you’re left with is a high concentration of active ingredients. They’re the worker bees of any skincare line. Because the active ingredients are more expensive than water and thickeners, serums are also the most expensive product.

How to apply:

After cleansing, toning and applying a light oil, a serum should be applied over the entire face, neck and décolletage. Gently press on with the fingertips. It’s best to allow it to penetrate for a few minutes prior to applying a moisturiser.

Because serums are super potent, more is not always better. Be careful before piling it on. Powerful ingredients can irritate sensitive skin. Always patch-test accordingly.



Moisturisers are a combination of oil and water. They’ll contain some sort of wax, emulsifier or both to bind them and create stability. Because of this, the molecular structure is larger, so they only penetrate the upper layers of the skin, which seals and locks in moisture and nutrients.

In winter months, it’s best to incorporate extra hydration, as the skin is exposed to extremes in temperature and has to constantly adapt from cold to warm environments.

How to apply:

After cleansing and applying a toner, oil and serum, the final layer is the moisturiser. Gently glide the product across your forehead, cheeks, chin, and give yourself a massage, pressing it into your skin. Bring the product down onto your neck, and the area of skin below your collarbone, even down to your chest.