Alli Sim handcrafts artisanal home spa goods under her own label, Mmerci Encore. We find out what inspires this modern-day aromatherapist.
What kind of traveller are you?
I’m a list maker, but that’s as far as it goes with planning for me.
I have a Smythson that reads as one giant wishlist of all the places I’d like to travel to – from the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye in Scotland to the markets of Marrakech – so I always feel like there’s a bit of my heart off wandering somewhere even if I’m at home.
Whenever I travel to a place, I try to do as much research as possible and then wing it on the ground. I’m in Paris a lot for work, and always carry a black Moleskine filled with contacts of good restaurants, drivers, cool stores. I’ve always thought it romantic to carry a passport around with you for impulsive moments of wanderlust.
You have a line of beautiful aromatherapy goods. What are some ingredients you've found on your travels that you've used in your creations?
Beeswax from a farm up in Queensland, Australia which I use to make handpoured pure beeswax candles. Beeswax burns clean, unlike paraffin wax, and is well tolerated by asthmatics like myself.
Hinoki wood oil from Japan – I burn this clean to help de-stress and get grounded after a long day.
Lavender flowers from a farm in Victoria which I add to our bath preparations.
What are some wellness places around the world that you love?
I love the herboristories in Paris but I get a thrill from discovering the spa and beauty rituals of the different cultures that I get to experience. One of the most memorable was a koh-do or incense ceremony in Tokyo. We sat and really appreciated the different nuances that came from the different burning pieces of ancient wood. I also loved walking the spice markets and hammams of Istanbul.
What are some of your must do's when you travel?
Check out the local handmade scene there. I love all the cool small batch beauty brands out of Brooklyn – I love checking out the local candle-makers and herbalists. We’re kindred.
Visit independent cafes, but not just for the coffee. I love décor and interior design of coffee shops especially.
Find an old school photobooth (le photomaton!) and take a picture with someone special to you. My partner and I take black & white photobooth shots in every city we go to – it’s a thing.
Take a class. Whether it’s perfumery or being walked through a certain exhibit by a docent, I love learning new things.
Here’s an unsexy tip: split your cash and cards. I once had my life stolen from under my feet as I ate breakfast – my passport, iPad, all my cash and toiletries were snatched from my chair and I spent the next two days in and out of the Australian embassy in Paris.
What are your travel essentials?
Smythsons and Moleskines – journals to dream and plan in.
Things that remind me of home: my pet rocks (quartz crystal, moonstone, pyrite) and a picture of my partner.
Lavender essential oil, which is the Swiss army knife of aromatherapy oils. It’s antibacterial, helps you relax thanks to a few drops on your pillow or in the bath, speeds up healing on burns or cuts.
A cashmere scarf by Hermès – I like to buy them from the men’s department where you can find timeless colours like khaki and navy. They match with almost everything, are super lightweight and yet incredibly warm and cosy.
What is your travel beauty routine?
My desert island non-negotiables are a good cleanser, moisturiser, oil-based serum and SPF. I usually carry a goodie bag of samples and travel size products when I’m on the road.
I’m never without a facial mask – I love Skin Inc’s Pure Deepsea Hydrating mask. Singapore may be humid but the air especially in-flight can be really dry. For this reason, I’m also never without the Invigorating Facial Mist and Luxe Gloss Body Serum, both by Mmerci Encore. I hate dry, scaly, itchy skin especially when the weather is cold and the best remedy for that is to keep it really hydrated and comforted.
I love visiting the different drugstores and stocking up on local products – I go especially crazy with cult beauty finds in Tokyo, New York and Paris. My partner jokes that I should buy shares in Duane Reade!
Love this? Follow Alli as she jaunts through Paris.
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