I was walking down St. James's Street near Green Park one sunny autumn afternoon when something adorable caught my eye. Basting in the warm glow of the sun, it was a shop selling vintage-style skincare products for women and men.
D.R. Harris & Co., chemists & perfumers, established in 1790.
How I'd managed to miss this historic place in the past, I don't know. But it would be inexcusable not to check it out now that I'd "discovered" the existence of a 220-year-old brand.
It also has a sizable own brand product line, and they're on full display by the entrance, welcoming you with their sweet, floral scent. The simply packaged products look similar to other heritage apothecary lines such as C.O. Bigelow (1838) and Kiehl's (1851) in the U.S. As for the price, D.R. Harris sits comfortably in between its American counterparts.
According to Alison, the friendly managing director, the Almond Oil Skinfood cream is one of their oldest and best-selling items. It has a subtle, sweet smell and feels nourishing on the skin. It's also an all-purpose super cream that can be used as everything from "a night treatment to massage cream to hand lotion," says its box. Sounds as magical as the Egyptian Magic cream that's in vogue now.
I was fascinated by the abundance of men's products on the shelf. Who says metrosexuality is a modern invention? D.R. Harris has been making skincare products and fancy soft bristle shaving brushes for the less fair sex for centuries, and today the brand still has a loyal - and royal - following.
If it's good enough for Prince Charles, it's good enough for me.