Previously Fashion Features Editor at heavyweight weekend mag Sunday Times Style and known for her intuitively relatable column Wardrobe Mistress, it's no wonder Pandora Sykes has acquired a cult-like social media following. Witty, glam yet down to earth, it's also easy to see why designers and retailers are chomping at the bit for Pandora to inject her unique brand of cool into styling and consulting projects globally.
Now working freelance, starting the day right is key "Before I take my phone off airplane mode, I wash my face with Avene face wash, brush my teeth and fling open the shutters. Then I feel ready to face my messages!”. Not only is Pandora a stylist and writer of everything from travel to working conditions in the fashion industry - she co-hosts The High-Low with Dolly Alderton, a weekly podcast about the trivial and the political, the serious and the silly and everything in-between. It’s addictive (I still laugh out loud thinking about the episode that Pandora thought R. Kelly was in the Lighthouse Family).
I'm keen to know how one so busy manages to chill "I run a bath and add some Lime, Basil and Mandarin bath oil by Jo Malone; read a good book by Jami Attenburg or some of Roxanne Gay’s short stories; listen to a podcast of Woman’s Hour on Radio 4, or The Guilty Feminist podcast and burn Feu de Bois by Diptyque”. A native Londoner, Pandora also knows where to get her foodie fix "For breakfast it would be sweetcorn fritters at Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove. For lunch I love gyoza from Borough market in London Bridge and for dinner I would have to have a stack of ribs from The Hillgate or chorizo hash at The Shed, in Notting Hill". And what about beauty? “ I might fling on a sheet mask, if someone’s given me one!”. Tbh, she doesn’t need much else.
Recently the jade roller has been popping up all over social, being used to de-puff, tighten and tone the faces of beauty fans all over the world. With so many benefits I just knew I had to get in on the action - testing it out for myself and eventually sourcing to sell with DISCIPLE oils - face rollers are excellent for massaging in your fave face oil. It turns out that these little face tools can be found all over the internet - from eBay for as little as £2.99 to top end beauty boutiques for closer to £100. And so I begin my investigation - they're all made in China of course, where jade is prized for its decorative as well as ritualistic and energetic properties. The jade mines in China are government owned and popularity for this precious stone means that mines are depleted and good quality green jade just isn't as available as it once was. Plus they keep the good stuff for themselves (understandable).
So how can jade rollers be selling on eBay for less than a fiver? After lots of emails to suppliers, mines and jade traders I managed to have a phone conversation which kind of confirmed my fears - he told me that when the jade carvers are filling orders for outside of China, they are using marble, not jade. Dyed marble.
I'm not writing this to call anyone out - I am pretty sure most people aren't aware that they selling or buying fake jade. But I do think it's important to know what we are buying. These marble rollers can be bought for as little as 30p wholesale. I am also not saying that all rollers available in the west are fake - you can tell that the quality of some of the more expensive rollers is very high and the jade is beautiful quality. Plus - who says that marble can't have a cooling and de-puffing affect on the skin? Maybe there is even a bit of placebo factor when it comes to our enjoyment of using this bit of beauty kit. But it also kind of makes sense - beautiful genuine jade jewellery isn't cheap.
Once you know, you'll probably be able to tell whether your jade roller is fake or not. There is quite a lot available on the internet about how to spot fake jade too - if you want to go there. It seems that spending a bit more might be the best way to ensure that you are actually getting jade - with its lovely trace minerals not to mention all that Qi energy, if that's your thing.
There is so much grey area in the beauty industry - particularly in the natural beauty arena and although things are moving towards greater transparency, dodgy stuff still goes on and personally I really want to know what I'm spending my hard earned cash on - I am pretty sure you do too.