The Seated Queen, Bewitching Skincare That Works Magic While You Sleep

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THE SEATED QUEEN_please credit Kim
Courtesy The Seated Queen

The Wiltshire-based brand is reviving the glamour of 1930s Hollywood with its miraculous, multitasking cold cream

  1. Who is it? The Seated Queen, a luxury skincare brand that transforms your skin while you sleep
  2. Why do I want it? Their miraculous signature cold cream works on multiple levels, tripling up as a cleanser, face mask or ultra-moisturising overnight mask. It’s also loaded with calming essential oils, to help you relax and drift off to sleep
  3. Where can I get it? Through the Seated Queen website, Content Beauty, or in-store at Harvey Nichols

Who is it? Libby and Josephine Banks grew up in the wilds of Wiltshire, among a family that had always been beauty-obsessed. “Our grandmother was really into skincare,” remembers Libby. “She used to be a hostess at Walthamstow dog track and was a very glamorous, proper cockney lady. She was always in fake tan up until her 90s, and I would always see her covered in cold cream.” Although Libby inherited this same passion for beauty, she decided to keep it as a hobby, opting instead to pursue a career as a journalist. 

But over the years, beauty followed her. Despite finding success as a journalist – her work was published in the New York Times, Vogue and on the BBC – Libby found herself repeatedly drawn into the cosmetics industry, taking on consultancy jobs and studying formulations on the side. She would also experiment with her own remedies, creating homemade skincare treatments, as well as salves for her sister’s eczema and dermatitis. “I was kind of a geek,” she admits. 

It took a trip to a luxury cosmetics store for Libby to realise that she could make beauty a full-time profession. “When we were in there, it was this attendant telling us all these things we needed to do, and almost barking orders at us,” she recalls, remembering the overwhelming list of products she was told to buy. “It felt like there was this mismatch between what brands expect you to do, and how much time you can give yourself, and reality.” After talking to her sister Josephine – who herself worked as a buyer, but was also a trained facial massage therapist – the pair decided to go into business, launching The Seated Queen in February 2020. “We wanted to create something that was about everyday luxury, but that also gave the person using the product the power to know what their skin needs. That’s what led us to cold cream.”

Why do I want it? The Seated Queen has launched with just one miraculous, multitasking cold cream (with more products on the way). “I think there is a commercial logic from skincare brands: why sell one product when you can sell 50?” says Libby. Debunking the myth that you need an arduous, multi-step bedtime routine, The Seated Queen dares you to simplify: you can use the cold cream as a cleanser, a quick facial mask, or as an ultra-indulgent overnight treatment. In the latter format is where it works the most magic, with its organic ingredient list – antioxidants, fatty acids, rosehip and argan oils, as well as vitamins A, E and C – blessing you with the illusion of a full, nourishing night of undisturbed sleep (something you may even get, given its soothing essential oil aroma). You’ll wake up looking plump, smoothed and silky, with a soft-focus glow.

For Libby, The Seated Queen was about bringing the old-school glamour of cold creams – much loved by her grandmother’s generation and silverscreen Hollywood – into a new era. “I think a lot of the older cold cream formulations were stuck in the past in terms of the ingredients,” she says. “They were using very old ideas about skincare and sitting on the skin and using waxs and minerals that aren't necessarily doing anything other than giving a sensation of softness.” By rejigging the ingredients, she was able to change its story, while also honouring its luxurious simplicity.

Where can I get it? Through the Seated Queen website, Content Beauty, or in-store at Harvey Nichols