Midnight Black Cleansing Mask
From his East London apothecary Guy Morgan makes beautiful and effective powders and potions. The pitch-dark ‘Midnight Black Cleansing Mask’ combines clay, coconut charcoal and organic white turmeric; drawing out grease and deep cleansing the face. We chatted with Hackney’s skin alchemist.
words John William
Photography Alastair Strong
What is the first beauty product you ever used?
My mother’s own recipe of cleansing grains using clay, grains, and ground herbs. She was a botanist, specifically forestry; and taught me a lot of what I know today.
Who was the first person you found beautiful?
Deborah Harry, later Jim Morrison. I guess I have a thing for jaw lines.
What led you to launch your apothecary in 2015?
I’d already been carrying on what my mother had taught me for my own personal use. I’d tried what was available from my local drug store, but as a teen with problematic skin, either nothing met my needs or they made things worse. I could do better. I started researching and expanding my knowledge of the science behind skincare and a few years later I was motivated to put to use my passion of natural skincare as well as my design background, and create something that was a complete representation of my beliefs and aesthetic.
What was your first product?
My first product was a clay mask that was exfoliating. It was more or less what I’d been using since I was a teenager, passed down from my mother. The product still lives on today as White Marble Exfoliating Mask. It’s had a few tweaks since.
You say Guy Morgan is gender neutral – what does this mean to you?
I try and keep things minimal as possible to appeal to all. A find a lot of male focused beauty brands to be ugly and condensing to the customer. I don’t like the idea of pandering or encouraging peoples insecurities. I’d rather everyone feel comfortable without needing labels.
Tell me about Hackney and Shoreditch and their influence on you?
I find Hackney’s history fascinating, particularly Hackney’s close link with botany. At one point in the Nineteenth Century Hackney housed the largest hot house in the world, under the ownership of the Loddiges. It’s where Hackney Town Hall now sits. Looking around it’s hard to believe.
Tell us about the Midnight Black Cleansing Mask.
I wanted to have a range of facemasks that each addressed a specific skin care concern. I needed one that gave a deep cleanse. That’s where I learnt of activated charcoal and its amazing absorbing capabilities. A good tip is to put a few drops of your favourite serum or facial oil on before, the mask will lock this layer in. I normally use a mask before a shower, then remove during the shower for easiest clean up.
For our last issue the theme was vanity… what does vanity mean to you?
I see vanity as a healthy interest and pride in one’s appearance. An expression of self love.
Other than your own brand, do you have any beauty obsessions?
I’m a fan of Aqua di Parma Colonia and its timeless Art Deco design.