The Power of Pampering: Herbal Self-Care for Asylum-Seeking Women


I’ll never forget my first women’s circle.
We were close enough to the beach to hear the waves lazily lapping at the shore, and to feel the occasional cool sea breeze, bringing with it welcome relief from the blazing Mediterranean sun. The coastline was utterly idyllic, azure blue waters and rocky beaches with large flat rocks that were perfect for basking on under the late summer sun.
Not far away was the island’s refugee camp. This camp was a cluster of repurposed (not fit for purpose) shipping containers in the grounds of a disused mental asylum, with an overbearing barbed wire fence stretched around the perimeter. It was difficult to wrap my head around how this beautiful shoreline and concrete prison coexisted.
Sat with a group of refugees and volunteers as a practitioner led the circle, I wasn’t prepared for the change that was about to happen in me. I’d never felt the strength of women before. I didn’t know we could be powerful and vulnerable, soft and strong. I didn’t know it was possible to feel so safe, seen and heard.
The experience cracked me open, and healed me too. From that moment on, I knew I would find ways to support refugee and asylum-seeking women in feeling safe, seen and heard.

While the world is in lockdown and volunteering isn’t possible for me, it seemed logical to use my skills as an organic skincare formulator to put together care packages that I could post to asylum-seeking women around the UK.

 Mila’s Apothecary products are centred on simple nourishing rituals that reconnect us back to ourselves. Many of us live our daily lives disconnected from our bodies this is extremely common with those who have experienced trauma.

herbal skincare, soap and herbal tea package for women refugees

Massaging a silky facial oil or herbal body butter into our skin, for example, brings us back to ourselves and the present moment in time, allowing us to feel grounded and calm, and to not be constantly flitting between fight or flight.

Engaging with our bodies in this way helps us to feel less stressed, and for me, it reminds my brain (which likes telling me otherwise) that I am worthy of self-love and care.
I truly believe in the power of pampering.  By sending these herbal care packages to women currently struggling with the asylum-seeking process, I am showing them that they are special, deserving of love and care. Every woman should be allowed to feel like that.
Thanks to the kindness of my customers for supporting this project, I am currently putting together packages for 12 women, 4 of them with babies. Every time there is a shop restock, I enable tips at checkout which my customers have the option of donating to. I hope to continue this project indefinitely, as long as the need and interest is there. Products will vary with the seasons, and will include things like calming and immune-supportive teas, soothing creams, body oils, soaps etc. 

Happy International Women’s Day.


 Mila x

rose, cardamom and vanilla grounding body butters

If you would like to donate towards these care packages, please feel free to make a payment through PayPal to, making sure you write the word “donation”.
Below are several grassroots organisations who are dedicated to supporting asylum-seeking women and refugees:


Leave a comment