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Provenance - Suavina

I know. We’re so shallow. We were completely seduced by the packaging of our latest Beauty and Grooming acquisition that we almost overlooked what absolutely brilliant products they are.

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What is Dermo-Suavina?

Dermo-Suavina started life in 1880 in Villarreal near Valencia, with the only slightly less catchy name of Unguent de Vila-Real. This area in Spain is known for its agriculture, particularly citrus fruit growing. Local pharmacist Vicente Calduch Solsona formulated a salve to heal the cracked lips of the farmers and agricultural workers exposed to the unforgiving weather of this area of the Mediterranean coast. With a formulation of 100% natural essential oils and a citrus and menthol aroma, the unguent became an instant local success

The Suavina display instore at The Hambledon
Suavina advertising celebrating the brand's formation in 1880

From Local to International

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Vicente Sr. had four sons. Vicente’s four sons were each pharmacists. Vicente’s four sons each opened their own pharmacies around the province of Castellon. Vicente’s four sons’ pharmacies contributed to growing sales of the unguent. By 1916 the family had opened a laboratory for manufacture and had rebranded the lip balm as Dermo Suavina. Fun fact: by 1923 one of the sons, Jose Calduch Almela, had gained such a degree of prominence in the local community that he became the founding president of Villarreal CF (currently 14th in La Liga since you’re asking). Dermo Suavina is now sold in both chemists and pharmacists and all sorts of other stores internationally.

The founder of Suavina Vicente Calduch Solsona
Workers at one of the family pharmacies

L: Vicente Calduch Solsona created his “Ungüent de Vila-real” in 1880

R: 1909 Vicente Calduch Almela opened his pharmacy in Castellón

Vicente Calduch Almela at his pharmacy in Castellon

What are the Products?

Even if you are not farming on the Mediterranean coast you may well have need of a lip salve. This is obviously super effective to protect dry lips but is also great as a lip primer before makeup. In these times you are probably washing your hands a little more than usual. Laboratories Calduch make a cute bar soap: enriched with monoi, macadamia and olive oils as natural emollients; myrrh extract which acts as a skin purifier and rosemary extract, both soothing and anti inflammatory. You will also need some hand lotion to follow up your frequent washing routine. The Calduch family also have a hand cream. The formulation uses shea butter with all manner of natural oils and echinacea extract for healing.

The evolution of Suavina Lip Balm tubs over the decades

Design

Until 1940 Dermo Suavina was sold in small wooden pots. In 1940 a metal pot was introduced. In 1965 the iconic plastic container was introduced. in 2016 Lavernia & Cienfuegos (a Spanish design outfit based in Valencia) reworked the original company graphics, modernising the packaging whilst acknowledging the history of the company. L&C explain their approach to the brief:


‘The packaging design of the lip cream container is a redesign, a updated version of the container they have
been using for many years. The surface has been curved and the edges have been rounded to bring the
smoothness effect that this type of product requires. The lid shows the brand, which was redesigned from the
original brand. It also includes the word “dermo”, and the date of foundation of the brand: 1880. The design
solution itself seeks to convey both tradition and modernity through elements such a classic typographic
composition, Sans Serif fonts, and debossed letters.’

What Shall I Have?

Take any one or all three. They work. And they smell delicious.

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Suavina Original Soap 60ml £6

Suavina Original Hand Cream 40ml £9

Suavina Original Lip Balm Jar 10ml £4