Geneva’s airport is built so that its visitors are in gentle unison: the departee and arrived, the yin and yang of journey. It’s a soothing notion, though an impossible concept in London, I think to myself as I swivel my overnight luggage past a queue of businessmen expertly fishing out wallets and keys from various nooks at security control. We’re headed to breakfast with Yilin, founder of W=Hb2 in Lausanne: a hop, skip and a manual transmission rental away. The woman at the Europcar desk asks whether we will be crossing the
Swiss border at any time during our rental period, and all three of us simultaneously shake our heads grunting out a long ‘noo’. Our destination is but two hours away, and the route allows us to skim Lac (lake) Lausanne to the right My eyes are on the road (one hand in a pack of Pret’s yoghurt glazed cranberries), but Simon is engrossed in updating the car of the unfolding scenery in an array of noises from the back seat. To be fair, this is quite unlike our usual route to work on the Overground.
Workout top – Nike. Cashmere joggers – Movers & Cashmere
“W is Tungsten, right…?” I rack my brains for a shoddy GCSE memorisation of the period table and Yilin giggles over her green tea. She’s a Chinese-born biochemist of Imperial London background, and I’m not helping myself by trying to figure out what W=Hb2 stands for. The Power Duo Face Serum stands between us in gleaming rose-gold and frosted body, with two adjacent pumps in the shape of yin & yang symbol. “Wellness = Health x Beauty squared”, she says (ahhhhh), which targets inner health (H) and external radiance (b) charged with good energy, or chi in Chinese. And the optimal balance: or La formulae secrete.
The science backs this up, as Phase I (left pump) is composed of the resilience of the Alpine Rose (PhytoCellTec), Tri-peptide and Probiotic Bacterium, which kick-start the regime with an anti-ageing layer – light and refreshing to the touch. Phase II (right pump) cloaks the skin with anti-pollution and brightening ingredients such as Niacinamide and raspberry cultured stem sells.
Two separate rose-goldpumps aform the yin and yang symbol
The brand is decidedly Swiss in science, “it’s in the water, the nature, the Alps”. Yilin, a warrior in her own right (could easily pass for royalty in the Qing dynasty), who notes that Chinese greens is her favourite food but heartily orders a Full English at breakfast, wants to change the landscape with this new player in the market. It’s almost philanthropic, a call for conscious beauty rituals of sorts, a yang to the existing yin.
The GPS re-routes us to a diversion that avoids the rush traffic back to Geneva and we find ourselves in the depth of the Swiss Alps, the air getting crisper by every hairpin bend. By dusk our balance was restored, our little stint with Yilin in Switzerland had offset the hubbub of stale routine in London. We cross the border into France twice as we navigate back into the city and decide not to tell the rental car company about it.