A story born of beauty

Our story is as fascinating as the story of Cleopatra and her famous beauty baths, soaking in a bathtub of donkey milk. Naturally our story ends up intertwining with hers.

The feminine world has always been a mystery to men. And when it comes to beauty and its’ rituals, even more so. In 2005 one of our partners, Filipe Carvalho, read an article about Cleopatra and her rituals; the queen of beauty would bathe in the milk of 300 donkeys. Curious about the benefits of this milk and how it rejuvenises and refreshes the skin, he decided to research the topic further; and that is how it all began.

His research would unravel into a long and well-supported piece of scientific research that would lead him to find our first Mirandesa breed donkey – Bolacha.

From the outset we could see how sensitive Bolacha’s maternal instinct was, and it became clear that the well-being of her foal had to come first. Thus, in the for the first few months all of Bolacha’s milk would go to her foal, later, only a tiny amount would be milked. A balance that is respected to this day, milking is about sharing here at Herdade das Faias, it’s engrained in our roots.

The discovery of a unique and exclusive formula

A happy donkey provides the best milk, and so, it wasn’t long before we could witness the richness of this noble and rare milk with its restorative and refreshing properties.
We also quickly discovered that artisanally creating cosmetics with fresh milk wouldn’t guarantee the efficacy of all its’ properties. So we set out to find a formula that would help us stabilise and preserve all of the milk’s natural qualities.

A few more years of studies were needed, but thanks to our partnership with the Escola Superior Agrária de Coimbra, Nova University, Instituto de Biotecnologia and the Faculdade de Farmácia we found the formula. It is all about a mechanical process where the milk is collected, frozen and then and then freeze-dried in a unique manner that transforms it into a powder, as this keeps the milk’s initial properties intact.

The guarantee of proven efficacy

The discovery of a unique formula that keeps the milk’s natural properties intact led to the creation of our first products and our first independent lab tests, led by internationally certified laboratories: Phd Trials. (View efficacy tests)

The results couldn’t be any more surprising: 41% hydration from our soap, compared to 25% for the existing market leader. Powdered donkey milk allows us to increase the concentration of our product in cosmetics, which increases their efficacy.

The next step was to aromatise our products. And so we enlisted the help of Lourenço Lucena an accredited perfumer and the only Portuguese perfumer to be accredited by the French Society of Perfumers.

The fragrance completed the main ingredient, donkey milk, with natural waxes, vitamin E, jojoba oil and shea butter it translates itself into a delicate aroma that doesn’t superimpose itself over a lady’s perfume.

And thus, Phillipe by Almada was born. From Monte das Faias to the world, Phillipe by Almada produces a range of dermo cosmetics that is a true elixir of youth for the skin.

A day on the farm

Bolacha our first resident here at Herdade das Faias, was joined by Papoila, Erva, Briosa, Cerveja, Alfazema, Achada and Bolota…several happy donkeys and an even happier stud: Trovisco, our guarantee of production and the preservation of their species.

Currently around 50 donkeys who dictate their own rituals, live here at Faias. The day starts at 6am with a stroll through the fields and at 12.30 on the dot they come in to be milked, their biological clock never fails.

Naturally, the donkeys make their own way to the milking room and they “knock on the door” if Zé António, the keeper, is late. Then they each take their spots; they know their spot well and there’s no swapping round. They’re set in their ways!

After being milked they return to the fields and only come back to the milking room at 6.30pm so that they can then meet up with their foals in the fields.

And so our days go calmly by, at Herdade das Faias...