GREEN GETAWAY WEEK: Sustainable beauty spotlight WELEDA
Start mentally listing the world’s most sustainable beauty brands and Weleda, winner of The Beauty Shortlist Sustainable Beauty Brand of the Year award for 2015, will be right up there. Since Weleda’s beginnings in 1921, the brand has consistently kept sustainability and “all natural” at the heart of its brand ethics.
The power of plants is mind-blowing. Plants are behind many of the world’s most effective medicines (e.g. aspirin/willow bark) as well as the most high performance skincare about. And it’s interesting how different brands have promoted different plants and flowers as today’s new beauty heroes to a wider audience.
L’Occitane’s Immortelle range, for example, or Tisserand’s iconic Lavender range. Pai Skincare’s Rosehip Oil elevated the humble little rosehip into a modern beauty media star when it launched some years ago. Never has a single ingredient been so revered and loved in such a short time – it’s one of Pai’s best-sellers.
Then there’s MoroccanOil. The brand that made argan famous (even though there’s not a lot of argan in their formulas). If you’re an argan fan and love pure & natural, two 100% pure argan brands I’d recommend are the original British argan brand Wild Wood Groves (their argan and flower oil blends are gorgeous and founder Ruth was selling argan at Borough Market before anyone knew what argan was) …or New York brand Kahina. MoroccanOil – with their striking turquoise and orange ads splashed all over the inside and back pages of the glossies so many years ago now! – opened the door for the Moroccan argan producers. It kick-started a whole new argan-based beauty industry around on a global scale.
Little plastic hand-labelled argan bottles shot off the shelves of the Berber women’s co-ops in south-western Morocco and landed, repackaged in glossy hair-glossing bottles on UK beauty retailer shelves almost overnight – or so it felt.
New for summer, Weleda’s Arnica Sports Shower Gel (arnica is an anti-inflammatory) £7.95
Swiss, German and Austrian brands and consumers have long believed in the power of plants – it’s part of their mountain-living heritage (and, like the Berbers in Morocco, they use the plants they need for coughs, inflammation, whatever…right on their doorstep).
Weleda are passionate about preserving the inherent energy, if you like, and potent health-giving properties of the plants that fortify their products:
“Natural isn’t enough for us, our ingredients have to be effective too. They have to work with your body’s own ability to heal, restore well- being and impart radiance. So to ensure our ingredients maintain their innate potency, we harvest them quickly, then process them as little as possible, taking excellent care of them along the way”.
Weleda has co-existed for 91 years now in harmony with nature and the human being: for the brand, this means among other things sourcing its raw materials in an environmentally conscious manner, biodynamic cultivation, fair trade and targeted employee development.
Weleda’s huge biodynamic garden estate in Germany is famous, but a lot goes on its UK garden “HQ” in Derbyshire, too.
There, they grow over 300 plant species, farming 15 acres organically – and what they grow goes straight into their beauty products. They use biodynamic Demeter-accredited methods – which are stringent – the man behind Weleda, Rudolf Steiner, was a tour de force in the organic, healing world and his lectures in 1924 in a way kicked off the whole organic movement before anyone had ever heard of it!
Weleda’s summer travel companions, a “best of” edit in mini sizes at the beautifully mini price of £14.95
Includes Weleda’s catwalk favourite and handbag essential, Skin Food
“Nature, not (wo)man, is the most magical force in life
and nature is a willing teacher if we’re willing to learn from her”
– The Beauty Shortlist
Dr. Steiner believed each farm is a self-sustaining organism. When the soil is “alive”, balanced and healthy, it gives life to healthy plants. So composting, fertilization and pest control were achieved using natural farm resources – chemicals or growth hormones were strictly forbidden! Farmers were urged to study the natural rhythms of the sun, moon and planets to provide guidance on planting, crop rotation and harvesting.
In a fast-changing world, beauty brands like Weleda (and retailers like John Lewis, which for many of us feels like a safe haven while the world whirls around us). These brands “hold the space for us”, they’re dependable and ethical.
So next time we’re (all) in a store deciding between two “equal” but different beauty products – one by a brand like Weleda, for example, that gives back OR one by a brand that simply markets itself with profits in mind, that’s when we just need a gentle reminder that Mother Nature makes the best beauty our money can buy.
When we buy from brands that invest in our wellbeing and our planet, we’re giving back to ourselves and our delicate planet, too.