A little more about Weleda…

Weleda Natural Skincare

Award-winning Natural Skin and Health Care

Founded in 1926, Weleda have a lot of experience in the field of natural and organic cosmetics and herbal medicines. They have been growing and creating them for almost a century!

Yes, really, Weleda were founded in 1921, so this isn’t a bandwagon.  A commitment to natural beauty and health care is in the very fabric of Weleda business practice!  Weleda is represented in over fifty countries over five continents and has won, and continues to win, numerous awards.

With very little industry control on natural and organic claims made by cosmetics businesses, Weleda is one of the few “brands to trust” in the UK.  Weleda products are 100% certified natural by NATRUE.  Natrue is one of the most stringent certifiers. Organic claims made by others, may not be as organic as they initially seem – natural claims may be even less so!

Weleda never uses synthetic fragrances, colourants or preservatives. SLS/SLES free. Parabens free. The list goes on.   What’s more Weleda products do not contain silicone oils nor ingredients from petrochemicals.  Weleda has never tested on animals (and never will!) The cosmetics range is vegetarian and in many cases vegan.

Sustainable and Ethical Practice

Weleda is a member of the “Union for Ethical Biotrade” (UEBT).  Working in partnership with farmers and local partners in the countries from which raw materials are sourced, it is always seeking to improve on its performance both ethically and environmentally.

For more information about Weleda’s principles, please visit the References at the bottom of this page.

Weleda’s Seven Core Values

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Almond :: the best choice for Sensitive Skin

harvesting-almonds

This article explains why the Sweet Almond is first choice for Weleda’s range for sensitive skin.  If you are interested in learning more about the actual products, please visit the links at the end of this article.

Almond Blossom

An Introduction to Sensitive Skin

The skin is our largest sensory organ.  It is first in line for a battering from everything our environment can throw at it. From external weather, air conditioning and pollution, to stress and an unbalanced diet, your skin feels it all.  It’s no wonder that it is often the first to show signs of wear, becoming dry, irritated and sensitive.

Skin is made up of layers. The epidermis (outer layer) acts as a barrier to bacteria and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin.   Secreted by the sebaceous glands, the film that sits at the very surface is the acid mantle (or hydro-lipid film).  In brief, when this layer becomes out of balance the result is dry, irritated and otherwise sensitive skin.

Many products for “oily skin” work by stripping away this natural layer.  You may have experienced this as that tight, dry feeling you can get after some cleansers.  Although the cleanser certainly stops your skin feeling oily, this effect is temporary.  Your skin’s response is to go into overdrive, producing more secretions to make up for the loss.  In addition, harsh ingredients within the cleansers may also irritate already unbalanced skin. When you stop using the product, your skin will be even more unbalanced.  This can lead you to believe that you continue to “need” that product and you can become reliant on it.

Conversely, other products for “dry skin” rely on mineral oils (a byproduct of the distillation of petroleum). These oils aren’t easily absorbed by the skin.  They create a layer that sits upon it, interfering with its ability to breathe.  This creates a reliance on the product as the skin becomes accustomed to not having to produce enough moisture.  Again the problem is masked and compounded by the product that is supposed to be helping the skin.

In addition, where skin is dry and maybe flakey, the temptation can be to rub the dry particles away. The top layer of the epidermis (the stratum corneum of “horny” layer) is sensitive to friction. So, over-rubbing and exfoliation can actually exacerbate any underlying problems, interfering with the skin’s natural ability to maintain its moisture balance.

Weleda seeks to work with your skin (and you) to bring your body into balance so that your skin finds its own natural equilibrium.

The Almond and its value for Sensitive Skin

The almond is a deciduous tree of the Mediterranean climate region.  It produces drupes (stone fruit) and is a relative of the apricot and peach.  Although it is commonly called a nut, it is instead an edible seed within a hull.

“Almonds have been in human use for thousands of years, both to eat and in cosmetic products.   As a tree that originated in the Middle East, it is mentioned at various times in the Bible and is seen as a symbol of Christ (whose human “shell” surrounded his divinity) and also of Mary.  It also appears in various mythologies from around the Meditterean sea.

“The nature of almond is shown by its harmonious relationship between the healthy all-protecting shell on the outside, protecting a robust kernel, rich in oil and nutrients, on the inside.

– Weleda”

As this quote from Weleda demonstrates, the almond was noted in history as symbolic of “protection”. Maybe this was what first drew attention to its potential cosmetic use?  The strengthening of that outermost “hard” layer (aka “horny” layer) of skin to protect the rich layers and body contained within?

Indeed,  almond  oil is similar in structure to the skin’s outer lipid layers and is easily absorbed. The kernel is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E.  These fatty acids help to  strengthen the skin, protecting it from water loss.  They also work to support the skin’s natural processes.  As such it is a very popular choice as an ingredient in cosmetic ranges and a clear first choice as the Lead Plant for Weleda’s range for sensitive skin.

Ethically sourcing Sweet Almond Oil

There has been an increasing demand for Weleda’s products for sensitive skin and it has become increasingly important that the almond oil used is harvested responsibly whilst continuing to meet the high quality standards.

Weleda works with the Manan co-operative in the Valencia region of Spain.  The co-operative grow and harvest organic almonds in the hills around the city of Alicante.  The land used is one of the largest almond cultivation sites in Europe:

“The partnership between Weleda and Manan flourishes on a shared philosophy of sustainable development and environmental protection. You can see this in matters as simple as the economical use of water over the total area of 6000 hectares. The growers are deliberately sparing with water, a precious commodity in Spain, because over-irrigation can eventually lead to salinization of the soil, erosion and reduction in soil fertility.

By reducing water use, the farmers show that they are thinking long-term, but it comes at a price. The yield for this group of earth-conscious growers amounts to about 500 kilos of harvested almonds per hectare, only a tenth of what can be harvested under the intensive cultivation methods of California’s plantations. As the customer company, to support this commitment to sustainability, Weleda must ensure that the lower yield is offset by prices that are higher, and therefore fair to the farmers.

Harvesting in this hilly landscape involves a lot of labour-intensive cooperation between workers. Equipped with nets and poles, two experienced workers take around ten minutes to harvest the fruit from each tree. Harvesting almonds is not as easy as it looks – nets bulging with almonds are very heavy and there are physically-demanding hours of stooping, bending and stretching. But these farmers are highly motivated thanks to their long-term partnership with Weleda and they take pride in producing good quality almonds and in handling them properly so that the crop is dried carefully and quickly after harvesting.

– Weleda”

The almonds then undergo gentle cold pressing and filtration. The next step is refining and organic certification. Finally, the resultant oil is sent to Weleda’s manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Germany and France, to be made into the wonderful product range available today.

Such a fantastic journey for the almond oil that contributes to the valuable Weleda Almond Sensitive Skincare range!  If you would like to learn more, please visit:


Gifts & Offers for September 2017

September Offers from Weleda Wellbeing Advisor

There is an ongoing 15% off available when you purchase any three face care products (including the Men’s facial range).

Throughout September 2017 the Almond Soothing Facial Oil features as the Hostess Exclusive gift for hosting a Wellbeing Event.

What’s more, Customer Thank You Gifts are the Almond Sensitive Skin Hand Cream or Almond Sensitive Skin Body Lotion (when you spend over either £45 or £60 respectively).

I only have limited dates available for Wellbeing Events, so do book as soon as possible to secure your date of choice.

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Lead Plant Focus :: Citrus (Refreshing)

Picking lemons in Sicily

Lemon tree

Lemon. Is there any scent more heartening and uplifting?  Well, maybe lemon’s cousins of grapefruit and the other citrus fruits may be on a par, but I imagine the lemon is what most people think of when you mention “citrus”.  A blast of lemony fragrance lifts your mood and wakes you up – it’s the perfect scent to get you going on a grey morning and it is one of my favourites of the Weleda range.

The lemon is an evergreen tree native to Asia.  Its exact origins are unclear, but it is thought to be a cultivated hybrid that originated from the area around north east India. It now grows throughout the world in what would be considered a “Mediterranean” climate.  Like the sunshiney colour of its fruit, this is a plant that needs the warmth of the sun and needs a minimum temperature of about 7°C to survive (but preferably warmer).  There is one very happily growing in the garden of my father’s house near the French/Spanish border and apparently this year is absolutely laden with fruit (what a problem to have?!)

Citrus fruit have been cultivated for what is thought to be thousands of years, but lemons themselves came to Europe around the second century AD.  However, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that they began to be more widely cultivated for human use.   Rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, lemons have a sour taste and astringent effect.  In Ayurvedic medicine (an approach that originated in India)  it is believed that a cup of warm water with lemon juice helps support the liver to detoxify and “wake” the digestive system. I certainly like to start my day with a slice of lemon in a mug of water.   Lemon can also help with nausea and great for use when you have a cold (or similar) in a warm drink (perhaps with a dash of honey if you’re not vegan and I like to also fresh grated ginger).

I always have a supply of unwaxed lemons in the house and when I can get them on offer, making preserved lemons is a wonderful thing!  They have so many uses, from their various culinary options, to avoiding potentially toxic chemicals when cleaning my house.  I pop squeezed out lemon halves in a jar with white vinegar to make a fabulous natural cleaner that really powers through grease and grime.  I also use it as “rinse aid” in my dishwasher. It’s also a wonderful deodoriser and has a gentle bleaching effect.  It’s also handy in a spray to scrub out the chicken coop (because I try to avoid using any nasties with them as well).   I will also use with bicarbonate of soda as a scrub on tougher areas (hard water marks on the bath and shower screen, for example).  A more strange use for half a lemon is to hook it up to electrodes as a source of electricity (yes, really!)

The Use of Lemons in Cosmetics

But, of course, what interests me here is the use of lemon in Weleda’s Citrus range of cosmetics.  As already mentioned, lemon is useful for its cleansing and astringent properties.  For cosmetic purposes it is useful in removing excess oil, tightening and toning, and also the balancing of the ph of skin.  It can also help to reduce perspiration (as in the deodorant range).  The lemon’s richly fragranced essential oils are of great value in cosmetic production and Limonene and Citral are amongst the ingredients you will find in Weleda’s products that may come from these oils.

The lemon (and other citrus trees) differ from many other fruiting trees in that blossom and fruit can be present on the tree at the same time.  It is this bursting vitality that brings such energy to the range.  The scent of lemon brings the fresh summer sunshine into your home, making it ideal for anyone (like me) who could do with a bit of a boost to their mornings! Not only does it refresh, but lemon also brings a sense of balance, combatting fatigue and aiding relaxation.  It’s good for both the body and the soul!

Picking lemons in Sicily

Sourcing the lemons used in Weleda’s Ranges

The lemons used by Weleda are biodynamically grown* by the Salamita Co-operative in Sicily.  The co-operative have been growing biodynamic lemons since 1976 and comprise of around 100 businesses who cultivate an acreage of some 2000 hectares.  The peak season for harvesting is between November and May and 75,000 tonnes of citrus fruit are processed.  100 kilos of lemons produce only around 300 grams of essential oil!

Weleda Citrus Bodycare

Find out more about Citrus Body Care in my article on the products in the range.


Links and references

* Biodynamic farming: essentially organic (plus some), please visit https://www.biodynamic.org.uk for a more comprehensive explanation.


Image Credits

All images courtesy of Weleda, unless otherwise stated.

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Evening Primrose :: Revitalise mature skin

The Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) is the Lead Plant in Weleda’s ranges for more mature skin.  At its most basic, Evening Primrose is an herbaceous, usually biennial, flowering plant native to the Americas over a widespread area.  Like the Silver Birch I wrote about a few weeks ago, they are pioneer plants, being amongst the first to colonise an area.   In particular the plant tends to colonise recently disturbed and poor soil.  As such it is a plant that thrives where other plants might otherwise initially struggle.  It is called the “Evening” Primrose as it is one of a group of plants whose flowers open for pollination by evening and nocturnal insects such as moths and some species of bees.

Evening-Primrose

The Evening Primrose was used by Native Americans as both a food and medicinal plant.  However, it is only comparatively recently that it has been used as a medicinal plant across the rest of the world. It enjoyed popularity as a “cure all” when introduced to Europe in the 17th century.  It is useful in treating itchy, inflamed skin (such as with eczema and dermatitis) and was also used to heal wounds.  There have also been indications it is also useful for treating pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms, amongst other applications, although more study needs to be done.

“Although it grows on unpromising, dry and compacted soil, the evening primrose’s beautiful blossoms open up rapidly and completely, within a few minutes as dusk falls. They stay open for the entire night and the following morning, large golden blossoms illuminating the darkness of their surroundings and emerging beaming out of the darkness at dawn. In her growth and blossoming, the evening primrose connects the old day with the new.

– Weleda”

“At a later stage in life, women often enter a period of re-orientation. After being involved in everyday life for decades and being fulfilled by its organisation, women may now seek new mental-spiritual dimensions. Just like the evening primrose has freed herself from the usual rhythm of the plant world, by coming into bloom as night falls, the mature woman detaches herself from her previous everyday life and seizes emerging opportunities. She puts her trust in her experience and intuition to lead her life as an distinctive individual with her own role and tasks to achieve.

– Weleda”

So both the Evening Primrose and the more mature woman both march to the beat of their own drum.  They look at the world around them, at what might be expected, and do what they know is best, regardless of those expectations.  They bloom where others may fear to tread, because they have confidence in their own experience.

What’s more, from a scientific point of view, the oil extracted from the  seeds of the Evening Primrose is high in omega 6 essential fatty acids such as Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA).  As we age, we produce less of the fatty acids needed to maintain our skin’s balance of moisture. As a result, our skin may tend to become dry and struggle to maintain elasticity.   GLA supports the skin, helping to protect it against moisture loss and promoting cell growth and regeneration.

Alongside the Evening Primrose itself, Weleda has included further ingredients, all carefully considered for the benefits that they bring, to create the Evening Primrose range , targeted at mature women in the 50+ age range*  I consider these ingredients a little more in my articles about the Evening Primrose Facial and body care and bath ranges.

* You may also find this range helpful whatever your age if you are post menopausal, as the accompanying hormone changes can have an effect on your skin.


IMAGE CREDITS

All images are courtesy of Weleda, unless otherwise stated.

Disclaimer: Information is correct to the best of my knowledge, but I cannot take any responsibility for any accidental error – I’m human! If you find an error, please do contact me and I’ll do my best to rectify it. 

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