Gone are the days when the only factors that beauty companies had to take into consideration were price and scent. Nowadays, we hardened consumers are loathe to accept anything less than 100% organically sourced, 100% vegan and created exclusively with energy generated by the company’s personal wind farm. With this in mind, we decided to explore the credentials of some of Europe’s greenest beauty brands.
Weleda was founded in Switzerland in 1921 by the renowned philosopher Rudolf Steiner and lesser-known Dutch doctor Ita Wegman, for doctors who wished to supply their patients with natural, homeopathic medications. Nearly a century on, Weleda apply the same principles to their beauty products, using only raw materials sourced from the natural world and precious plant ingredients grown organically. Not content with developing a 15 acre herb garden in Derbyshire to protect the biodiversity of the local environment, Weleda strives to work with local farmers, providing economic and social support to local communities.
With all this environmental progress taking place, you can help Weleda to its centenary celebrations by indulging yourself in the rich and hydrating almond moisture cream (£8.95 for 30ml).
Another ethical beauty brand which hasn’t strayed from its long-standing commitment to using only the most natural ingredients is Lavera, founded in Germany over 13 years ago. Lavera works closely with allergists and skin specialists to create products that are 100% free from synthetic perfumes and suitable for people with delicate skin. As a militant vegetarian, I appreciate the lists of products on the website detailing which products are suitable for vegans and have been registered by the Vegan Society, and which products (just a handful of lipsticks) are not suitable for vegetarians.
Top of our Lavera wish list is the Luffa & Jojoba body peel (£6.80 for 75ml), which contains skin-softening organic almond and jojoba oils.
If you spend at least five minutes of every weekday morning choking on the synthetic lotus flower and ylang ylang flavoured fumes of a spray deodorant, or running round the house flapping your arms like an ostrich in a futile attempt to get your roll-on anti-perspirant to dry, you might be interested in using a less toxic alternative. I spend far too much time in the cramped and non-too-fragrant confines of the London Underground to advocate a blanket ban on deodorants but fortunately I don’t need to, as the beauty fairies at Lush have created a selection of aluminium and synthetic free solid deodorants.
These powdered bars that use microfine powders to absorb odours and essential oils to keep your skin soft and freshly fragranced. Try the lemon and witch-hazel flavoured Aromarant (£3.87 for a decent sized chunk) or the Coconut deodorant powder, which contains powdered coconut milk (don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!) and the exotic combination of fragrant vetivert grass and benzoin gum. The thing is, there’s so much more to Lush than just solid deodorant bars, and it would almost be an offence not to try some products from the skincare and shower ranges. My favourites include the relaxing BB Seaweed mineral face mask (£6.31 per pot), the quintessentially Lush Karma soap, the scent of Carnaby Street in the 1960s, and the chocolate orange flavoured Whipstick lip balm (£4.40). It doesn’t promise to curb your chocolate cravings forever – in fact, it usually puts me in mind of eating more – but it’s certainly addictive and better for your body.
The pinnacle of green goodness is undoubtedly the cocoa-butter Charity Pot (£9.74), every penny of which (excluding taxes) goes into a charity pot fund which supports projects including Sumatra Orang Utan Society, the Kipungani Schools Trust in Kenya, the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Beirut for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA), the Gordon Charitable Trust, Transport 2000 and Plane Stupid – Lush is clearly not a company that shies away from controversy! You even have the opportunity to nominate a future project at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a self-confessed tooth-cleaning obsessive, I’m not sure if I could live without my Arm & Hammer baking soda toothpaste, but if I wake up one morning thinking “I’m done with mint”, I’ll be heading straight to Green People to snap up a tube of fennel toothpaste (£3.19). As it’s free from fluoride, triclosan, sorbitol and nasties such as parabens, this exotic mixture of cloves, cinnamon and myrrh is an ideal homeopathic alternative for people who suffer from sensitive teeth or bleeding gums. Other flavours include citrus and aloe vera, and organic mandarin for children who refuse to brush with a mint flavoured paste.
Tinted moisturisers and self-tanning products are usually some of the worst culprits when it comes to chemical horrors, but Caudalie‘s sun protection range offers high performance sun and anti-oxidant protection without the unnatural ingredients. The SPF 20 and complex UVA/UVB sun filters in the Soleil Divin Body Suncare will ensure safe tanning, while grape-seed polyphenols and plant glycerine will keep your skin soft and glowing. Most importantly, this light and absorbent formula is fragranced with frangipani flowers, so you’ll be treated to the scent of verdant meadows in Bordeaux rather than biscuits and old cupboards; the combination that most tanning products seem to aim for.
Caudalie’s skincare ranges are also worth a look, as not only are they packed full of anti-oxidants derived from grapes and powerful natural ingredients, but they also refrain from using any parabens or ingredients of animal origin.
Care by Stella McCartney
Trust everyone’s favourite vegetarian Beatle offspring to bring out the world’s first 100% organic skincare products that neither compromises personal beliefs or the safety of the environment. Care by Stella McCartney contains no genetically modified ingredients, chemical preservatives or parabens, and the products are all certified by Ecocert, an internationally recognised certification programme. If further evidence of environmental credentials was necessary, the aesthetically pleasing packaging is made from recyclable materials and can even be returned to the Stella McCartney Care Recycle Programme.
If you’d like to add a touch of A-list organic glamour to your bathroom and you don’t mind living on beans on toast for the rest of the month, try the refreshing Toning Floral Water or the Nourishing Elixir, which contains soybean, Nigella Sativa and Musk Rose, and is also rich in omega 3 and phytosterols (no idea but it’s bound to be beneficial!). Visit www.stellamccartneycare.com to enjoy a background of soothing ocean waves and find your local stockist.