AT AN eco-factory in Dorset, South West England, organic beauty products are handmade in small batches. The family-owned Neal’s Yard Remedies is one of the few beauty companies certified organic, scoring a perfect hundred by the Global Ethical Company Organization and earning a nod from the Soil Association for its skincare and cosmetic products.
To make the grade in the highly regulated organic industry, Neal’s Yard Remedies is transparent about its processes, from collecting sustainably sourced local produce to the methods of production.
“Each product contains an expiration date, with a list of the percentages of ingredients, whether they’re organic,” says Calum Mackay, director for international sales. “Water, for example, isn’t organic.”
Advocating wellness and beauty, the label blends homeopathic and natural remedies into skincare products that target specific concerns.
Take the toning eye gel from their White Tea line, designed to tighten and firm skin. Mackay was surprised to discover an unexpected side effect.
“If you have hay fever, you can apply the gel underneath the eye and within a few minutes the redness will disappear,” he says. Its cooling qualities help soothe the redness and inflammation caused by the seasonal allergy.
The Bee Lovely hand cream has been known to tone down inflammation caused by eczema, as well as hydrate and moisturize skin.
“Frankincense, for example, has been clinically proven to reduce lines and wrinkles,” Mackay says. Farmed from organically grown trees in Northern Kenya, the essential oil improves skin tone while tightening and toning the skin.
Neal’s Yard Remedies’ Frankincense range, which includes a facial wash, toner, hydrating cream, intense concentrate, firming facial mask is one of the brand’s hero collections, and has been known to collect admirers across the globe.
Celebs like Thandie Newton, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Moss—who reportedly buys Neal’s Yard’s essential oils regularly—are fans of the brand.
The essential oils make up a large part of the business. There are three applications for the oils: burning, massage and vaporization.
In the original Neal’s Yard Remedies shop in Covent Garden, which still exists today, clients have been known to enter the store looking for homeopathic solutions to everyday ailments.
“Someone will come in saying they have a headache and how can we help them,” Mackay says. The Covent Garden site has a therapy room where clients can have a soothing massage with a blend of essential oils, depending on their complaint.
Stress, for example, can be countered with neroli or orange blossom.
For headaches, a calming oil like lavender or chamomile is recommended.
“You can apply the oil using a compress,” assistant international partnership manager Amy Wise advises. Sprinkle a drop or two on a hot or cold compress and apply to your temple.
Be warned, though. Most essential oils shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin. With the exception of lavender and tea tree oil, they require a carrier oil before using.
The British brand advocates wellness and beauty from within.
“A lot of what we do is about healthy eating,” Mackay says. “We encourage healthy living first, but if you have a busy lifestyle, we also have a range of supplements.”
Beyond the usual
Neal’s Yard Remedies carries a range of organic products beyond the usual beauty range like supplements and even tea, as well as cosmetics. But at the moment, Rustan’s will be carrying only the essential oils and skincare.
“We’ll be carrying the Beautiful Skin Tea in December,” says Aiem Ong of Rustan’s Beauty. “In the meantime, it’ll be served for free at the counter for clients who come in.”
The tea is an antioxidant tisane, made from berries, known to protect cells and fight free radicals. And, after you consume the tea, you can eat the berries.
“Just pop them in as a snack or mix them with your porridge at breakfast,” Mackay recommends. “Do you eat porridge here?” he asks.
Merging healthy eating habits with a complementary beauty regimen that includes nutritious food as well as topical solutions serves as a two-fold reminder that beautiful skin isn’t built on miracle potions alone.
“You have to find a balance,” Wise advises. “You can’t eat crap food and put miracle cream the following morning and expect to see change.”