Eco chic: why organic beauty is giving the luxury market a run for its money
17th August, 2011
Beauty’s new eco-luxury brands with their emphasis on organic ingredients combined with wrinkle-busting efficiency give you the best of both worlds, says Ruth Styles
Luxury isn’t a concept that’s often associated with eco beauty brands, thanks to an image that has more to do with homemade soap and springwater than high-end, prettily packaged skincare. Too often, the choice has been between unglamorous organic products with great ethical credentials but with little effect on the skin, and others that look and smell fabulous but are chock full of harsh synthetics and loaded with chemicals. But look around and you’ll see something different. Slowly but surely, organic beauty has moved into the mainstream, picking up looks and effectiveness on the way while keeping its eco ethos intact.
‘We saw a gap in the market for luxurious organic skin products that treated the person from the outside in,’ says Tina Steadman, co-founder of luxury organic beauty brand, Suti (www.suti.co.uk). ‘Suzannah, a complimentary therapist [and Suti co-founder], would see clients for facials, reflexology, homeopathy and would make individual products for their specific needs and after she gave me a belly balm in a little brown jar when I was pregnant with my first child, well, there was little on the market that compared with its divine smell, texture and healing properties, and so Suti was born.’
With its pretty recyclable packaging and organic-but-effective products, Suti is typical of the new breed of organic beauty brand but is by no means the only one to have the beauty press singing its praises. When Davina Peace (www.davinapeace.com) launched her eponymous brand last year, it caused the sort of stir (and waiting list) more often seen when Chanel launches a new nail polish. Unlike Particulière or Mimosa however, Peace’s products offer users a greener take on luxury. Peace, whose inspiration for her line came from her experience of living with endometriosis, already had a background in eco-issues when she arrived in the beauty business but little knowledge of running a skincare company. ‘I was looking for beauty products that smelled fabulous and had great ethics,’ she told the Daily Mail. ‘I just couldn’t find them. So I came up with my dream range.’
Peace isn’t the only person to have founded an eco-luxury beauty brand because what was already available wasn’t up to scratch. The highly rated organic brand, Neom Luxury Organics (www.neomorganics.com), has a similar back story with founder Nicola Elliot unable to find organic products that met her high standards. A former beauty journalist, Elliot retrained as an aromatherapist before going on to launch Neom, which initially began life as a small range of candles. Five years on, the brand now makes organic skincare along with its candles, all to high ethical and eco-friendly standards with effective formulae to match.
Less expensive but no less impressive is Evolve (www.evolvebeauty.co.uk) whose affordable, highly effective products have seen it take pride of place in organic beauty stores across Europe. With a focus on superfoods and Fairtrade sourcing, Evolve’s green credentials are second to none and its range is just as good. Rudoe, whose range like Peace’s, was inspired the experience of dealing with health issues, says that she found that her skin problems were greatly reduced by using organic products. But there’s more to the brand than organic ingredients, with Rudoe focusing on ingredients with scientifically proven efficacy. ‘We use food-based ingredients in our products as we believe skincare products should be good enough to eat, since they are absorbed by the skin,’ she told the Ecologist. ‘But we also look for highly effective ingredients with real data to support them, so super foods were a natural choice. They are packed full of nutrients such as anti-oxidants, beneficial vitamins and phyto chemicals which give real results.’
Thanks to Evolve, Neom, Suti and many others, organic skincare is becoming an increasingly viable alternative to mainstream brands. With sales of organic beauty products up 15 per cent last year, it’s clear that green beauty is both in demand and living up to expectations. After all, why would anyone choose a chemical-laden cream when there are highly effective organic wrinkle-busting alternatives in town?
Five organic hero products
Davina Peace Body Oil, £45
A modern classic, Davina Peace’s body oil is Soil Association certified and is based on a blend of jojoba and borage oils – both of which absorb rapidly and offer swift relief for dry skin. Crambe Maritima (a type of seaweed) extract helps to iron out wrinkles and maintain youthful looking skin.
Suti CLEANSE Facial Cleanser, £26
The organic riposte to Eve Lom’s cult cleanser, Suti’s exfoliating oil-based cleanser comes with its own muslin cloth and does a brilliant job of getting rid of every last trace of make-up. Shea butter and sunflower oil help nourish the skin, while organic calendula oil tightens and firms.
Neom Luxury Organics Tranquility Candle, £37.50
Made from toxin-free vegetable wax and soothing sweet basil, English lavender and jasmine essential oils, Neom’s Tranquility candle scents your home and soothes frayed nerves simultaneously. Especially good when burnt for a couple of hours before you go to bed – the lavender really helps you relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Evolve Multi Action Double Cream, £14.99
Packed with superfoods including almonds and argan oil, Evolve’s Multi Action Double Cream smells almost good enough to eat. On the skin, the omega-6 and antioxidant rich argan oil feeds and protects, while organic almond peptides lock in moisture.
Bamford Body Organic Chamomile Hand Cream, £15
An intensively moisturising blend of organic jojoba and chamomile oils, healing aloe vera and beeswax, Bamford Body’s Chamomile Hand Cream does a great job of banishing dry skin and callouses, leaving hands soft, smooth and soothed.
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