We’ve all heard of or­ganic beauty prod­ucts, but what about bio­dy­nam­ics? A small group of man­u­fac­tur­ers stick to the prin­ci­ples es­poused by Ru­dolf Steiner in the 1920s.

Element - - Beauty - By Fenella Humphreys

You could be for­given if farm­ing prac­tices aren’t the first thing that spring to mind when think­ing about your next beauty pur­chase. Whether to go or­ganic or not is a de­ci­sion gen­er­ally made about veg­gies rather than mois­turis­ers. How­ever, the con­cern over the longterm ef­fect con­sumer prod­ucts have on the en­vi­ron­ment and our­selves has ex­panded out of the kitchen into the bath­room, and the ques­tion of ori­gin is just as important.

Or­ganic farm­ing is a fa­mil­iar con­cept and there are many or­ganic prod­ucts – gro­cery and beauty – read­ily avail­able. A less fa­mil­iar form of farm­ing – bio­dy­nam­ics – takes the nat­u­ral pro­cesses on which or­ganic farm­ing is based and ex­tends into ar­eas of soil health and long-term sustainability. So what ex­actly is bio­dy­namic farm­ing? And what are the ben­e­fits from a skincare point of view?

Bio­dy­namic farm­ing was de­vel­oped by the philoso­pher and sci­en­tist Ru­dolf Steiner in the 1920s – it’s older than or­ganic farm­ing. Although both omit pes­ti­cides and ar­ti­fi­cial fer­tilis­ers to pro­tect the nat­u­ral bal­ance of the land, bio­dy­namic farm­ing ac­tively in­vests in the soil with spe­cially pre­pared fer­tilis­ers made from sil­ica, ma­nure and herb prepa­ra­tions.

A bio­dy­namic farmer views their farm as an in­de­pen­dent ecosys­tem. By us­ing bio­dy­namic sprays, fo­cus­ing on bio-di­ver­sity, and work­ing by a spe­cific cal­en­dar, the farmer aims to im­prove soil fer­til­ity. The re­sult is richer soil, health­ier, more vi­brant plants and more sustainable farms. Good news if these plants form the ba­sis of your beauty regime. And, as bio­dy­namic farms ex­ist in a “closed sys­tem” – tak­ing noth­ing away and leav­ing noth­ing be­hind – it’s good news for the land it­self.

As with or­ganic, the ef­fi­cacy of bio­dy­namic in­gre­di­ents is a con­tested is­sue. But, there are ben­e­fits to us­ing bio­dy­namic prod­ucts, par­tic­u­larly if you have sen­si­tive skin.

As their point of dif­fer­ence, bio­dy­namic brands are trans­par­ent about their prod­ucts’ ori­gins. Brands such as Jurlique, Weleda and Dr Hauschka op­er­ate their own farms for sourc­ing bio­dy­namic in­gre­di­ents. Weleda op­er­ates one of the first and largest bio­dy­namic farms in Europe and also one here, in Have­lock North.

Hav­ing their own farm means end-to-end con­trol over the prod­ucts. Where in­gre­di­ents can’t be sourced from the farm, re­spon­si­ble and Fair­trade sources are used. Bio­dy­namic com­pa­nies part­ner Fair­trade co-op­er­a­tives across the world – Dr Hauschka’s shea but­ter comes from a women’s co-op­er­a­tive in Burk­ina Faso, Africa, and Jurlique sources a spe­cific bark ex­tract for its Herbal Re­cov­ery Night Cream also from Burk­ina Faso. Where there is no al­ter­na­tive, con­ven­tion­ally grown in­gre­di­ents are tested to en­sure no pes­ti­cide residue is in the fi­nal prod­uct.

The de­tailed care and at­ten­tion that goes into each for­mu­la­tion is matched by the de­sign of the pack­ag­ing. Re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als such as pa­per, glass and alu­minium are used for their sustainable cre­den­tials but also to en­sure prod­uct sta­bil­ity and pre­vent oxy­gen and germ con­tam­i­na­tion.

This at­ten­tion to de­tail is what you’re pur­chas­ing when you opt for bio­dy­namic, so you know you’re us­ing some­thing that takes the best from a part­ner­ship with na­ture – and leaves both you and the en­vi­ron­ment health­ier for it.

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