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.
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.