By Rachel Boardman M.R.N.I. Naturopathic Iridologist (and beauty product lover)
As we are all aware, women today are continually being sold one new product after another with the promise that-if we use this product- we’ll look years younger, healthier, or achieve a youthful glow. I have been one of these women that has tried many products and been lulled by the beautiful advertising, packaging and promises without much conscious thought as to what goes into them …until several years ago when I had my kids.
Here’s where I changed.
Even as a Naturopath I was incredibly aware of what I was putting into my body but not on it. I trusted that the products I was using had my best interests, – which is my health- at heart. During my studies, I learned how the French herbalist Maurice Messegue (who practiced in the 1900’s and wrote his memoirs in the book ‘Of Men And Plants’) successfully treated thousands of patients, including Winston Churchill with just herbal foot and hand baths.
An average woman can put up to 515 chemicals on her skin a day and these are often young women or teenagers and although it usually depends on who’s financing the research, many of these chemicals have been proven to be hazardous to our health such as Aluminum, Formaldehyde, Phthalates and Parabens, to name but a few.
This information is
not meant to create unnecessary fear
but rather to offer up the information to make a conscious choice, as I did when I had my first child.
For me, becoming a mother was when the penny finally dropped. I realized the last thing I wanted my daughter to be bathing in was a cocktail of different chemicals. Your skin is an organ; it protects you from outside elements & assists with your immune system, maintains temperature regulation, enables your movement and is one of the biggest eliminative organs of your body, allowing toxins to pass through your skin. It also absorbs 60 % of all products placed on it so surely it makes sense to attempt to omit chemical laden cosmetics from your daily routine?
In April of this year I was invited down to Peacemarsh Farm (below) in Dorset
to the head quarters of Neal’s Yard Remedies to see for myself how a natural, chemical free product is made.
But I saw more than that. Instead of a factory, I found a beautifully serene, self sustained eco build. I discovered that all of the herbs grown on the 5-acre site and at Peter Kindersley’s (NYR owner) 250-acre farm, which is not far down the road, are certified organic.
In 1976 Peter (centre with his family) went ‘green’ after reading The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency by John Seymour. He bought NYR in 2005 and for him, this is not just a business but a way of life, which is reflected at head quarters from the standard of work there and with the charities that they support such as Women for Women (created to empower women after war) plus organic farming initiatives in the Congo whilst also setting up bee keeping courses in Kosovo. He will only expand NYR “as much as we can without losing the strong ethical base of the business”.
My first purchase and consequent love affair started with the Arnica and Seaweed bubble bath contained in one of those beautiful, signature cobalt blue bottles and continues today with the recent discovery of the new Beauty Sleep Concentrate that’s a real ‘eight hours sleep in a bottle’ kind of product.
Neal’s yard skincare and make up range see beauty and wellbeing as a whole. One should be assisting the other, which to me makes perfect sense. Beauty without compromising your health.
There are no chemical preservatives or synthetic colour in these products, just a pure blend. The fragrances are essential oils that smell incredible and work at a therapeutic level on the system, more pleasurable in my opinion than any synthetic, chemical fragrance.
At HQ I was lucky enough to go into the lab, with views over a meadow and soon to be wild flower garden.I met with the chemist there who described the formulations, knowing the properties of the herbsthen pulling these into the product. I was surprised at how small the set up was, its hard to believe they supply to over 14 countries .It feels like a small, caring family run business, staying true to what they want to produce.
This is not a quick win project.
They work from start to finish on a product with 143 dried herbs on site kept in a room which is known as the ‘Harry Potter store room.’ On the distributing line I was struck by the lack of the smell of chemical
machinery, instead, filling the large space was the incredible smell of delicious herbs. The fore manager told me that unlike other products, this skincare range is not going to be sat on the shelves for several years, this skin care has life, it is fresh. I almost feel I could eat these creams, especially a sample of the new body butter that’s coming out soon (left) with garden mint and Bergamot.
“Nature has the answer, we just bottle“
Everyone is nurtured at HQ with treatments available within breaks plus access to delicious home cooking. It really shows as everyone I speak to at NYR believes in what they are doing which is bound to have a trickle-down effect.
Neals Yard Remedies new Make-Up Range
The new make up line has been formulated to not transform but enhance the natural beauty that’s there is.
Now that’s an empowering beauty manifesto for us ladies to hear more of.
The shades are rich, earth-based colors, inspired by nature. There are no binders and synthetic color and they work as well as, if not better than any of the chemical-laden brands for performance and depth in their pigments . White tea powder and avocado bring antioxidant properties of skincare to the range, protecting the skin as well as enhancing with colour.
A recent FDA study showed all 20 of non organic lipsticks on the market, tested positive for lead which is known to cause blood disorders and depression as well as behavioral and learning disabilities in children.
NYR lip-gloss is the antithesis of this with 92% organic ingredients, rich colors of fig, Bayberry and Damask Rose to name just a few with an added ‘beauty oil’ of hemp, avocado, flax plus evening primrose oil. So with statistics claiming we eat an average of 4 pounds of lipstick in our lifetime, I’d definitely rather be eating these! The non-animal hair brushes are extremely soft, Kay tells me she finds a soft, graduated brush essential to blending and the wide lip brush is excellent for easy, neat application.
The foundation they were working on needed to be soil association and organic approved and is still a work in progress until they feel this meets with these standards, yet more testimony to their philosophy of not being a quick win project.
Having witnessed this first hand, this is a company that I believe really does have your best interests at heart (your health).
Below are 3 tutorials that Kay did using NYR’s new make-up line.
If you live in the London area and would like an appointment with Rachel, visit her website for details here
You can buy Neals Yard Remedies Make-Up here
Follow Rachel Boardman on twitter here
Follow NYR on twitter here
Follow NYR_BristolStore here
Photos of Rosie Huntington Whitely by Sophie Delaporte for VogueChina