British natural beauty brand, Neal’s Yard Remedies‘ make-up collection is on shelves now – the first cosmetics line with the Soil Association seal of organic approval. The range is a simple offering of three eye pencils, four mineral eye shadows and six lip glosses and took a few years to develop because it’s so difficult to create organic make-up.
I talked to Lou Green, Head of Sustainability at Neal’s Yard, to understand why it’s such a mean feat.
“We had to challenge convention and challenge why certain ingredients are used and offer alternatives. Mineral oils and paraffin are so cheap and it’s what everyone uses but it’s an oil base so we replaced that with an organic plant oil. And we replaced talc with cornstarch, which actually works beautifully and created an organic lip gloss base with our suppliers in Gujarat.”
Synthetic fragrances were out, and essential oils were in giving products a gorgeous sweet smell. Standard preservatives out and combinations of white tea powder and vitamin E used instead for their preserving power.
Not all the ingredients can be organic because anything that’s not farmed – e.g. minerals or water, by default cannot be organic. Instead they have to meet high ecological standards in processing, environmental impact, biodegradability, among others.
So what are the results like? Well, the lip glosses are an absolute pleasure to use with a subtle orange scent thanks to the sweet orange peel. The eye pencils are perfect for day wear – you may not get a Twiggy smoky eye but add a dab of mineral eye powder and you could be on your way. They are great for sensitive eyes and the eco-credentials are seriously impressive. Well done Neal’s Yard.
Mineral Eye Shadow, £10.25/Colour Lip Gloss, £9/Eye Liner, £9
Available in stores and www.nealsyardremedies.com