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Conscious Christmas

Beautiful, ethical products that are packed with natural luxury will be top of 2019’s Christmas lists
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Conscious Christmas

This article first appeared in our Consumer Revolution issue of My Green Pod Magazine, released on 19 Dec 2019. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Environmental concerns and the growth of ethical shopping could make 2019 a bumper year for conscious Christmas presents.  

We’re predicting a rise in ‘experience gifts’ from those who object to panic-buying stuff that no one really wants or needs, plus great years for gifts that give back – particularly charity gifts that support communities, protect species and conserve habitats.

Still, giving a physical, personal gift to someone you love is hard to beat. It’s a way to say thank you for the countless favours and acts of kindness that mount up over the year, and to indulge someone who might not otherwise take much time out for themselves.

‘Celebrating a conscious Christmas is something we can all do’, explains Jayn Sterland, managing director of Weleda UK and Ireland and No. 1 in 2019’s Who’s Who in Natural Beauty list. ‘If we shop with these thoughts in mind, we’re heading in the right direction. One: give something meaningful that won’t disappoint. Two: consider the packaging: bigger isn’t always better and so many gifts come over-packaged at Christmas.’

Christmas 2019 beauty trends

The growing consumer demand for transparent business and sustainable products means there should be plenty of ethical gift options available this year.

Skincare and beauty products are great for delivering the indulgence factor, but the sector is changing so there are a few trends to consider if you want to make sure your gift hits the spot.

The lines between beauty, health and wellbeing are blurring; effective beauty products are now expected to heal and nourish rather than just creating a veneer on the surface of the skin.

As a result, synthetic polymers (liquid plastics), chemical quick-fixes and laborious skincare routines are on their way out, and holistic, natural beauty is very much in. If you’re new to this, look out for products that carry NATRUE or COSMOS Natural or Organic certification logos on the packaging.

Clean skincare

If makeup is on your hit list, you may want to research ethical and organic ranges: the latest research from Mintel reveals makeup sales are falling as the trend for naturally radiant skin gathers pace.

As makeup artist Lou Dartford explains: ‘Good skincare is the basis of all good makeup. A good skincare regime ensures skin is looking its best, meaning less makeup should be needed and any makeup that is applied will sit better on the skin.’

Ingredients are key: the desire for glowing skin that radiates health and overall wellbeing is most authentically achieved using ‘conscious’ beauty products that contain clean ingredients.

When considered in the context of growing environmental concerns, the quest for naturally radiant skin helps to explain why the annual Soil Association Certification Organic Beauty & Wellbeing Market Report revealed a 14% growth of certified organic beauty and wellbeing in 2018.

Fresh from the field

A contender that will top many lists this year is the Christmas 2019 gift collection from clean beauty pioneer Weleda. It hits all the spots: biodegradable, natural products that support conservation, biodiversity, species and habitats, all wrapped in ethical packaging – without skimping on indulgence or sheer beauty.

The collection is inspired by the vibrant butterflies that visit plants in Weleda’s biodynamic gardens, which sprawl across 13 acres of ‘super-organic’ land just a couple of miles up the road from the company’s HQ in Derbyshire.

This area – ‘The Field’ – is where Weleda cultivates the medicinal plants that form the basis of its pharmaceutical and body care products.

Planting in line with the biodynamic calendar ensures the ecosystem is balanced; the moon, sun and planets all affect the way a plant grows. Biodynamic farming also means no pesticides or other toxic substances come into contact with the precious ingredients, so their purity and quality are protected. 

From a customer’s point of view, all these benefits ensure maximum potency and efficacy of the formulations inside the Weleda bottles and tubes that end up on bathroom shelves.

Weleda Butterfly Collection

‘An encounter with a butterfly may be brief and fleeting, but their passing beauty never fails to capture the heart.’

Studio Noodles

Butterfly conservation

The Field is maintained as a rich natural habitat bursting with pollen and nectar; it supports ecological stability and makes a wonderful home for insects that help to prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

Over the spring and summer of 2019, a survey with East Midlands Butterfly Conservation revealed 32 species of butterfly in Weleda’s gardens.

The holly blue, comma, red admiral, large white, peacock and purple hairstreak butterflies were just some of the species spotted, and each has been captured beautifully in illustrations painted by British designer Lisa Jane Dhar of Studio Noodles.

Capturing the art of nature

Like Weleda, Lisa creates in harmony with nature and places a strong focus on quality. ‘Most of my materials are a special blend of natural mineral pigments and are bound together with honey and gum arabic’, she explains. ‘The fewer the ingredients, in my opinion, the better.’

For the 2019 Christmas gift collection, Lisa’s butterfly designs feature on Weleda’s favourite seasonal botanical formulations, including Arnica Muscle Soak, Lavender Relaxing Bath Milk and Rosemary Invigorating Bath Milk (all 200ml, £14.95).

The illustrations also adorn Weleda’s new Christmas gift sets: Heaven for Hands, which contains the velvety Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream and soft organic cotton gloves (50ml, £14.95); My Natural Beauty Kit, with three replenishing skin saviours and an organic muslin wash cloth (£34.95) and Treat Your Feet, which combines a natural pumice stone with cooling Foot Balm (75ml, £14.95).

Positively beautiful

You’ll notice another butterfly on these products: Positive Luxury awarded Weleda its Butterfly Mark in 2013, in acknowledgement of the company-wide commitment to sustainability. This logo, which guarantees transparency and trust, is found only on products from companies that meet the highest standards of verified innovation and social and environmental performance.

The Positive Luxury logo was inspired by the story of the large British blue butterfly, which was brought back from near extinction in the UK in the world’s most successful insect reintroduction programme. Sir David Attenborough shared this story with Positive Luxury’s founder, Diana Verde Nieto, when she presented him with his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. It demonstrates how we can unite to reverse the negative impact we are having on our planet.

All wrapped up

We can all make a difference by choosing products that minimise our own environmental impact, and thinking about what we do with the empty packaging.

Only 50% of packaging is recycled in the bathroom, compared with 90% in the kitchen. The convenience factor undoubtedly plays a role, but lack of clarity is also an issue. According to the latest packaging trends report from Mintel, just 27% of global new beauty and personal care launches in 2017 featured an environmentally friendly packaging claim.

The material used to package Weleda’s Butterfly Collection is FSC certified, recyclable and biodegradable, with no plastic inserts or outer cellophane in sight – but equally important is what’s inside the products themselves.

Plastic pollution has become the nation’s most pressing environmental concern, yet many people remain shocked that liquid plastics persist in mainstream personal care products – even when they come in plastic-free packaging. Just like secondary microplastics from degraded packaging, liquid plastics end up in our waterways and ultimately in the systems of marine life.

Thanks to effective certification and clear labelling, it’s easier than ever to find luxurious and indulgent gifts that will help to protect all living things for generations to come. This year could be a bumper year for truly ethical gifts (and very happy faces) on Christmas Day.

Click here to view the full Weleda butterfly collection.

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