Weleda Logo Superimposed on a Lavendar Field
Brand Reviews

Weleda | A 100 Year Old Brand’s Still Got It & Best Products

100 year old Weleda’s got some funky, way before their time founders, and really historic products all at an accessible price. A bit of the company’s history, what I think about their formulations, and their Best Products.

Weleda Table of Contents

Weleda Quick Facts | The company’s commitment to ingredients, the environment, ethics and its EWG and Good Guide Standing

Weleda’s Got History | 100 year old brand has founders far ahead of their time

Mainstay Products and Sheer Grit Keeps Weleda Going | Weleda Survives even when Natural isn’t popular

Weleda’s Understandable Formulations | Very transparent formulations and easy to understand ingredient choices

Best of Weleda | Products and Reviews

Weleda Quick Facts

Ingredients | Vegetarian, Natrue Certified, GMO free, Free Of List, Paraben Free, Preservative-Free, Sodium-Laurel-Sulfate-Free (SLS), Synthetic Fragrance-Free, Phthalate-Free, GMO-Free.

Eco-Friendly | Focus on continually reducing packaging and investigation into more environmentally friendly packaging with targets set in their annual report

Ethical | Fair Trade Sourcing, Cruelty Free

Good Guide | 4.3 over 70 products

EWG | 1-7 over 53 products

Weleda’s Got History

Bee pollinating an Arnica field. Biodynamic gardening does not rely on chemical fertilizers but instead treats each farm as a system that can effectively care for itself.
Weleda’s founders started biodynamic gardening which is the first organic farming movement. It treats each farm as a unified system of interrelated tasks that can effectively care for itself. As such, it excludes chemical preparations and uses natural fertilizers.

Weleda interest in biodynamic gardening, naturopathic medicines, and natural beauty products since 1921 put the company massively ahead of its time.

In many ways, this is due to its founders.

Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman were pioneers.

He was a philosopher who believed in viewing man as a whole and deeply connected to nature. A natural outcrop of this was a deep respect for natural farming techniques and holistic remedies.

A picture of Robert Steiner.
Rudolf Steiner was a philosopher who viewed man as a total system of mind, body and spirit. Inextricably bound to nature, nature was also the obvious source of healing. Via Biodynamics NZ.

In the field of medicine, Ita was one of the first women doctors and developed an extract from Mistletoe following Steiner’s advice.

Today, the company continues to be involved both in medicine and in cosmetics while maintaining the founders’ philosophies with regard to natural healing.

They have biodynamic gardens in Germany and a network of people throughout the world dedicated to organic farming. Their cosmetics have become increasingly prominent and are now two thirds of the company’s revenue.

Mainstay Products and Sheer Grit Keeps Weleda Going

Weleda's survived a Nazi decree to close them down, WWII, economic crises and decades of consumers not understanding the Weleda philosophy. A WWII picture of the Russian flag over the Reichstag.
Weleda’s survived a Nazi decree to close them down, WWII, economic crises and decades of consumers not understanding the Weleda philosophy.

In the early days the user…had to remember how much they loved natural: the colour of the creams was a bit muddy, they felt a little greasy, they would go very runny in summer and set firm in winter – but they were good for the skin and the environment! Now we have become so adept at formulating totally natural creams they are as attractive and easy to use as any conventional cream.

Loraine Murry, Weleda Natural Beauty Consultant

Weleda’s survived almost 100 years through sheer grit and determination.

WWII, economic crises, and a lack of understanding of the company’s natural offering all made Weleda a fairly small enterprise until the 90’s.

Then, things changed.

Consumers started to demand natural products and Weleda poured more effort into marketing.

The public exposure drove awareness and interest. Celebrities like Adele, Victoria Beckham and Julia Roberts started carrying Weleda’s signature Skin Food in their purses and magazines and publications gave them hundreds of awards.

The long and short of it was that the public rediscovered Weleda’s historic products. Skin Food is from 1926. Massage Balm with Arnica and the Rosemary Hair Lotion are also from the 1920’s. People started to appreciate their history and understand their offerings and sales grew.

Weleda’s Understandable Formulations

Weleda uses logical ingredient choices such as sunflower oil that has proven hydration and skin barrier repair functions.
Weleda uses logical ingredient choices such as sunflower oil that has proven hydration and skin barrier repair functions.

Looking through Weleda’s formulations, I’ve generally agreed with their ingredients and their choices.

Skin similar ingredient lanolin is used in their Skin Food and Diaper Care Cream. Humectant glycerin and occlusive beeswax attract and maintain moisture for dry skin creams.

They use a mix of proven science and new ingredients, but even when they choose a unique item, I can follow along with their thinking.

Weleda has logical choices or uses traditional herbs and I like that they keep their claims not to far beyond the realm of possibility.

Science hasn’t quite caught up with all the skin care ingredients out there. A lot are used based on marketing or belief, and very few are well researched or proven. And their interactions between each other are not entirely known.

So, when I look at Weleda’s ingredient list on a per product basis, I take that all into account. I see which ones are good with scientific evidence, have a strong history of use, and those which the company includes to stabilize the formula.

In addition to generally agreeing on their ingredient choices, I like that they have essential oil fragranced or unscented options.

Personally, I am not a fan of essential oil fragrances although I don’t go and ban them outright. Some have been shown to provide anti-microbial, anti-bacterial or other beneficial effects, but I’m sensitive to all scent and prefer them out of my beauty products altogether.

And their packaging is nice, not just professional looking but also thoughtful enough to preserve their ingredients.

All in all, I’d say this is a nice, responsible brand with solid products that work well.

Best of Weleda | Products and Reviews

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A group of Nourish Organic's best selling products
Brand Reviews

Nourish Organics | Why This Company was Ahead of the Curve and Fave Products

Nourish Organic Table of Contents

Nourish Organic Quick Facts | The brand’s stance on ingredients, eco-friendliness and ethical commitments

Mom and Pop Start It Up | Nourish Organic’s humble beginnings

Rob Robilliard Steps In and Marsha Brady Gets Involved | A beauty veteran shakes things up

Formulation and Final Thoughts | Mainstay carrier oils, additives, and wrapping it up

Best of Nourish Organic | Products and Reviews

Nourish Organic Quick Facts

Ingredients | Gluten Free, Vegan, Certified Organic by the USDA, No parabens, No phthalates, No sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic dyes or silicones, No propylene glycol, mineral oils, synthetic dyes, triclosan, EDTA or aluminum. No artificial fragrances or preservatives.

Eco-friendly | Recyclable and packaging is at least 25% post-consumer recycled

Ethical | Cruelty Free, Supports the Women’s Center, Association for the Blind, City Rescue Mission, Meals on Wheels, and others.

EWG | 1-4 on 14 products

The Good Guide | 5.5 on 40 products

Mom and Pop Start it Up

Nourish Organic is located in Beaver Falls, PA as the original owners wanted to be near family. A picture of Beaver Falls.
Nourish Organic is located in Beaver Falls, PA as the original owners wanted to be near family.

This is the story of a mom and pop business that was way ahead of its time, a marketing exec who saw potential and a Brady’s Bunch’s Marsha Marsha Marsha.

Founders Lynn and Tom Betz founded Nourish Organics as Sensibility Soaps in 1996.

Originally the company manufactured products for others in a small facility that they expanded with a $175,000 from the Beaver County Corporation for Economic Development.

“It was [a] nontraditional loan for us, but it worked out. The Betzes were organic before organic was cool. They were well ahead of the curve.”
Bob Rice, vice president of the Beaver County Agency

Red Barn on a field, symbolizing Nourish Organic's commitment to USDA certified organic standards.
Nourish Organics was the first beauty company to receive USDA Certified status and complies to strict organic standards.

They lived in the facility while they ran they business, and oversaw all aspects of its production. They were already including organic ingredients when ever they could, and in 2003, they made the then unprecedented step of certifying the production processes with the USDA.

The USDA requires companies to comply with the below requirements before they are allowed to label their products organic.
100% Organic all ingredients are organic.

Organic means that 95% of ingredients must be organic.

Made with Organic ingredients means that 70% of ingredients must be organic.

They were the first beauty company to do so which paved the way for the launch of their own brand Nourish Organics in 2005.

By 2011, they had over 400 certified organic formulas. The business had grown and caught Rob Robilliard’s eye.

Rob Robilliard Steps In and Marsha Brady Gets Involved

Rob Robilliard is a beauty and consumer products veteran that describes himself as having "Beauty in his blood." A stint at L'Oreal is in his resume. Makeup brushes.
Rob Robilliard is a beauty and consumer products veteran that describes himself as having “Beauty in his blood.” A stint at L’Oreal is in his resume.

Rob Robilliard describes himself as having “beauty in his blood”.

His resume includes a long history of working with consumer brands. He was CEO of Living Proof for 4 years, and had stints at Ben and Jerry’s and L’Oreal.

In 2011, he and a group of investers became interested n Nourish Organics. He tried a few formulations and realized that this was the next thing he wanted to do.

Together with a group of investors, he bought the business and started a revamp.

Rob wanted products that looked professional and polished or, in his words, "Not crunchy." A picture of a cosmetics and fragrance counter.
Rob wanted products that looked professional and polished or, in his words, “Not crunchy.”

He instituted a brand redesign with pretty, brighter colors and a new logo and name. He wanted it to be more feminine because most natural products “don’t look pretty, they look crunchy.”

(Funny how most new brands call their precursors crunchy…it seems to be a common description of the older all-natural space. I first heard it from Naturopathica founder Barbara Close.)

Along with the new investors came celebrity couple Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor, better known as Marsha Brady.

The company hadn’t been looking for celebrity endorsers but an investor knew someone from the couple’s staff. She tried the samples and loved them and decided to become an investor alongside her husband.

Formulation and Final Thoughts

Nourish Organics uses a lot of very popular mainstay oils.

You’ll often find coconut, jojoba, shea butter sunflower and sesame. The benefits of these oils to skin has mostly been backed up by science. [ 1 ]

Plant Oils Skin Barrier Repair Anti Bacterial Anti Inflammatory Antioxidant Wound Healing Skin Aging Skin Cancer
Sunflower Y ? Y ? Maybe ? Yes
Coconut Y Y Y Y Y Y ?
Safflower ? ? Y ? ? ? ?
Jojoba Y Maybe Y Y Y Y ?
Shea Maybe ? Y Y ? ? ?
Sesame Maybe ? Y Y ? Y Y

Of course, when you deal with natural oils variations occur as things as disparate as time of harvest and maturity will have an effect on the actual product. Even the mode of preparation – i.e. steam distilled vs cold pressed – has an effect.

Along with the oils are some things like guar gum, xantham gum, tocopherol, botanical extracts, and SD Alcohol 38B. There is also natural fragrance.

Here’s where label scrutiny only takes you so far.

There is a myriad of ways things can be processed. Extracts can be placed in any carrier with some preservatives. Natural fragrance should really be broken down into its myriad components.

The company has banned chemicals of concern and is USDA certified. Chemical in a bottle.
The company has banned chemicals of concern and is USDA certified.

Still, these are relatively minor complaints and the certified USDA seal provides some protection, despite not being perfect.

In addition, the company bans chemicals of concern such as parabens, sulfates, pthaltes and synthetic dyes and fragrances among others. This is borne out by the ingredient list for the products that I checked.

As I’ve gone through more and more brands, I see who is really doing what’s possible within the limitations imposed by natural ingredients.

This is not a bad brand at all.

Best of Nourish Organic | Products and Reviews

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Footnote:

[ 1 ] Tzu-Kai Lin, Zhong L. , Santiago J. 2017, ‘Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Pubmed. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29280987 [Accessed on: Jan 16, 2018]