Evening Primrose :: Revitalise

 

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The fourth instalment in my series on Weleda’s Lead Plants brings me to the Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis), a plant reasonably well-known for its common use in treating menopausal symptoms – that was certainly my most basic knowledge of it, before I started learning more about this wonderful plant.

At its most basic, Evening Primrose is an herbaceous, usually biennial, flowering plant native to the Americas over a widespread area.  Like the Silver Birch I wrote about a few weeks ago, they are pioneer plants, being amongst the first to colonise an area – in particular recently disturbed and poor soil – growing where other plants might otherwise initially struggle.  It is called the “Evening” Primrose as it is one of a group of plants whose flowers open for pollination by evening and nocturnal insects such as moths and some species of bees.

“Although it grows on unpromising, dry and compacted soil, the evening primrose’s beautiful blossoms open up rapidly and completely, within a few minutes as dusk falls. They stay open for the entire night and the following morning, large golden blossoms illuminating the darkness of their surroundings and emerging beaming out of the darkness at dawn. In her growth and blossoming, the evening primrose connects the old day with the new.

– Weleda”

The Evening Primrose was used by Native Americans as both a food and medicinal plant, but it is only comparatively recently that it has been used as a medicinal plant across the rest of the world – having been popular as a “cure all” when introduced to Europe in the 17th century.  It is useful in treating itchy, inflamed skin (such as with eczema and dermatitis) and was also used to heal wounds.  There have also been indications it is also useful for treating pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms, amongst other applications, although more study needs to be done.

As we age, we produce less of the fatty acids needed to maintain our skin’s balance of moisture and as a result, our skin may tend to become dry and struggle to maintain elasticity.  The oil extracted from the seeds of the Evening Primrose is high in omega 6 essential fatty acids such as Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), one of the sources of the Evening Primrose’s effectiveness in supporting the skin, helping to protect it against moisture loss and promoting cell growth and regeneration.

product spotlight

“At a later stage in life, women often enter a period of re-orientation. After being involved in everyday life for decades and being fulfilled by its organisation, women may now seek new mental-spiritual dimensions. Just like the evening primrose has freed herself from the usual rhythm of the plant world, by coming into bloom as night falls, the mature woman detaches herself from her previous everyday life and seizes emerging opportunities. She puts her trust in her experience and intuition to lead her life as an distinctive individual with her own role and tasks to achieve.

– Weleda”

The Evening Primrose range is targeted at mature women in the 50+ age range, however, it is also helpful whatever your age if you are post menopausal, as the accompanying hormone changes can have an effect on your skin.

The range is naturally fragranced with cardamom, magnolia and sandalwood and the scent is floral and light, but gets deeper and more spicy post application.

FACIAL CARE RANGE

Evening Primrose Revitalising Day Cream £25.95 & Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Night Cream £25.95

The Day Cream was the cream of choice for a client of mine (in her mid 50s) who had previously had many problems finding a suitable cream to use. She had gone through a series of creams, but had found that shortly after applying she would “break out in a sweat” and would have to wash it off.  She’d spent quite an amount of money trying different creams, but to no avail.  She booked a one-to-one skincare consultation and we explored some of the reasons she might be reacting in such a way and she enjoyed a complimentary facial using the Evening Primrose range and found that she didn’t react as she had done previously – yay (!) for Evening Primrose Revitalising Day Cream and Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Concentrate (and the Almond Soothing Facial Oil I use as part of the facials I do) that made such a difference for a previously frustrated client.

Recommended by Good Housekeeping Institute Readers, the Evening Primrose Revitalising Day and Night Creams are, in my opinion, the perfect choice for more mature skin.  The day cream has reports of 73% efficacy for skin appearing visibly more firm and 77% more even from surveys after 4 weeks of using the cream and has been awarded a “Janey Loves Platinum Award”.

Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Concentrate £35.95 and Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Eye & Lip Cream £25.95

As mentioned before, the Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Concentrate was “just the thing” for a client of mine who had previously struggled to find a facial skincare approach that works for her.  With the support of GLA rich Evening Primrose oil, moisturising and cooling Aloe Vera and invigorating Centella asiatica extract, the concentrate helps increase skin’s elasticity, lines appear reduced and skin more firm.  It is suitable for vegans.

Stop Press: Winner of the Beauty Shortlist 2017 Best Skincare Product (age 60+)

The Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Eye & Lip Cream gently moisturises the delicate area around the eye, helping to reduce puffiness and bags.  It has been clinically tested for efficacy and gentleness (even with contact lenses) and the results were 83% of testers found that the eye area appeared more smooth after 4 weeks of using the cream. The organic Evening Primrose oil is blended with Inca nut oil and extract of Centella asiatica to help boost collagen and cell growth.  It is fragrance free (save for the natural fragrance of the ingredients) and has a Good Housekeeping Intsitute Reader’s Recommend Award.

If you would like to try the Evening Primrose facial range, please either book a one-to-one skincare consultation with me, or order online and take advantage of the Mix and Match Skincare Offer and choose any 3 facial skincare products and save 15% (or take advantage of March 2017 offers listed towards the end of this article).  Contact me to place an order for you if you would like to try under the 30 day money back guarantee.

BODY CARE RANGE

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Jardin de Vie Onagre £19.95

“A subtly nuanced fragrance, interpreting the floral-fresh scent of blooming evening primrose flowers. At the heart of the fragrance, green-floral, exotic-sensual nuances of magnolia set powerful accents, while cardamom confers freshness to the top note. Soft, balsamic-woody notes of precious sandalwood give the composition depth and leave the skin with a mysterious, powdery soft scent. Let your unique radiance shine.”

I’m no professional fragrance reviewer, it always comes across a tad like wine-tasting (and much as I love a glass of wine, I don’t think I particularly have the talent for the description of the high, middle and low notes, although I understand the concept), BUT, I really like Jardin de Vie Onagre.  In my day-to-day life I tend to use the Wild Rose facial range (with the Almond Soothing Facial Oil and, occasionally the Pomegranate Night Cream), but when it comes to the Jardin de Vie fragrances, to my surprise it is Onagre (and sometimes Grenade) that really appeals to me (my teenage daughter prefers the lighter Rose – although admittedly I occasionally have a spray!)

Whilst writing this article I’ve had various Evening Primrose products out so the experience of using them is really fresh and I love the warm, floral spiciness of Onagre  (I keep having a quick sniff whilst I type).

I really recommend that, if you can, you take the opportunity to contact your local Wellbeing Advisor and sample the Jardin de Vie range to find what works for you – it’s really fantastic to have a range of natural fragrances available and I hope you find them as wonderful as I do.

Suitable for vegans.

Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Body Lotion £22.95 and Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Body Oil £22.95

The rich lotion is blended from organic evening primrose oil and shea butter and the luxurious oil (I’m a big fan of Weleda body oils – a little goes a long way) is a blend of organic evening primrose oil, jojoba and wheat-germ oil – all super skin-nourishing oils, perfect for helping support the firmness and elasticity of your skin.  As I have mentioned before, the natural fragrance combines cardamom, magnolia and sandalwood and is initially subtley floral, becoming, in my opinion more spicy and deep after application.

Both are gluten-free and suitable for vegans.

Evening Primrose Revitalising Body Wash £7.95 and Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Hand Cream £12.50

I love the Weleda body washes, there’s a good choice through the range and I find them creamy and my skin always feels fabulous afterwards (even before applying a lotion or oil).  The Evening Primrose Revitalising Body Wash is SLS and SLES free and contains sesame (that oil beloved of Ayurveda) and macadamia oil.  It has been awarded a “Best Buy” by Ethical Consumer.

The Evening Primrose Age Revitalising Hand Cream contains shea butter and organic evening primrose oil.  It’s easily absorbed and a popular choice for mature, dry hands.

Both are suitable for vegans.


March 2017 Offers

Alongside the Mix and Match Skincare Offer where you can choose any 3 facial skincare products and save 15% , March 2017 has the following offers:

marchoffers

Do contact me if you would like to book a 1-1 Skin Care Consultation or Wellbeing Event.  I have some limited availability through March 2017.


FURTHER REVIEWS

Please bear in mind that there have been some price changes at the end of January 2017.


LINKS & References


IMAGE CREDITS

All images are courtesy of Weleda, unless otherwise stated.

Disclaimer: Information is correct to the best of my knowledge, but I cannot take any responsibility for any accidental error – I’m human! If you find an error, please do contact me and I’ll do my best to rectify it.  If you are vegan, or have any particular allergy, please take care to always double check ingredients.  Prices correct at time of original publication.

My Top Five Basic Weleda Buys for a Family

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It can be difficult, when starting out trying to minimise potentially toxic synthetic chemicals in your household, to know where to start.  Some people are able to just blitz their under sink and bathroom cabinets of anything containing suspect ingredients, ditch the lot and restock with more natural products.

I wasn’t one of those people and I know I’m not alone.  I’ve been a teenage mother. I’ve been a working-on-a-low-income mother and a stay-at-home mother.  I’m currently a mum-of-many-children mother. All of these things can bring financial challenges and, lets just say that we are, like very many, on a strict budget. If I was just starting out finding out about potential toxins and wanting to #DitchTheJunk (link at the end of the post), I wouldn’t be able to simply empty all of my cupboards and buy all new.

However, I’ve been doing this more natural product thing for a while now and so I have a few tips and, leaving aside alternatives to common household cleaning products (which I hope to cover in another post soon), I do have some great recommendations for basic buys if you’re a family on a budget.

Often you seem to pay for what’s left out (rather than put in) and many synthetic-filled cosmetics are cheaper than more ethical and natural brands.  This is often because many of the chemicals that I am trying to avoid are used as cheap fillers to maximise the profit of the brand (and chances are said chemicals have also been tested on animals at some point – big sad face!) Chances are that these same ingredients have been sourced solely based on their cost vs the profit that they make, rather than any consideration for the wider environmental and social impact.

It is this attention to the sourcing and cultivation of good quality ingredients, plus a commitment to producing products that are free from petroleum-derived ingredients; GMOs; synthetic chemicals, preservatives and fragrances; that have not been tested on animals that can also make more conscientious brands, such as Weleda, appear more expensive than some synthetic alternatives – however, what really makes me baulk is how much MORE expensive some well known mainstream brands are when you realise that their ingredients are predominantly synthetic and potentially toxic! A quick trawl through the internet (or your local supermarket, chemist, etc) and you will find day creams that are easily £40 or more.  Compare that to the £7.95 Calendula Face Cream, featured in a Marie Claire article as one of their best moisturisers for under £10 (please note that since the Marie Claire article there has been a price rise to £9.50 – but still under a tenner!)

Suddenly more natural and ethical companies such as Weleda start to look a whole lot more reasonable!

Now, it is bluntly true that I could choose to not use any specific bought cosmetics at all (and I have tried the “no poo” thing and just used things like bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar to “wash” my hair; made my own deodorant; etc) but, chances are, you may not want to go all out crunchy and skip everything you are probably used to using (and the thought of doing so probably brings the majority of people out in a cold sweat).  You want to move away from those potential nasties hiding in your bathroom cabinet and make-up bag, but you’re on a budget and you want to know where to start.

So what do you do?

Pare it down.  What are your must haves? Any specific skin issues? Do you have children to buy for as well? Start with the basics and add in one thing at a time.

My Top Five Basic Buys for a family

In no particular order, based on my own family’s basic cosmetic and personal hygiene needs.

Baby Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash

Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash £7.50

You will likely be wanting to wash yourself and the Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash is a two-in-one product suitable for all the family. Made with extract of organic Calendula and organic Sweet Almond Oil, this shampoo and wash is gentle and light-smelling and good for sensitive skin.  In time you could maybe look at one of Weleda’s dedicated shampoos and there’s a fantastic range of body washes and also a few bar soaps, but if money is tight and you need to double-up, you really can’t go wrong!

Weleda Children's Tooth Gel

Children’s Tooth Gel £3.75

Unless you’re a fan of making your own toothpowder, you will be wanting a toothpaste of some sort.  Weleda do a range of toothpastes, but if you have children, you might want to start with one specifically for them that can be used by all the family.  Fluoride-free Children’s Tooth Gel looks after new and developing teeth and provides natural protection.  With “extract of organic calendula flowers to keep gums healthy, silica for thorough cleaning and natural flavours of fennel and spearmint” there are no ingredients that could cause harm if swallowed.

In practice here we have both the Children’s Tooth Gel and I favour the Calendula.  However, my middle daughter and son and partner favour the Ratanhia (my partner says that it tastes more like how he thinks toothpaste “should” taste, i.e. strong and minty – whilst I love mint tea and often make my own from home-grown mint, I’ve grown unaccustomed to it in toothpaste, hence my preference for the more gentle tasting Calendula).  The Salt toothpaste (pictured at the beginning of this article) is also a very popular buy!

Weleda Calendula Baby Oil

Calendula Baby Oil £9.95 (or lotion £9.95)

Yes, this is becoming a bit of an ode to Calendula, but please bear with me, it really is an excellent first port of call!  Weleda offer a gorgeous selection of body oils (and lotions if that is your preference) but made from just organic Sesame oil and extract of organic Calendula flowers, the gentle Calendula Baby Oil is simple, unfragranced and suitable for all the family.  If you prefer a lotion, the Calendula Baby Lotion is a light, gentle lotion, formulated to care for delicate skin – again, perfect for all the family!

All three of the main Calendula products (including the Calendula Lotion) in my Top Five Basic Buys are all in regular (and in the case of the toothpaste, daily) use in my house, but we also have our own personal preferences from the further range of body oils and lotions and I will be covering this in another post.

Weleda Almond Oil - soothing facial oil for sensitive skin

Almond Facial Oil £17.95

Just in case you thought I was having a solely Calendula love-in in my Top Five Basic Buys, here’s something from a different range.  I’ve been using almond oil on my skin for well over a decade now.  It’s simple and multi-purpose – you can cleanse and moisturise with it (it makes a good eye make up remover for teens who favour heavy black eyeliner and mascara as well) and a little goes a long way!  It is the oil I use when doing facials and I really cannot recommend it enough.  Personally I stick with it just on my face (there are more economical oils to use for moisturising the rest of you!)

Almonds are packed full of beneficial minerals and vitamins and are high in unsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E (a known anti-oxidant that fights free radicals that age the skin).  Perfect for nurturing and protecting even sensitive skin, the Almond Facial Oil is gentle and suitable for family to use (from 40 down to toddler).  Yes, I also have a favourite cream I use, but my bottle of almond oil is still in regular (usually daily) use and in past difficult years, whether they be financial or the blips I have had with my skin being very sensitive and dry, almond oil was my skin saviour when I had to simplify!

Weleda Citrus Deodorant

Citrus Deodorant £9.50

I’ll let you into a secret, I am a big fan of home-made deodorant made from coconut oil and bicarb, perhaps a couple of drops of essential oil, honestly it’s great!  But my partner isn’t as convinced (he won’t try it) and my teenage daughter would prefer to spray and this is where the Citrus Deodorant comes into play as it’s useable by all deodorant-using family members (ie the three oldest here) without affecting any gender preferences.

Weleda offers a further range of deodorants – I love the rose and the sage is a great choice for both men and women as well.  However, where money is tight and something needs to be shared,  I think the Citrus is a happy medium that suits all of us – plus it’s a nice burst of uplifting citrus first thing in the morning when you could maybe do with a pick me up.

Deodorants are rather notorious for containing some nasty ingredients (see Breast Cancer UK’s excellent #DitchTheJunk campaign, link at the end of this post), but with Weleda deodorants you can rest assured that there isn’t any aluminium and all the ingredients are natural (they also come in a recyclable glass bottle with a non-aerosol pump spray).

After the Basics, What Next?

Now having covered what I consider to be the basics for my family, ie washing, teeth, moisturising and deodorant, what would I go for next?

Skin Food £10.95

It had to appear in here somewhere! I have dry skin – not helped on my hands by me needing to wash them a lot during the day (small children and more than a few animals) and me preferring to garden without gloves (soil can make your fingers very rough!) or my feet from me pottering around barefoot as soon as the weather warms (I love the feeling of soil on my bare feet in the summer).  Not just for your hands -in cold winter weather it makes a great barrier (although Weleda do produce a Weather Protection Cream) and is fantastic for preventing chapping.  I’ve heard stories of people putting it on the ends of dried out hair and as a make-up primer (I’m sure there’s more!) It’s also a multi-award-winning product that has stood the test of time (having celebrated its 90th birthday at London Fashion Week in 2016).

Weleda Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream £10.50

Not just for men, great for anyone who shaves.  Anecdotally I’ve heard the body washes are also creamy enough for helping with the shaving of body parts.

For Baby?

Weleda Calendula Nappy Cream

Calendula Nappy Cream £6.95

Not just for sore bums! This is the first product from Weleda that I ever bought.  Desperate to find something to help with my eldest daughter’s awful nappy rash when she was a baby I tried the nappy cream when it was recommended by a number of people on various Bulletin Boards (remember them? The forums used before things like Facebook?) The same, now teenage, daughter uses it on her spots and it is also good for any area that is itchy and sore.

And finally…

Arnica Bumps and Bruises Skin Salve

Arnica Bumps & Bruises Skin Salve £6.25

Not a cosmetic product, but a basic in this house.  Perfect for those inevitable bumps and bruises.  This is another Weleda product of longstanding in my household and well worth adding to a basic kit.  I will be writing a further blog post on the various Healthcare products available from Weleda, but out of all of them, this is the one most commonly used here!


I hope you’ve enjoyed the suggestions.  They constitute what I consider are good basic recommendations for a family to start with if you’re on a tight budget, but every family is different and you may find other choices more suitable.  In my family we have various other products that we use in addition to the above depending on the person – which I will save for another article – and of course, in time you can build upon any basic buys.

What are your favourite Weleda products? What would you recommend?

NB: prices subject to change, but correct at time of writing.  I endeavour to update them, but may miss the occasional one if there’s a price rise.  Quotes in quotation marks are taken from my webshop.

LINKS

Breast Cancer UK #DitchTheJunk campaign