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Weleda Brand Overview

Weleda is one of the first brand names I heard when I set out on my organic skin care search. But I heard it from my European sources. Because it just happens to be the number one natural skin care brand in Europe. And if you are lucky enough to be living in Germany, you can get Weleda products everywhere. In fact, if you live in Europe, you probably heard about it whether you are into “natural” or not. But if you live in North America or other countries… Well, we clearly got some catching up to do!

Yes, it boggles my mind that a company that has been creating top quality products since 1920s is still largely unknown outside of Europe. I feel the situation must be rectified… And on that note, here is your definitive primer on all things Weleda skin care…

weleda logo

First Some History:

Weleda was founded on the pioneering anthroposophical ideas of Rudolf Steiner in 1921. Rudolf Steiner provided the “spirit”, the philosophy for the company, while a Dutch medical doctor Ita Wegman was the medical foundation. Together they launched anthroposophical medicine, and Weleda was the pharmaceutical laboratory developing medicines that were in line with that philosophy. (Ita also founded a clinic and a home for mentally handicapped children, among her other accomplishments.)

Anthroposophy views humans as indivisible beings consisting of body, mind and soul. Thus in the context of healing, all three had to be taken into consideration. Which also applied to the preparation of medicines. And since humans are intrinsically connected to living nature, only pure natural remedies could provide true healing. And nothing tops organic and biodynamically grown ingredients. (Read my article about biodynamic).

But back to our story… In 1924 the then called “Internationale Laboratorien Arlesheim AG” acquired its first subsidiary, a German company, which in addition to medical preparations made cosmetic preparations. The company was officially renamed Weleda AG in 1928.

Weleda company has miraculously survived World War II, despite the fact that Hitler has banned Anthroposophical Society, and in 1945 the company resumed its operations with about 150 employees.

Since the mid 1950s the company has been using organic and biodynamic ingredients. This was accomplished through both setting up their own farms and developing an extensive supplier network, which have to comply with Weleda’s stringent requirements.

Note: I heavily sourced this article and I owe them credit…

Now for Some Mythology:

WELEDA
[Wa-lay-da]

WELEDA was first registered as a trademark in 1923. Rudolf Steiner chose the name himself, for “Weledas” were Celtic women healers. These were wise women with deep knowledge of nature.

There was also a known historic “Weleda” — a prophetess and a priestess of healing living at the beginning of Christian Era. According to the Roman Historian Tacitus, she lived by the Lippe River of modern day Germany. She belonged to the Brukturer tribe, and under her influence, her tribe united with other Germanic tribes to repel Roman invaders, until eventually captured. The peace was established eventually, but the Romans feared Weleda’s influence and took her captive in Rome, where she remained until her death, though she was treated honorably.

The Business Side:

As for the technical nitty-gritty of the modern corporation (I’m an accountant by training… I can’t help myself ;) ), The modern Weleda Group is based in Arlesheim, Switzerland, and is the leading manufacturer of anthroposophical medicines and natural cosmetics in the world. As of August 2007 the company had 17 regional companies, and products available in 50 companies worldwide.

The company mainly specializes in natural cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs and nutritional supplements. All Weleda body care products are manufactured in Switzerland, Germany, and France, using more than 400 organic ingredients from 30 countries. In 2005 the company had $295 million in sales, with cosmetics generating roughly two-thirds of Weleda’s revenues.

Weleda Products:

Where do I start? There are literally tons of great products. But let’s highlight a just few that got a well deserved media and user attention:

Wild Rose Intensive Eye Treatment — Winner – Beauty Awards – Best Eye Treatment, Lifescape Magazine, 2007

weleda rose eye cream

To make the skin around your eyes soft, supple and young…

Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash — Highly Recommended – Best Body Wash — Natural Health & Beauty Magazine, 2008

weleda body wash

Refreshing and revitalizing shower with an antioxidant… Now that’s a win-win situation! It has an orangey smell, which is a great way to wake up in my books.

Wild Rose Body Lotion — Winner – Best No-Guilt Eco Chic Body Lotion — Essentials Magazine, 2007

weleda rose lotion

Perfect gentle and light lotion for a after bath…

By the way, the whole Wild Rose line have been getting tons of accolades. For example, the line was voted Best Beauty Range by Here’s Health Natural Health Awards in 2004.

Skin Food — Highly Recommended – Best Intense Moisturiser — Natural Health & Beauty Magazine, 2008

weleda skin food

Skin repair for dry patches and winter protection. But please, use sparingly! Cause we are talking “DEEP MOISTURIZING” here! This tends to be a hit with eczema crowd.

Weleda Products Winner — Best Value for Money — Natural Health & Beauty Magazine, 2007/2008

As in, they are touting the whole brand.

The “Weleda Wild Rose Oil” won the prestigious “Product of the Year” award at the BioFach trade show in Frankfurt in 1996. In the realm of natural products, this is the award everybody covets…

Oh, and dear mommies, did I mention the Weleda Baby Range? The one that TIPS recently selected as Tips Top Brand? The one that was mentioned in Vogue, Country Living, You Are What You Eat, Prima Baby, Allergy, Mother & Baby, That’s Life!, etc.?

weleda baby range

Finally something gentle for the tender skins and bums.

Packaging:

Most Weleda products are packaged in glass bottles and metal (aluminum) tubes. Please note that all aluminum tubes have inert resinous lining, and thus aluminum does not come in contact with the product inside. The reason for the packaging is that it is best for retaining the product qualities. Glass, is inert, and thus does not react with the volatile “living” substances inside. And the beauty of metal tubes is that upon squeezing the necessary amount, the tube contracts, and thus air does not come inside – making the product stay fresh longer. Since Weleda does not use synthetic preservatives, it must take even simple things like packaging method and material into account in order to prolong the life of the product.

The glass bottles and aluminum tubes are, of course, perfectly recyclable.

Other interesting facts:

Why is the company’s head office located in Switzerland, and yet it’s considered German by many?

The answer is that when it was registered, Germany was coming out of World War I, and money and freedom were much safer in Switzerland. Thus the company is legally Swiss. However today the production is focused in three countries: Germany, France and Switzerland.

Certifications:

BDIH Certified Natural Cosmetics

NPA Certification (Natural Products Association’s certification).

Fair Trade:

Weleda also practices Fair Trade. Which basically means that they offer support to communities from which they source ingredients. They set up long-term relationships with suppliers, and make sure that the workers are treated ethically.

In Conclusion:

In conclusion of this grand epos, which is much longer than I anticipated :) (but hey, the company is pretty old to fit in a paragraph!), I must say that I’m envious of those living in Germany who can just walk into a local store and buy any Weleda (or Dr. Hauschka for that matter) product any time. It’s no secret that Germany and France, and Europe in general, are way ahead of us (North Americans) in terms of embracing organic skin care.

But girls of the rest of the world – do not despair! The tide of nature cannot be slowed down, and the fact that you now know about wonderful brands like Weleda proves it. We may not yet be able to get it at our local drug-mart. But hey, we’ve got internet!

Update: You now can get the entire Weleda line at SkinBotanica.com

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3 comments

1 Disabled Chat { 07.24.08 at 10:50 am }

I have Bell’s Palsy and enjoy your blog very much. First time I’ve commented, but have been reading here and there.
Great blog. I enjoy reading it every chance I get and value your opinions!

2 julena { 07.24.08 at 5:42 pm }

Thanks :) I’m glad to know you like it!

3 Karim Rayani { 01.11.10 at 3:36 pm }

Truly an amazing company with great products….with an enriched history of excellence.

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