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Category — Jurlique

What Is Biodynamic?

I have to admit, at first when I dived into the world of organic skin care and makeup, the term “biodynamic” left me completely buffled. It was highlighted on a few sites I checked, but to the best of my knowledge it was another term from the modern scientific mumbo-jumbo marketing world created just to attract my attention.

How wrong I was. The more I researched it, the more amazed I was by how little exposure this concept has had in main-stream North America.

And guessing that there are probably readers on this site who are not all too familiar with the term as well, I am creating this biodynamic post, just so I can link to it every time that it comes up in the future.

So buckle up, and let’s dive in.

Biodynamic – what is it?

The term biodynamic refers to a type of farming/agriculture. Sometimes it is simply shorthanded as BD. The method dates back to 1924 and is one of the original approaches to organized organic farming worldwide. It was founded by Rudolf Steiner, a philosopher, who established the spiritual movement of anthroposophy. (Rudolf Steiner is such a multifaceted figure, that it is impossible to summarize him in a few sentences. Thus I must respectfully send you to Wiki, if you would like to learn more about him and his teachings.)

Originating from a spiritual view of the universe, biodynamic farming regards the farm as a living organism.

The best way to envision this living organism approach is to think of a wild forest. The forest is a system with a high degree of self-sufficiency. It doesn’t need external input to sustain itself. It’s fertilized through recycling of organic material within its own system. The intrinsic biological and genetic diversity of the forest inhabitants prevents pest species from moving in. And the water is cycled through the system efficiently.

In the same way, biodynamic farming practitioners view a farm as a closed system. Sustainability and self sufficiency is the key. Thus most seeds and fertilizers are self produced. Working by hand is essential (for the living connection between human and earth) and sowing and harvesting are matched to the rhythms of nature. Harmony with the world and other organisms, regeneration instead of degeneration, and sustainability as opposed to depletion are the values that guide biodynamic farming.

Needless to say (but I’ll mention it anyways) that biodynamic farming does not use artificial fertilizers or pesticides. Instead the fertilizing preparation are made from farm-sourced materials.

Today biodynamics is practiced in more than 50 countries worldwide.

There is also a biodynamic certifying organization, Demeter International, who also hold the trademark to the word biodynamic. Demeter certification is the oldest traditional organic certification in Europe and is regarded as the highest grade of organic farming in the world.

These are its typical logos (though there are some other variations within specific country markets):

Sample of cosmetics brands that use biodynamic ingredients:

  • Tautropfen (BDIH and Demeter certified products.)
  • Martina Gerbert (Certified Organic (BDIH), but also includes biodynamic ingredients, and has Demeter Certified products, notably massage oils and pregnancy care line.)
  • Dr Hauschka
  • WeledaI have written a very detailed article about this brand. It’s one of the oldest organic brands in the world.
  • Jurlique
  • May 5, 2008   4 Comments

    Jurlique – Brand Overview

    Note: if you want to go directly to overview, scroll down a bit, till you see “Jurlique – Brand Overview” heading.

    Today I’ve made the most exciting trip to Whole Foods, with full intention of quickly buying an eye-cream. I was going to make an ultra quick choice. But after an hour of agitated discussion with my companion and the sales girl, I was still standing glued to the skin-care isle floor, paralyzed by indecision. (I’m always fussy about eye-creams, as my eyes rebel against almost everything I try. So I don’t particularly cherish the idea of spending fifty dollars for a tiny jar that could make me look like Dracula’s long lost sister.)

    Sensing that we were going nowhere, the frustrated sales girl gave both my companion and I samples of reputation-wise deserving eye creams: “Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream” by Dr. Hauschka, and “Herbal Recovery Eye Gel” by Jurlique. Four cute little patches, completely free.

    Both my companion and myself have agreed to try them out, starting with Jurlique. First thing tomorrow. And I intend to write an extensive review, which hopefully will not include swollen eyes, fallen lashes, or x-ray vision…

    But until that time, I figured I’ll do some more homework about Jurlique (since I’ve already tried Dr. Hauschka in the past, I wanted to know more about the alternative).

    Here is what I found out:

    Jurlique – Brand Overview

    Jurlique International Pty. Ltd. is an Australian based company, that was founded in 1985 by Dr. Jurgen Klein, who has a PhD in Chemistry and a Naturopath Qualification. It manufactures and markets high-end natural-based skin care and aromatherapy products and herbal medicines in 20 countries via 30 or so company-owned concept stores plus a further 5000 retail outlets. (source: smart company)

    Jurlique uses organic and biodynamic ingredients in it’s formulas. The company owns two farms spanning over 165 acres in South Australia, where they grow over 35 different varieties of plants and flowers. 95% of the herbal ingredients used in their formulations are from these biodynamic farms. The balance of herbs, such as Arnica and Witch Hazel, cannot be grown in South Australia, so they are imported from certified organic farms.

    Jurlique uses bio-intrinsic methods to get the plant extracts. When asked what it ment, Dr. Klein explained:

    “we are very Biodynamic. ‘Bio’ is the organic part, ‘dynamic’ is the energy part” It relies upon potentising. We use an ancient Spagyric method from the middle ages, written down first in 1715. We call this the “Bio-intrinsic” method. With this method, the plant material is steam distilled to gain the volatile substances, followed by a percolation process to produce the liquid extracts, and the remains are then ashed to produce the vital trace elements. All substances derived from these three separate processes are then reunited to produce an extremely potent plant extract.”

    (you can read a full interview with the founder at TMOrganics: )

    The company’s guiding philosophies include naturopathy, alchemy, anthroposophy, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine. They are focused on preserving the “life force” of the plants they use. This is a quote from Jurlique’s official site:

    “life comes from life. The soil is alive. Plants and flowers are living. Life is ever-present and recurring. That life is in our products. Our products are very much alive, the moment that they touch your skin. Life from life.”

    As you may remember from my previous writing this philosophy is close to my heart.

    The only issue I’ve found about Jurlique, is that it has gotten itself into trouble with the Australian Federal Court, and in February of 2007 it was fined $3.4 million for resale price maintenance. I.e. they “encouraged” the resellers to maintain a certain price level. I don’t think this is a sign of anything with the product. But it does somewhat explain the high prices. And made me really appreciate the “freeness” of the samples.

    Lest anyone thinks any different, Jurlique is a successful business. Businesses are there to make money. They are trying to make more money, just like everyone else. They don’t want their products to go down in price, cause that would undermine the “premium” image of the brand. The only reason you and I have heard about Jurlique, is because of it’s premiumness. It’s a marketing strategy. Every business has one. I’m saying this as a business school graduate, which I am. (Which also explains my obsessive research into financial data of companies I discover – and I didn’t find any financials on Jurlique… I did try…)

    Were they right about how they went about doing it? I don’t know. I’m just presenting what I found. I don’t demonize people for wanting to make money. But it does serve well to remember that not everything a company “says” on its official page necessarily reflects everything it “does”.

    But for now I’m still quite excited about trying out the samples. I haven’t heard anything negative about the products. So I’ll choose to believe that when Dr. Klein wears his “herbal” hat, he is much more focused on making a quality product, then on what price it can be sold at. So stay tuned for the reviews.

    Update: Jurlique Herbal Recover Eye Cream Review is now posted.

    Second Update: Dr. Hauschka Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream Review is now posted.

    May 4, 2008   9 Comments