Friday, 13 July 2007

Lula Lewis: Queen of the organic apothecary

Sourcing organic beauty products used to be a time consuming chore, but now it's becoming an absolute joy, thanks to brands like Love Lula, founded by Naturopath Claire 'Lula' Lewis, springing up and providing a plethora of choices in terms of natural skincare. Love Lula is a contemporary and subliminally stylish, online apothecary with Soil Association approval, which means you can be sure that the beauty products truly are natural and organic. None of the beauty products provided by the brand contain potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sodium lauryl and laureth sulphates. Forget about lack of options, Love Lula sells over 350 beauty products from leading natural brands such as: Lavera, Weleda, Trilogy, Spiezia and Badger, so you are spoilt for choice!

Lula is an eco entrepreneur, natural beauty expert, healer, naturopath and natural lifestyle advocate, who believes in using the power of nature to correct physical, emotional and spiritual imbalances within our bodies, of which our skin is a reflection. Here she reveals her organic beauty secrets to Dawn Mellowship.

Why should we all be using organic beauty products?

"There are so many reasons why I love organic beauty products – the organic and natural ingredients in organic beauty products offer all the active nutrients healthy skin needs and in the most absorbable and most alive, therefore most effective, form. The use of chemicals in beauty products became popular because they offered large cosmetic companies a cheap way of producing beauty products that they could sell in the mass market. Today innovation in natural skincare means that organic products can be created without needing to resort to chemicals that come with a big question mark over their impact on our health. For me health and beauty are all tied up together….how can something be called a ‘beauty’ product if what it contains are ingredients such as formaldehyde or phthalates that can damage your health?"

When and why did you first becoming interested in natural skincare products?

"As a teenager I fell hook line and sinker for the marketing promises of the big brands and spent my pocket money finding out that they didn’t work. It was clear to me even then that chemicals couldn’t nurture the skin to be glowing and naturally healthy. I was always intuitively drawn to more natural products, although in those days they were virtually impossible to buy, so I’d make my own products.

My passion for natural skin care was fully sparked on a wonderful year spent travelling the globe. Spending time in vast wildernesses untouched by man triggered a realisation in me of the sheer power and beauty of nature. For me natural skincare that is formulated with carefully grown and sourced ingredients offers a touch point to this magical power in our everyday lives."

What are your top three organic beauty products?

"Top 3? That’s hard! The products that get the most compliments from customers are Kimberly Sayer’s Ultra Light Day Cream with SPF 25, Lavere’s Lifting Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Naturetis’ Lily Oil Hand Balm."

What is your morning and evening beauty regime?

"Morning – Suki’s Lemongrass Exfoliating Cleanser (love love love this cleanser), Pangea Organics Argentinean Tangerine & Thyme Toner, Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Day Cream with spf 25, Kimberly Sayer Eyelift Gel & Balm Balm Rose Lip Balm. I’m prone to the odd out break so I use Harley Street Cosmetics Tea Tree Gel before applying day cream if I feel I need to treat my skin.

Evening – Pangea Organics Calendula Cleanser followed by Kimberly Sayer Restore Anti Aging Cream. I also apply a clay based mask a couple of times a week to keep my skin clear; I use Pangea Organic’s Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask."

What should consumers look out for when trying to source organic and natural beauty products?

"I got a reminder last week how hard it is for consumers when I was sent some product samples from a company that markets itself as offering clean and natural skincare free from all the commonly listed ingredients such as sls or parabens. When I read the ingredients on the bottles though they were mostly petrochemicals; the main ingredient in the baby oil was liquid paraffin with no natural or organic ingredients in sight.

The only way to tell if a product is natural or not is to read the ingredient label (and don’t get fobbed off with a list of the active ingredients only). At Love Lula we always list the complete ingredients of the products we sell on our website because we believe this is the only way you can actually know exactly what you’re buying. Campaign groups such as WEN offer lots of great advice on ingredients to look out for and avoid.

Some products are also certified by various organic and natural bodies which helps to give weight to the validity of marketing claims. Reputable certifiers include the BDIH, the Soil Association and Ecocert. However be warned – there are brands that make up their own ‘certification standards’ so they look like they’ve been given 3rd party approval (cheeky!)."

In your opinion, what is the key to having healthy skin?

"Love yourself. Be kind to yourself…and then you can intuitively give your skin (and the rest of your body and soul) exactly what it needs."

Are there any good organic beauty books that you can recommend?

"Pure Skin by Barbara Close is a great book for helping to understand how organic and natural skincare works with your skin and what ingredients and regimes are ideal for different skin types. Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care: Including A to Z Guide to Natural and Synthetic Chemicals in Cosmetics by Aubrey Hampton is a passionately written book on natural ingredients and how chemicals interfere with the effectiveness of natural skincare products. The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book by Jo Fairley is a great introduction to making your own products and Authentic Woman by Leslie and Susannah Kenton embodies, for me, the spirit of what organic and natural beauty is about and applies it to the wider context of how women can access and live from their own unique beauty.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

My dogs come and tell me when they think it’s time for me to get up.

No comments: