The Eco-Friendly Philosophy of Biodynamic Skin Care

Do you love to buy organic groceries, cosmetics, and textiles? If so, what draws you to organic agriculture? Maybe it’s the commitment to more eco-consciously created goods, or it’s the freedom from harsh chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Whatever it is that attracts you to the organic movement, we’re sure you’ll agree that these reasons apply to the products you use on your skin every day.

If you’re interested in organic products, you’re going to love biodynamic farming. Think of it as an even more exclusive tier on the organic spectrum, almost like “super-organic.” Read on to learn more about this eco-friendly, holistic practice and what it means for skincare.

What Does Biodynamic Mean?

The core tenants of biodynamics include following the natural rhythms of the earth. It’s about taking a holistic and ethical approach to food, agriculture, and ecology.

In biodynamic agriculture, the entire farm is considered a living, breathing organism. It’s believed that the farm should therefore operate under a self-sustaining model. Everything that’s done on a biodynamic farm must restore, maintain, and enhance harmony in the ecology of the farm.

This is accomplished in a variety of ways. Like organic farms, biodynamic farms don’t use harsh chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, composts and manures are used, using the byproducts created by the farm. This helps maintain the idea of the farm as a self-sufficient organism that uses what it produces.

Biodynamic farming also depends a lot on following the rhythms of nature. For example, many plants are planted and harvested in time with the lunar calendar. It’s believed that because the moon affects water in the form of tides, more or less water will be absorbed by the plants in a garden depending on the phase of the moon.

Many biodynamic institutions seek to incorporate what is known as Triple Bottom Line Approaches: ecological, social, and economic sustainability. This means bringing the philosophy of sustainability not just to the farm, but to the whole community. Biodynamic farmers were some of the first to participate in Community Supported Agriculture, or CSAs, which gave city dwellers direct access to fresh, locally grown produce.

The History of Biodynamic Agriculture

The root of biodynamic agriculture came about in 1924 when an Austrian philosopher named Rudolf Steiner gave a series of lectures in Silesia, Germany. Steiner presented the ideas that would eventually take the shape of biodynamic agriculture over the course of these talks, in response to the concern of farmers who had noticed worsening soil quality and plant health. Industrialization had transformed the world of agriculture in the centuries leading up to Steiner’s talks, and the effects were finally beginning to be felt.

Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner

Steiner emphasized that his ideas should be tested with experimentation, and founded a group called the Agricultural Experimental Circle of Anthroposophical Farmers and Gardeners of the General Anthroposophical Society.

In 1938 Ehrenfried Pfeiffer published a text in five languages about biodynamic farming, called Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening. Meanwhile, Steiner’s ideas were spreading across Europe and into other continents.

Today, biodynamics is practiced in 60 countries, with 161,074 hectares of land being dedicated to the practice. Most biodynamic agriculture is conducted in Germany, with around 45% of the world’s biodynamic farms. Biodynamics is especially favored by the world of wine making, with several notable vineyards embracing a more holistic, self-sustaining structure.

Demeter International

The idea of Demeter came about around the time that Steiner gave his famous lectures. Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest, seemed like the perfect symbol for a movement concerning the return to ecologically focused farming. One of the co-operatives that formed after Steiner’s lectures used Demeter as a symbol, and began moving towards standardization in the world of biodynamics.

Demeter International

In 1985, a non-profit organization formed taking the name Demeter. Its purpose was to enable farmers to obtain the resources they needed to become biodynamic, and to enforce the standards of biodynamics with certification. It was the first and remains the only organization that can label a product or a farm as certified biodynamic.

Biodynamic Skincare

One of the biggest benefits that biodynamic ingredients brings to skin care is the purity. If you’re looking to eliminate harsh chemicals from your routine, biodynamic ingredients are a great pick. Since chemical fertilizers and pesticides are never used in biodynamic farming, you’ll never have to worry about them tainting your products.

Biodynamically raised ingredients are often more potent than their conventional counterparts, as well. Taking specialized care of each plant and assessing how it responds to the rhythms of nature yields a healthier, happier plant and a better harvest.

If you’re concerned about making responsible choices in regard to the environment, biodynamic skincare is a great option. These self-sustaining farms don’t create the waste and emissions common in conventional farming, so you can rest easy that your routine isn’t taking as great a toll as conventionally created products.

Smallflower Picks

At Smallflower, we’re proud to carry some of the biggest names in natural beauty associated with biodynamic skincare and cosmetics. The following two brands were founded on the principles of biodynamics and incorporate ingredients that are sourced from biodynamic farms.

Weleda

Developed in the 1920s by the father of biodynamics, Rudolf Steiner, Weleda has always been committed to self-sustaining agriculture and high-quality, well-crafted ingredients. The Weleda Biodynamic Gardens in Schwabisch Gmund, Germany are one of the largest biodynamic farms in the world, and they supply the company with its pure, high-quality ingredients. Learn more →

Weleda Favorites:

Weleda Skin Food

Weleda Arnica Massage Oil

Weleda Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash

Skin Food, $19
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Arnica Massage Oil, $22.50
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Calendula Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, $12.50
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Dr. Hauschka Skin Care

In the 1950s, chemist and founder Rudolf Hauschka bought an 11-acre bog at the base of a mountain in Eckwälden, Germany. Since then, the company’s team of gardeners has cultivated the land to create the ingredients that go into Dr. Hauschka’s products. The gardeners work with the rhythms of nature, dealing with each plant by hand to maintain a close connection with the source. Learn More →

Dr. Haushcka Favorites:

Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Toner

Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream

Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk

Facial Toner, $37
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Rose Day Cream, $45
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Soothing Cleansing Milk, $39
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We hope you’ve learned something new and interesting about biodynamic farming and how it impacts skincare. If you want to learn more about biodynamics, Rudolf Steiner, and the philosophy behind it all, we recommend the following resources:

Demeter USA: http://www.demeter-usa.org/about-demeter/

The Biodynamic Association: https://www.biodynamics.com/what-is-biodynamics

The Organic Consumers Association: https://www.organicconsumers.org/categories/biodynamics