Weleda is a name so familiar to natural beauties around the world. It all goes back to the year 1921 and Dr. Rudolf Steiner, and something called ‘anthroposophy’ – a movement which encouraged people to see body, mind and spirit as intrinsically linked to wellbeing, all part of one holistic system.
Rudolf Steiner was a philosopher, who (along with a colleague, Dr. Ita Wegman), gathered together a group of doctors and scientists to see how they might use this idea to take care of patients’ needs. They developed a pioneering approach to modern healthcare which harnessed the power of natural ingredients to work with the body and mind, supporting its natural healing powers.
Many of these ingredients were grown in their own ‘biodynamic’ gardens: a system of gardening which harnesses the seasons and the cycle of the moon to encourage plant health, over and above following organic methods. Those plants were used for healing – and Dr. Steiner and his colleagues soon observed that wellness and balance were restored, without a single chemical or lab-made process.
They chose the name ‘Weleda’, after the name given to Celtic priestess-healers: wise women with deep herbal knowledge, counsellors to their communities. Since then Weleda has become renowned all over the globe for natural remedies, skincare and bodycare, many created from ingredients grown in their own biodynamic fields in Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Argentina, New Zealand and France: over 300 different botanical ingredients, in all – including the precious roses you can see below – with many others sourced from Fairtrade projects around the world.
Right from 1921, Weleda has kept ‘sustainability’ and ‘all-naturalness’ at the heart of its ethos – and the products have become favourites not only of wannabe-natural beauties, raved about by many editors and with many awards bestowed upon them, along the way, for products like the iconic Skin Food, Almond Smoothing Facial Oil, Birch Cellulite Oil and Wild Rose Pampering Body Lotion.
2016 saw a new, scented chapter in Weleda’s history, with the launch of three debut scents under the umbrella – or maybe parasol! – of Jardin de Vie. And as their creator, Weleda’s Dr. Leo Zängerie, explains: ‘For Weleda, the launch of fragrances is a natural development of the holistic range.’
In fact, Jardin de Vie marks the debut of an entirely new category in perfumery, known as ‘Eau Naturelle Parfumée’. Dr. Zängerie elaborates: ‘They can be regarded as light perfumes, similar to an eau de Cologne. The fragrance is immediate and fairly subtle… The focus is on the lively character during the moment of application and the joy of the immediate experience’ – so that each time, you relive the sense-awakening pleasures of this holistic range.
Each of the debut fragrances takes its inspiration from a much-loved Weleda skincare collection, and each seeks to create a different ‘mood’. For instance, Jardin de Vie Agrume – hand-picked (in every way!) for The Perfume Society Exquisite Essences Discovery Box – is all about joy: a light-hearted, carefree, energetic fragrance in which bright orange sea buckthorn berries capture the sun’s rays during a light-filled day. A fresh, vital composition, it echoes the scent of the Sea Buckthorn skincare range, inviting us into a garden of sun-drenched citrus groves via sharp citrus top notes of grapefruit and mandarin balanced by the soft mellow complexity of sandalwood, evoking memories of the carefree feeling of summer on our skin.
Jardin de Vie Grenade, meanwhile, is the sensual choice: sophisticated, feminine, timeless. Inspired by the scent of the famous Weleda Pomegranate skincare range, it whisks us to an exotic Persian garden. Orange provides an intense fruity top note, whilst Oriental davana adds a layer of sophistication and mystery, both complemented by the soft, warm, balmy aroma of vanilla. The complex, heady fragrance sends the senses on an inspiring journey, and wraps us in a timeless feminine sensuality.
And for those romantic moments, there’s Jardin de Vie Rose, inspired by the scent of the Wild Rose skincare range: a heavenly bouquet which is at once uplifting and calming. Harnessing dew-drenched petals harvested in the Turkish fields of Weleda‘s farming partners at dawn, it will take you on a walk through a classic rose garden, brushing against scented blooms. At the heart of the floral composition is the delicate but intoxicating aroma of Damask rose, the freshness of rose geranium, and the sweet potent note of ylang ylang blossom, restoring harmony and beautifully bringing us back into balance.
In 2017, the trio was joined by Jardin de Vie Onagre – taking its inspiration from Weleda’s Evening Primrose skincare range, evoking the delicate scent of evening primrose flowers as they unfurl at dusk. Floral-fresh and very pretty, it’s also flushed with magnolia, spiced by cardamom and wrapped in the pashmina-like softness of sandalwood.
At last, people seeking 100% botanical scents can find them easily – and so pleasurably – thanks to Weleda. But we think every perfumista will find something to delight, within this collection. (Naturally.)