Can skincare/haircare REALLY be ‘eco friendly’ or ‘natural’?

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

I think it’s really important to be honest, and I quite fancy a deep dive into this. Here are some of my reflections on the subject, as creator of the Leafology range…

‘Chemical-free’ skincare

Occasionally, when I’ve been at markets with a glorious table piled high with Leafology wares, a customer has said to me ‘Oh, this is all so brilliant, I love natural stuff – I hate chemicals!’ and I wonder then and there if I should gently remind them that everything they are breathing, eating and drinking, plus everything around them, including themselves, is made of chemicals (even water is H2O, i.e. hydrogen and oxygen). Chemicals are not inherently ‘baddies’, therefore, but simply facts of life.

I’m being pedantic, of course; what my customers mean is that they hate what I tend to describe as ‘harsh’ chemicals – irritating preservatives, sensitising additives, petrochemicals, or really anything which sounds like it would better belong in a strong cleaning fluid. And I agree with them.

While I cannot claim to defy the laws of nature by producing chemical-free products (I do not sell vacuums in jars), I do claim to use ‘natural’ ingredients, and (even while I want to point out that even the word ‘natural’ is not completely innocuous; hemlock, cancer and shark attacks are all ‘natural’) this is a strong value of mine and therefore of the Leafology range.

It is aesthetically/sensually pleasing, safe and beautiful to use carefully-chosen natural ingredients, whether they’re derived from plants (essential oils, seed oils, distilled petals, leaves, infusions, fruit butters, etc.) or the earth (clays, salts, etc.). It’s also (rather importantly) effective; modern medicine, after all, was borne from the study of plants and their uses.

But can a skincare range really be eco-friendly?

There are so many aspects of this question which could be explored, so I’m gonna give it a good bash. A fundamental value of mine (which is, again, therefore reflected in the range) is that we should be minimising our use of plastic. This meant, for me, hours of researching alternatives and surprisingly complicated decisions about what to use both to contain each product and how to package our shipments.

Glass and metal are both recyclable and, in my opinion, simply more beautiful than plastic tubs or bottles would be. They also make attractive objects as well as not requiring you to buy plastic bottle after plastic bottle – the Want to be a rebel? page also encourages multipurpose use of the products, which can mean you need to buy even less! Of course, our use of glass and metal can’t be completely perfect or carbon-free when transporting, and it also doesn’t mean that our suppliers don’t sometimes post the raw ingredients to us packaged in plastic (though rest assured we buy in bulk, so the impact is less! Read on for more on this!) – every order from us of a product which is contained in glass or metal is another person NOT buying a plastic bottle of shampoo or toothpaste or body lotion (etc.). It all adds up (and helps spread the joy!).

One pump for life
The serums/oils across the range come in glass bottles and are all available to purchase with either a metal screwcap or a recyclable PET plastic pump lid. Many of you like to buy metal-lidded versions from your second purchase onward (if not from the very first purchase); this way you can see it as your own refill, simply transferring the old plastic-pump lid over to the new bottle (if you like), and repurposing or recycling the old bottle. See the ‘One pump for life‘ scheme, which has been part of Leafology from the start.

Q: Are Leafology products organic?
A: Here’s a little secret: organic ingredients are sometimes used in Leafology products even when they are not stated as such on the labels (this is because individual ingredients being upgraded to organic sometimes occurs before a print run of labels is used up; this is currently true of several products in the range)! Meanwhile, many of the products use organic ingredients, often to a high degree within the overall composition, but you may notice that the finished products don’t have officially accredited ‘organic’ logos on them (this may be considered in the future). Of the long list of potent plant ingredients in Leafology products, many are strictly organic (like all the plant butters and coconut oil, some of the essential oils), while some are not classed as such, simply because they are currently difficult to obtain (any non-organic ingredients are beautifully cold-pressed and unrefined, however). We’ll keep working on this. Meanwhile, many of the natural ingredients such as salts and clays simply cannot be described as organic as there is no agricultural process involved!

Q: How far up the ‘food chain’ is Leafology plastic-free?
A: An excellent question. The basic answer is that the supply chain is not 100% plastic-free (this is unfortunately very difficult to achieve for now). BUT it is moving in the right direction! Here is an encouraging reply from one of my biggest raw-ingredient suppliers when I quizzed them about their packaging:

Do you realise the void fill is made of corn starch and is biodegradable? If you run them under the tap they turn to water. We are moving to more and more paper… however we have been trialling paper bags for the plastic bottles… and they haven’t been doing very well, they tear during transport and then mix with the shredded cardboard we are using. We have some biodegradable bags for the packaging on the way and we are hoping these will work as a compromise between the paper bags and the current bags we are using. Later on this year we will be launching plastic bottles made from vegetable oils, which will be compostable, although these will be comparatively expensive at the beginning, long term we hope to replace everything with these.

…Don’t you just love companies that are transparent and on the right track?


Leafology: now award-winning!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

I’m hugely excited to announce that Leafology has just scooped FOUR Beauty Shortlist awards!

This is such an honour and feels amazing to be recognised by this brilliant organisation among a real mix of newer, small artisan brands (like us) and bigger, very well-known brands – all products are independently trialled by non-biased judges on panels around the world, who enthusiastically sample a mountain of entries! You can read more about these awards below!

I’m very proud and grateful to say that the Mermaid Magic Anti-Blemish Face Mask with Sea Clay, Kelp, Green Tea & Spirulina only went and WON the BEST FACE MASK (‘anti-blemish/breakouts’ category)!!

(Here’s me celebrating the win yesterday while washing up…!) 

Leafology also had THREE commended awards for the:

About the awards (from the website):

Celebrating 10 years of The Beauty Shortlist this year, the Awards were created by beauty journalist Fiona Klonarides in 2012. They went global in 2017, attracting entries from 39 countries (43 in 2019).

The awards are widely recognised for their objectivity, transparency and ethical focus and are closely followed by consumers as well as industry experts including beauty buyers, bloggers, news sources, journalists, PRs, retailers and international distributors.

100% Independent, Ad-Free and Sponsor-Free

These awards (beauty, men’s grooming and wellbeing) are wholly independent of any allegiance(s) to any organisation, brand or entity whatsoever and are completely sponsor and ad-free. Every product entered undergoes thorough testing by industry experts in London, New York and Sydney.

These Awards offer a level playing field to the largest global brands as well as much smaller artisan brands, and were launched to celebrate the brightest new arrivals in the beauty space as well as already established and much-loved products.

The Beauty Shortlist and Wellbeing Awards are:

  • cruelty-free
  • sponsor-free, ad-free, partnership-free
  • dairy-free
  • 100% independent, tested+recommended
  • judged by industry expert
  • global (since 2017) with 3 panels in UK, USA & AUSTRALIA
  • a level playing field for big and smaller brands
  • completely trusted by consumers
  • an unbiased guide to shopping the best in beauty and natural health

Needless to say, I am chuffed to bits. A huge thank you to all the judges at the Beauty Shortlist Awards. It means a lot! 🙂

3 tips for plastic-free joy + Buy Leafology in bulk!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

First… the big, bulky news…

You can now order larger quantities of the Renaissance Cleansing Grains and the Tooth Powder in paper bags, to fill up your original metal/glass container.
Just select the option from the drop-down on the product page.

..Save £££ AND the environment!

Mermaids hate plastic + 3 times you shouldn’t try Leafology products

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

Happy Summer Solstice!

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, like I am, you might know that the full moon we had a few days ago was called the ‘Rose Moon’, because it’s around now that roses come into bloom. I only found out the name of this paticular moon (I love the fact the moon has different names!) a day after the event, which was when I literally had noticed that the roses seemed to have flourished overnight!

Roses and moons aside, there’s a small announcement and a money-saving special offer for those of you who read to the end, but in the meantime…

Here are 3 times you shouldn’t try Leafology products (yep, really!):

Pink & Yellow (half-price magic) + a hefty chunk of news!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

A Tuesday hello to you!

I’ve got so much to say I hardly know where to start, but something tells me I should give up the goods in the first paragraph or two, so… Here’s something you might want to know about:

I’m feeling all bright and summery (quite bizarrely so, considering it’s just poured with rain) and want to celebrate Leafology’s brightest, most succulent-hued products with a very special offer…

It’s here! Renaissance Cleansing Grains <3

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots

Since I began creating my own natural skin and haircare products, out of a desire to be really in control of what ingredients I come into contact with (and lessen my unconscious, dangerous addiction to plastic-packaged things), I’ve had people asking me to create a shampoo.

You wanted something natural, nourishing, plant-based, GENTLE and pro-zerowaste.

After the usual EU certification to make it legal to sell, I’m happy to announce that the Renaissance Cleansing Grains for Hair & Body is now available! (Yes it’s a one-stop product for washing your hair and body!)

Photo by Bill Irwin

A unique, effective, nourishing blend, this game-changing formulation is the result of countless tweaks to a recipe I’ve been using myself for a long time.

I am rather fussy about what I put in or on my hair, and struggled to find a decent shampoo that doesn’t come full of sulphates, drying ingredients or which is then packaged in a plastic bottle… I’m happy to say that the solution is here!

My birthday month: let the light in with me!

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots, Uncategorised

It’s March! My birthday month! I want to celebrate this month (the best of the 12, let’s be honest) with a lovely little offer of Leafology’s FIRST EVER tealight candle, ‘Divine Dusk’. All orders in the entire month of March of £50 or more receive this special little candle completely FREE! (See below for the lowdown!) What is this magnificent beast?
It’s a vegan, clean-burn, low-waste tealight (free of paraffin and synthetic fragrances, so emits only goodness into the air around your home) perfect for lighting in the evening when finishing the day and winding down. The (entirely natural) aroma is a gentle trio of sensual, relaxing & (dare I say it) seductive essential oils; a medley of lavender, basil & cardamom. (Fittingly, I write this with my hands smelling of fresh basil.)

Plus, it comes in a cute, recyclable, screwtop metal tin (the same size as the lip balms!) so you can even transport it with you when on the move, if that’s your thing.

The situation: I’ve been making these sweet & decadent little mini-candles for myself and they are so beautiful and smell so delicious I really wanted to share. Consider this my equivalent of bringing delicious cake to work for my birthday. That’s really it.

(Confession: everything in the Leafology range has the tea plant in it, in some shape or form, but I’m squeezing this into the arena via a tenuous link; a tealight is tea-related, is it not?! Tea lights were originally so-named because they were lit under a teapot to keep the brew warm!).

How can I get one?
These candles are not available for general sale, but if you’d like to get your hands on one, all you’ve got to do is place an order of £50 or more and a magical ‘Divine Dusk’ tealight is yours – it will be automatically added to your order when we post to you.
… And you can order as many times as you like, throughout the month of March.

Over and out; wishing you wondrous brews, well-lit evenings & tea that never goes cold.

~ Ella ~

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Happy New Year + Do you ever wonder how you fit in?

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots, Uncategorised

I write this with the zingy Tea & Sympathy Relief Balm dabbed gloriously around the base of my nostrils (it’s a good visual, I grant you), since a winter cold has hit me hard over the last week and not being able to breathe PLUS having a red, chafed nose from blowing it too many times is a double whammy up with which I will not put. (It’s helped a lot, by the way.)

Back on topic, I have to admit something: despite the fact that Leafology is growing month by month, and I’m ridiculously excited about it all (and grateful!), I had a small waver a couple of days ago. Here’s why:

LAST POSTING DATES, easy stocking fillers & a marvellous medley of merry news

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots


The last time I wrote to you it was halloween, and somehow, time has magicked its way in a forward motion, as is its wont, and I’ve just spent the morning decorating my Christmas tree (a little evergreen I keep outside all year in a pot, now abundant in wooden koala bears, red bells, glass stockings & topped with a cardboard angel I made aged 6-ish), with a blazing fire, radio 4 and a determination that everything will happen perfectly in its own sweet time…

Lots to mention in this bumper post, so moving swiftly to it:

If you’re in the UK, you’ll want to etch these in your mind (I, for one, know I still have plenty of shopping to do and am loving supporting small, independent businesses!). So with no further delay (seriously), you’ll want to place your orders before these dates:
– For second class (standard) postage: Tuesday 18th December
– For first class postage: Thursday 20th December

No Big Deal but NEW PRODUCT ALERT! (+ how would Shakespeare put his best face forward? I’ll tell you.)

Leafology Journal: Leaves, Shoots & Roots, Uncategorised

The other day, I watched an outdoor performance of Romeo and Juliet set in the grounds of Oxford Castle (I don’t believe summer evenings can get more quintessentially English). They say (and by ‘they’ I mean Juliet) that a Rose is a rose by any other name (‘That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet). It’s true, and there’s no mistaking the rosy purity with which this email is unapologetically drenched. I’ll get straight to it:

There’s a new bottle on the block and I think you’re going to like it.