The farm-to-table dining movement has been growing—and booming—for nearly two decades. Recently, a similar approach has been gaining steam in beauty and has even evolved into its own category—farm to skin.
Simply put, this is a concept in which products are created “from seed to skin,” according to Sara LaBree, education and events manager, North America for Jurlique. “It is the process of farm-grown ingredients being harvested and put into product formulations without being overly processed or changing hands through multiple distributors. The longer the time and the more hands that touch fresh ingredients, the more of the nutrients and quality that are lost.” Carmen Gendebien, chief experience officer of A Wholesome Glow, agrees, saying farm to skin involves turning over soil, harvesting the crop, and creating, producing, and packaging products on the farm.
For the most part, farm-to-skin products are free of preservatives and synthetics and created with natural, organic ingredients that are farmed sustainably either on-site or by local farmers. AEOS products are produced on the company’s 500-acre Demeter-certified biodynamic farm in England; A Wholesome Glow is created using ingredients grown on the owners’ upstate New York dairy farm; Board and Batten products contain ingredients that have either been harvested from or inspired by the company’s Florida farm; FarmHouse Fresh features natural and naturally derived ingredients from U.S. farms, including its own in Texas; Jurlique products are formulated from ingredients culled from the company’s biodynamic and organic farm in Australia; and Laurel Whole Plant Organics are made almost entirely with ingredients sourced from organic or biodynamic farms located within 100 miles of the company’s Sausalito, CA, production studio.
There are many reasons this trend is booming. First, sustainability and pure ingredients are becoming mainstream. According to a study from Transparency Market Research, global demand for organic personal- care products, one-third of which are skincare products, is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018. “Consumers are beginning to approach skincare the same way they select their food,” says Patricia Walker, founder of Board and Batten. “Knowledge is spreading about the toxins in conventional beauty care, and the desire to protect ourselves and our loved ones is pushing us back towards utilizing nature’s bounty,” says Laurel Shaffer, owner and formulator of Laurel Whole Plant Organics.
In addition, in today’s frenetic world, a throwback to simpler times is appealing. “There was a time when 98 percent of us had a direct connection to an agricultural and pastoral lifestyle,” says Gendebien. “We are longing to regain a sense of the all-natural lifestyle.”
This movement does have a few considerations, one of which can be price. While some experts point out that the price tags of many farm-to-skin products is comparable to and even less than many high-end skincare lines, consumers seeking bargains are not likely to find them in this marketplace. “Organic raw materials and organic farming are 20 to 40 percent more expensive than conventional methods and materials,” says LaBree. “There is no question that there are numerous benefits to going green. However, there are also additional costs, which can result in a higher price point for products.” The question also remains as to whether some of the smaller-batch companies will be able to keep up with demand. Because if today is any indication, this is a trend that will continue to flourish and blossom.