Our organic evolution: 1980s - today 
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Our organic evolution: 1980s - today 

Neal's Yard Remedies Canada
Lisa Shelley

Our organic evolution: 1980s – today

When we opened our doors in 1981, we joined a group of forward-thinking businesses based in a quiet corner of London’s Covent Garden called Neal’s Yard. We all shared a similar vision, pioneering values of sustainability, natural ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, value, equality, community and upcycling. These beliefs are etched into our brand’s ethos and have been adopted by many others over the years.

So, as we approach Organic Beauty Week, we’re looking back at our organic evolution from the 1980s to the present day, celebrating the milestones and sharing the stories behind them. First up: the three defining decades at the beginning of our organic journey.

The 1980s

Under the wing of our founder Romy Fraser, we were called Neal’s Yard Apothecary and initially only sold natural remedies. Soon after, we started creating our natural cosmetics, made at the back of our Covent Garden store, hand-crafted using organically produced herbal extracts and housed in our iconic blue glass bottles to protect the integrity of the ingredients inside.

From the early days, Romy had started sowing seeds of our organic evolution, starting with essential oils. In the mid-80s, Romy and Susan Curtis, our former Natural Health Director, went from farm to farm in the South of France to source and trial a small quantity of organic lavender essential oil. Only one farmer, Ulli, said yes, and we still work with him today; he now works with 20 different farmers to source organic lavender essential oil.

In 1987 we were the first UK retailer to sell certified organic Lavender Essential Oil– our very first certified organic product – and it remains one of our customer favourites today.

Lavender English Organic Essential Oil
Lavender English Organic Essential Oil

Lavender English Organic

Steam distilled from the flowers and leaves.

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The 1990s

Our organic story grew in the 1990s when we began to work with the Soil Association (SA), a British charity founded in 1946, leading nature-positive farming initiatives and developing world-leading organic standards to help build a better, more sustainable future. The SA’s organic certification – easily spotted by its logo on product labels – gives customers a trusted way of knowing an item has been made using eco-friendly farming techniques and packaging to protect the planet and all its inhabitants without using controversial chemicals.

At the time, certified organic skincare was niche and low in demand, and the SA were still only accrediting food. But we wanted our customers to have the same assurance for the skincare they used as they did in food, so, in 1991, we became Britain’s first health and beauty brand to use certified organic ingredients. It marked the start of our organic journey as an accredited retailer and paved the way for organic beauty throughout the industry.

In 1993, we began growing organic herbs, which we crafted into botanical extracts for our products. In the mid-90s, we launched a range of certified organic teabags to sell alongside our loose teas, including chamomile, nettle, echinacea and fennel.

Discover wild-harvested herbs in our organic herbal teas, carefully dried to preserve their therapeutic benefits and encased in planet-friendly, plastic-free compostable teabags.

Fired Up Tea
Fired Up Tea with background
Fired Up Tea
Fired Up Tea with background

Fired Up Tea

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After Dinner Tea package
After Dinner Tea on plate
After Dinner Tea package
After Dinner Tea on plate

After Dinner Tea

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Quiet Time Tea
Quiet Time Tea with background
Quiet Time Tea
Quiet Time Tea with background

Quiet Time Tea

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And while certifying products like moisturisers were still off the table at that point, a range of our massage oils and balms qualified for accreditation towards the end of the decade. In 1998, we certified our long-loved tired muscle saviour, Arnica Salve. 

Arnica Salve
Arnica Salve on plate
Arnica Salve open container
Arnica Salve
Arnica Salve on plate
Arnica Salve open container

Arnica Salve

A stimulating salve to massage into muscles, both before and after exertion

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The 2000s

The millennium brought a decade of organic firsts at Neal’s Yard Remedies. In 2002, we collaborated with the SA to release the first standards for certified organic beauty and launched the UK’s first four certified organic skincare products. Among them a product that remains a customer favourite today: our nourishing Melissa Hand Cream.

Melissa Hand Cream
Melissa Hand Cream
Melissa Hand Cream
Melissa Hand Cream

Melissa Hand Cream

With softening mallow extract and the delicate scent of lemon balm, this cream nourishes, protects and conditions. A staff-favourite.

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In 2003, we reformulated our long-loved revitalising Honey & Orange Facial Scrub to make it certified organic, and it’s of our top-selling exfoliators today. In 2004 we launched our award-winning, certified organic Wild Rose Beauty Balm, using sustainably and ethically sourced rosehip seed and hemp oils, shea butter and a balancing blend of essential oils. 

Honey & Orange Facial Scrub product container
Honey & Orange Facial Scrub product container

Honey & Orange Facial Scrub

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wild rose beauty balm front view
wild rose beauty balm photo of balm out of jar
wild rose beauty balm close with flower background
wild rose beauty balm top down view
wild rose beauty balm wild wild rose background
wild rose beauty balm front view w/ pink background
wild rose beauty balm front view
wild rose beauty balm photo of balm out of jar
wild rose beauty balm close with flower background
wild rose beauty balm top down view
wild rose beauty balm wild wild rose background
wild rose beauty balm front view w/ pink background

Wild Rose Beauty Balm

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Two years later, in 2005, we moved our HQ to a purpose-built eco-factory in Peacemarsh, Dorset, where we now have over seven acres of organic land and grow 40 different herbs for our products. The following year, organic farming advocate Peter Kindersley acquired Neal’s Yard Remedies, driving our organic evolution and encouraging people to harness their wellbeing through education and natural remedies.

We began working to certify our iconic Frankincense Nourishing Cream in the mid-noughties. Through reformulation trials, our staff tried, tested and loved our new organic version, but it was completely different to the original. So, in 2008, our certified organic Frankincense Hydrating Cream was born, blended with moisturising sodium hyaluronate, ideal for dehydrated skin. And in 2009, it won Best Organic Product in the UK Beauty Awards, while Romy was awarded an OBE for her services to the health and beauty industry, marking a pivotal shift in the changing attitudes towards natural remedies and certified organic skincare.

Frankincense Hydrating Cream
Frankincense Hydrating Cream
Frankincense Hydrating Cream
Frankincense Hydrating Cream
Frankincense Hydrating Cream
Frankincense Hydrating Cream

Frankincense Hydrating Cream

With nutrient-rich plant oils and herbal extracts to help strengthen and rejuvenate the skin.

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Watch Tipper Lewis, our brand ambassador and Naturopathic Herbalist, talk about our organic evolution and what she thinks the future holds for organic health and beauty.

The 2010s

The 2010s was a radical decade for certified organic beauty, with the term becoming more mainstream and organic skincare brands on the rise. A booming market propelled the need for certification in the industry – to help customers better understand and spot trusted organic products without legal standards in place (like food does, for instance). Throughout the period, we worked hard to certify as many of our existing heritage products as possible.

At the turn of the decade, we became increasingly aware of the threat posed and the decline of our pollinators, worsened by the proliferation of neonicotinoid pesticides. In 2011 we launched a campaign to save the bees and our limited-edition Bee Lovely Hand Cream, with a donation from its sales going to bee-friendly charities. We also launched a hugely successful petition with Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, lobbying the government to ban neonicotinoids, and gathered 117,000 signatures. In 2013, the EU banned three neonicotinoid pesticides.

Our Bee Lovely Hand Cream garnered such a faithful fan base that we not only kept it but grew the Bee Lovely range and have maintained our charity contribution, donating 3% of sales from the collection’s sales to bee conservation. So far, we’ve helped raise over £250,000 and save over 50 million bees, benefiting many communities worldwide.

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New Arrivals

Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner

Wild Rose AHA Toner

$37.50
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil
Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil

Wild Rose Glow Facial Oil

$52.50
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream
Wild Rose Glow Day Cream

Wild Rose Glow Day Cream

$59.00
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener

Wild Rose Eye Brightener

$37.50
Bee Lovely Hand Cream front
Bee Lovely Hand Cream back of bottle
Bee Lovely Hand Cream with background
Bee Lovely Hand Cream front
Bee Lovely Hand Cream back of bottle
Bee Lovely Hand Cream with background

Bee Lovely Hand Cream

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Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash
Bee Lovely Hand Wash

Bee Lovely Hand Wash

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Bee Lovely Bath & Shower Gel
Bee Lovely Bath & Shower Gel

Bee Lovely Bath & Shower Gel

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In 2014, we launched our clinically proven, certified organic Frankincense Intense™ Age-Defying Cream. This new formulation was made with cutting-edge active ingredients and sustainably sourced botanicals, a modern twist on our original frankincense range. Argan, macadamia and baobab oils work to nourish and protect the skin. At the same time, antioxidant-rich turmeric extract brightens, and a synergistic blend of gardenia plant stem cells meets a tripeptide complex to smooth and plump the skin.

Following the success of our Frankincense Intense™ Age-Defying Cream, our Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream was born in 2017 to target second signs of ageing. This certified organic formulation uses lifting technology and sustainably sourced herbs with a zero-waste story. First, we distil our Boswellia sacra (frankincense) resin for frankincense essential oil. Then, we use the waste from step one and extract the remaining antioxidants using an enzymatic process to create our Frankincense Active Phyto Complex – exclusive to Neal’s Yard Remedies – which won the Sustainable Beauty Awards in 2017.

Frankincense Intense Age Defying Cream
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream top down view of cream
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream back of box
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream front of Box
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream front view
Frankincense Intense Age Defying Cream
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream top down view of cream
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream back of box
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream front of Box
Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Cream front view

Frankincense Intense Age Defying Cream

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Frankincense Intense Lift Cream
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream package on a candle with pick background
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream pages with teal background
Frankincense Intense Lift Cream
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream package on a candle with pick background
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream pages with teal background

Frankincense Intense Lift Cream

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In 2019, we launched our certified organic Sensitive Skincare collection, a solution-based range to hydrate and soothe the skin supported by clinical trials. Loved by many, this collection is formulated with a soothing blend of organic borage oil, aloe vera, edelweiss flower and liquorice root extracts to help skin feel refreshed, cooled and conditioned. 

Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser front of bottle
Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser bottle with bubble background
Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser front of bottle
Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser bottle with bubble background

Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser

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Sensitive Replenish + Balance Moisturizer front of bottle
Sensitive Replenish + Balance Moisturizer bottle with grey background
Sensitive Replenish + Balance Moisturizer front of bottle
Sensitive Replenish + Balance Moisturizer bottle with grey background

Sensitive Replenish + Balance Moisturizer

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Sensitive Restore + Smooth Serum  front of bottle
Sensitive Restore + Smooth Serum bottle  with water background
Sensitive Restore + Smooth Serum  front of bottle
Sensitive Restore + Smooth Serum bottle  with water background

Sensitive Restore + Smooth Serum

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The 2020s

In 2021 we launched our Wild Rose range, evolving the collection using our antioxidant-packed wild rosehip seed oil. This FairWild ingredient helps support a remote Serbian community, is sustainably sourced and is a zero-waste ingredient. Among them is our Wild Rose AHA Toner, which uses Australian caviar lime with high levels of natural AHAs to refine skin texture by gently lifting off dead skin cells. Wild Rose Eye Brightener is our first product using light-reflecting mineral pigments, which diffuse light improving the appearance of dark circles. That year, we were crowned Best Organic Brand in Glamour’s Beauty Power List. 

Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner
Wild Rose AHA Toner

Wild Rose AHA Toner

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Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener
Wild Rose Eye Brightener

Wild Rose Eye Brightener

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wild rose beauty balm front view
wild rose beauty balm photo of balm out of jar
wild rose beauty balm close with flower background
wild rose beauty balm top down view
wild rose beauty balm wild wild rose background
wild rose beauty balm front view w/ pink background
wild rose beauty balm front view
wild rose beauty balm photo of balm out of jar
wild rose beauty balm close with flower background
wild rose beauty balm top down view
wild rose beauty balm wild wild rose background
wild rose beauty balm front view w/ pink background

Wild Rose Beauty Balm

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In 2021 we launched our Wild Rose range, evolving the collection using our antioxidant-packed wild rosehip seed oil. This FairWild ingredient helps support a remote Serbian community, is sustainably sourced and is a zero-waste ingredient. Among them is our Wild Rose AHA Toner, which uses Australian caviar lime with high levels of natural AHAs to refine skin texture by gently lifting off dead skin cells. Wild Rose Eye Brightener is our first product using light-reflecting mineral pigments, which diffuse light improving the appearance of dark circles. That year, we were crowned Best Organic Brand in Glamour’s Beauty Power List. 

Wild Rose Beauty Serum
Wild Rose Beauty Serum with background
Wild Rose Beauty Serum
Wild Rose Beauty Serum with background

Wild Rose Beauty Serum

A nourishing radiance boost for all skin types

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We’re always working on ways to be at the cutting edge of organic health and beauty while supporting nature-positive initiatives. We continue collaborating with the Soil Association to review and expand the list of approved ingredients for certified organic health and beauty formulations.

Watch Tipper Lewis, our brand ambassador and Naturopathic Herbalist, talk about our organic evolution through the decades and what she thinks the future holds for organic health and beauty.

Frankincense Intense™ Age Defying Skincare Kit
Frankincense Intense™ Age Defying Skincare Kit with background
Frankincense Intense™ Age Defying Skincare Kit
Frankincense Intense™ Age Defying Skincare Kit with background

Frankincense Intense Age Defying Skincare Kit

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Frankincense Intense Lift Cream
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream package on a candle with pick background
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream pages with teal background
Frankincense Intense Lift Cream
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream package on a candle with pick background
Frankincense Intense™ Lift Cream pages with teal background

Frankincense Intense Lift Cream

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Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser front of bottle
Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser bottle with bubble background
Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser front of bottle
Sensitive Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser bottle with bubble background

Comfort + Hydrate Micellar Cleanser

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