One of the joys of living in London is that you are never too far (as the crow flie – not if you use public transport!) from a shop that is rich in natural and organic beauty products: Wholefoods, Content, Essentials Pharmacy, The Organic Pharmacy, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended… Not to mention the plethora of health food stores, pharmacies and salons that stock some of the delightful products that we know and love.
I acknowledge that whilst I (and my fellow inhabitants) am incredibly lucky to have these fantastic resources so close to home, I also appreciate that for most shopping expeditions are much more limiting. I would love for eco brands to be universally accessible but sadly not everyone has the luxury of having natural and organic beauty stores on their doorstep and this can be mightily frustrating, as I know from my pre-London life.
The internet is a fantastic way to access niche companies and purchase products, but what about if you want to try before you buy? Samples are one option but many companies don’t offer this service and some products, such as make-up, are hard to break down in sample sizes without changing the consistency, texture or even form of the product (pressed eyeshadows, liner pencils and blushes are fine examples). Thankfully over the past couple of years, some of the favourite stalwarts of our high streets are stocking products that were maybe once the preserve of the specialist store or Spa.
Fascinated to see what is now available in major Department Stores and focusing on the major companies that are in most cities or large town centres around the country, I did a little investigating and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Ok. Maybe some brands such as Ilia, Vapour or RMS Beauty are not represented, but given time, this may change…
One of the oldest of the department stores on the high street, Debenhams has a fascinating history and can be traced back to 1778!
Maybe not the first or most obvious choice for beauty shopping, but recent investigation has brought up some real gems of the organic and natural beauty world. Skincare lines Balance Me, The Organic Pharmacy and Dr Hauschka are all well represented and they are joined by five-free nail range Mavala and two names in clean make-up; the (relatively new) British paraben-free brand Wild About Beauty and Danish eco-brand Tromborg – a brand that I am anxious to try.
One of the old faithfuls of the high street, Marks and Spencer has seen a lot of change over its one hundred and thirty year history, not least in recent years!
Their ever growing beauty department houses organic skincare favourites Jurlique and REN, whilst sitting alongside are clean lines Olehenriksen and Skyn Iceland (they are the only UK stockist – you have to check out their eye gels!). Admittedly on the make-up side of things they are a little slower on the uptake than their competitors but they do stock US mineral make-up range Pur Minerals, a brand that is worth checking out.
My favourite department store, the John Lewis Company opened the doors of it’s Oxford Street, Flagship store in 1864 and has become one of the nations favourites.
Like it’s counterparts, John Lewis offer a fantastic array of natural and organic products for all the family. Alongside some of the skincare brands I have previously mentioned are Neal’s Yard Remedies, Melvita, Trilogy and Estelle & Thild. When it comes to make-up John Lewis beauty departments stock Dr Hauschka, INIKA and Neal’s Yard Remedies.
If department stores aren’t your thing or then why not check out my suggestions for online organic retailers.
Main Image: Totnes High Street cora 1983 – Courtesy of Manfred Heyde via Wikimediacommons
Body Images: John Lewis, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer