Farida O’Seery, founder of theBeauvoir 50+ anti-agism natural skincare based in Belgium, learned how to create her own organic and natural skincare products at the School of Natural Skincare.
She is a woman on an anti-agism mission who believes passionately that women have “the right to age and claim their age.”
This is her story.
A brief period of unemployment provided the ideal opportunity for Farida to take the plunge and begin developing her own range of organic and natural skincare.
Poisonous Western lifestyles: her journey to natural skincare
It was something she had been moving towards for more than a decade, as she explained:
“I started to become aware of the very poisonous nature of our Western lifestyle 10 years ago and slowly began changing the way I was eating, working and living.
I got interested in herbalism and took a two-year-training course in 2010-2012.
But, I’d always wanted to create and produce something myself and I signed up with the School of Natural Skincare so I could develop the confidence to formulate skincare products for myself, using natural ingredients that work for the skin.”
Farida chose the School of Natural Skincare because the training “felt very complete” and didn’t come with “an elitist price tag”. She appreciated the way that information was explained “clearly and patiently” and said that, despite most of the contact being digital, the school “has a heart” for its students.
An eye on the US market
Although Farida’s company, theBeauvoir, is based in Europe, she has an eye on the US market.
She explained why:
“As a cosmetic formulator, you can change things fundamentally in the US. Legislation is not like it is in Europe – it’s still very Medieval when it comes to cosmetics formulation.
There’s almost no government control, so the 100% synthetic formulators (the big cosmetics companies) still rule.
This means that as a natural and organic formulator you can really make things better for the consumers of your products and distinguish your brand.”
Harmless, functional ingredients
Farida doesn’t want to become “a walking timebomb” by using potentially harmful products on her skin that could be absorbed into her body.
“I want the ingredients I use on my skin to be absolutely harmless,” she said, “but at the same time very functional in supporting a healthy, vital skin.
I don’t want to have regrets using stuff in say, 10 years’ time, when I suddenly hear that ingredient so and so is actually rather poisonous and could now be hiding itself somewhere in my tissues and I have become a walking timebomb (as is now often the case when you read about Big Pharma and all kinds of drugs).
I aim to have longevity and hopefully a life filled with beauty. I guess that’s what I’m looking for in the products that I make and use.”
Although some chemistry is needed to formulate the products, Farida uses “Green Chemistry” and relies on natural, organic ingredients from organic agriculture, specifically chosen for mature skin.
“I use recognizable formulations that are far from the toxic, chemical compositions used in most mainstream products the details of which are largely incomprehensible for most consumers.
The products I make use whole and unrefined ingredients, full of vitamins, minerals and other goodies.
I keep my use of Green Chemistry to a minimum – basically emulsifiers and preservatives.”
Ingredients are mostly approved by organic certification bodies such as Ecocert, Natrue and BDIH).
The dark side of the new medical era
Farida speaks passionately about “the dark side of the post-Second World War New Medical Era”. She said:
“As a society we have become very gullible in that we believe and trust doctors, pharmacists and even the government’s health department uncritically.
However, there is science that shows us just how dangerous synthetic chemicals are and how much the production and use of them is polluting our environment and our bodies, via our skin.
“What shocks me most is that the older you get, the less authorities (pharma, allopathic doctors, industrial food producers) seem to care about the poison they treat and feed you with.
It’s not black and white, we do need synthetic drugs, but only when it’s absolutely necessary.
Otherwise, the side-effects of these drugs are far too great. Our body does not recognize synthetic ingredients, it doesn’t know what to do with them, so it stores them, keeps them inside, which is not good.
The same goes for synthetic cosmetics as far more is absorbed through our skin into our body than we previously thought.”
Choose cosmetics with care
Farida urges women to choose their cosmetics with care. She also believes we need access to the right information about the substances and ingredients contained in these products:
“I doubt if many women know that petrochemical companies make petrochemical ingredients for their high-priced cosmetics. I also doubt if they realise that big cosmetic companies regulate themselves and makes their own laws to allow use of certain substances.”
Natural vs organic
She points out that, according to research, 50% of European consumers are not aware of the difference between natural and organic products.
“The term ‘natural’ is not regulated at all,”
said Farida. “But, on the other hand, products labelled ‘organic’ must contain mainly natural ingredients that are grown organically.”
She is organising workshops to increase women’s understanding of the difference.
As well as championing the cause of organic, natural ingredients, Farida is passionate that women over 50 should not be seduced by “hollow anti-aging promises in expensive jars full of risky chemical poison”.
Her aim is to create ‘anti-agism products’ that recognize and respect a woman’s age and beauty.
“theBeauvoir is a brand of natural and organic skin care for women over 50. It knows what your skin needs and gives you the feeling that you still count as a 50 + woman.”
Ingredients are chosen to keep the skin strong, soft, supple, comfortable and healthy.
They include: organic and unrefined vegetable oils, butters and waxes, botanicals, bee products, vitamins, minerals and clay. The brand aims to teach women de-stressing, soothing care habits to support them through the next phase of life.
A personal interest
The formulations that underpin theBeauvoir have been tried and tested in many cases by Farida herself. She said:
“A few years ago, I stopped using mainstream creams and makeup and I made my own products. I am a ‘cosmetically-challenged person’ – because of my Irish descent I have a delicate skin and rosacea.
But, thanks to these more natural products, I no longer have ‘cardboard’, dry skin, I manage more and more to keep my skin calm despite going through the menopause and my friends say that my skin looks very well.
What’s more important: I feel better than ever in my own skin and I love taking care of myself with my own product range.”
Vision and values
Some of the marketing taglines for theBeauvoir provide a good insight into the company’s vision and values. They include: “Claim your age and feel good in that skin”, “50 is the new 50” and “theBeauvoir boosts your skin and your self-esteem”.
“In the words of Belgian female artist, May Sarton
‘Do not deprive me of my age. I have earned it.’
Anti-agism on the label refers to the right to age and claim your age. Forcing women to keep looking artificially “youthful” chases them into the arms of the anti-aging industry, the fastest growing industry in cosmetics, and plastic surgery.
It also prevents women from investing their money sustainably and, even worse, the poison in products and the invasive nature of plastic surgery undermine their health. theBeauvoir therefore stands for natural skin care that makes mature skin resilient, but also makes women more resilient to the latest form of sexism: age discrimination.
“Older women are being made to believe that once they exceed 50 they have “had their best time.” That strangling beauty myth is rampant. I want to change that with theBeauvoir. I’d like to help us all out of believing that youth is everything and save us from the grip of a dark beauty industry, where older women lose sight of what really counts for their skin: keeping it vital strong, healthy and glowing.”
Inspired by famous women
Farida has created a ‘female’ look and feel for the brand and used the names of famous women as inspiration for the products – ‘Trix’ as inspired by Beatrix Potter and ‘Gloria’ by Gloria Steinem.
In a nod to her Irish ancestry and her strong spiritualism, Farida has used the triquetra (the Trinity) in her branding.
She said simply:
Women are very intelligent, spiritually strong creatures.
For more information about theBeauvoir 50+ anti-agism natural skincare visit: https://www.thebeauvoir.com
When you learn to make your own products, the potential for what you can create and what you can do with that new skill, passion and hobby is immense.
From choosing ingredients yourself and formulating products that truly match your values, to creating products for a specific skin type for particular skin concerns, creating your own products makes sense.
The satisfaction goes way beyond the moment of purchase and first use of a shop bought product and instead begins with ordering ingredients, opening the box when they arrive, setting everything up, trying it all out, making your first few samples to perfecting the formula…and then when you try the product, realise how amazing it is, knowing you made it…the personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment soars.
After using their own handmade masterpieces and seeing the amazing results, many of our students go on to create products not just for themselves, but to sell.
Farida is one of those students!
If you’ve been inspired by her story and are interested to learn more about making your own products, either for yourself or to sell, then check out our portfolio of online courses here, reach out to customer & students services at firstname.lastname@example.org and get started today with free natural beauty recipe book.
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