I was reading an article about responsibility by Philip Pullman yesterday “Writing is despotism but reading is democracy” published in the New Humanist (https://newhumanist.org.uk/4799/writing-is-despotism-but-reading-is-democracy) It is a discussion of creativity and responsibility in relation to the craft of writing. It is brilliant. It made me stop and think. It gave context to the broad responsibility of being part of a social community, “We are all responsible in various ways as social beings, as citizens, as fellow members of the human race... We should be as truthful and honest as we can manage. We should bear in mind the general good, and act in a way that promotes it rather than damages it…”
Sitting here with a broken ankle, rather than dashing about as usual, gave me pause for thought about my own craft. What is the responsibility of the skincare producer? Beyond fitting into a legal framework, what is our ethical obligation to the consumer? What is our message?
Skincare is persuasively marketed but often concentrates on the negative. As producers we can offer a much stronger, more inclusive message. We can say that we should celebrate our skin – all of us, in all its amazing, protective, sensual variety. It works hard for us each day and should be rewarded with the very best ingredients we can produce ourselves or source from like-minded others.
If the products we make are to celebrate and to make us feel good in our own skin; to protect, nourish and enhance the beauty intrinsic to all, we need to be sure that every step of the journey from plant to pot is beneficial, that we capitalise on all the healing or scent properties the plants have to offer. We should be open and honest about all the ingredients we include and the processes we use. It’s about more than doing no harm, it’s about taking responsibility, being a positive agent of change, offering an alternative.
There is a quiet movement starting to gain ground, I read and hear about it every day and it gives me hope. There are small producers starting to flourish who share these values, whose work is thoughtful and beautiful, ethical and precious, who collaborate with each other to enhance what they do. They are skincare producers, perfume makers, organic farmers, small batch distillers, herb workers, therapeutic drink creators, food makers, foragers, plants-people and so many more. They are present on social media, in blogs, on websites and it’s great.
There is also increasing scrutiny from bloggers who are looking for authenticity and to be able to communicate with producers – to know our names and talk person to person. They test, share their thoughts and give valuable feedback to us and their followers.
And now increasingly, there are curators of collections in specialist shops both online and in brick who search out small producers and support us to continue in our work. Their orders and promotion keep us going. Being Content is certainly one of the best along with Seed to Serum and Carbon Beauty. All are scrupulous about the credentials of their suppliers,
So, at the risk of forgetting someone, here are a few suggestions of really excellent people I enjoy engaging with…
Producers: Marble and Milkweed, Bloom Remedies, Dabney Rose, Jessica Ring, Ann Harman, Marco Valussi, Judith Layhe- Cook, Plant Skincare, Elm Botanicals, Edition Perfumes, Liha, The Herball, Fine Forage Foods, Merle’s Kitchen, Fawn lily Botanica, Ouse Valley Foods, Ashurst Organics.
Bloggers: @anagoesgreen, @beautybalm, @seedtoserum, @saritacoren, @bambiorganics, @galinaachkasova, @amberbeautytalk
Thank you, one and all - your work inspires me.