Weleda’s Skin Food is one of those rare beauty products that feels niche yet appeals on mass. Such is its success, the 97-year-old multi-use moisturiser is found in the kits of more than 400 British make-up artists, as well as the bathrooms of A-listers including Victoria Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Rihanna, Adele, Drew Barrymore and Hailey Bieber – and even reaching those of the Love Island villa. In the UK it has won 51 awards over the past decade alone, has upwards of 18,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, and one sells every five seconds. Everyone loves Skin Food. But why?
As its name suggests, the premise is that it nourishes parched skin: the formula is satisfyingly rich and restorative, with the oils of sunflower and sweet almond relieving rough, dry skin whether on the face or body. Take it from Adele, who once said “Because I wear a lot of make-up when I’m working, I like to use Skin Food by Weleda because it makes my skin feel really replenished”.
It also calms and soothes thanks to extracts of calendula and chamomile, and it bolsters the skin barrier with protective waxes – namely beeswax and lanolin. Rosemary extract stimulates the circulation, while the essential oils of lavender and sweet orange form its comforting signature scent.
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Aside from Skin Food’s primary use as a stalwart moisturiser, thanks to its glossy texture it is often used as a natural highlighter, too. The formula leaves a sheen on the skin and imparts a healthy dewiness that can’t really be cheated with make-up. While this radiates from beneath your base when applied all over, precision application on top of foundation, gently pressed onto the skin, adds shine where desired.
It is “truly multifunctional”, says esteemed make-up artist, Ruby Hammer. “I use it to highlight cheeks, brush up brows, repair and revitalise dry shins, elbows and heels. [It’s] the perfect post-file treat for your feet.”
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How the Skin Food story began
The formula of the original Skin Food remains unchanged since 1926, when it was created as an addition to Weleda’s ‘ready-formulated’ toiletries range – meaning those that weren’t pharmacist-made for a particular ailment. This, which debuted in 1921, included a hair oil, hair tonic, toothpaste, mouthwash, cleansing milk and massage oil, and marked the beginning of the ‘purpose-led’ business based upon the principles of anthroposophy – the philosophy (still central to Weleda today) of tapping into the body’s natural healing mechanisms via natural ingredients and medicines.
Anthroposophy was the brainchild of philosopher and scientist Rudolf Steiner – perhaps best renowned for the educational methods he pioneered with his world-famous Waldorf schools – who came together with fellow progressive minds and holistic health pioneers, a physician specialising in women’s health, Ita Wegman, and chemist Oskar Schmiedel, to curate the products and launch the Weleda brand.
What has changed about Skin Food?
Skin Food, which then was simply called ‘Skin Cream’ in German, was created to be used on the face and body, and it remained the only moisturiser in the brand for some time. Now, however, it can be found in its 75ml pack as well as a 30ml, and a 10ml mini. Skin Food forms the backbone of an entire range, with accompanying versions including the Skin Food Light, Skin Food Body Lotion, Skin Food Body Butter and Skin Food Lip Balm. In addition, Weleda as a brand has other sub-ranges centred around ingredients (such as Arnica) and purposes (such as Mother and Baby). Everything produced by Weleda is certified by Natrue, the first internationally recognised quality seal for organic and natural beauty products.
Another aspect that’s evolved is Skin Food’s sustainability practices. Now a B Corp brand (the crème de la crème of sustainable beauty accreditation), all Weleda products are certified carbon neutral. When it comes to recycling an empty Skin Food original, Skin Food Light or Skin Food Lip Balm, as the tubes are made from mixed plastic materials most council schemes will not accept them, so you can return them using the brand’s Freepost Weleda Recycling address (they then ensure only the smallest percentage of waste ends up in landfill). The Skin Food Body Butter glass jar and lid, and the Skin Food Body Lotion bottles and caps, can all be recycled at home.
Besides its sustainability credentials, it also has some pretty staggering social media shares too, with 99.1 million video views relating to ‘Weleda Skin Food’ on TikTok, and nearly 23.5 thousand hashtags on Instagram – where there’s also a dedicated Skin Food filter in which key ingredients like calendula and rosemary float down onto you.
In the ever-changing beauty industry, it’s unusual for something with such a rich past to still feel so relevant today, but that just goes to show what a powerful formula Skin Food has, both inside its little green tube and beyond.
The Skin Food family