Friday, 17 March 2017

Herbs that heal: Chatting with Paul Richards of Herbfarmacy



One of the first brands I discovered when I fell in love with natural beauty was Herbfarmacy and it is still one of my favourites today. Herbfarmacy are based in the Herefordshire hills, their five acre farm is packed with rows and rows of herbs grown for their wonderful soothing and healing properties and added to their skincare and body care ranges.

Purity and sourcing of ingredients in natural and organic are currently hot topics, but few skincare few brands can claim to have such control over how and where their ingredients are grown. Paul Richards, a botanist for over thirty two years and founder of Herbfarmacy oversees all the growing of the herbs on the farm, grown from seed and processed onsite, you won't find anyone more passionate or knowledgeable in the industry. I was lucky enough to chat to him about herbs and why they are key to Herbfarmacy's organic, home-grown skincare:


How and why did you first start growing herbs?

Paul: "I started exploring plants around where I grew up on the Welsh border and became fascinated with the ways they were used. From there, I went on to study plant ecology and physiology but then opted to work more practically with plants by growing vegetables. It was around this time that I came across an organic herb grower in Shropshire who was producing beautiful dried herbs. Sadly, she was retiring, which triggered something in me, and so I decided that’s what I want to do.  It took a few years to find the land to realise my dream but eventually, I found Herb Farm and things went from there.  We started with dried herbs - then herbal oils and tinctures and graduated to everyday skincare products, creating herbfarmacy just over 10 years ago."

What are some of your favourite herbs and how can they help skin? 

Paul: "This is a difficult question for me as I love them all.  But the favourite has to be marshmallow which is a wonderful gentle emollient particularly suited to facial products and for sensitive skin.  It contains mucilages (soft silky substances) that soften, soothe and moisturise the skin.  Mullein, with its tall spikes of yellow flowers is impressive and the delicate yellow flowers make an oil with several uses and a reputation for smoothing fine lines. Marshmallow is our signature herb and we're all big fans!"




What’s the process of getting the herbs from the soil to the products and bottles? 

Paul: "We extract them mainly in oils which are set with beeswax to make balms.  We also use these oils as well as water extracts to make creams and lotions."

Why did you decide to grow herbs organically? 

Paul: "Coming from a background of plant ecology, I wanted to garden using a sustainable system that was as close to nature as possible.  For growing foods and herbs, this for me has got to be the only way. It's also why we certify our products with the Soil Association and we're delighted that each and every product we make and sell is certified by them as we believe it is the higest standard in organic beauty." 


What’s your favourite Herbfarmacy product and what herbs does it contain?  

Paul: "Mallow Beauty Balm has long been my favourite.  Although I naturally believe all are products are brilliant, I feel with this one we really nailed it with the combination of herbal oils (Marshmallow, Mullein and Calendula) and the amazing fragrance and it's become a real customer favourite too so it's obviously not just me who loves it! "


Mallow Beauty balm, a Herbfarmacy bestseller. Can be used as a cleanser as an overnight treatment or mask.


What does the future hold for Herbfarmacy? 

Paul: "As the saying goes, the future is bright! We're still riding the high from our huge re-brand last year which we launched as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations. Our new packaging reflects our 'from seed to skin' approach and of course our green glass is perfectly appropriate for a green beauty brand. The reddish brown labels and boxes represent the beautiful Herefordshire soil where we grow the herbs, and the purple tabs represent our signature herb: Marshmallow. This year, we are exploring new formulations and we've been busy growing some new herbs on the farm too that we're going to be using in some new product launches so we're excited to get those to market so watch this space!"

Thank you so much to Paul for sharing insights in to his fantastic brand and how the amazing products are made. I am very excited to hear there are new products on the way.

Related posts:

See the Herbs and the farm: For the love of Herbs: Behind the Brand at Herbfarmacy

Find out some of my favourites from the brand: Five Favourites with Herbfarmacy

You can find out more and shop the range at Herbfarmacy.com.

Ana x
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3 comments

  1. Lovely interview - I'm so impressed with herb farmacy and all their beautiful balms. So heartening that they also appreciate that the power of the plants needs nothing more to make effective products.

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    1. Thank you Amanda. Their ethos very much matches your own as they place huge importance in growing as many ingredients as they can themselves, you would love the farm it really is quite something!

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  2. Frat interview and gorgeous photos! I have to say I liked their old packaging better, but I've just gotten my hands on the Mallow Balm and I'm excited to try it out! Glad to see it can be used as a cleaner as I wasn't too sure! X

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