These are five small Irish companies that create beautiful and fantastic quality goods worthy of a place on Grafton Street or Shop Street. There are real people behind these companies, they are our neighbours, and they source their ingredients with a conscience. They don’t contain animal derivatives or nasty chemicals, and many are even organic and Irish grown! This is what Christmas shopping should be about – loving our own and what is created on our land. Support local this Christmas, it’s more sustainable and more ethical. And a thousand times more unique and original that a bath set from Boots…
Run by a mother and daughter in County Laois, Anneco is a small natural mineral make-up brand that could easily compete with the big guns. I use their mineral foundation religiously – it has fantastic pigment and feels so soft on the skin. It is light weight and natural yet it has a level of coverage that will give you the same self-confidence that you would get from painting on your usual chemical and cruelty-tainted war paint. As well as mineral foundation they also dabble in mascara, lip sticks, eye brow/eye liner powders (I use the brown eye brow powder every day – so pigmented!). When I wear heavier make up on a night out I usually feel a bit dirty and can’t wait to take it off at the end of the night. But Anneco’s mineral make up is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores – and you would know it because it feels so clean and light on your skin. It is also chemical free, cruelty free, vegan (no animal derivitives in the ingredients) and it has SPF 15. Have a read of this blog post where I did a full review of the make up – with pictures. Anneco is a fabulous Irish brand for make-up loving ladies of all ages looking for a cleaner, more natural make-up regime.
This is a small north Dublin based aromatherapy company run by Nicoletta, an aromatherapist and a dab hand at the massage, and, creating natural cosmetics. If you’re based in Dublin you can go for a relaxing and soothing massage with essential oils to calm the senses and invigorate you, or, if you’re not in the capital you can order some of the carefully blended face and body care products online. I found Lakiko at the Dublin Veg Fest 2015 and treated myself to some of Nicoletta’s handmade night cream which is made with aloe vera gel and some essential oils. I can tell you it was one of my favourite products I have ever owned. Here’s a post from last year with more information on the night cream. Lakiko stocks a whole range of natural face and body products and they are all hand made in Dublin. It’s nearly too good to be true – it’s Irish made, it’s made with natural products, it’s cruelty-free and it’s vegan. This would be the perfect Christmas gift or stocking filler for the lady in your life, whether she is a cosmetic-loving beauty junky teenager or an aging-conscious lady. I’m a health-conscious, natural beauty product-loving vegan, so Lakiko is like gold to me.
Algaran is a small but budding Donegal based seaweed company. They produce a wide range of seaweed products from seaweed infused exfoliation bars to carageen coated hazlenuts. Their seaweed cosmetics range are based on organic and natural ingredients and free from animal derivatives. The healing essential oils and natural organic seaweed extracts make these products extremely hydrating and gentle on the skin. Obviously Donegal is a fantastic source of seaweed as we have 1,134km of coastline – the most in Ireland! Personally I love these organic seaweed chakra soaps that come in little tulle nets in 7 different rainbow colours with each colour corresponding to the essential oil used in the creation of the soap. It’s a handy little exfoliation tool with a beautiful aroma. Again I feel like some Algaran products would be a great present – especially if your from the North West. Supporting local and cruelty-free products is not only ethical, it’s also very satisfying and great for local economy!
ADORA FLAX SEED
If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that I like to add flax seed to nearly everything. Evidence suggests that consuming flax seed daily lowers your risk of contracting certain cancers like prostate cancer. Dr. Michael Greger from the non-profit nutrition research and information website nutritionfacts.org includes a tablespoon a day of flax seed in his “Daily Dozen” recommendations (How Not To Die). Dr. Greger is God to me and his word is gospel, so I add a tablespoon of milled flax seed to either my smoothies, my porridge or my salads – daily. And everyone should. We know flaxseed is good for us, but, wouldn’t it be better if we could get it locally produced and organic? Enter Adora farm. They are Ireland’s first and only certified organic grower and producer of flax seed products. This is a fantastic company that we really all should get behind. Flaxseed should be a daily staple for everyone and if we can support a local organic company – all the better! I met the charming couple behind Adora Flax at the Dublin Veg Fest 2016 and I went home with cold pressed flax oil, unmilled flax seeds, and a bag of milled flax. I used the cold pressed flax oil for oil pulling, an ancient ayurvedic practice, said to heal the body and cleanse it of toxins – including stains and bacteria on the teeth and in your mouth – which in turn leads to whiter and cleaner teeth! So, the flax oil has it’s benefits, as does the flax seed. What a fantastic product produced from Irish soil.
This is one of my favourite discoveries in terms of Irish made cosmetics. The thing is, it’s made by you! Mayca, the Dublin based Andalusian behind this small natural skincare company, Wapo Beauty, puts on workshops where she teaches you the surprisingly simple craft of making your own natural cosmetics. Mayca will teach you how to make your own moisturisers and lip balms and exfoliators and what not – all from your own kitchen! Wapo Beauty had a stall at the Veg Fest in Dublin this year and they were selling examples of products that they teach you to make at the workshops – at the same price that it would cost you to make. I was robbed of €2 for lip balm and €3 for skin elixir (!). I couldn’t believe how cheap these hugely effective products could be to make! And all ingredients are easily got, free from animal derivatives (vegan) and natural! Wapo Beauty do single work shops, online classes, full skincare courses and seem to be very adaptable and willing to devise a workshop to suit your needs. Something that really appeals to me is the option of having a workshop in your own kitchen where you would invite 7-10 of your natural cosmetic-loving friends and Mayca comes to your house and teaches you how to create your own beautifying products – and she even provides the ingredients for the workshop (all you have to provide is the tea!)
I had already moved home to Donegal when I discovered this amazing company so I didn’t get a chance to experience any of Mayca’s workshops unfortunately – but I use the products that I got at the market daily and I LOVE them. The lip balm is the best I’ve ever used – no exaggeration! The skin elixir is an expertly hand-crafted formula of the perfect blend of essential oils that soothes and protects the skin from the toxins of 21st century life. Again, as it’s coming up to Christmas, I would highly recommend a course, or even just a one-day workshop, in natural skincare as the PERFECT gift for someone interested in natural and cruelty-free beauty. If I was still living in Dublin this would be at the top of my Santa letter.
And that concludes my current list of small Irish companies. I hope my readers can get behind these companies and surprise their loved ones with a unique and locally sourced gift, made by some of our own. Shopping locally is so much easier now thanks to online shopping so we have no excuse! Wouldn’t it be nicer to source goods from our neighbours than from huge multinational companies seriously lacking in scruples? All the products and companies I have featured are cruelty-free and stock mostly vegan products (if not all), so this is the epitome of ethical and sustainable shopping! Happy Christmas everyone – hope it’s a good one!