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I love a factory visit. Always curious about what is going on behind the scene. Earlier on I had the pleasure to take a tour at the factory of the UK organic skincare brand Neal’s Yard Remedies in Gillingham, Dorest, UK . It was about 2 hours train ride away from London. Neal’s Yard Remedies is known for its organic skin care products and natural remedies. Passionately believing that beauty should be natural since the brand started over 30 years ago in Neal’s Yard, a hidden corner in Covent Garden, Central London.

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Ever since Romy Fraser opens the first Neal’s Yard Apothecary store in 1981, the brand has always believed in nature, honesty and transparency. Together with other natural remedies using organic ingredients such as plants and flowers and essential oils extracted from plants, the brand aims to bring the expertise of the apothecary and holistic approach to health and beauty to people and communities. Some of the classic best selling products that I had tried before includes the Frankincense Hydrating Cream, and Wild Rose Beauty Balm.
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Once we arrived, a large platter of fresh and juicy fruits, next to a large tray of home made organic brownies and chocolates with super food ingredients were already beautifully greeting us. After a little break, we were about to enter the factory where all these pure products are made on a daily basis. Because all products are made with the maximum organic, natural and wild ingredients, and carefully select other functional ingredients (detergents, emulsifiers, surfactants etc) with a view to safety, efficacy and biodegradability. The entire range makes use of high quality organic plant-based ingredients which are fully disclosed to customers both online and where space allows, on the signature blue packaging. Hygiene condition is crucial in the factory, therefore we all had to wear protective gears and no jewellery were allowed inside the factory.

 

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Using mixing, heating and cooling techniques with a propeller, few of these mixers are mainly producing all the products like cleanser, moisturiser, body wash etc on a daily basis. Depending on the ingredients and how complicated the process of the products, mixing time ranges from few hours to a day, the factory can produce an average of 9 products per day. That also includes time taking few samples of the mixed products to the lab for testing, and see if they pass or not. That’s why sometimes it takes a little while for retailers to restock certain sold-out products, because there is only a limited machines and resources to produce a wide range of products.

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Everything has to be up to a high standard of hygiene and cleanliness. Using machines to test the utensils especially those producing facial and body products. To determine how to pass the hygienic condition, a maximum of 150RLU is allowed, here with a measurement of 10RLU means what has just been tested is extremely clean. 


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Few lines of production are all in packaging progress with a combination of human and machine work- each of them will be working on different products or procedure of packaging. Every 20 minutes there will be a quality check by line managers, and every 1-2 hours there will be another quality check by another team. Most products made on the day will be packed the week after, and each and every package is carefully handled, checked and packed by the staff.

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It was really fun watching the process of how a product is made from scratch to packaging in one factory. Everything is purely made with precision. Neal’s Yard Remedies has its own garden, planted with all kinds of flowers and plants that they use for the skincare, beauty, food and supplement products they sell. We had a tour at the garden, learning about the plants and their healing properties and functions, it was a nice little lecture to learn.

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Another fun part involves a quick 45mins workshop of making our own beauty balm led by cosmetic Scientist, one of the Formulators at Neal’s Yard Remedies Fran Johnson. Fran gave us an introduction of what are the ingredients and formula of creating a wax balm, an introduction to essential oils and their functions, and showed us how to make our own.

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Using the same base as the best selling product Wild Rose Beauty Balm, I picked lemon, bergamot and grapefruit essential oils to create my own blend. So instead of smelling like rose and having the properties of rose, I had mine smelling citrusy and uplifting.

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The brand is also one of the first UK high street retailers to sell essential oils which are 100% pure and unadulterated. Believing in the healing properties of plants, aromatherapy is one of the brand’s popular options. Having multiple therapy rooms in London, they are one of my favourite go-to places for a good aromatherapy treatment. Not only does the brand cares for the customers and the environment, they also care for their staff like looking after family members. Serving healthy food at the factory canteen, providing different treatments on a daily basis for staff, and creating a comfortable and clean environment for work is just part of what the company offers. 

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The interesting day ended with a delicious and healthy dinner at Tredwell’s, where they serve lots of superfood drinks and dishes that compliments the season.  It was a really fun and interesting day, a special experience that allowed me to understand how and what is Neal’s Yard Remedies. They are truly made with heart and the intention to provide the best quality of products, aiming to infuse the concept of well-being and healthiness to customers.