Looking back at the Victorian era it’s striking how beautifully smooth these ladies and gentlemen’s skin were. Notice the glowing hair? Perhaps less toxins were present in the air and water at that time, but they definitely also had a recipe for success when it comes to skin and hair products.
Lindsay Salthouse, founder of The Victorian Garden, had literally found that recipe and introduced a 21st century version of the Victorian organic skin, body and bathcare products in South Africa.
‘Our company has a unique history dating back to the Victorian era when ladies hand-made their own moisturising creams, lotions and bath oils using herbs and flower extracts grown in their gardens. These they combined with beeswax from the apiaries which many middle and upper class Victorian households kept at the bottom of their gardens,’ says Lindsay. The Victorian Garden’s oldest original recipe dates back to 1860.
This natural range of cosmetics owes their existence to Lindsay’s grandmother, lady Frances Jane Glover-Anderson. ‘In 1972 my maternal English grandmother died, and my mother inherited two enormous gold edged diaries passed down through generations in her family and dating back to the 1800’s. Leather bound and still in good condition, these meticulously kept diaries in flowing copperplate record a period of ten years in the life of the Glover family.
It offers a fascinating description of daily life during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was on the throne of England.’ During the mid 1800s Frances planted formal herb gardens for cosmetic and culinary use.
‘Old archives tell us that during Victorian times (and indeed during previous centuries), herbs and flowers were always planted by moonlight as the moon has more pull on garden plants than we may imagine. Today we now know that to be a proven fact. Picking herbs for fresh tea and plants to distil oils from was done under a waxing moon only. Fruit too, was always picked during the waxing moon for maximum juiciness and sweetness.’
Salthouse experimented with the recipes found in the old diaries to create her valuable products.
In creating The Victorian Garden products Lindsay doesn’t only use the traditional ingredients, but also the old-fashioned methods of making them.
‘During the Victorian era, the making of beauty products entailed firstly the daily gathering and preparation of fresh herbs and flowers. The oils distilled from plants and fruits were combined with the by-products of the beehive – honey, beeswax and propolis – waxes being melted over a double boiler before the adding of other ingredients.’
The Victorian Garden was a finalist in the Radio 702/ Pastel Business Awards, a South African competition for unique green products and service excellence. The products are all organic and 100% natural – they omit the lead and arson that were initially in some recipes. The ingredients are a beautiful blend of popular Victorian herbal and floral extracts with some useful ancient African plant oils. One of their newest products for example is a quince and orange body butter. The Victorian Garden also offers a range of organic baby products.
My current favourites are:
- Wild basil & rooibos shampoo
- Olive & vanilla hair conditioner
- Cape aloe & propolis day moisturiser
- Avocado & geranium night cream and
- Rosemary & sweet orange hand creme