Meet Elizabeth King, Weleda Skincare Expert
Elizabeth King is Weleda’s Skincare Expert. A holistic facialist and highly qualified in several therapies, she has specialised in the anthroposophic approach to beauty for 20 years. Elizabeth has many years’ experience in education and has joined Weleda to help share and support the Weleda Skincare Philosophy, as well as creating a facial skincare course for Weleda Wellbeing Advisors.
Before moving to the West Midlands, Elizabeth ran a private skincare practice in London, and was featured in Vogue as one of the top five facialists. She has looked after many high-profile clients and celebrities over the years. Elizabeth currently offers facial treatments at the Elysia Therapeutic Centre, a complementary health clinic in Stourbridge, and at Rudolf Steiner House in London.
Describe your background in natural beauty?I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. My parents were graphic designers and very appreciative of natural healthcare. As a child (age 11) I collected rain water and used my mother’s coffee grinder to rather brutally crush our garden herbs for my lotions, potions and bath soaks. I also melted down my mother’s lipsticks, believing I could create far more interesting and worthy colours.
However, it wasn’t immediately obvious to me that my career would involve skincare. My interest was in education. But shortly before I was due to start a degree course, I was perusing my natural beauty recipe book when places to train in aromatherapy caught my eye. This led me to completing a three-year Health & Beauty diploma course in Johannesburg.
Immediately after qualifying I moved to Cape Town, where I worked at a Health Hydro. At the age of 21 I was appointed manager of the skincare department. It was here that I had the privilege of giving Nelson Mandela his first treatment, just a few weeks into his presidency, which was a truly humbling experience.
How did your career progress?It wasn’t long before I started to feel dissatisfied. There was no time to connect properly with my clients and, although claiming to be natural, the products never quite delivered on quality or results. I left to go travelling to East Africa. My friend and I strapped our massage beds to the top of my Ford Laser and offered holistic face and body treatments in exchange for accommodation. Invitations to the most awe-inspiring farms and locations were many and soon we were delivering massage courses. It was a true adventure! Along the way, I also qualified and explored other holistic practices such as Reiki, Reflexology and Touch for Health kinesiology.
My travels eventually took me to London, where my journey into anthroposophic skincare began. Through the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who founded the anthroposophy movement in the early 20th century (anthropos from the Greek for human, sophia for wisdom) I learned how biodynamically-grown plants and respectful processing methods not only preserved but also strengthened the therapeutic qualities of the products; discovered the importance of quality of touch, and the true nature of the skin. With this understanding I could consciously connect with the client, the treatment and the products. My work became much more meaningful. Significant results and transformation of skin conditions inspired me to teach other like-minded holistic skincare and body therapists this way of treating the skin.
Now, working with Weleda’s facial skincare, and developing the signature facial treatment, truly meets my life purpose and vision. Weleda’s recognition that each of us is individual, and that we are also nature, brings an unfolding of possibilities and a nurturing atmosphere of light, lightness, warmth and growth.
What does beauty mean to you?Beauty is the natural radiance that shines through the skin and beyond the self. Natural radiance is the result of both inner and outer self-care, involving good diet, quality sleep, organic natural skin care and continual striving for harmony with the environment.
What inspired you to specialise in holistic skincare?The deeply transformative and long-term results that I saw in my clients’ skin, particularly those suffering with problematic skin conditions. My work became instantly meaningful. I had to know more! And the learning journey never ends.
How do your facials differ to conventional beauty treatments?Touch is key. Purposeful touch alongside purposeful skincare. The application method of a rhythmical touch empowers and facilitates the meeting between the natural ingredients and the skin.
What is so valuable about Weleda’s anthroposophic approach to skincare in your opinion?It helps to make skincare make sense! Our skin is an expressive, ever-changing boundary, linking and mediating between our inner world of thinking, feeling and willing, with the demands of our outer environment. It means the choice of ingredients chosen for the skincare formulations are not trend-based but serve the primary function of regaining and supporting the health of the skin.
Are you seeing any particular skincare conditions on the rise in your practice as a facialist, and why do you think that is?Yes, eczema as well as rosacea. Our fast-paced and demanding lifestyles mean we have over-active minds, sluggish digestive systems and not enough space to properly acknowledge our feelings.
What is your most popular treatment and why do you think that is?My facial treatment that includes a bit of body work such as shoulders or feet. Very often clients separate their face from the rest of the body. Reconnecting is an important mindful moment of experiencing yourself as one, and not in parts.
What’s one salient piece of advice you would give to someone new to natural skincare?Trust in the process. Healthy skin, like the moon, has a 28-day rhythm. Work with the skin to regain this rhythm. Notice and journal the skin changes over the 28 days. You will notice how your skin changes and responds after your first natural cleanse. Every seven days there may be noticeable changes as it moves through a natural detoxification process, to the re-awakening of its own vital, regenerative and moisturising processes.
What are your top five skincare heroes, for anyone starting out on their Weleda journey?
- Gentle Cleansing Milk – a little amount both gently and effectively removes make-up and the day’s grime. Cleansing is the first step to looking after your skin.
- Refining Toner – I don’t bother with the cotton wool, I simply pour a little into my hand and apply straight onto my face. It’s refreshing and refining.
- Pomegranate Firming Eye Cream - I am a firm believer in eye creams and demand a lot from my eye care preparations. This one more than delivers!
- Wild Rose Pampering Body Oil – I finish off my morning facial routine with the application of this oil down sides of my neck and across my décolletage. Its incredible scent lifts and prepares me for the day ahead.
- Almond Soothing Facial Oil - my travelling companion, as it is a true multi-tasker. It removes eye make-up gently and thoroughly and I love the way the skin around my eyes feels afterwards. It’s great in the evening after a long day – immediate skin radiance and transformation! It provides a great protective barrier during flights. It can also be used for an effective oil-cleanse and a warm oil mask for skin soothing and recovery.