Alicante, Spain

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One of the mildest, most precious oils for sensitive skin

Organic almond oil is an important ingredient in Weleda’s natural cosmetics products for sensitive skin. In fact it is widely sought-after and prized as one of the most precious oils for skin care. From baby oil to facial moisture, almond oil provides the gentlest care for sensitive, dry or irritated skin. Weleda has noticed that, in recent years, demand for our products for sensitive skin has grown as modern living and pollution lead to heightened sensitivity. To meet this demand, it is extremely important that the almond oil we use meets high quality standards.

Weleda works with the Manan cooperative in the Valencia region of Spain, from which we receive a regular supply of organically grown almonds. In the hills near the city of Alicante a hundred almond growers nurture one of the largest almond cultivation sites in Europe. The partnership between Weleda and Manan flourishes on a shared philosophy of sustainable development and environmental protection. You can see this in matters as simple as the economical use of water over the total area of 6000 hectares. The growers are deliberately sparing with water, a precious commodity in Spain, because over-irrigation can eventually lead to salinization of the soil, erosion and reduction in soil fertility.

Committed to sustainability

By reducing water use, the farmers show that they are thinking long-term, but it comes at a price. The yield for this group of earth-conscious growers amounts to about 500 kilos of harvested almonds per hectare, only a tenth of what can be harvested under the intensive cultivation methods of California’s plantations.

Harvesting in this hilly landscape involves a lot of labour-intensive cooperation between workers. Equipped with nets and poles, two experienced workers take around ten minutes to harvest the fruit from each tree. Harvesting almonds is not as easy as it looks – nets bulging with almonds are very heavy and there are physically-demanding hours of stooping, bending and stretching. But these farmers are highly motivated thanks to their long-term partnership with Weleda and they take pride in producing good quality almonds and in handling them properly so that the crop is dried carefully and quickly after harvesting.

Gentle processing

During the first stage of processing, special machines remove the green and still soft shells from the fruit. The sweet almonds are then opened up to expose the valuable kernel. The bulk of the harvest at the Manan cooperative is sold as high-quality organic almonds for people to eat, but about a quarter of the crop undergoes gentle cold pressing and filtration at the oil press.

The sought-after oil is then refined and organically certified, before being sent to Weleda's manufacturing facilities in Switzerland, Germany and France, where, after more stringent quality controls, it is processed to become part of Weleda’s gentlest care products.