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When Beauty Links first started offering their beauty solutions in 2004 it was to launch the stunning range of skin care products called Taer Icelandic. Made in small quantities by a lady named Thury, the importance of sourcing eco-friendly packaging for this product made absolute sense, considering the philosophy behind the brand which uses hand-picked organic herbs from a farm which sits in the remote and beautiful Vatnsdal Valley in north-west Iceland. Finding the perfect pots and packaging to reflect the brand became absolutely paramount, and the end result proves that eco-friendly doesn’t have to be UNATTRACTIVE by any stroke of the imagination.

Scroll down to read Thury's story and the creation of Moa, Green Balm and the Taer Icelandic Collection.

With the help and expertise of London designers Jawa and Midwich, and product designer Neil Usher, the purity of the brand was reflected perfectly. The recycled glass pots had been transformed with a minimal and delicate palette of simple white graphics against the eau-de-nil non-toxic paintwork.
Beauty Links pride themselves on the philosophy that innovative design and cutting edge packaging is as critical for their brands as the products themselves, not only do they want to associate themselves with good ingredients and effective products, but they want their products to look fabulous as well.

Beauty Link’s ZO1 Natural Sun Care is another perfect illustration of inspirational design at its best. The award winning branding and packaging by design team Jawa and Midwich uses clean typography and bold hexagonal shapes, a refreshing break from the predictable packaging of most sun care brands which has remained unchanged for decades.

The first to micronise zinc oxide and to provide natural and superior protection from UV rays, ZO1’s exceptional branding won ‘Best New Beauty Product 2006’ with wallpaper Magazine. - Jawa and Midwich is a two man design studio specialising in graphic and illustrative projects for print.

The latest addition to Beauty Links is the unique enzymatic moisturiser, Dr. Bragi. A totally clean and natural cosmetic product containing Penzyme, a marine enzyme sustained within a water based formula. These marine enzymes function at -50 degrees Celsius and become super-active at body temperature, massively increasing their effectiveness to reconstruct and clean. Dr. Bragi contains no fragrances, colours or additives, the product is clear and pure which was something we needed to emphasise in the packaging, Leon Torka’s solution was this aqua fluid wave design that wraps itself beautifully around the clear bottle.

Beauty Links is now a fully fledged design and development house, representing and advising some exciting new brands within the beauty world. Charlie Dawson from Beauty Links, acts as a consultant for the brands and coming from a background in fashion and design herself is enthused by the strong concepts they have under their belt and says "it’s great to know that our future projects are following in the exact same footsteps of quality and innovation. As a consumer my eyes are drawn to delightful and inspired packaging that spells glamour and pampering."

Beauty Links..for all your beauty solutions.

To view the Moa Green Balm >>

To view the Body Protection Cream SPF 30+ from ZO-1 then please click here >>

The ZO-1 range and Taer Icelandic collection will be available from The Natural Store from 14th August 2006. Please check back then to view the whole range.

The Moa Story and how Taer Icelandic came into being

For the rest of the world, Iceland has always been a bit of a mystery. This certainly includes me as well, my pathetic knowledge of this little island never stretched beyond Björk, geysers and puffins...until I came across Moa, a strange green balm with miraculous healing properties. I decided to find out more about Moa and its founder Thury Gudmunsdottir, who comes from a long family line of Icelandic herbalists. Little did I know her story would be so on to find out more.

Thury's life story was close to that of a fairy tale. She and her husband Gunnar were happily married, leading a harmonious, peaceful life with their five children. Unfortunately, their fairy tale turned into a nightmare, when their 6 year old son Gunnar Örn had an accident while playing with matches and suffered third degree burns over 40% of his body, all the way up to his chin. The consequences were devastating and Thury was told not only that the wounds would take an eternity to heal, but also that the little boy would remain handicapped due to the scarring. However, Thury never gave up. Determined to heal her son, she remembered an old healing balm recipe, developed by her wise old grandmother. This unusual concoction consisted of a variety of wild Icelandic herbs, including the miraculous yarrow. Thury applied the balm religiously and it wasn't long until the wounds all doctors had given up on, healed. Contrary to doctors' predictions, the scarring diminished and Gunnar Örn became a healthy, fully mobile young boy.

It wasn't long until the rumours about the magic balm and its maker spread all over Iceland and Thury was inundated with orders for the balm. Very soon the requests became overwhelming and Thury put the balm on the market as "Moa, the green balm". This amazing preparation is now one of the most versatile products around, healing everything from wounds, burns and scars to eczema, psoriasis, bites and rashes. I use mine with a cloth as a cleanser to take off my make up and as a cuticle cream and hair mask. In the case of a sore throat, Thury even suggests drinking a little with hot water and honey. This tip certainly worked for me after a long weekend of bar crawling.

Moa is 100% organic, made on Thury's organic Hvammur farm in the beautiful Northwest region of Iceland. All the herbs occur naturally on the farm and are produced yearly in small batches to ensure maximum potency. The secret ingredient is the humble yarrow, renowned for its nourishing, antiseptic and regenerating properties. But this is no the ordinary yarrow like you might find in your back garden, due to the outstanding mineral-rich volcanic soil, crystal clear water and enormous quantities of sunshine, Icelandic yarrow is much stronger, with super healing activity.

Just when life had got back to normality, Thury and Gunnar received yet another massive blow. At the age of 12, their beloved daughter Fjola lost her 5 year battle with a brain tumour. Such an experience would mean the end for many of us, but Thury and Gunnar were determined to use the memory of their daughter for something positive. With a huge amount of bravery and optimism, they decided to get involved in cancer charities. Every year, these two brave parents bring sunshine into the lives of many Icelandic children who suffer with cancer. In the summer, the Hvammur farm becomes the focal point of a summer celebration, where the children and parents can forget about the horrible illness and enjoy the beauties of nature. Thury and Gunnar now run the Fjoluhvammur trust, in order to help sick children in hospitals. A percentage of all Moa sales are dedicated to this charitable organisation.

As you can tell, Thury is no ordinary lady. As the request for her herbal products grew, she decided to satisfy the consumer needs by formulating a unique organic skincare range, fusing with modern design her old herbalist knowledge. This is how Taer was born. Taer, meaning "pure" in Icelandic, is an incredibly active skincare range, using the power of many Icelandic herbs, including the wonderful yarrow. You only have to take a quick sniff of these products to experience the strength of the herbs. The range includes cleansers, toners, creams and serums to suit the requests of a modern woman (or man), all packed in eco-friendly recyclable packaging.

So there you go. I am now a Taer devotee and will apply Moa to every bite, burn and scratch I can find, even if it's not my own. Shame on me for thinking Iceland's finest export was a singer, wearing a swan outfit. I am convinced this credit should go to Thury, an inspiring lady whose surname I will never be able to pronounce. Dear Thury, I salute you!

Piece by Maya Ho
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