When California Baby couldn’t find enough high-quality and sustainably grown calendula to make our ultra-pure and potent extract, we didn’t settle. We started our own organic farm in Santa Barbara County, California to give you and your little ones all the calming benefits of calendula for the skin without pesticides, chemical fertilizers or low-quality flowers.
Why we grow our own calendula
More than a bright summer bloom to feed the bees (we host 10 hives on the farm!), calendula has been turned to for its skin benefits since Ancient Egyptians first used it as a skin rejuvenator. Modern science backs up those benefits, too. A 2004 study compared the effects of using a calendula extract to those of a topically applied drug used to treat acute dermatitis. The study involved women who were receiving post-operative radiation therapy as part of breast cancer treatment. The researchers concluded that the calendula extract was highly effective for the prevention of acute dermatitis.
Choosing this friendly flower as the soothing property in our formulas for babies’ sensitive skin was a no-brainer. Sourcing it, on the other hand, was not so easy. California Baby founder Jessica Iclisoy knew high-quality organic flowers would yield a purer, more concentrated extract, but her search turned up calendula flowers tainted with pesticides or bacteria, small in size and with low potency, or at a volume too low to keep up with our demand. The decision to grow our own pure, certified organic calendula became the obvious course.
From seed to extract, every step counts
Our growing standards and farming practices are designed to create a business and an environment with long-term viability for generations — not just this season, or this quarter, or this year, or this decade. From seed selection to hand-harvesting to extraction, we mindfully cultivate every step of the process to yield the best calendula for skin.
It starts with the best seeds
Medium-sized calendula flowers with a high petal count and deep orange or yellow pigmentation produce the best seeds for future harvests. These qualities indicate a healthy flower with concentrated oils and nutrients. The seeds that these successful flowers yield are used for next year's crop. Flowers that don’t meet our high standards are removed so that only the best continue to reproduce.
Harvested by hand and air-dried
We hand-harvest our calendula to ensure quality control for each and every flower. Flower heads are hand-picked at the peak of their bloom so that our products contain the best of calendula’s potential. From here they make their way to a pesticide-free drying process that consists of closely monitored air-drying in a protected room. Carefully watching the drying process allows us to make sure air circulation is adequate so that no bacteria or mold can make a home in our drying flowers. The flowers are tested during and after this process to weed out anything potentially harmful to your baby’s skin.
Plant-based multistep extraction
The dried flowers then head to our processing facility in Los Angeles where the calendula oils are released from the petals through a multistep extraction process using non-soy, biodegradable organic glycerin derived from veggies instead of harsh chemical solvents. The extraction process is also pesticide-free and, just like with drying, is watched closely to keep out harmful microorganisms. At the end of the process, the extraction is sent out for additional testing to be sure we are moving forward with the purest, most potent extract possible.
At California Baby, we don’t believe in taking shortcuts — whether that’s using pesticides, selecting subpar seeds or permitting low-quality flowers in our extract. Because we know that the long road produces a better and more eco-friendly product that parents can trust. By putting in the extra effort now, we’re creating practices that are sustainable so that we can continue transforming skincare and farming practices for many years to come.
Skin benefits of calendula
The calming properties of this hearty and adaptable flower have been sought out for centuries, especially for sensitive skin. Calendula’s inherent soothing and skin-conditioning qualities can help soothe or calm redness and dryness. As a plant-derived ingredient, calendula for skin concerns is a gentle, plant-based way to bring calming relief to baby’s skin without worrying about the potentially damaging effects of harsh chemicals or contaminants.
Our favorite calendula products
Just like on our farm, your baby’s skin ecosystem gets the most nourishment and support from healthy practices and clean, pesticide-free ingredients.
Calendula cream for dry skin
Our pure, non-greasy Calendula Cream contains our high-quality calendula for skin and certified organic aloe vera that comforts and softens. We leave out synthetic fragrances and opt for 100% pure essential oils like French lavender and clary sage for a light, ambrosial scent. Use this cream on extra-dry skin daily to replenish moisture and fortify the skin’s natural moisture barrier. If your baby’s skin is in need of some serious thirst-quenching, a few drops of our Calendula Extract directly onto their skin or mixed in with the Calendula Cream will do the trick.
Calendula shampoo & body wash for tubby time
At bath time, use our 100% plant-based Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for a non-drying, gentle and calming clean. Where most soaps are harsh and dehydrating, our body wash cleans with soap bark and plant-based glucosides and moisturizes with organic calendula and aloe vera. Named the best baby shampoo by Business Insider, our shampoo and body wash is allergy tested, independently lab tested and USDA certified 100% biobased.
Calendula lotion for everyday
Our Calendula Everyday Lotion is as good as it sounds – 100% plant-based ingredients (except the water) make it gentle enough to use daily while extra calendula nourishes sensitive skin. Whether your little one has very dry skin or just needs some extra moisture after a bath, this versatile, lightly scented lotion is safe and light enough to turn to often. It is cruelty-free, vegan and formulated without common allergens like soy, oats, nuts (except coconut), dairy and gluten.
The benefits of calendula for skin have made this tiny but mighty flower a go-to soothe-sayer for generations of parents. In our 25 years of making calendula-infused products for babies, we haven’t found anything that compares in gentleness and effectiveness. The time, energy and resources we put into each and every sturdy little calendula flower is an investment in many futures — California Baby’s, our farm’s thriving ecosystem and your little one’s skin. Investments that are well worth the extra effort.