In case you’ve missed it: the world is going back to nature. The journey is slow, but more and more people are turning back to natural ingredients and becoming more aware of what they’re putting in and on their body.
Gone are the days of ‘ignorance is bliss’! We now know that chemicals in our food, cosmetics, and household products are doing us harm in the long run. We want to go back to basics, and that means favouring nature over toxic chemicals. The journey starts with checking the labels on food and moves into other spheres of our lives, including natural cosmetics.
The natural cosmetics market is experiencing huge growth as people become more conscious of what they put in their body and how their cosmetics affect the earth. A lot of the beauty industry’s big brands are being rivalled by competitors using natural ingredients. People are no longer loyal to dominant brands. Instead they just want high quality, toxin-free cosmetics made by people who are passionate about nature and the environment.
If you’re new to the world of natural cosmetics or hesitant to let go of your favourite beauty products, here’s why making the switch to natural is worth it.
What are natural cosmetics?
When most people think of the word ‘natural’, they think of plant-based products or raw unprocessed ingredients. While that’s true to some extent, some natural cosmetics contain beneficial minerals as well as plants, and almost all ingredients will have to be processed in some shape or form. So what are natural cosmetics exactly and how are they different from other cosmetics?
The Joan Morais cosmetics school defines natural cosmetics as being made from raw materials which are sourced from nature, like plants and minerals. The materials go through the least amount of processing possible, and processing has to cause as little impact to humans, animals, and the earth as possible. Of course, natural cosmetics are also defined as something that helps to beautify and promote “radiant body, skin and hair”. Lastly, we’ll add that natural cosmetics must contain no petroleum, silicone, or paraffin-based ingredients.
The benefits of using natural cosmetics
OK, so you’re convinced by the cause to eradicate chemicals and go back to nature. But maybe you’re still wondering if natural cosmetics will do the job your beloved beauty products have been doing for decades. The answer is, yes! Natural cosmetics aren’t just better for nature but better for your skin and body too.
Here are 8 reasons why using natural cosmetics is more beneficial for you:
They’re free of harmful chemicals, parabens, petroleum, toxins, and all the bad stuff
The big reason to make the switch to natural cosmetics is that they’re doing your skin more good than harm. Beauty products that are packed with harmful chemicals might feel good, but in the long run they’re doing your skin and body damage. And nobody wants that! Natural cosmetics are guilt-free, feel-good cosmetics that have none of the bad stuff.
Your skin absorbs natural cosmetics better
Let’s be honest, humans are a product of nature. So it makes sense that our bodies react more positively to natural substances than chemical ones. Most natural cosmetics use a base of nourishing plant oils like coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, and so on. These oils have a similar composition to our skin’s own natural oils, which makes them more easily absorbed into the skin’s protective barrier.
Natural cosmetics are more effective
Yes, you read that right. Because natural cosmetics are free from chemicals, additives, and fillers, they can’t rely on cheap chemicals to make your skin feel smooth and look good. They need to carefully formulate products that use high concentrations of active ingredients to actually achieve a good result.
This means most natural beauty brands use high quality, potent ingredients that are packed with benefits and no fillers. For you, that means beauty products that are more effective and nourishing for your skin and body.
They can be used by all ages and all skin types
Natural cosmetics are for everyone, regardless of age or skin type. While harmful chemicals in other cosmetics can cause allergic reactions, irritation or eczema, natural cosmetics are far more gentle on the skin. If you have delicate skin or use anti-ageing cosmetics, you’ll easily be able to make the switch to natural cosmetics.
You can actually know what you’re putting in your body
OK, how many of us actually understand the label on the back of your average beauty product? Unless you’re a cosmetic scientist, none of those long words are likely to make sense to you. So what exactly are you putting in your body?
Natural cosmetics have very clear labelling with transparent ingredient lists so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. No numbers, no weird chemical names. Like they say, if you can’t pronounce what’s on the label, put it back.
No artificial fragrances
Most people don’t realise why artificial fragrances have such a bad reputation. What could be so bad about a nice smell, right? Well, most artificial fragrances used in cosmetics are there to disguise the smell of the other chemicals in the product. Nobody wants to use cosmetics that smell like toxic chemicals so they’re cleverly disguised with synthetic scents instead. Yuck!
When you use natural cosmetics, you can smell every ingredient that’s in the product. There are no cover-ups with fake chemical fragrances. If anything, most natural cosmetics use essential oils to fragrance their products, giving an aromatherapeutic benefit as well.
No animal testing
If you’re an animal rights advocate, you’re probably well aware of why natural cosmetics companies are the better option. Natural beauty products don’t need a lab to test their chemicals on animals, because they don’t use any. So if you’re a lover of animals and against the cruel testing of cosmetics on animals, favour natural cosmetics that haven’t harmed any beings in the production process.
Better for the environment
Starting to see why natural cosmetics are a clear winner? Better for your skin, your health, animals, and now the environment too. The impact of beauty products and cosmetics on the environment is huge. While every production process will leave its mark, natural cosmetics are much less harmful to the environment in many ways.
With no toxic chemicals on the ingredients lists, you don’t have to worry about washing harmful chemicals down the drain and into the sea. Most natural cosmetic companies are transparent about where and how they source their ingredients, passionate about ethics and minimising their carbon footprint. You’ll also find that most natural beauty brands use recyclable or biodegradable packaging for their products.
Why do natural cosmetics have a shorter shelf life?
The only downside to using natural cosmetics is that they have a shorter shelf life, and if you ask us, it’s not really a downside. Why? Because it means they don’t use harmful preservatives like parabens and phthalates.
It will all depend on the product and its ingredients, but many active ingredients of natural cosmetics start to lose their potency over time. That said, many natural cosmetics use mild natural preservatives to keep their ingredients fresh for longer. And again, it will all depend on the ingredients used in the product.
Here’s how long you can expect oil-based natural cosmetics to last:
- Refined, high oleic oils (e.g. sunflower and safflower oil) generally last two years from their manufacturer date.
- Saturated fats (e.g. coconut oil, palm oil) are extremely stable and can last many years.
- Specialty oils (e.g. flax oil, hemp oil, avocado oil) are extremely perishable and will last around six months from opening.
- Generally, keep in mind that refined oils will last longer than unrefined oils, and all oils will eventually go rancid due to oxidation.
The most common ingredients used in natural cosmetics
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
Aloe is a powerful ingredient for skin and beauty, rich with amino acids & vitamins. Its properties include anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and regenerative.
Argan Oil (Argania spinosa)
Also known as liquid gold, argan oil is rich in vitamin E and deeply nourishing for skin, hair, and nails. It’s an antioxidant and packed with essential fatty acids.
Avocado Oil (Persea gratissima)
Less popular but super nourishing, avocado oil is an emollient and anti-inflammatory ingredient that can protect against UV damage and replenish essential vitamins and nutrients to the body.
This is an aluminium-based clay with many uses for skin, helping to heal irritated skin, allergic dermatitis, lesions, and ulcers. Its use in sunscreen has been shown to increase absorption of UV light.
It may sound like a chemical, but don’t let the name frighten you. This type of alcohol isn’t the same as ethanol which dries the skin out, and it can be derived from many natural ingredients. In natural cosmetics it’s used as an emulsifier and emollient, bringing texture to products.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
One of the most popular ingredients in natural beauty, coconut is packed with bioactive compounds like fatty acids, flavonoids, and vitamin E. Coconut is used to treat all sorts of skin issues and as an emollient brings hydration and moisture to dry skin.
Another ingredient that people suspect, glycerin is actually a natural ingredient that is found in all lipids (fats), including your skin! Glycerin is a humectant that essentially helps hold moisture within the skin’s upper layers. It’s usually combined with other oils or emollients as it can cause dry skin over time.
Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis sativa)
Not quite your CBD oil, hemp oil is a powerful skincare ingredient rich in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It helps improve skin function and minimise oxidation stress and degradation thanks to its antioxidants.
Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
One of the most popular base oils, jojoba is rich in fatty acids and alcohol, with a chemical structure that’s extremely close to our natural skin oils. That means it’s easily absorbed in the skin, making jojoba oil a great moisturiser that doesn’t block pores. It’s also anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and rich in antioxidants.
Olive Oil (Olea europaea)
Yes, you can eat it and put it in your cosmetics, too! Olive Oil is one of the oldest natural cosmetics ingredients, used in skincare since ancient Egyptian times. Packed with essential fatty acids, olive oil is an excellent moisturiser that’s suitable for delicate and sensitive skins.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
This superfruit is just as good for your skin and beauty as it is for your body. Packed with nutrients and beneficial compounds, pomegranate is one of the world’s best antioxidants that can do almost everything, literally! It’s anti-inflammatory, helps repair DNA, limits UV damage, stimulates collagen production, and helps regenerate the epidermis.
Rosehip Oil (Rosa canina)
This is another popular one in the natural cosmetics world, potent with vitamins and essential fatty acids. Rosehip oil is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral, making it a super ingredient for dry, irritated, scarred, or aging skin.
Sea Buckthorn Oil (Hippophae rhamnoides)
This is a new one in the west, but has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. With large amounts of fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins, sea buckthorn helps the skin to repair and regenerate. It’s also a fantastic healer for wounds, sores, sunburn, acne, and other skin issues.
Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii)
This is another ancient Egyptian beauty secret, packed with beneficial fatty acids and antioxidants that nourish the skin. As an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and emollient, shea butter is useful for healing skin disorders and is extremely moisturising for dry skin.
Tea Tree Oil
This Aussie ingredient has been used as a skincare remedy by Australia’s native population for thousands of years. Tea tree oil is extremely potent and packed with a range of different compounds that make it antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial. That makes it the best natural ingredient for a range of issues from toothaches to burns, fungal infections, lice and acne.
Why should you use natural cosmetics?
Hopefully by now you’ll have seen how natural cosmetics provide a much better alternative than the ones we’re used to. Free of harsh chemicals, toxins, and artificial ingredients, natural cosmetics only feed our skin ingredients that naturally occur in nature. They don’t leak heavy chemicals back out into the environment, and they’re actually packed with more of the beneficial ingredients and less fillers.
The natural environment is absolutely swarming with amazing, powerful ingredients that work wonders for our skin and body. We have an entire catalogue of plants, minerals, and natural ingredients we can turn to to solve even our most pressing beauty dilemmas. There’s no need to favour harsh chemicals over readily absorbed natural ingredients.
In summary if you really want your skin to be nourished, hydrated, radiant, and healthy for the long-term, it’s time to switch over to natural cosmetics. Let those chemicals go, and start feeding your skin some real food!