THE SWITCH TO NATURAL & ORGANIC SKINCARE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW + MY RESULTS
ORGANIC SKINCARE FACTS
MORE THAN A TREND
- Natural skin care is becoming more and more popular, and there are tons of excellent skin-care products to choose from.
- But “natural” has a broad term that many brands and watchdog organizations have various definitions for, so it’s important to learn about ingredients and recognize which ones are harmful or questionable.
- To help, we tried natural skin-care products from a variety of brands to find the best cleanser, toner, serum, facial moisturizer with SPF, and night cream.
WHY I SWITCHED
THROUGHOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL, I STRUGGLED WITH BREAKOUTS AND BLACKHEADS. FOR A YOUNG GIRL FAST APPROACHING HIGH SCHOOL, BLEMISHES AND BREAKOUTS ON TOP OF CHANGING HORMONES THROUGH PUBERTY, CAN MAKE ONE VERY SELF CONSCIOUS. I STARTED PLAYING WITH MAKEUP AND CONCEALERS WHICH ONLY MADE MY SKIN WORSE.
I WAS ON THE HUNT FOR THE CURE TO RID THESE UNSIGHTLY BLEMISHES. I TRIED EVERYTHING; CLEAN AND CLEAR, CLEARASIL, PROACTIVE, ETC. NOTHING WORKED. AS I TRIED VARIOUS DIFFERENT ACNE SOLUTIONS, I REALIZED MY SKIN WENT FROM BEING OILY TO DRIED OUT FROM CLEANSERS IN THE MORNING TO OILY IN THE AFTERNOON, BY EVENING MY SKIN WAS ANGRY AND CONFUSED. IT TOOK ME 3 YEARS OF TRYING DIFFERENT CLEANSERS FROM DRUGSTORE TO LUXURY SKINCARE TO FINALLY LOOK INTO THE NATURAL OPTION.
I HAD NOT GIVEN UP ON MY SKIN. I DID SOME RESEARCH AND SAW SAW SOME BENEFITS OF WITCH HAZEL AS A TONER AND SWITCHED TO ROSE WATER SOON AFTER. MY SKIN IMMEDIATELY STARTED TO IMPROVE. I SWITCHED OUT MY FACIAL CLEANSERS FOR NATURAL & ORGANIC PRODUCTS SEEING MY SKIN CLEAR UP AND BLEMISHES HEALING. EVER SINCE, I NEVER WENT BACK TO CHEMICAL CLEANSERS OR NON ORGANIC PRODUCTS. I BECAME OBSESSED WITH NATURAL AND ORGANIC BEAUTY BENEFITS FOR SKIN, HAIR AND NAILS.
NATURAL SKINCARE REGIMEN + ROSEWATER BENEFITS
- POUR ROSE WATER INTO TRAVEL SIZE SPRAY BOTTLE FOR EVERYDAY USE.
- ARGAN OIL IS PERFECT AS MOISTURIZER BECAUSE IT IS A LIGHT OIL THAT WILL NOT CLOG PORES
1. MAINTAINS THE PH BALANCE OF YOUR SKIN
2. HELPS FIGHT ACNE, DERMATITIS & ECZEMA
3. HYDRATES, MOISTURIZES AND SMOOTHS SKIN
4. TONING BENEFITS
5. ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES
6. NOURISHES AND CONDITIONS HAIR
7. TREATS DANDRUFF AND INFLAMMATIONS CAUSED BY FUNGAL INFECTIONS
8. FIGHTS AGAINST AGING SKIN PROLONGING WRINKLES
9. PROTECTS AGAINST UV RAYS
Natural skin care has exploded over the past few years as people become increasingly aware of all the chemicals they’re putting on their skin and into their bodies.
The rise in demand for natural skin-care products means there is now a better selection of higher quality products available, so whether you’re a die-hard natural beauty lover or just want to detoxify your skin-care routine, there are plenty of great options for you.
Traditional skin-care products can often contain potentially harmful chemicals that can irritate skin, so you should look for products that are formulated with natural ingredients and without questionable chemicals. But since there’s no official definition for the term “natural,” you should be aware that even if a brand claims to be natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
It’s important to check ingredients and watch out for parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and formaldehyde, as well as mineral oil, artificial fragrance, and silicones. You can also check the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for more detail.
It’s understandably hard to know which natural skin-care product to incorporate into your routine. So, to make your life easier, we’ve tested the best natural products on the market, checked ingredients, and researched hundreds of expert and buyer reviews to come up with our top picks for the best natural cleanser, toner, serum, SPF moisturizer, and night cream.
By using natural plant based formulations that are rich in vital skin nutrients and antioxidants, you can help nourish the skin and help it repair itself. Rather than over-drying or stripping away the skin’s naturalbalance with chemicals and synthetics, organic skin care products work in harmony with the skin.
How to Switch to a Natural Skin Care Routine
Making the big jump to a natural skin care routine can prove to be overwhelming with all the different choices, so here’s our top recommendations on what you should switch out first!
Going the natural beauty route means saving your skin from being exposed to harsh chemicals that are harmful to your body and leave a significant impact on the environment. By switching to natural beauty products, you are choosing cleaner and gentler products with superior quality ingredients containing vitamins and minerals that the body recognizes and absorbs as nutrients. Much like eating a diet of non-GMO food, natural skin care and beauty products feed and nourish your skin in a way that leaves it healthier over time. The use of organic and natural ingredients means these products are less likely to cause unwanted side effects or skin damage with long-term use while still being just as potent and effective as their synthetic counterparts. And because they don’t contain artificial colors, fragrances and synthetic preservatives, your skin is also less susceptible to irritations and allergic reactions.
The Best Organic and All Natural Skincare Brands
For brighter, clearer, smoother skin, these are clean skincare brands BAZAAR.com editors stand behind.
WHAT DOES CRUELTY-FREE MEAN?
A beauty product is cruelty-free if it has not been tested on animals anywhere along the manufacturing line or before being sold. It can also mean that any animal-derived ingredients were not extracted at the expense of an animal’s welfare (like natural-fiber makeup brushes). A beauty product can be cruelty-free but not vegan, and vice versa.
Birchbox has an ingredient-conscious option so you’re only sent products without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and petrochemicals in a monthly beauty box. But there are many subscription boxes focused only on providing the best of clean beauty: Petit Vour sends four curated products of high-performing, animal-free, and nontoxic cosmetics and skincare; Beauty Heroes has an exhaustive banned ingredient policy and sends a full-size product and mini samples from a single clean beauty brand each month; The aptly-named The Clean Beauty Box sends full-size products from luxury clean beauty brands in a bimonthly box; Boxwalla’s bimonthly Beauty Box includes full-size products from clean and cruelty-free beauty brands you wish you’d discovered sooner; The Detox Market sells The Detox Box box highlighting a single clean brand each month (plus you earn points to shop the site); Love Goodly’s bimonthly box of four or five full-size products focuses on nontoxic, cruelty-free, and vegan beauty and skincare—plus sometimes they throw in a cute accessory or healthy snack.
WHERE IT WAS ONCE DIFFICULT—IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE—TO FIND NATURAL PRODUCTS WITH VIVID COLORS, THE CLEAN COSMETICS SPACE IS NOW BURSTING WITH INNOVATIVE BRANDS THAT HAVE LEFT CONVENTIONAL BEAUTY COMPANIES SCRAMBLING TO KEEP UP.
Indeed, natural makeup has come a long way in the last five years. Where it was once difficult—if not impossible—to find natural products with vivid colors, a wide range of skin tone options, and long-lasting staying power, the clean cosmetics space is now bursting with innovative brands that have left conventional beauty companies scrambling to keep up.
“One of the things people don’t realize about clean makeup is that it is an extension of skin care,” says Tara Foley, founder of Follain. And Rose agrees. “A truly clean makeup product is going to nourish your skin,” she explains.
Putting your products under the microscope
To do your own research, download the following barcode scanning apps to see how the ingredients in your products measure up: Skin Deep by the Environmental Working Group; Skin Ninja; Clean Beauty by Officinea; and Think Dirty.
CLEAN BEAUTY APPS
Clean Beauty: Everything You Need To Know
As soon as marketers learned that consumers enjoyed the idea of non-synthetic products, the words began to appear on all sorts of products, whether they were truthful or not.” “‘Natural’ will no longer be enough of a credential for beauty brands in 2019,” Victoria Buchanan, senior futures analyst at The Future Laboratory adds. “As consumers continue to scrutinise what is in the products they put on their skin, zero-irritants will become the new standard of natural beauty.”
Consumers are clearly making considered choices. The global wellness industry, according to the 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor report, grew in value from $3.7 trillion in 2015 to $4.2 trillion in 2017 – an increase of 12.8 per cent. “The wellness economy has grown at nearly twice the rate of global economic growth [3.6 per cent],” the report confirms. Personal care and beauty accounted for more than $1 billion in 2017.
Buchanan says two things have driven the change: “An obsession with wellness and detoxification, both in terms of diet and products, is fuelling a demand for stripped-back, ‘clean’ ingredients. Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about possible irritations caused by synthetic ingredients in fragrances and preservatives and are reading labels more carefully, a habit picked up from the grocery aisle.”
The second factor is the rise in sensitive skin. “Dermatologists are reporting a growing phenomenon of sensitised skin caused by increased exposure to pollution, stress and digital aggressors,” says Buchanan. The Environmental Working Group in the US reported that women are now exposed to a daily average of 126 chemicals from cosmetics, food, cleaning supplies and pollution. “For consumers, skin sensitivity is the new [buzz topic], ahead of anti-ageing, and this is driving a shift towards caring for skin with natural, honest ingredients,” Buchanan continues. She confirms Mintel reports that 21 per cent of US consumers now look for skincare products with as few ingredients as possible.
What qualifies as a toxic ingredient?
While the EU bans more than 1,300 ingredients from cosmetics, beauty is one of the least regulated industries in the US, where around 30 are banned. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic act is the only US government monitor of ingredients in cosmetics, and not much has changed since it was first passed in 1938 – meanwhile, the clean beauty industry has made its own rules.
Most clean beauty advocates are concerned with aggressive ingredients and synthetic chemicals. A survey in 2016 by US beauty brand Kari Gran, entitled the Green Beauty Barometer, found that 55 per cent of women and 62 per cent of millennials in the US read beauty product ingredient labels in order to avoid specific ingredients. Artificial colours are avoided as they make the skin more sensitive; while mineral oils (petroleum, petrolatum, paraffinum liquidum) can clog pores, and are a cheap by-product of the crude oil industry; and silicones (such as dimethicone) can also congest the skin. Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) strips moisture; while phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP, BPA) – emulsifiers found in synthetic fragrances, hairsprays and nail polish – can be absorbed through the skin. Parabens (methyl-, ethyl-, butyl-, propyl-) are a controversial preservative as they’ve been linked to breast cancer and reproductive problems.
Cult US skincare brand Drunk Elephant cut out the “suspicious six”: essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical screens, fragrance/dyes and SLS. Other brands, however – such as Balance Me, which offers products that are free from parabens, mineral oils, sulphates, pegs, petroleum, silicones, propylene glycol, microbeads, artificial fragrances and colours – opt in to the use of essential oils. “Many have been tried and tested over centuries such as benzoin, yarrow and spikenard, so we can trust in their efficacy,” says co-founder of Balance Me, Clare Hopkins.
According to Swift, “the bottom line is that you should educate yourself on what sorts of ingredients you want to avoid and make informed purchasing decisions.” Hopkins says: “In terms of concentration, it’s not always important to have every active [ingredient] in at a high concentration, but more the clinically tested level. Some actives may even aggravate if the levels are too high, or add unnecessary cost.” Anything over 1 per cent has to appear on the label – starting with the highest percentage ingredient, and following in order of amount. “Under 1 per cent can be any order and brands may change the order to protect their formulations from being copied,” Hopkins explains. Look out for the following certifications: Soil Association, Cosmos, Ecocert, USDA, NaTrue, EWG and Demeter.
What’s the difference between natural and organic products?
“Natural products contain ingredients from plants and nature and are minimally processed,” says Swift. “Organic products take ‘natural’ several steps further: they are made with non-GMO ingredients that have been grown, raised, harvested, manufactured and preserved without chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or antibiotics – giving you products with fewer contaminants. All of these extra steps cost more in organic farming and processing, which is why organic products tend to cost more.”
Swift advises avoiding products with “derived from” on the label. “This indicates that something was done to your natural ingredient in order to turn it into something that is no longer natural. We use ingredients straight from nature, with all of their life-force energy still intact. What that means is we are not using fractionated, adulterated ingredients.” Avoiding heavily processed ingredients allows the plants natural healing properties – enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – to remain fully active. Swift also avoids water. “Water can actually cause a lot of trouble in beauty products, but is repeatedly used because it is free. It causes a product to be unstable and it has the tendency to grow bacteria very easily. Because of that you have to use preservatives as well as emulsifiers, to join oil and water, which we all know don’t mix naturally.”
CRUELTY FREE NOT TESTED ON ANIMALS
How to spot a vegan product
A truly vegan product doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from animals – including honey, collagen, albumen, carmine, cholesterol and gelatin. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, vegan product launches rose by 175 per cent between July 2013 and June 2018. Mintel’s global beauty analyst Andrew MacDougall suggests that consumers “will want to align their beauty routine with the rest of their lifestyle”. Among the latest launches, cult US brand Milk Make-up is paraben-free, cruelty-free and 100 per cent vegan; while Swedish haircare brand Maria Nila, is also 100 per cent vegan, cruelty-free and registered with PETA, The Vegan Society and the Leaping Bunny.
Hedda Mirrow, head of marketing export at Maria Nila, says of beauty products across the board: “It is very common to see the use of keratin [a protein derived from skins and bones of animals] for strength and repairing the hair; lanolin [sheep fat] and lanolin silk protein [from silk butterflies] for hair softening; and beeswax for emollient and hold.” At Maria Nila, however, they do things differently. “Instead, we only use vegetable proteins, butters and oils – including wheat protein, algaes to repair, shea butter for hold, moringa oil for nourishment and argan oil for softening.”
Aveda, too, is currently removing beeswax from its products and pledges that by 2020 all formulations will be vegan and silicone-free. “The consumer today prioritises natural ingredients, cares about environmental responsibility and the need for global action to preserve and protect it,” Amanda Le Roux, vice president at Aveda International, tells Vogue. “With a strong foundation of using botanical science to create high-performance products that are not harmful to the earth, we’re beyond excited for the future.”
What’s the latest in plant-based alternatives?
Lan Belinky, co-founder of the plant-powered skincare brand Boscia – credited with spearheading the activated charcoal trend – is currently making waves. “We’re working on some very exciting ingredient innovations, one being a cryosea blend that contains sustainably sourced ingredients, such as red algae, inspired by cryotherapy. Together this blend provides a cold-as-ice experience that lifts, tightens, plumps and increases circulation.”
Elsewhere, retin-alts are the new retinols – suitable for sensitive skin and safe to use during pregnancy. Bakuchiol – a plant-based retinol alternative found in the seeds of the psoralea orylifolia plant – appears in new products from Ole Henriksen and Omorovicza. Part of the vitamin A family, bakuchiol boosts collagen and elastin production. “Bakuchiol is an amazing alternative to retinol, which acts in a similar way, without any of the negative side effects [retinol can irritate the skin and cause pigmentation],” Henriksen tells Vogue. “It is a ground-breaking, age-defying, natural ingredient that helps to target fine lines, wrinkles, pores and dark spots, while brightening the skin.”
The environmental impact of your product choices
In 2018, the annual campaign Zero Waste Week reported that 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry, much of which is not recyclable. Even Tata Harper – the ‘Green Queen’ founder of the eponymous 100 per cent synthetic-free and certified organic skincare brand – admits that eco-packaging can be a challenge. “I find the biggest hurdle for both the industry at large and our brand is packaging. Clean cosmetic packaging has a long way to go in terms of sustainability. Finding options that look luxurious and are also sustainable is very hard – things that are sustainable are not luxurious, yet things that are considered luxury are non-recyclable plastic and acrylics that end up in landfills.”
Of making steps towards sustainability, Harper continues: “The majority of our packaging is made of glass – it’s highly recyclable and can be reused over and over. What little plastic we do use is necessary for the function of the packaging and is as eco-friendly as possible. The plastic resin for our tubes is derived from corn, which means it is made from a renewable resource instead of petroleum, and we use soy-based ink for printing.”
The impact of specific ingredients on the environment is also a concern. “As an emollient I use isoamyl cocoate, derived from sugar beets and coconut oil,” says de Mamiel. “It is produced using 60 per cent less energy and CO2 emissions than siloxane (a silicone), and delivers a non-oily feel and light texture.”