Mainstream skincare products often contain cheap fillers, synthetic fragrances, and harsh preservatives that have little benefit to the skin or the body. I don't know about you, but I’d rather not have exposure to these synthetic chemicals, and now with many big brands ‘greenwashing’ it is important to find products that are truly natural and organic.
In 2014 I launched Skin & Tonic - a British, organic and sustainable skincare range. Here are some of my top tips to help you switch to truly natural skincare routine.
DITCH: The Foaming Face Wash
Foaming face washes appeal to us as they leave our skin feeling squeaky-clean. But, they often use a host of synthetic ingredients that include surfactants (that create the foam and bubbles) these can turn your skin alkaline and strip it of its natural oils. This can create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which can result in an increase in breakouts.
DISCOVER: The Natural Cleansing Balm
Cleansing balms are made with simple, plant based oils. They remove dirt and impurities while also protecting the skin’s moisture balance. They are really effective for both oily and dry skin types and feel amazing to use.
DITCH: The Plastic Microbead Exfoliator v These tiny plastic beads are found in many synthetic exfoliators. They are often made from polyethylene and are designed to remove dead skin cells. The problem is that the beads are then washed down our drains and end up in our lakes and oceans, contaminating and killing our marine wildlife.
DISCOVER: Oatmeal/Jojoba Beads/Fruit Powders
We’ve been using natural exfoliators for hundreds of years. There are now loads of clean beauty alternatives on the market that use amazing ingredients like Oatmeal (anti inflammatory and hydrating), Jojoba Beads (a biodegradable natural wax) or Fruit Powders to gently remove dead cells without damaging the skin.
DITCH: Harsh Alcohol Toners
Alcohol isn’t great for the skin: even natural grain alcohol can irritate sensitive, dry skin and strip it of its natural protective oils.
DISCOVER: Flower Waters (Hydrosols)
‘Flower water’ is the water left after the distillation of essential oils. These gentle and refreshing waters - such as Lavender, Neroli, Chamomile or Rose - are incredibly soothing and toning, even for highly sensitive skin. Flower waters also work wonders as a mood-calming mists.
DITCH: The Synthetic Moisturiser
Did you know that the principle ingredient in most moisturisers is water? The problem with using water is that it needs preservatives and binding agents to be added - such as Parabens, Benzalkonium Chloride, BHA, BHT or EDTAs. These chemicals have been know to be carcinogenic and disrupt the endocrine system. Many moisturisers also use mineral oil (a derivative of petroleum) that can aggravate acne, damage skin function, and potentially cause premature ageing. There are now, however, some brilliant organic moisturisers on the market that use natural preservatives. If a moisturiser is a must have for you then always look for one with organic certification (Cosmos or Soil Association).
DISCOVER: Plant Oils and Waxes
Plant oils are packed full of nutrients such as omegas and antioxidants that are amazing for the skin’s health: they work brilliantly as moisturisers in their own right by hydrating, nourishing and even fighting free radicals. There’s an ever-increasing range of natural oils available: some for oily and others for dry, sensitive, or mature skin. My favourites include: Rosehip, Jojoba, Seabuckthorn,Thistle, Chia Seed, Borage, Pumpkin and Apricot.
If you want to find out more about what is in your skincare you can check out ewg.org or www.thinkdirtyapp.com and skinandtoniclondon.com