If you remember being a teenager and slathering your body with strawberry-scented moisturiser that stung your elbows and left weird rashes on your legs, or perhaps if you remember the time you took a shower, read ‘not tested on animals’ on the back of your shower gel bottle have since been suspicious of every product you use, this is a post for you.
It’s easy to assume everything we use on our skin and hair is gentle, fairly sourced and more-or-less derived from natural sources, because the marketing material used to sell it usually suggests this is true. But if you’re the sort of person whose skin shrivels at the very thought of using a luminous product loaded with parabens, synthetics, silicones, sulphates and phthalates, which of course, many modern cosmetics are, you might think twice about something being labelled ‘natural’ or ‘gentle’.
A good way to scope out products without nasties and that aren’t tested on animals to use on your own precious skin is to look for the Soil Association logo. Lots of brands boast organic and natural ranges but really only use a percentage of one or two ingredients and a bunch of other stuff that undermines that claim. Another logo to look out for is the BUAV bunny, a clear indicator that the product you’re using isn’t tested on animals. Other items might actually say ‘tested on humans’.
Now, you might be the sort of person that’s ok with visiting multiple shops and reading the back of every bottle in your quest to find the perfect product. Doing your own thorough research is great but in truth, I’ve found it to be very time consuming. Luckily, there are quicker ways to ensure everything you’re putting on your skin and hair is kind to your body and the environment. I recommend shopping from a retailer with specialist knowledge and a vested interest in care for you and the planet. By doing this, it’s easy to support independent businesses and causes close to our hearts while looking out for ourselves and the world around us.
One of my favourites of these retailers is UK-based Supernatural Cosmetics, a company run by friends Gemma Murton and Lauren Battie. Both suffered with eczema and acne respectively and soon became interested and quickly very passionate about the myriad benefits of swapping their old beauty and skincare regimes for natural, vegan and eco-friendly ones. It wasn’t always easy to buy safe organic cosmetics in high street stores so the pair decided to launch their own retailer than specialised purely in sourcing and selling these products exclusively, helping others in the process.
‘After discovering the severity of the impact that the buildup of certain ingredients had upon human cells and the body, I decided that I was going to try raise awareness about this and encourage people to make the switch to green’ says Gemma. ‘Looking after your skin and your health is a learning curve and we want to help people to create personal, organic beauty regimes based on scientific know-how and natural wisdom passed down through the ages.’
I trialled and tested a selection of products from Gemma and Lauren’s online offering to show just how easy it is to swap out your usual routine for a totally green one. Every product contributes to healthier-looking, glowing skin without the human and animal cost that many other products depend on, everything is derived from natural sources, is suitable for sensitive skin and as if that weren’t enough to go on, everything smells incredible. The best bit? You can put every item on this list in one basket and check out in a matter of minutes.
Sister & Co. Raw Lip Tonic
Lip balms are a weird one. For something that’s supposed to soothe dry and chapped skin, most contain a worrying number of irritants. If you’re the sort of person who opts for a product because you want it to sting and plump your lips, this might not be the option for you. If however, you’re prone to sore, flaky lips and need something gentler to moisturise and repair your skin, I recommend the Sister & Co. Raw Lip Tonic.
Stored in a re-usuable pocket-sized glass jar, this baby is made from coconut oil, cold-pressed virgin avocado and almond oils and raw shea butter for ultimate hydration. The cardamom scent is pretty strong invigorating but the sweetness of the rose takes the edge off the spice and balances the overall floral aroma out. This product is certified organic and contains 100% natural ingredients, however it does contain organic beeswax so disclaimer, it’s not vegan.
Twelve Rapid Eye Treatment
If you’re going green, don’t think for a second that you’ll have to compromise on taking proper care of your skin. If a five-step routine morning and night is your jam, you can easily switch up your products to stick to this. A decent eye cream is an important part of any skin regime and this Rapid Eye Treatment created by Twelve, named so because every product uses 12 active natural ingredients, is brilliant for combatting swelling and dark circles and smoothing the skin.
This treatment contains a powerful mix of organic antioxidants such as white genepi and butterfly bush, astringent imperatoria leaf and soothing mallow flower extracts, plus hyaluronic acid and a blend of plant peptides for a long-lasting lifting effect. Free from parabens, sulphates, silicones, petrochemicals and glycols, this gentle pick is a great one for protecting, preserving and pepping up the sensitive eye area.
Skin & Tonic Naked Beauty Oil
You might already know that I’m a huge fan of Skin & Tonic’s organic beauty offering and this particular product is no exception. Naked Beauty Oil can be used in a variety of ways to give the skin on your face a healthy glow. Either massage in with your fingertips before or in place of moisturiser depending on your preference, add a few drops to your daily moisturiser or rub a little onto scars or stretch marks to soothe and repair.
This lovely product contains rosehip, apricot, pumpkin and raspberry oils for vitamins A, C and E and omegas 3 and 6. Suitable for sensitive skin, 100% natural, 99% organic, vegan and non GMO, it’s a happy, hydrated face in a bottle.
Nourish Argan Skin Renew Cream
This is a very clever product that’s a great everyday all-rounder. Extracts of wonder ingredient Rose of Jericho mean the Argan Skin Renew Cream by Nourish is able to detect changes in your skin to repair and hydrate it accordingly. It contains advanced cellular enzymes that dramatically boost skin hydration and repair damage, keeping you feeling soft, smooth and restored all day long. 80% organic, vegan and cruelty free, you certainly don’t have to buy a face cream filled with potentially harmful and carcinogenic ingredients to see instant effects.
Green People Gradual Tan Moisturiser
If you’re after a skin-friendly sun-kissed glow but can’t stand the biscuity smell of fake tan or the irritants in most luxury oils and mousses, this is the pick for you. Packed with prebiotics, antioxidants and omega fatty acids to protect and nourish your skin, Green People’s Gradual Tan Moisturiser is free from parabens, lanolin, alcohol, methylisothiazolinone, methylchloroisothiazolinone, petrochemicals, phthalates and colourants.
Green tea, hemp and rosehip soothes, hydrates and restores so you can concentrate on building up a subtle tan with the scent of mandarin, orange and ho wood. Suitable for all skin types, even sensitive and acne-prone skin, this little number is certified organic, vegan and fair trade.
Amly Digital Detox Face Mist
Lastly, a brilliant product for city dwellers and those in need of a little pick-me-up after slogging away in front of a screen for hours. This protective mineral-rich face mist by Amly combats the skin-stressing and energy-zapping effects of environmental and digital pollution. The Digital Detox Face Mist contains silver-rich spring water from Amly, an English wildflower meadow.
A mix of essential oils and active compounds such as frankincense, yarrow and niaouli, purifying magnesium salts and marine actives to strengthen and hydrate the skin, this is a step up from your usual toning mist. Cedar wood, juniper and ginseng help with boosting concentration while orange blossom and ylang ylang help to take the edge off with their relaxing effects. This gem is ideal for stressful or tiring situations wherever you are so keep it on your desk or in your bag for a little lift.
Supernatural Cosmetics donates 2% of all profits Cool Earth, a charity working to protect our fragile environment. Cool Earth are committed to halting the destruction of the rainforest and helping indigenous tribes to regain control of their land.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @boogiemargaret