Every now and then, it’s important to review what we use as part of our skincare routine and make some small but important changes. I’ve been on a bit of a skincare journey myself and so I’d like to share with you why this is such an important topic for me. It was when I discovered there was Vitamin A in one of my face creams following a miscarriage in September 2015. At the time, that discovery made me question whether the Vitamin could have led to the loss that we suffered – it’s highly unlikely but I was desperate for answers! Then when my emotions settled, I started thinking about it all and realised that pregnant women are not given any advice on how to look after their skin and what ingredients to avoid. They’re told to avoid Vitamin A present in certain foods as it can lead to birth defects but skincare-related advice is non-existent. It then made me realise that, in fact, most of us know very little about how to look after our skin and what ingredients go into our products. After all, our skin is our largest living and breathing organ, and a lot of what we put on it is absorbed into the bloodstream. So we should be more aware of what we put on it, right?
So now I want you to think about the last time YOU shopped for skincare – what did you look out for? I reckon it was the label on a product and the statements that a brand made, right? I’m also pretty sure it was NOT the ingredient list nor the certification logos, right? Of course, I’m making a HUGE generalisation here as many of you might already be conscious shoppers but in my own circle of family and friends, there’s still so much misconception about what makes skincare ‘good’ or ‘safe’, and how to navigate among all the advertising jargon that we see and hear everywhere. Believe me, I’ve been there before and fallen for all the flashy adverts telling me that this or that product would work wonders on my skin. Disappointed not once, not twice, but time after time with the new products that I bought, I blamed my ‘fussy’ combination skin for all the break outs or for my contact dermatitis flare ups. And then I discovered natural and organic skincare.
So today, I want to tell you my three reasons why I think you should opt for natural AND organic skincare and beauty products:
1. You can be sure organic skincare’s ingredients are safe and toxin-free.
The most important thing that distinguishes natural (and organic) skincare is the ingredients. Natural and organic skincare products use powerful ingredients such as plant-based oils instead of cheaper alternatives, often by-products of the petroleum industry. They also don’t rely on a whole range of synthetic and often controversial preservatives, such as formaldehyde and its releasers, parabens or phenoxyethanol. When you choose not only natural skincare products but also organic ones, you’re also choosing ingredients from plants grown free from pesticide contamination. Chemical residues from non-organic plants can penetrate through our skin and accumulate over time, leading to issues such as contact dermatitis and eczema.
2. Organic skincare is better for the planet.
It is widely acknowledged that organic farming is better for the environment – it’s better for the wildlife that feeds off and is dependent on the plants, and causes less air and water pollution from the pesticides used.
Organic farming differs from the conventional farming in many ways but the main difference is in avoiding the use of methods to avoid the diseases that can naturally happen to crops or to control pests. In conventional farming, synthetic chemicals (fertilisers and pesticides) are used to increase the growth of crops or to control pests. In organic farming, on the other hand, it is preferable to use natural methods to prevent any harm to the crops, and use organic wastes and compost as fertilisers.
So by choosing organic skincare, you indirectly contribute to saving the environment.
3. Organic skincare is affordable.
If you thought organic skincare was more expensive than conventional skincare products, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised as many organic skincare products are very reasonably priced, often even cheaper than their high street competitors. Why is that? The answer is very simple. Many natural and organic brands simply don’t have big marketing budgets to run flashy advertising campaigns or to entice celebrity endorsements. Instead, they’re often smaller and independent brands, focusing on producing good quality products. If you thought that expensive ‘designer’ brands were higher-quality products, then you may want to compare their ingredients to those in natural and organic products. I can bet you will be very surprised to know the difference is staggering. Essentially, what you pay for in an expensive high street product is the expensive advertising, rather than high quality ingredients.
So how can I shop more consciously from now on?
1. Familiarise yourself with potentially harmful ingredients.
You can learn about which ingredients I avoid in products for my children (as well as myself!!) in my post Keep away from children. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you can also find out which ingredients may not be safe to you right now in my blog post Skincare ingredients to avoid when pregnant and/ or breastfeeding.
2. Look out for the Soil Association logo
There are a few organic certifications which you need to be aware of when shopping for skincare. The highest accreditation is by the Soil Association which demands the cleanest ingredients (with 70% of non-water ingredients having to be organically grown, harvested and extracted). Recently, the Soil Association teamed up with four other European partners (BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert and ICEA ) to develop a new Cosmetic Organic Standard known as COSMOS. So when you see the Soil Association symbol you should also see the COSMOS organic or natural symbol below it. The aim of the COSMOS standard is to harmonise organic standards globally, so regardless where you live in the world, the standards remain the same.
To find out which skincare brands bear the Soil Association kitemark, check out Soil Association website.
You may also want to check out my post My 6 golden rules to decipher skincare labels and ingredients lists to help you shop more consciously. The skincare and beauty industry is not regulated, the same way that good industry is, so there’s no legal standard to stop brands from labelling their products as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ when in fact their product contains little, if no, organic ingredients. Which is why it’s such an important issue to raise awareness of all the “greenwashing” methods – the Soil Association has recently exposed a few well-known brands for misleading consumers and making false claims. There’s also a #ComeCleanAboutBeauty petition to sign to make these brands start using claims more responsibly and stop misleading us, the consumers.
3. Try before you buy
Many organic brands offer samples or travel sized products so that you can test a product before committing to buying a full-sized version. That’s a really great and inexpensive way to find products that work for your skin.
Do you look for organic certification when shopping for skincare products?
Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. However, all views expressed in this post are 100% mine and honest.