Monday 20 January 2014

Going natural

I like to think of January as a time for a boost of new energy, fresh ideas and a whole bunch of new years resolutions.

I thought I would compile a little guide (or food for thought if you wish) to anyone deciding to switch to natural and organic beauty. For as many have discovered it is frequently not an easy task.

It really all depends on how sensitive your skin is to change and different ingredients, how many products you like to have on hand, and how much you normally spend on them.

When you decide to swap it is very tempting to get rid of all your old products and start from scratch. In reality it is not such a great idea, especially if you use lots of different products, it would be a huge hit to your wallet to replace them all at once. In any case I would strongly advise to introduce no more than two products at a time in case of reactions.

Before you start you need to decide on your budget. I tend to categorise skincare and body products into four groups:

1. Affordable - under £15
2. Mid range - between £15-£35
3. Premium - between £35-£75
4. Luxury - over £75

Majority of my skincare falls into the mid range category, due to personal sensitivities, the results that I want to see from my products and the ingredients that I wish to avoid. There are a few hidden gems in the affordable category, and most of my body products come from it. You have to keep in mind that certified organic products will be more expensive, but also sometimes things like oils appear more expensive, but due to the fact that you only need a few drops they last for months and are actually great value for money. I wouldn't spend money on premium brands until I was happy with a good basic routine, as those products frequently contain quiet a cocktail of potent ingredients, which could make your skin unhappy during a transition.

One of the things to keep in mind that natural products frequently have less fillers and higher percentage of oils and butters than what your skin might have come across in the past. So even if you never had reactions in the past it is no guarantee that your body will except all the new products. As a rule I would choose to start with body products ( as this is the largest area that gets covered and would make the most impact in terms of exposure to chemicals).

I absolutely love a good artisanal soap, it lasts for ages, keeps your skin clean yet not dry due to all the butters and oils used (and it retains all of its natural glycerine), and there is no plastic bottle to get rid of once it's finished. My personal favourites are Osmia, bulles et molecules and Ambre botanicals.

When it comes to moisturising a body oil or butter is way more economical (and frequently has better ingredients) than a cream. One of my staples is Shea life mango butter, I just adore the scent, but they have other varieties. Also when I am a little low on cash I love straight up cocoa butter (if you like chocolaty scent there is nothing better), it leaves my skin smelling lovely and super soft.

Now choosing skincare is much more complicated, as skin on face and neck is a lot more sensitive, and even though skin on your legs feels wonderfully moisturised after using coconut oil, on your face it may lead to breakouts. Unless you already know what oils your skin reacts well to and otherwise, this is a time for caution and slow movement. Also keep in mind that you might not react well to an ingredient in its neat form, but as a small percentage in a cream it could be absolutely fine. I suggest introducing one product at a time and using it for full 28 days (which is the time that it takes for skin to renew itself) before introducing another one.

I would start with a cleanser first, than toner, and than cream or oil. Once you are happy with a basic routine, than you can introduce things like serums and masks.
Untill you know your sensitivities I would advise to sticking to products with shorter ingredients lists.
I really like the range from S.W. Basics especially their toner. I also can't get enough of the Konjac sponges, you can combine them with another cleanser if you want to or use on their own. I also really like manuka honey as a cleanser.

For makeup removal I tend to use coconut oil (make sure it is extra virgin coconut oil and preferably organic), however I always make sure to follow it with another cleanser (or Konjac sponge). Another good option is olive oil (actually most carrier oils will do the job, just choose the one that works for your skin).

Floral waters make wonderful toners I especially like rosewater. You do have to be careful to the method of extraction, as some processes use chemicals. My favourite is rosewater by Pukka, or you can always make your own from rosebuds or petals sold for cooking.

When it comes to moisturizing I tend to prefer oils, and if I need something lighter I mix a drop or to of my current oil with a little aloe vera gel. Simpler oils that I really like are Indie Lee squalane  oil and Pai Rosehip oil.

When it comes to hair care I have not found products that I would consider budget friendly. Due to personal sensitivities my choice of shampoos and conditioners is somewhat limited, and while I think that a cream or a face oil at £20 is mid range, a shampoo bottle for that price is definitely premium. So at the moment I use Yarok shampoo (the only consolation is that my hair doesn't need a conditioner with it, only a few drops of serum occasionally). I also really like Acure which is a little more budget friendly, but can be difficult to find in UK.

The last few words are going to be about makeup. I feel that this is the area where you can take more time, after you ditch your lipstick that is. If other cosmetics sit on your face over a layer of oil or cream (which makes them slightly less likely to cause harm), lipstick you and up eating at every meal, and every time you have a cup of water. I would also be a little weary of powder products as there is a possibility of inhaling it during application. I also found that my eyelashes became longer and healthier once I stopped using conventional mascara. It is no secret that I am very fond of Ilia lipsticks, but I have also recently discovered Lily Lolo and their lip products are of really good quality and more budget friendly (and they just happen to have a sale on right now). I also think that multi purpose products are a good way to go when you want more for your money and I can't say enough good things about RMS lip2cheek and W3ll people Universalist (initially pricey but you won't need to repurchase for ages, and you get 2 products in one).

I hope you guys find it useful and please share the products that made the difference when switching.


  1. Thanks so much for the link and the love. :)

    Marie and Marc
    Bulles et Molecules