Decoding natural skincare. What does it mean?
Updated: Mar 11, 2021
"Nature holds all the answers, you just need patience to figure them out."
For the last few decades we have all been rapidly moving through a time of immense modernisation. But the last one year has made us all stop in our tracks, look around and see the chaos we have created in the interim and compelled us to take a step back and look at life from a holistic angle. We have started to be more aware of ourselves and have learnt to prioritise ourselves over material goals. Our body is thus of utmost priority as something that is truly our own. It is therefore of paramount importance that we look after our body both internally and externally.
Many of us have started to focus on what we subject ourselves and our families to, and in the pursuit of that, have tried to jump onto the natural bandwagon to embrace things that are natural including skincare/haircare.
But what does natural actually mean?
In this blog I will try to cover what natural means from a skin/haircare perspective.
Natural skincare/haircare is a very debatable term and while there are conflicting opinions on what is natural and what isn't, below are 4 different kinds of natural as defined by Formula Botanica (a leading institute for teaching organic skincare),
Purist: The purest form of natural ingredients where the ingredients maintain the same chemical structure as they were when they were a part of nature. e.g. any carrier oil like almond or olive oil. This is any natural skincare formulator's safe haven and extensively used by all.
Naturally Derived; These are ingredients that have been derived from nature but have undergone a chemical reaction to form an ingredient that may be used to perform a particular function in a formulation. E,g. Olivem1000 is derived from olives but undergoes a chemical process to form an emulsifier that is used to make natural creams and lotions.
Nature Identical: These are ingredients that are made synthetically but are identical in chemical structure to those found naturally. e.g. citric acid which is naturally found in citrus fruits but due to demand it is not sustainable to produce them from fruits only therefore these are made synthetically in lab but is completely identical in chemical structure to that found in nature.
Mimic Synthetic: These are ingredients that are derived from natural ingredients but are created to mimic synthetic molecules. e.g. synthetic glycols have been used in cosmetic industry for decades, however scientists now have managed to derive glycols from natural ingredients like sugarcane.
COSMOS is a governing body founded by BDIH - Germany, Cosmebio - France, Ecocert - France, ICEA - Italy and the Soil Association - UK as a standard in natural and organic skincare. Over 8,000 ingredients from the above 4 categories are COSMOS CERTIFIED. At Raw Roop, all products are made using products that are deemed natural by these bodies.
But what is the benefit of using natural skincare?
Synthetics lack the therapeutic qualities that many natural ingredients offer. Most mainstream cosmetics are generally full of water, cheap fillers, animal by-products, synthetic skin irritants and artificial fragrances. Synthetic ingredients are also often cheap and easy to use and is therefore a big driver in modern cosmetics. Most commercial skincare manufacturers aim to keep their costs as low as possible to gain the highest profit margins.
Natural skincare and haircare on the other hand uses ingredients that are nature's powerhouse and are developed to embrace the power of botanicals. Needless to say these are not cheap to make. There are thousands of natural ingredients that are loaded with amazing properties that are truly unique to each plant and the scope of using these exotic ingredients in our beauty regime is endless. No synthetic ingredients can mimic the complex plant symphony of compounds found in nature.
Organic ingredients can offer higher levels of nutrients. Researchers have found that plants can boost their production of phytochemicals to strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds when faced with fewer pesticides. Organic farming also encourages wildlife and environmental stewardship of the land. Organic is the holy grail in formulating cosmetics, as it brings together the concepts of beauty and wellbeing. Beauty is not achieved by attaining a certain smooth appearance or definition of ‘perfection’; beauty is instead achieved by nurturing your skin and hair to its healthiest state. When we bring together plant power and green chemistry, we create skincare and haircare that makes us feel happy and healthy. This is what natural skincare is truly all about.