Why I only use natural beauty

Posted by Nicola Elliott

Why I only use natural beauty

More and more people are ditching chemicals for an all-natural beauty routine. Whether that's because of skin sensitivities, environmental impact or the fact natural products today are seriously hard-working and results-driven. We talk to three women in the beauty industry who've made the switch (and haven't looked back since). 

Delphine Chui, Co-Founder of FToxins

Are there any natural ingredients you've found that work especially well for your skin?

I have combination skin. Avocado oil seems to work wonders for adding moisture without making me feel too weighted down (as well as evening out my skin tone) while hyaluronic acid has definitely diminished the appearance of my crow's feet and forehead lines. 

What about chemical-based products - was there anything that you found irritated your skin?

I noticed myself reacting to synthetic fragrances (general itchiness) so I've had to make sure to only buy products fragranced with natural essential oils. But, in general, I'll always avoid anything with SLS or parabens or PEGs since knowing exactly what they do to our bodies. I'm also annoyingly slightly allergic to tea tree oil so I can't reap the benefits myself!

Do you have any favourite essential oils?

In the past I have used lavender as a relaxation and sleep tool, clove essential oil to numb any toothaches I had (works a treat!) and citronella to ward off insects in the summer. I also use frankincense for evening out skin tone and ylang ylang-based products when my skin's acting up a little!

Can you talk me through your skincare regime?

In the morning, I'll refresh my face with a toner before putting on a moisturiser underneath any makeup. At night, I'll use an eye make-up remover before cleansing my face with a konjac sponge. Then, I'll put on a hyaluronic serum before applying a 24-hour moisturising face cream and maybe put on a facial oil afterwards for extra moisture. 

Amanda Cool, Alchemist and Author of Wellpreneur

What made you turn to natural skincare products?

When I lived in Paris, I was fascinated by the natural remedies available at the regular pharmacies. That got me interested in herbal medicine and soon I was trying to make my own remedies and skincare products. Once I realised it was possible to have natural skincare, I started reading the ingredients on my favourite products to see what was included and I was shocked at the chemicals, some with very sketchy ingredients. It made me more aware of what I was putting on my skin (and what might be being absorbed into my body!), and I switched to natural skincare. I immediately threw out all my products and started finding natural replacements. That was really stressful. Now I recommend to people to gradually switch over as you need to replace a product.

Are there any ingredients you've found that work especially well for you skin?

I have slightly oily skin and I love jojoba oil. It's great for oily skin because it mimics your natural sebum, so it helps your skin regulate oil production. So it really seems to calm down and even out my skin. 

What about chemical-based products - was there anything that you found irritated your skin?

I don't really have sensitive skin so I haven't had bad reactions to mainstream products (fortunately!)

Do you have any favourite essential oils?

Yes I love essential oils and use them regularly. People should know that they always need to be diluted in a carrier oil, don't just apply them directly to your skin. My favourite is a blend of lavender, geranium and a little patchouli. I put that in the facial and body oils that I make. I also love spruce essential oil which feels really grounding and uplifting. I use that in a roller bottle on my wrists. 

Can you talk me through your skincare regime?

I like to keep it really simple or I won't do it! In the evening I use an oil cleansing balm which I remove with a hot washcloth. Then I follow with rosewater toner (or maybe something including apple cider vinegar for balance or witch hazel if it's hot in summer), and a few drops of facial oil massaged in really well (I'm convinced facial massage helps your skin, and it feels good). In the morning I just rinse with water, and then apply moisturiser. 

Sometimes I do a mask. If I don't have anything store-bought I just use raw honey. It's easy to spread onto dry skin, then I let it sit for 10-15 mins and rinse off. Believe it or not, it rinses off really easily, and always gives such a nice glow to your skin, I love it! (I also do this a lot when travelling because you can always get honey at the tea station in a hotel!)

For anyone looking to change to a more natural based skincare routine, do you have any advice or tips?

Switch over gradually! As you finish up one product, find a natural replacement. This gives you time to research and lets you slowly shift over. Throwing everything out like I did was wasteful, and also really stressful, because I had to replace everything at once. Slow and steady!

Lou Dartford, Green Make-up Artist and Beauty Blogger

What made you turn to natural skincare products?

I've always been interested in natural health and thought about what was going into my body, so it was a natural progression to think about what I was putting on it. I came across some organic skincare years ago and started to use it. It really planted the seed and I began to research into ingredients - I discovered so many benefits of using natural products. There is a real synergy between our skin and great quality natural ingredients - our skin recognises them and knows how to utilise them; it just makes sense opposed to products that might be full of cheap synthetic fillers for example. The brands that were creating these products were also respecting the environment, which is something that's important to me. 

How long have you been using them for?

I started to switch over to natural products about ten years ago - the products available then were definitely not as refined as they are now so it was a slower conversion.

What's your skin type?

I would say it's normal but can be prone to sensitivity and redness. Currently dehydrated!

Are there any ingredients you've found that work especially well for your skin?

I find that my skin is definitely better if my routine contains hyaluronic acid. My skin loves face oils that contain lavender and chamomile and I've recently started using a product with Bakuchiol which is working really well for my skin as a night time alternative to retinol. 

What about chemical-based products - was there anything that you found irritated your skin? 

My skin doesn't like SLS, it dries it out for sure. I love to use an oil based cleansing balm but if I don't remove it properly then the skin on my chin can easily become congested. I'm personally not a fan of using coconut oil to cleanse for this reason. 

Do you have any favourite essential oils?

Yes, I love chamomile and lavender and will blend them together with coconut oil and shea butter to make a calming body cream. A bit of chamomile on a tissue under a pillow can be great for helping sleep and I burn frankincense and lavender together if my daughter has a cough or cold. I also love rosemary to burn if I'm working from home and use Thyme if anyone in the house has been ill.

Can you talk me through your skincare regime?

At night I'll remove my make-up by massaging in a cleansing balm or oil and then removing it with a konjac sponge and water and I'll do a second cleanse with a wash off cleanser if I feel I need it. I spritz my skin with a floral water or hydrating toner and then apply a serum with a hyaluronic acid. I then massage in a plant oil blend and I use a gua sha tool a few nights a week for a longer massage. 

I do use different oils depending on how my skin is feeling and I'll often mix products too for a custom blend. Then once or twice a week I'll do a gentle exfoliation and treat my skin to a mask - usually a hydrating one or one to add radiance. I'll often sleep in a mask too for extra oomph!

In the morning I'll refresh my skin in the shower, followed with a floral water or hydrating toner and use a serum and an oil over the top. I do use moisturisers but it depends on how my skin is feeling - I'll often mix a few drops of oil into my moisturiser to boost it. 

For anyone looking to change to a more natural based skincare routine, do you have any advice or tips?

Change just one thing at a time. If you change everything you'll never know what is working and what isn't. Give the products a chance too - to really see if it works you need to give it at least a few weeks. Skin can purge itself so if you can get an outbreak for example, don't immediately presume it is the new product irritating you, it could be a good thing like a cleansing action from the skin. Give it chance to settle down before you decide whether that product isn't working for you. 

And remember, natural skincare will have a much shorter shelf life than 'conventional' beauty so don't save it for best - use it and enjoy it!