Greening Up Your Beauty Routine

Choosing a truly natural beauty product can be confusing. Here’s how to put products’ purity claims to the test. By Joanna Webber.

June 13, 2018
Pacific Island Living

Pacific Island Living

June 13, 2018

A natural golden glow

The natural beauty boom has proved to be much more than a passing fad – it has spawned a whole new category of products that are not only good for our skin, but good for animals and the environment, too. Now, we like to think of natural and organic ingredients for the skin in the same way we think of nutritious foods for our bodies. With today’s range of healthy ingredients and the latest technology at our disposal, there’s no excuse for animal testing or harmful ingredients in cosmetic and skincare products.

“Whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your body,” says Ere Perez, founder and creative director of Australian natural beauty brand, Ere Perez Natural Cosmetics. “You don’t need chemicals to make your products silky smooth, highly-moisturising and long-lasting. We shouldn’t be putting anything on our faces that we wouldn’t put in our mouths.”

Even if you’ve made the switch to reduce your chemical load, ‘greenwashing’ can still make it a hazardous journey. Greenwashing is the practice of making deceptive claims about the environmental benefits of a product, service or business to make it appear more environmentally friendly than it actually is.

What to look out for

Labels can be deceiving. Just because it says ‘organic’ or has ‘natural ingredients’ doesn’t always make it non-toxic. Read labels carefully and look out for chemical names.

Parabens, or synthetic preservatives, have been linked to cancers and hormone disrupting properties. Parabens are found in many conventional beauty products – even if they’re labelled as ‘plant based’ -–– and are best avoided. PEG, or Polyethylene Glycol, is another nasty ingredient found in cosmetic products and in spray-on oven cleaners to dissolve oil and grease. Want to remove your mascara with a little oven cleaner anytime soon, ladies? PEGs can actually increase the appearance of ageing and leave your skin vulnerable to bacteria. If PEGs are on the label, leave it behind.

Bag the bunny

Grab products that have the Leaping Bunny logo or the words ‘Cruelty Free’ on them. Companies still needlessly testing products on animals can’t use these logos.

Going fragrance free?

This is a tricky one because, while some fragrances can cause allergies, dermatitis and respiratory distress, not all are dangerous. If you’re sensitive to fragrances, check out the range of essential oil-based blends in your health food store or stick to brands you know and trust.

Look it up

When in doubt, check it out. Visit the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics or download their app. You’ll find safety ratings for more than 80,000 products plus loads of information about specific ingredients.

Beauty by nature

Try these 10 truly great products with no nasties.
1. Stem Organics Perfect Complexion Masque, $65*.
This masque is not certified organic but it’s loaded with skin-loving goodness like vitamin C to brighten, kaolin clay to purify, and colloidal oatmeal to soothe your skin.

2. Dr Hauschka Night Serum, $79.
This heavenly night cream with apple blossom is super-moisturising but still lets your skin breathe while you’re getting your beauty sleep.

3. Waleda Birch Cellulite Oil, $32.95.
Certified organic, this cellulite-fighting birch leaf extract is full of moisturising essential fatty acids. Use it twice daily for best results.

4. 100% Pure Blackberry Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Mascara, $26.95.
Tinted with black tea and blueberry, this mascara has no synthetic irritants and lasts all day.

5. Ere Perez Versatile Vanilla Highlighter in Sun Halo, $31.95.
This holiday essential instantly adds a soft golden glow to cheekbones, eyelids and brow.

6. Dr Hauschka Foundation, $60.
This foundation feels light on the skin while doing a great job of covering blemishes and evening out skin tone.

7. Black Chicken Remedies Axilla Deodorant Paste, $18.50.
If you’ve not used a paste deodorant before, this texture might take a little getting used to, but it does a great job of keeping your armpits odour free.

8. The Jojoba Company 100% natural Jojoba + Rosehip Oil, $24.95.
This essential little multi-tasker removes makeup, softens lips and cuticles and is a great hair masque when you’re out under the sun.

9. Neek Skin Organics Australia Come Into My World Lipstick, $36.
Vegan lipsticks are all the rage and this one is packed with moisturising oils and only uses natural pigments.

10. Trilogy CoQ10 Eye Recovery Concentrate, $36.95.
This caffeine-enriched cream refreshes eyes both over and under makeup and has a user-friendly roller-ball applicator.

Daily DIY must-makes

DIY skincare is just as likely to be sitting in your fridge or pantry as it is in your makeup bag or on your bathroom shelf. Creator of the Beauty Chef, Carla Oates, recommends using natural yoghurt with a tablespoon of almond meal as a gentle exfoliant in your morning shower. Add a teaspoon of honey and it’s a healing after-sun face mask, too. The rich fatty acids in cold pressed coconut oil make it a great hair treatment or body moisturiser. *All prices are in AU$

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