As Natural Beauty Week draws to a close, and now that you know a little more about the potential health dangers of using conventional cosmetics, you're probably keen to get some natural alternatives into your bathroom cabinets. But where to start?!
Luckily, natural beauty products are beginning to flood the market. Shoppers are becoming more aware of the potential risks involved with lathering their skin in toxins, and skincare and cosmetics brands are answering the cries for natural alternatives. But we know you want the best. The real deal. The stuff that works, really really well.
I've been using natural beauty products for the past three years now, and my shelves turned totally natural about two years ago. During my journey, I've tried a lot (A LOT) of products. Some were fabulous, and some were fabulous but didn't really give me the results I'd have hoped for.
SO, without further ado, I give you my top natural beauty picks:
Black Chicken's oil cleanser gives my skin a wonderful clean - it's pretty much the perfect make-up remover. Look no further.
I also really like Sukin's facial cleanser. It foams up fabulously, but doesn't dry. Two cleanses at night removes any trace of makeup, and leaves me with beautiful clean skin.
Without a doubt, though, Sodashi's clay cleanser is my favourite. I use the Clay Cleanser with Lime as I have combination skin and am prone to the odd hormonal breakout, and find it beautifully balancing whilst not at all harsh.
Dr Hauschka's Clarifying Toner...by golly, this is a goody. Containing calendula and witch hazel (aka my herbal skin gods), this toner mist feels like a gift from skin heaven.
I also love Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel, which I pop into an old spray bottle and ends up lasting me forever. Witch hazel balances and perfects skin without drying, while the aloe vera, vitamin E and rosewater in this formulation add an extra boost of skin-loving, anti-ageing, antioxidant goodness.
I've also just started using Eco Tan's Face Tan Water, which is a really beautiful formulation, even for difficult skin - and, tan wise, works an absolute treat! A little goes a long way too, which makes it very reasonable price wise.
Serums & Eyes:
My favourite natural serum solution is a mixture of oils. I know the idea of putting oil onto oily skin seems downright bizarre to most, but the idea behind it is pretty solid: by adding oil to the skin's surface, your face is tricked into believing it already has enough there and so it doesn't produce any excess. I like to add some extra goodness to my skin by selecting therapeutic oils which mimic the skin's natural sebum, such as coconut (a great antibacterial), vitamin E, rosehip or jojoba (all full of antioxidants and great for repair) and tea tree (another brilliant antibacterial). I usually use a few drops of one under my moisturiser, or occasionally make up a little mix based on my skin's needs at the time.
For eyes, I absolutely adore Mukti's Rosehip Eye Gel.
Mukti, Sodashi and The Products all offer fabulous moisturisers.
Mukti's Aloe Vera Moisturiser is the perfect soother for combination skin, and I usually use it as a base to my other moisturisers. The Balancing Moisturiser, also by Mukti, moisturises beautifully without feeling heavy, but I swap to the Hydrating option during winter when my skin cries out for a little more.
If my skin is still feeling thirsty, a little of The Products' Absolute Rose Cream mixed into my BB cream usually solves the problem (and I love that The Products is made right here in Perth!).
Again, though, my favourite is Sodashi. I just can't explain how miraculous this Balancing Moisturiser truly is. Sodashi say it is "light yet effective", and I couldn't agree more - it moisturises my skin absolutely perfectly.
Don't choose anything other than La Mav's organic BB cream (unless you're extremely pale - you may find you need another product to balance out the tone if this is your case). It's super light yet wonderfully nourishing, sits well over every product I've ever used to moisturise my face firstly, and offers a surprisingly good amount of coverage. I wear this everyday, mixed into my foundation, and on its own on holidays or at other times that makeup just really isn't required.
My foundations were the first products I chose to go natural with. I hate the feeling most foundations give - you know when you can almost hear your skin crying out as it's suffocated by a thick veil? It terrified me to think that I was covering my face with toxins to look more perfect...because surely long-term perfection is exactly the opposite of achievable if there's damage and toxicity involved.
Inika's liquid and powder foundations are the cream of the crop in my opinion. The liquid is the first foundation I've used that actually matches my skin tone (!!! I know! It's actually possible, who'd have thunk it?!), and I only need a pea sized amount to get a good, but light feeling, coverage. The Inika blush is also fabulous!
As I said, I mix my foundation and BB cream - just a pinch of each - everyday for fabulous, long-lasting, perfecting and yet breathable coverage. I also throw a little (a very tiny bit goes a long way) of Musq's green corrector into the mix if I'm suffering from some blemish-related redness.
If and when I need to use it, my concealer of choice is by Adorn Cosmetics. Back in the day, I used Bobbi Brown's concealer after being told it was the best in the biz (and at the time, I totally agreed). Well, meet Bobbi's all-natural twin. Adorn = the. best. Oh, and their illuminator and bronzer? Also incredible.
100% Pure's mascara is the best I've found.
Hurraw's lip balms are bloody brilliant. They're nourishing and delicious (and, if you so desired, you actually could eat them on account of the 'no baddies' thing), and come in a huge variety of 'flavours'. My favourites are Grapefruit, Earl Grey, and Vata (from their Ayurvedic range - almond, cardamom & rose, oh my). I use the tinted Black Cherry for a nice rosy red tint.
A stickler for Lucas Pawpaw ointment? Stop. Put it down. It contains petroleum jelly (bet you didn't know that, did you?). Try Suvana (available at Priceline) or Natralus (available at Coles and IGA) and their alternatives instead - same same, but none of the bad stuff.
I've been using a hand cream at night since I was quite young: it keeps my hands hydrated, and should prevent some of the effects and appearance of ageing later in life.
Antipodes Deliverance Kowhai hand cream is absolutely delicious. And, as you only need a little at a time, it will last you ages.
I occasionally use The Products Absolute Rose cream on my hands too. It can feel a tiny bit oily on hands during the day, but sinks in beautifully overnight when put on before bed.
The Product's Face & Body Wash smells absolutely fabulous, and leaves my skin feeling soft and supple. It's the same with Mukti's Botanique Body Wash - beautiful smell and feel.
My favourite, though, is probably Dr Bronner's pure castile soap bars, which come in a wide range of beautiful fragrances. Castile soap is quite amazing - it can be used on face, body...and, well, just about everywhere (it can even be used to clean your fruit and veg, and even your whole house!). It's totally vegan too, unlike some other soap bars.
What I love about The Products is that the whole range is suitable for both face and body - so I use my Absolute Rose Cream as a body lotion too. The smell is just divine.
I also love Mukti's Botanique Body Lotion - again it has a beautiful smell, and feels super luscious on the skin.
But, quite honestly, my favourite body hydrator is coconut oil. I mix a little with my The Products Deodorant for the perfect combo of fragrance and hydration. Just be careful not to use too much and to let it sink in for a little while before getting dressed...it is an oil at the end of the day, and you may not want lots of it on your clothes.
Crystal do a brilliant deodorant, which I find works extremely well for most of the year here in Australia, and far better than the others in Summer.
I also love The Products' Deodorant, which I also use as a body spray on account of the delicious fragrance.
Summer in Australia is quite a difficult time for natural deodorants. As a deodorant won't stop you from sweating, it will only aid with the associated odour, those super hot and sweaty days test the natural alternatives. Persevere, though - it's worth avoiding those horrible risks to your health.
I have been meaning to try Black Chicken's Axilla Deodorant, which has had some brilliant reviews - I promise to keep you posted on this!
There you have it: a pretty large list of natural beauty buys for you to try.
You may still be a little hesitant about making the switch to an all-natural beauty regime, and that's okay. Take your time to explore before you take the full plunge if that feels right. As there are so many products out there, shop around and find what works best for you: for your skin, your face, your budget.
But beware - as I mentioned in the last post (here), it is important to be wary and double-check ingredients lists. There is very little regulation of the claims "natural" or "organic" in cosmetic labelling (we're looking at you, Jurlique/Aveda/Aveeno!), but ingredients lists will never lie. Be smart. Your body will thank you!