By Arwa Lodhi
It doesn’t matter whether it’s for the face, body or hair: the fact is that natural cosmetics are of increasing importance to consumers around the world. Statistics prove this beyond a doubt: global demand for organic personal care products was over $7.6 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018, according to Beauty Press.
Consumers are more and more aware of the value of organic raw materials, sustainable sourcing and an ecological approach in the cosmetics and grooming products they ply on their bodies. But what exactly are the qualities that a product has to have to be considered ‘natural’? What’s the difference between ‘natural’ and ‘organic’? What are the advantages of these products over conventional ones? Here, we answer these questions and show you how to use plant based products properly, too.
What exactly is meant by ‘natural cosmetics’?
Even though the term natural cosmetics isn’t clearly defined and is legally ambiguous, products mostly fulfil the following requirements: they are not tested on animals, their ingredients stem from sustainable and fair-traded raw materials, and they are of natural origin. Natural cosmetics are free from additives such as paraffin, petroleum products, mineral oils, parabens and other synthetic preservatives. Various seals of quality reveal whether a product is pure and cruelty free or not. For more information, please see this article.
Are natural cosmetics better than conventional cosmetics?
We may be biased, but the fact is, natural cosmetics do have several advantages – mainly, they’re far less toxic than their chemical fuelled cousins, and they also tend to protect the skin better; some chemicals in skincare such as octocrylene can actually cause ageing. Many natural products are well- tolerated by those people who have sensitive skin, and the quality of the ingredients is usually high, too. Besides, many consumers are worried about links to cancer, skin irritations and other illnesses that may come from conventional beauty products -something you don’t need to worry about with natural cosmetics.
Can organic cosmetics trigger allergies?
Whilst every person differs, there is indeed a risk of developing allergies for people who are sensitive to certain natural ingredients. For example, if you have a nut allergy, don’t use almond or peanut oil based products, or if you are allergic to flower pollen, avoid ingredients like chamomile. Organic cosmetics are normally generally well tolerated by the body, however.
What about the shelf life of plant based cosmetics?
This is an important point. Without a load of nasty chemicals to preserve them, natural cosmetics and skincare products are more prone to going off faster. To avoid spoilage, be sure to follow these rules:
- Note the sell-by-date
- Once opened, use as soon as possible
- Store at room temperature – or better yet, keep the products in the fridge
- Protect your products from direct sunlight
- Whenever possible, use a pump or spray rather than sticking your fingers in a pot of cream. If the product comes in a pot, use a plastic scoop to remove the product from the container onto your skin.
Will using plant based cosmetics change my skin?
Maybe. Sometimes the skin needs time to adjust to the natural substances. In the beginning, because of this it is possible that irritations and blemishes occur. It takes two to six weeks for the skin reactions to fade away – but after that time, you may notice a more natural, healthy glow radiating from your skin. Yay!
Where can I find plant based cosmetics?
Admittedly, this isn’t as easy as you’d think – but it is getting easier. There’s a proliferation of chemical-rich cosmetics in all department stores around the world, usually produced by the same huge multinational corporations. But great online shops like Love Lula and EcoDiva are changing the way we shop for skincare and makeup – and a lot of bigger brands like Juice Beauty or 100% Pure deliver their wide variety of products around the world. For a complete list of organic makeup brands that deliver globally, click here.
Main image: beautypress.com. All others: Pixabay