Whether you are buying natural beauty products for the first time, or have been enjoying a clean regime for a while now, here's my top 5 rules to follow when shopping for natural brands, that'll ensure you buy the best quality and most-effective products for your budget.
Just because a natural ingredient is certified organic doesn't necessarily mean it's better, what's important is the quality and efficacy of the ingredient. That being said, if you choose to buy certified organic products you can be sure the brand has had to adhere to rigorous and strict criteria to get its product certified.
Certified organic ingredients are derived from non-genetically modified plants, grown in an ecological way, with respect for the environment without the use of artificial pesticides, fertilisers or any other toxic synthetic matter. The ingredient should also have been extracted and processed naturally. Natural plant ingredients should also be a non-GMO, been grown without the use of toxic pesticides and had minimal or no processing.
Look for organic certifications and always check the ingredients to be sure it's 100% natural.
Although it's true that some brands price their products high for very little reason other than to make more money, the brands we stock at Beautiful Because are carefully chosen and vetted for their high-quality ingredients, efficacy and eco-friendly policies; this means there's different reasons why some moisturisers cost more than others:
The pricier natural products we stock tend to have more potent natural ingredients; i.e bio-active plant extracts and potent anti-oxidants in higher quantities. They will have also had to ensure their packaging preserves the ingredients for as long as possible, and that their manufacturing method retains the ingredients' valuable nutrients, which can be more costly for the brand, pushing the price of their product up. It is important to note, more potent ingredients will have a shorter shelf life (see below about packaging). Using fewer, more potent ingredients can be the most effective option for our skins, with that old cliche – less is more – ringing true.
Quite simply, purer, higher quality ingredients, such as certified organic and therapeutic-grade essential oils, cost more. Some brand source the best ingredients they can find from all over the world. These ingredients also have be kept in special conditions to keep them fresh and effective.
If you are new to natural beauty but cannot afford to replace all your products in one go, start with the ones designed to be absorbed into the skin first, and which you use on the largest amount of skin; such as moisturisers.
While ten years ago natural formulations could be pretty basic, today you are spoilt for choice of brands that use the latest scientific advances and trial their formulations (just on volunteers!), but are completely natural. These are sometimes called natural cosmeceutical brands, utilising the latest technology but using bio-active plant extracts, instead of synthetics in their formulas. Mukti Organics and La Mav Organic Skin Science are two companies doing this very well.
Natural beauty products will not last as long as their synthetic counterparts as they don't contain the same kind of preservatives. This isn't a bad thing, the more pure and potent the product, the shorter the shelf life. Buying as and when you need something is best when choosing natural products, so don't buy a product you plan to start using in 6 or even 3 month's time, just because it's on offer. Buying fewer products, means you waste less product too which is a much more eco-friendly approach to take.
If you are buying a product type you don't plan to use every day, avoid jars and clear bottles as these get greater exposure to light and air, causing the natural ingredients to break down quicker. Some natural brands use alcohol (aka ethanol) as a preservative; with a longer shelf life they can be more affordable, but alcohol is not suited to sensitive skin types.
With the beauty industry largely unregulated, and brands able to market their products how they wish, sometimes packaging can be deceptive. A brand can claim to be natural/organic even if it contains just a few percent natural/organic ingredients bulked up by synthetics, so, always check the ingredients before making a purchase.
So hopefully these handy tips will help you shop for natural beauty. We stock many brands here at Beautiful Because, for different budgets, skin types and preferences. If you need advice on which are best suited to you, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Nina Weston