Natural skincare can mean many different things because the label “natural” isn’t regulated throughout the beauty industry, so it takes a little bit of self-education to know what is actually natural and what isn’t when it comes to skin care.
What it does mean, when applied to skincare as a concept, is that the skincare is made of ingredients that come directly from nature and are not created synthetically in a laboratory. This means that the products are free from synthetic dyes, preservatives, sulphates and fragrances and the ingredients will be naturally sourced and botanical ingredients known to have therapeutic effects on your skin.
Natural skincare is better for your skin because it doesn’t use ingredients that have been highly synthesized, refined or changed from their original form and your body doesn’t have to expend energy filtering out filler ingredients, or worse, toxic ingredients that are not good for it.
What Is Natural Skincare?
Natural skincare ingredients are found in or derived from nature. They are not tested on animals and should be responsibly sourced to protect the environment and the plants from which they come.
This doesn’t automatically imply that all natural ingredients are good for your skin, but it does suggest that they are not synthetically made or modified. We believe it is really important to understand the science and the terms we use to describe natural skincare. Particularly, words like “chemical” which was regularly used in conversations about skincare.
We also want you to understand the reasons why we are so passionate about using ingredients direct from nature. First of all, let’s look at the word “chemical” and how the term is used in the world of science, and in the world of beauty.
What Does chemical mean?
A chemical (or chemical substance) is a form of matter that has specific and constant properties. It cannot be separated down into smaller components, and this means they are essentially “pure” – they are one thing, not a mixture of things. An example of a chemical is “water” – it always has the same ratio of hydrogen and oxygen in it (H20) no matter where you find it.
What this means is that a chemical is essentially neither good nor bad – it just is. Natural skincare isn’t necessarily chemical free, but it is, “harmful chemical free”. By using ingredients direct from nature, skincare can avoid some of the more toxic chemicals that are in mainstream skincare, ingredients like mineral oils, silicone and formaldehyde.
The Benefits of Natural Skincare
Natural skincare is better for a variety of reasons. Not only is it better for you, with less harmful ingredients, but better for the environment, not only in terms of the ocean and the planet, but for animals who are regularly used for painful and dangerous testing of synthetic ingredients to make sure they are safe for human skin.
Natural ingredients tend to be less harsh and are thus better suited to sensitive and troubled skin and are much kinder to the skin of babies or the elderly which can be tender and easily aggravated. Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail.
Natural skincare contains none of the nine most common toxic skincare ingredients. They are all synthetically and cheaply derived and act as preservatives, foaming agents and emollients that can initially feel good, but which are bad for your skin both inside and out. We like to call these the Nasty Nine:
- Mineral Oils – a petroleum by-product that suffocates skin.
- Alcohol – dries out your skin and aggravates skin conditions like pigmentation.
- Phthalates – are linked to endocrine disruption.
- PEGs – contain dioxins that have been linked with severe health disorders.
- SLS-SLES – can cause inflammation and irritation.
- Parabens – preservatives that have been linked to hormone problems.
- Coal Tar Dyes – a recognised carcinogen.
- Silicone – actually slows down cell renewal.
- Formaldehyde – can aggravate and cause dermatitis and is a recognised carcinogen.
Natural skincare uses none of these ingredients and is far more likely to genuinely protect your skin rather than pretend to.
To learn more about the Nasty Nine, download our free e-book.
Those toxic ingredients we just mentioned? They get washed down the drain in your bathroom and into the earth or out to sea. It isn’t just you that has to deal with them, but the rest of the planet and they can be extremely problematic.
Sulphates in particular are toxic to marine life and can not only kill but can cause other imbalances like algae breakouts. Also, mineral oils and sulphates are by-products of petroleum, and it takes a lot of energy to transform them making them another creator of greenhouse gases. Using natural skincare can take a whole range of toxic waste out of your family homes by-products and this is an important step for preserving the future.
Skincare needs to be able to be used by humans without any danger of significant reaction or damage and so in the past, most skincare products were tested on animals, something which caused unbelievable suffering and a lot of death.
Even if the entire product wasn’t tested on animals, many of the ingredients probably were. While the Australian government has banned animal testing on cosmetics (2019), the ban only applies to new products, not ones already established in the market and so it is still possible that you might be using a product that was tested on a rabbit, a kitten, a monkey or a puppy.
The only way to know for sure that you are using ethical products is to use products with pure ingredients, not synthetic chemicals or petroleum by products.
Gentle On the Skin
The reason why the products were being tested on animals in the first place was because they were quite harsh and there was risk of skin damage or irritation. These ingredients are cheaper and so it was more important to manufacturers to make them just safe enough than to look for better natural ingredients.
Natural products are generally kinder and gentler on the skin, even on problematic skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. Natural ingredients are also naturally scented and don’t need extra fragrances added just to mask chemical odours or sharp alcohol scents. Overall, they are simply more gentle.
What Are the Best Natural Ingredients for Skincare?
The list of powerful natural skincare ingredients is extremely long, but here are just a few of those we use in our VM skincare.
- Gotu Kola
- Kakadu Plum
- Hyaluronic acid
- Coconut oil
- Shea butter
- Olive oil
- Argan oil
- Carnauba wax
- Aloe vera
- Jojoba oil
- Algae extracts
- White tea
- Cocoa butter
- Goji berry
- Coffeeberry extract
- Evening Primrose oil
These ingredients are full of powerful vitamins, gentle emollients, deep moisturisers and powerful skin changing active ingredients, and they all come directly from nature.
The Bottom Line
Once you understand the importance and value of using natural skincare, it isn’t complicated to make the shift. In fact, once you understand ingredients and their effects on the body and the environment, it is actually very hard not to make the switch.
There are so many powerful, natural ingredients available to solve skin concerns naturally and at VM we continue to research, test and deliver these in our skin care.
As Vanessa has always said, “you should never put anything on your skin you couldn’t eat”, so if you would put your skincare anywhere near your mouth, it’s time to consider the clean switch. You can read more about our individual natural ingredients and shop our entire natural range.