Everything you need to know to FINALLY give natural beauty products a go
If you’re not a natural skin care, hair and makeup convert yet – you will be after this
The new generation of natural and organic skin care, hair and makeup products are changing the beauty landscape. Once pigeonholed as a category for the supremely sensitive or devoutly ethical, natural beauty is having its moment in the limelight. Thanks to high-tech advances in formulating natural ingredients and the growing crop of naturally-minded brands making their way onto our beauty shelves, we are now able to enjoy skin care, haircare and makeup products that not only do us good, but make us feel good, too.
“Natural formulations have come a long way in the past 10 years,” says Tina Randello, Marketing Director at Sukin, Australia’s largest natural beauty brand, which has made no-nasty skin care and haircare available to a wide-reaching audience during its decade in business. “Natural products were [once] a clinical experience for a small proportion of consumers with specific health needs. It was widely accepted that natural products didn’t perform as well as their synthetic counterparts – and they were certainly a sensory compromise.”
But things have changed. Organic and natural beauty products now promise real benefits – and committing to them no longer feels like beauty penance. “Consumers are demanding natural products that deliver results, so research and product development has become vital to meet expectations for highly efficient organic products,” says Cassandra Hilton, founder of Australian organic skin care brand Ocinium.
Nature vs. science
Natural beauty products are far from being devoid of innovation for the sake of purity – these days a lot of high-tech know-how goes in. “Organic or natural products can work just as well or better than their chemically-enhanced counterparts,” says Jose Bryce Smith, founder of luxe natural haircare brand O&M, a brand that habitually replaces potentially irritating chemicals found in haircare and replaces them with active, natural extracts and minerals.
Natural skin care has also made plenty of forward steps. “Products that work in true harmony with your skin need fine, natural ingredients in their purest form,” says Corinne Morley, Trilogy’s global in-house beauty expert. “By working with natural ingredients and avoiding all synthetic film-formers and emulsifiers, we are consistently breaking new ground in new natural product development.”
Reasons to switch
When you think about the number of body, skin, hair and makeup products the average woman applies – studies say this tallies to an average of 168 different chemicals a day – it makes sense to switch to natural alternatives where we can. If you’re layering on body cream every day, for example, you could inadvertently be slathering on potentially irritating ingredients. But switch to a daily moisturiser spiked only with natural oils (try P’ure Papayacare Papaya Renew Cream, which takes care of scars and stretch marks) and you’ve found yourself an easy way to stem the build-up.
And this natural way of thinking is catching on. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Sukin* revealed that more than half of Australian women prefer to use natural products over synthetic counterparts. When asked why they decided to make the switch, respondents flagged natural ingredients, a lack of harsh chemicals, and natural beauty’s cruelty-free stance as reasons for stocking up.
Clockwise from top left: Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque; Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Eye Cream; Sukin Oil Balancing Anti-Pollution Facial Masque; Kora Organics Rose Quartz Luminizer; Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+; Jonny + June Original Shampoo; Karen Murrell Lipstick in Orchid Bloom; Jurlique Nail and Cuticle Treatment Oil; Salt by Hendrix Rose + Açai Face Mask; bareMinerals Original SPF 15 Foundation in Tan Nude; Kérastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire.
Going natural will make a very real difference at pore level too. “The appearance of our skin reflects our internal health and holistic lifestyle choices,” says Hilton. “We can now offer results-led organic skin care that will transform the skin.”
Makeup is also a good place to start getting back to nature. “The ingredients that are created to make [many makeup] products last longer are not natural,” says Susanne Langmuir, founder of natural makeup brand Bite Beauty. “At Bite, we have a narrow criterion of what we can or cannot use. We then find a way to work with those ingredients and make them high-performance.” Considering we consume about two kilograms of lipstick in a lifetime, it follows that women are snapping up natural lines.
Finding the right balance
“It is time to understand not just what you’re putting in your body, but what you’re putting on your body,” says Natalie Kringoudis, a doctor of Chinese medicine and founder of women’s health clinic, The Pagoda Tree. Just rotating one or two natural alternatives into your skin care routine will make a big difference to your exposure to potentially unhealthy chemicals. “My philosophy has always been an 80/20 rule,” says Langmuir, whose Bite Beauty natural lipstick range is one of Sephora’s biggest sellers. “80 per cent of the [products] I choose, I try to make sure they’re healthy, sustainable and non-toxic.”
*Sukin 2017 Global Survey
Thinking about making even more eco-friendly beauty decisions? Here are our favourite beauty brands you had no idea were vegan.
For more beauty advice from the marie claire team, head over to marieclaire.com.au
Do you use any natural beauty products? What are your favourites?
Image credits: Edward Urrutia
marie claire Beauty Director, Sally Hunwick joined the marie claire team in 2017. Previously Sally has worked on Cosmopolitan as Beauty and Lifestyle Director, Women’s Health as Contributing Beauty Editor, and Harper's BAZAAR and Dolly as Beauty Writer and Beauty Editor respectively. An award-winning journalist with a long-running career both in Australia and in the UK, Sally is passionate about all things beauty and health.