10 Things... Natural Skincare
Up until a few years ago, I had little regard for which skincare products I used. I generally just bought whatever was cheapest, or whatever seemed to "do the job". It was only when I really thought about the fact that your skin is an organ that I decided I needed to change my approach.
I mean, of course I knew that my skin was an organ... but I never really thought about it like that. And then I considered how I'd never use a chemical-loaded cleaner (I make it sound like I used to use Mr. Muscle! But honestly, probably not too far off!) on my lungs or my kidney because it could affect my health. So why should me skin, which is porous, be any different?
26 seconds after application, the chemicals in skincare products begin to be absorbed into your bloodstream. Isn't that terrifying? It was to me. So a few years ago, I started to become mindful about the products I was using on my skin. I even started making my own, like this DIY cardamom and rosewater coffee scrub. But in terms of what I use on my face, I simplified it and stuck to what worked. If you're hoping to switch to a more natural regime, here are my top ten recommendations for natural skincare products that really work.
Cleanse & Polish cleanser
Winner of a gazillion awards, the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is one I can imagine everyone loving. It's super gentle and lightly scented, and enriched with cocoa butter, rosemary, chamomile and eucalyptus essential oils to soften and purify skin.
My Clarisonic Mia facial brush was definitely my biggest beauty investment (and probably one of my biggest in general). Was it worth the hefty price tag? Yes. So much so that I bought a second one as a birthday gift for my sister. My logic behind buying it was that I'd prefer to use a tool rather than a chemical to deeply cleanse my skin and maintain a healthy texture. And the Clarisonic does an incredible job at just that,
Sweet Milk & Lavender Exfoliate
I picked up this Farmaesthetics Sweet Milk & Lavender Exfoliate in what was possibly the nicest beauty shop I've ever been in in my life- Follain in Boston. It specializes in natural products from small, independent brands, has the most gorgeous modern farmhouse style store design (seriously, check out their Instagram) and, I'm guessing by the name, is Irish-American owned (Follain means healthy or wholesome as Gaeilge). Anyway, back to the product itself! It's simple, clean and does a lovely job at gently exfoliating the skin. I'm a fan.
This French Girl Organics Rose Lip Polish, that I picked up in Anthropologie in the States is a nicely-scented product that relieves chapped lips in an instant. It can be a little messy to use due to its oily, thick consistency, so I find it's best to use with a muslin cloth. Which brings me to my next point...
Similar to my logic behind using the Clarisonic, I prefer to use a piece of muslin cloth to cleanse my skin rather than a harsh chemical or product containing microbeads (won't somebody think of the fish?!). Muslin cloths are also a much more eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to disposable make-up wipes. I have a Pai and a Liz Earle one, but you could totally just have a piece of muslin cut in a fabric store for next to nothing.
Witch hazel toner
Thayer’s Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner is an American classic; an alcohol and paraben-free formula that uses a tried and tested Native-American recipe. I use this simple toner after cleansing every night, or on its own as a refresher when I'm not wearing any make-up.
Tea tree essential oil
Tea Tree essential oil has so many antibacterial and health benefits, I think every house should have a bottle. The list of beauty, personal hygiene and household DIYs tea tree oil can be used in is endless. I use it on irritations or spots and experience overnight results. Just make sure you dilute it in a carrier oil (I tend to use a tiny tab of coconut oil) and don't get it anywhere near your eyes. That stuff will STING.
I found this Tiaki face serum in TK Maxx (my favourite place to find cool, natural brands at a marked-down price) and was instantly attracted to it because of its packaging. So I had to buy it. It turned out to be a worthwhile purchase, and alas, its cruelty-free formula infused with collagen, rosehip oil, marula seed oil and argan oil makes for a lovely moisturiser. Moral of the story- nice packaging is the way forward.
No list of recommended natural beauty products could be complete without the holy grail; Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil. This deeply nourishing, non-greasy organic oil is probably my favourite skincare product of all time. It's one that people of all ages and all skin types- from wrinkles to acne to scars- seem to agree on. I only use about two drops after cleansing and toning, so a bottle lasts ages.
I'm 27 1/2 now, so it's well and truly time to start using an eye cream. I really like this Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream because, like the rest of the Boots Botanics range, it's super affordable, has clean ingredients and does what it's supposed to. I'm also loving the range's new packaging design. I mean, not that I'd ever buy a products because it came in cute, French apothecary style packaging with wooden lids or pipettes or boxes with lovely colour schemes. As you can probably tell from this list...!!