Cosmetics and treatments take inspiration from Mother Nature
Back-to-nature beauty has come a long way. No longer the stuff of health food stores, farmers’ markets and country fairs, products that combine the ancient benefits of plant and herbal extracts with the latest advances in technology are big news. Meanwhile, today’s naturally minded beauty buff is just as likely to be whipping up a nourishing homemade face mask as a green detox smoothie.
“Increasingly, people are asking what goes into their beauty products, as well as what doesn’t,” says Rebecca Hopkins, co-founder of Balance Me, the award-winning natural beauty company.
“We’ve seen naturally based botanical ingredients provide a safe yet effective alternative to potentially harmful or banned ingredients such as microbeads.”
These small plastic particles, commonly contained in body scrubs and other products, have been shown to be damaging to the environment and the government recently pledged to ban their use. Natural alternatives include nut shells.
“Equally important are the hi-tech ingredients now being used in natural beauty,” she says. “We are pushing the boundaries on what’s possible, with cutting-edge, naturally active ingredients with efficacy and texture to rival chemically based alternatives.” A case in point, Balance Me’s Collagen Boost range features Tripeptide, a natural peptide that stimulates collagen production.
Superfood for your skin
Lydia-Korol Bluring, who works in product development for the popular Yes To… brand, sees a direct correlation between the superfood trend and the rise in popularity of natural beauty.
“With all of us wanting to lead healthier lifestyles, why would we be careful about what chemical-free superfoods are in our salad but not our face serums?” she says. “Tomatoes, carrots and kale are not so unusual in beauty once we understand the benefits they possess and we can see that chemical-free, natural products actually work.”
The power of plant-based beauty can even be harnessed in your kitchen, she adds. “Parsley is a great antioxidant packed full of vitamins and minerals. It nourishes your skin, reduces pores and fights the bacteria that can cause blemishes. Freeze a teaspoon of dried leaves rolled into a ball to have on hand when a blemish rears its head.
Today’s forward-thinking natural haircare ranges leave locks shining with health – without the use of silicones and other artificial gloss-boosting ingredients that can leave a residue on the hair and, over time, can result in a dulling build-up.
Gentle, sulphate-free shampoos and conditioners that gently cleanse hair without stripping it of its natural oils have never been more popular.
“The natural and organic market is only going to get bigger as we discover more high-performing, plant-based ingredients,” says Michele Scott-Lynch, founder of Bouclème. “At home, you can create your own DIY deep-conditioning mask by blending one avocado, one banana, a tablespoon of raw honey, a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 60ml of aloe vera juice. Ensure there are no lumps, apply to wet hair, put on a plastic cap and rinse out after 30 minutes.”
The trend for using naturally based make-up is huge, with companies competing to win coveted green beauty awards. Traditional reports natural brands such as Dr. Hauschka, Lavera and Burt’s Bees have never been more popular, along with more contemporary “niche” names such as Josie Maran, Organic Glam and Korresand the natural beauty giants such as Origins and Aveda.
Beauty insiders are buzzing about the benefits of bee venom-based skincare, which stimulates collagen and elastin production for firmer skin that is fresher-looking skin. Maybe that isn’t one to try at home, but you can find it in Rodial’s Bee Venom Moisturiser (£150, 50ml) and Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Revitalising Day Cream (£24.99, 50ml).