SYNTHETIC INGREDIENTS AT ODDS
Synthetic ingredients and additives are at odds with the trend to put more green into beauty routines. Find out what is hip for shiny hair, glowing skin and an enhanced sense of well-being.
Teabag eye mask, anyone? Fresh herbal hair rinse? As interest in all things natural health and well-being soars, the popularity of greener and, in many cases, homegrown beauty treatments is also growing fast.
Well-being experts such as Ella Woodward, Madeleine Shaw and Calgary Avansino are encouraging “clean and green” eating for glowing skin and glossy hair. A growing number of us are also looking to concoct all-natural, effective beauty recipes that offer fabulous results without the worries that are linked to the use of synthetic ingredients and additives such as parabens, sulphates, artificial fragrances and more.
“I make everything myself, at home, when it comes to my own beauty routine,”says Courtney Brennan, director of Nirvana Natural. “I make my own deodorant, toothpaste, lip balm and more, and the common thread is coconut oil.
“You can mix with avocado for an amazing hair mask, especially if your hair is dry or damaged. Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with a large avocado and apply to freshly washed hair. Wrap your hair in a warm towel and wait as long as you can before rinsing out.”
But if you are pushed for time and want to go natural, Nirvana Natural Organic Hair Oil (£12) is 100 per cent natural, vegan and organic, as are the Natural Vegan Lip Shines (£10) in six shades.
Adding fresh herbs to your bath is also wonderfully therapeutic. “Throw a handful directly into your bath, or steep them like tea in hot water and then add the hot water minus the herbs,” says Ms Brennan. She recommends eucalyptus to ease colds and congestion, camomile to soothe and relieve insect bites or sunburn, lavender to calm and relax, rosemary for migraines, parsley to heal bruising and sage to soothe joints and muscles post workout.“Grated ginger enhances blood flow,” she said. “It’s great for a morning pick-me-up.”
Jayne Kethro, co-founder of the T London range of naturally inspired bath and body products inspired by tea blends, says: “Natural beauty is about knowing what you’re putting on your body, especially when so many of us suffer from allergies and skin conditions. Why use chemically derived products when natural options are available?”
Great sleep aid
Among Ms Kethro’s favourite DIY recipes is a soothing teabag eye mask: place warm teabags on the eyelids and relax. “The tannins and antioxidants that naturally occur in tea also help to reduce itchiness and any redness,” she says. “I also make a natural nail whitener with lemon juice. Rub half a lemon under the nails and on the surrounding skin to remove any stains from gardening. Or squeeze two lemons into a small bowl and immerse your fingers for about 10 minutes.
“Lavender is a great natural sleep aid – and rest and good sleep are the basis of great, radiant-looking skin. Also, I keep an aloe vera plant in the kitchen so I can cut off a small piece and apply to burns or minor skin conditions.”
Ms Kethro even gardens with well-being in mind. “I plant my garden with bee-friendly plants for my local bees. I periodically suffer from allergies and I find that ingesting the local honey really helps.”
Spotlight on…over-the-counter organic
At the beauty counter, some of the most natural ranges are also the most cutting edge. “Formulations have moved on hugely since 20 years ago and organic is now just as sophisticated,” says Margo Marrone, homeopath, organic health expert and founder of The Organic Pharmacy range, which includes the classic Carrot Butter Cleanser (£39.95).
“My passion has always been in researching, finding and formulating products that include exciting natural cosmeceuticals and marrying them with herbs, essential oils and plant extracts for amazing results.”
To get skin glowing from top to toe, she suggests making your own, all-natural body scrub. “Blend a quarter of a cup of olive oil with a sprig of rosemary until smooth. Add the juice of half a lemon and mix with a cup of sea salt. Sit in an empty bath and scrub your whole body, starting from the feet, and rinse off.”