I pay as much attention to what I’m putting on my skin as what I’m feeding my body. Long gone are the days where a face wipe would suffice, and I now love having a luxurious beauty routine. Luxurious doesn’t have to mean expensive, and these days you can get really good quality natural skincare at affordable prices! Here are my insights into choosing healthier skincare you’ll love.
Read the labels!
It’s always so important to check skincare ingredients labels, and becoming a master at deciphering them isn’t as difficult as you think.
Here are some examples of ingredients to avoid:
- Sulphates Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a harsh surfactant and detergent, used in everything from carpet cleaner to washing up liquid. And yes, it’s found in your toiletries too. Anything that creates a lather (even toothpaste, ick!) is probably down to sulphate-containing ingredients. They are so mainstream because we are so used to foaming products that we’re suspicious of anything that doesn’t create bubbles! However, these sulphates are really drying, irritating and even harming to the environment. There are gentler foaming agents (e.g. cocamidopropyl betaine) that aren’t so damaging to your hair/skin/mouth, so choose products that contain these rather than sulphates, or, better yet, use creamy products rather than foaming washes.
- “Fragrance” Cosmetic companies use the phrase “fragrance” to keep their ingredients top-secret, but it could consist of anything! This mysterious ingredient (regularly contains allergens like limonene, linalool etc), is often linked to skin sensitivities, eczema etc, so if you have even slightly sensitive skin then this is something to avoid.
- Formaldehyde I used to work in a genetics lab. and I clearly remember all the precautions we used to take to handle and dispose of this carcinogenic chemical. So why do they include this ingredient in some nail polishes, body washes and hair products?!
- Alcohol (namely, isopropyl alcohol/isopropanol, ethanol, SD alcohol) This is really drying for the skin, removing its natural protective oils. This can lead to dehydrated and sensitive skin. Not all alcohols are created equal, with fatty alcohols being really beneficial.
Oils are your friends
Plant oils are so great for regulating sebum production in the skin. The theory that oily products are bad for oilier skin types has well and truly been thrown out the window. Oils are also great for hair repair (use on the midlengths and ends of your hair, and sparingly on the roots), and there is nothing better than applying a body oil after a long bath.
Here are some of the best oils you can use, depending on your constitution. My personal favourite has to be Antipodes Divine Face Oil (£19.99) made up with Avocado and Rosehip oils to calm and nourish the skin. My complexion is always so glowy and radiant after using this!
- Dry and/or ageing skin argan oil, avocado oil, rosehip seed oil
- Sensitive/irritated skin avocado oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, safflower
- Oily skin jojoba oil
- Blemish-prone skin lavender oil, rosehip seed oil, tea tree oil
Ditch the foaming products in favour of some gentle cream cleansers or cleansing balms. Skin should never feel stripped and tight after cleansing, so choose products that won’t dry out your complexion! Added exfoliants like glycolic or lactic acid can help to make your skin brighter and clearer, although be careful if your skin is really sensitive. My current favourite cleanser has to be Sukin Cream Cleanser. Hell, I just love the entire Sukin product range – they’re all super affordable, natural and certified organic. Definitely a winning combination!
Don’t scrub your skin when you cleanse or remove your makeup. as this can cause irritation. Even if you are frustrated with breakouts or redness etc, its so important to choose products that will be gentle and calming to your skin, and allow it to heal. Ingredients like aloe vera and cucumber will be cooling and soothing to the skin. As always, be patient and kind to yourself, and trust that your skin will recover and look its best by being gentle and taking these steps.
What are your favourite skin care product to use? I would love to hear!