Welcome to the very first blog post from Luna Beauty & Apothecary. Perhaps you have been using natural skincare for some time or this is a new world for you. Either way, I am all about supporting what works for you- the individual. My knowledge of health and beauty is continually growing and while I may know more than the average guy or gal, I love learning from my clients and don’t for a second pretend to know all. But I do hope I can at least offer a token or two of wisdom that has come not only from my textbooks but from interactions and observations. This is what I do all day, every day. And I love it. So please join me in my passion as I open a discussion about the ins-and-outs of the human body and all the fabulous things we anoint it with.
Where to start?
Even the most ‘low maintenance’ individuals can’t deny they put something on their skin everyday whether it be a simple sunscreen, deodorant or a spritz of fragrance. It all counts! That’s why it so important for everyone to be considerate personally and environmentally about what they use. As consumers, our dollar is our vote and this applies to all aspects of consumerism from what household products you choose to the food you eat.
There is now a plethora of ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ products out there and it can be daunting and confusing at times. The best way to navigate through them is to start by looking at the company. What are their values and philosophy? Where are the products manufactured? Do they test on animals? The unfortunate truth is, if the product is particularly cheap, chances are there isn’t an abundance of skin-loving botanicals. Quality manufacturing and ingredients cost money- that’s just the way it is. For example, be weary of mainstream supermarket brands who have chemical laden products who suddenly have an ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ range. You need to be able to see through the marketing and grasp they are simply yet another company trying to cash in on eco-trends. There is no integrity and transparency there. The good news is there are some amazing, truly trustworthy brands out there. After assessing the brand as a whole, the next step is to look at the label. This brings us to our first lesson.
How to read an ingredients list:
· A brand will often use common names or ‘plain English’ in brackets to help you easily identify ingredients at a glance.
· A synthetic or naturally-derived ingredients will just have the INCI or ‘chemical’ name listed. For example, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is really just Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
· All ingredients are required to be listed in order of weight from highest to percentage to lowest.
· If you are looking for key ingredients, a general rule is to check that they appear in the top two thirds of the list. In the lower third, they may not be in a percentage high enough to have real benefit for the skin.
· This also works in reverse. The ingredients you might be worried about at the end of the list probably makes up a very low percentage of the total product.
· Remember concentration counts in both instances- an ingredient may well be harmful at 80% but harmless at 0.3%. Likewise, some ingredients actually function better at lower concentrations. For example, salicylic acid can be beneficial at as low as 1%.
What is natural skincare?
Natural skincare is an unregulated term and broadly used by brands to denote the use of natural ingredients and exclusion of undesirable synthetics. The brands we stock are largely ‘natural’ as opposed to those that use a small percentage of natural ingredients.
A note on organic…
Almost all of the brands we stock use a high percentage of organic or wildcrafted ingredients but have opted not to pay for certification.