ONCE resigned to a tiny corner on beauty counters, organic and natural cosmetics are experiencing a major makeover.
Consumer demand for organic-only is part of a growing beauty trend that analysts are calling ‘Nature Plus’. Eco-ethical products are set to be a key part of the UK cosmetics market over the next five years, according to a forecast by www.Companiesandmarkets.com, who say it’s ’partly in response to increasingly sophisticated consumer tastes and also the rise of the ethical consumerism movement’.
Over a third of women cite health as the main reason for buying natural beauty products, according to Mintel, while others just want to live a less chemical-laden life.
Championing the cause are beauty journalists Sarah Stacey and Josephine Fairley. Their latest and sixth book, The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible, gives the green light to botanical beauty.
“Today, being a natural beauty doesn’t mean compromising on texture, fragrance or performance,” says Stacey.
“Natural beauty has definitely moved on from the time when it was all about balms and oils. As we know from the trials for this book, plenty of natural products rival their synthetic/rocket-science counterparts.
“Feedback tells us that some of us prefer the power of plants to sort out skin and hair, rather than the sort of Nobel-prize-winning high-tech molecules that feature in a lot of 21st century skincare.”
“For some, it’s concern about chemical ingredients, while others want to tread a little more lightly on the planet.”
Navigating ‘natural’ beauty products can flummox even industry experts, with misleading packaging and Latin-listed ingredients. There is no legal definition of ‘natural’, or organic.
Stacey explains: “The very best way to ensure you know exactly what you’re putting on your skin is to create products from scratch.”
If you don’t fancy going all Nigella with a beauty larder, study labels carefully for ingredients.
“The list is in descending order of quality — you want botanicals to feature at the top of the list, and any synthetic chemicals to languish down the bottom,” Jo advises.
To make life easier, Sarah and Jo have devised a ‘daisy rating’ system for the products featured in their Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible.
While one daisy is mostly natural with a small percentage of synthetic and/or petrochemical ingredients, two daisies means botanically derived with no synthetics or petrochemicals, and three daisies means a product’s been certified organic by one of the leading international certification bodies, like Ecocert or Soil Association.
The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible is packed full of 222 award-winning products, whittled down from hundreds. Stacey and Fairley have come up with four of the greenest winners boasting three daisy ratings that triumphed in their category.
Living Nature Foundation, €38.35, available in six shades (www.feelunique.com)
Verdict: This is the highest score for a natural foundation in our books — the New Zealand brand’s 100% natural formulation.
Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser, €56 (www.aureliaskincare.com)
Verdict: This night treatment has notched up one of the highest product scores in Beauty Bible’s history. Rich with firming ingredients, plus shea butter, it has a skin-melting texture and delectable orange blossom, mandarin, rose and lavender scent.
L’Occitane Lavender Shower Gel Organic, €17.50
Verdict: One of L’Occitane’s organically certified products (by Ecocert). Flip open the top of the bottle, breathe in and you can smell wafts from their lavender.
Lavera Organic Hairspray Volume and Shine, €12.94
Verdict: This hairspray — with organic bamboo, aloe vera and camellia extracts — is free from petrochemicals like propylene glycol.