My first crush on natural skincare came when adult acne hit me after a fairly unscathed stretch as a teenager (oh the irony!) I found the only thing that really helped to clear my skin was 100% natural mud soap, which I’ve used religiously for 7 years now.
Then, when I got pregnant last year, I was very aware of what I used on my body as it grew a baby. This has continued now that Baby B is here – I exclusively breastfeed so my body is still nourishing his. I also ‘baby-wear’ so what I put on my skin can rub off on him (he always smells like me…and often ends up with a drop of this and that on his wee head! Mother and son face masks anyone?!)
Rather than be a niche hobby for whale-loving, hemp-wearing hippies (but if that’s you – hi!) I believe that natural skincare is something we all – us, our families, our global community and the Earth – can benefit from.
Why natural beauty matters
What we put on our skin is ultimately absorbed into our blood stream. Turns out being healthy isn’t just about what goes into our bodies through our mouths! Essentially, if you wouldn’t eat it…you should think twice about wearing it.
Moreover, certain chemicals can interfere with our hormones, and over time cause irritation. Conversely, natural products work WITH our skin.
They’re also good for the planet: using natural products means that less chemicals are produced and emitted into the air and water. So by switching our products, we are protecting the environment, and are engaging in a more sustainable way of living. What’s not to love?!
Now, I don’t think you should throw out all of your products and spend all your money on an all-new natural skincare collection. Let’s not waste. Use up what you have, and when the time comes, find a natural replacement. If you’re like me, you get sucked in to buying products that promise this and that: my foray into natural beauty has brought with it the welcome friend of paring down and living with less, which I’m enjoying.
Natural skincare doesn’t have to be expensive (in fact, much of it you can make in your kitchen) so it’s about picking your priorities and working out the rest over time.
So! What have I been using? Here are my basics.
The aforementioned soap – Dead Sea Spa Magik’s Black Mud Soap bar – is something I ALWAYS have to have a spare of in the house. I use it morning and night and find it gently cleanses my skin but doesn’t leave it feeling tight or stripped, and helps clear up any blemishes within a matter of days. Find it here.
I exfoliate and pamper my skin twice a week with Evolve Organic Beauty’s Radiant Glow Mask which smells like CHOCOLATE! It’s a paste made with cacao and clay, with coconut granules that exfoliate the skin. I can’t tell you how good my face feels after this! Find it here.
And I moisturise morning and night with Evolve’s Daily Renew Cream. I actually only started using this late last year and its lovely vanilla coconut smell reminds me of the morning Baby B was born! Don’t you love it when smells transport you (and don’t harm you?!) I digress. The moisturiser is thick and luxurious without feeling heavy. It really boosts my skin’s hydration – have normal to dry skin – and leaves it feeling super soft. Find it here.
I use Handmade Naturals soap bars in the shower. They smell GREAT and lather up well (I use mine with a bristle scrub). The one I’m currently using the Cocoa, Oatmeal and Honey. Yum. They also last forever! Find mine here.
For post-shower moisture I use pure organic coconut oil. This locks in hydration and my skin feels silky after use. I also like that it’s something I cook with…there’s something about using something inside and out! It’s also great for so many other things including dry lips, removing stubborn make up, chapped skin and as a leave-in treatment for hair (see below).
What you need to know is l live in Northern Ireland where we get approximately 12.7 days of sun in the year. So I need a little help to achieve a ‘sun’-kissed glow! Handmade Naturals’ award-winning natural tanning cream is just fab. It moisturises skin and gradually builds colour thanks to a plant-derived ingredient that works naturally with your skin. Win! Find it here.
I picked up EO Essentials shampoo and conditioner in TK Maxx and fell in love. My hair feels clean and full after using the shampoo, and the conditioner gives me really good moisture and shine. I’ve found that since giving birth my hair is very dry, so I use so much conditioner – but I’m happy to do so since this is natural. PLUS it smells amazing (scented with essential oils) and its packaging is recycled! Hooray! Find the range here.
Another great use for coconut oil: my hair is curly and highlighted so it reallllly loves coconut oil. I apply when wet but sometimes top up on dry hair between washes, too.
Now this is a recent one: I used tea tree oil in the bath when recovering from my c-section. But it turns out its antiseptic properties are great for blemishes, so I’ve been using it on spots too (I just wet a piece of cotton wool with warm water, add a drop of oil, and press on my skin for a minute).
I’ve already written about Mrs R’Ganics’ Rescue Balm but will just never tire of it! This wee miracle is locally made and is packed full of fab high-quality ingredients that are great for stressed and tired skin. It has SO many uses for face and body – stretch marks, dry patches, cold sores…every bathroom should have a tub. Find it here.
Things I’m experimenting with:
Natural make up
I’ve found a 4-ingredient range of natural mineral make up which I’ve been using for about a month. I’ll keep using and feedback when it’s been longer!
My colleague Ruth Valerio recently wrote about her ‘no-poo’ adventures. It convinced me to give it a try…I’ll let you now how I get on!
Essential oils for the bath
Mixing with base oils and trying out different scents. Check back for results!
Things I’m looking for (send me your recommendations!):
Mascara and lip tint
So there you have it! I’m at the beginning of my natural cosmetics journey but I have to say I’m loving it – and already reaping the benefits. My skin and hair feel great, my routine and bathroom shelves are simplified and I have peace of mind.
Are you using natural skincare? What are your favourite products? I’d love to hear from you!