Is that product natural? This it the most commonly asked question with respect to skincare products.
I will answer this question firstly wearing my glam marketing beret, then wearing my not so glam science hat.
As a marketeer you can claim that something is “natural” if it has been originally sourced from nature or if it is ‘naturally derived.’ A naturally derived ingredient is processed in manufacturing before it can be included into a product. Once an ingredient has been processed, does this not detract from its natural origins?
Just because a product claims that it is “natural” or “organic,” does not mean that it is free of chemicals or preservatives.
If the front of the pack claims “natural” then read the back of the pack. If you see an ‘ingredients list’ on the back of a pack, then you have the correct answer to the question, “Is it natural?”
Now lets look take a look from a scientific perspective. Think of when you last sliced an avocado or an apple. How long did it take before it started to go brown? This process is called oxidation.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that takes place when a substance combines with oxygen.
Within a couple of seconds upon slicing a vegetable or a piece of fruit, oxidation begins. Placing fruit or vegetables into a fridge will slow the oxidation time, but it will not stop the oxidation process. The photograph below illustrates the oxidation of a lemon, avocado and an apple at different times from them being sliced.
Once an apple or an avocado is sliced the browning is noticeable within seconds. As for a lemon, oxidation is noticeable after 48 hours. Without preservatives all products whether they are cosmetics, fruits or vegetables will oxidise and spoil. There are natural preservatives, like lemons, that can be used to slow down the oxidation process. But eventually even a lemon will oxidise and spoil. When products or unused fruit and vegetables spoil, they end up being wasted.
Natural, sometimes ain’t so great!
Marijuana is natural, but it can induce psychosis in some people. Grass is natural, yet I am allergic to its pollen.
Just because an ingredient is not natural (synthetic), does not mean that it is not good for you.
Natural skincare product ingredients
If you are keen to create your own 100% natural skin care products, then begin with an organic vegetable garden. Remember, the word “organic” means no pesticides or any other chemical additives.
You can make your own skincare products with a variety of produce. To begin with cucumbers have historically made great eye masks. Avocados make rich moisturisers. Lemons are a natural astringent. Egg whites, from free range chickens, are great for facial masks. These are just a few examples of “natural” ingredients that can be used to make “natural” skincare products.
The key to an organic vegetable garden
Before you begin sowing your seeds, check that no nasties are present in your vegetable garden. Toxins can leach into the soil of gardens that are located next to major roads. Planes release toxins which can fall into gardens that are located below their flight paths.
For those living in Australia, you can check whether your soil is free of toxins, like lead and zinc. There is a community science programme run by the Macquarie University which can test your soil. Check out their website, http://research.science.mq.edu.au/vegesafe/.
Finally, it is imperative that products are not only safe enough to be used on our skin, they also need to be sustainable.
Sustainability is not just about trying to preserve our natural environment. Sustainability is also about making wise choices in the products that we purchase. We need to ensure that products are not being wasted because they have spoiled.
A balance needs to be achieved between ingredients that are sourced in nature and those produced in a laboratory. We need to take into consideration what is genuinely good for us and what is good for our environment.
Basically, everything in moderation.
What do you think?
Sharpen your nose, as the nose, knows!
Daphne K Knows
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.