There's no doubt about it, natural beauty has finally won its place on our beauty shelves. Flashback to ten years ago, organic or green beauty was something only for the super earthy types and involved making your own beeswax and slapping a self-made avocado mask on your face. Now, natural beauty is no longer frowned upon and has many brands and companies developing products that challenge our synthetic, luxe, over-packaged favourites that don't drain our environment or resources. Like food, we consumers are growing more conscious of what we are putting on our faces. There's even such a thing as luxury-green beauty, and a definite new wave of results-driven natural products.
"Many of the most exciting ingredients in skincare are either natural, or naturally derived," says says founder of natural brand Votary, Arabella Preston. "Most synthetic ingredients are nature-inspired anyway, so if you have access to the real deal and they work just as well, why not use those instead," says Preston. Sue Y Nabi, founder of luxury green beauty brand Orveda, makes the point, "Not all natural ingredients have the same efficacy as other actives. Most natural ingredients that are extracted from plants, especially oils, are good moisturisers but they aren't strong conductors when it comes to protecting your skin from signs of ageing, so you may need to look to other ingredients to help," says Nabi. Here we sum up the best natural beauty brands and products that will not disappoint.
Orveda was founded by Sue Nabi, who previously worked at L'Oreal for over 20 years, heading up L'Oreal Paris and then went on to lead Lancôme globally and created La Vie Est Belle, lauded as one of the most successful fragrance launches ever, which remains a landmark success for Lancôme today. In 2013 Sue hit a crossroad and decided to put her original training as an agronomist to the test and created the natural beauty brand, Orveda.
Sue's theory is a realistic one where her products are a synergy of natural ingredients and biotechnology. So what is biotechnology? "The most efficient natural ingredients are those that come from biotechnology, meaning that you use bacteria as small factories to produce efficient, safe actives that are still considered natural as they come from bacteria and yeast but have a scientific track record," says Nabi. The most famous bio-technological ingredients are hyaluronic acid, prebiotics and enzymes."The best formulations are those that mix natural, safe ingredients with safe ingredients of a chemical origin such as niacinamide (a skin-restoring vitamin). When blended with a natural active you will see results equivalent or greater to that of a chemical anti-aging moisturiser," advises Nabi.
Orveda formulas are highly concentrated with some taking three years to create and all activate a healthy skin glow, regardless of your age. They are up to fifteen times more concentrated than the average luxury skincare brand. "We decided to avoid all the ‘nasties’ that are suspected of being unhealthy like parabens, phenoxyethanol (preservatives which are thought to be hormone disrupters), mineral oils, artificial colourants, alcohol (as it dries the skin out) and no animal extracts as Orveda is all about working with the skin and not against it," says Nabi.
Orveda’s Bamboo Water contains 4% of actives and is an exceptional cleansing and detoxifying care product.
The natural acne healer
Votary has been a natural beauty brand on our radar for some time and last year they launched an oil that treats acne-prone skin. We know what you're thinking - an oil for acne-prone, already oily skin is surely a mistake? Well, Votary proved the theory wrong. "Our natural oils suit all skin types," advises Preston. "They help dry dehydrated skin to re-hydrate and recover but also restore balance to combination skin and even reduce oil in oily skin. How? Natural plant oils, unlike occlusive pore-clogging mineral oils, have any affinity with the skin. They preserve the skin's barrier and balance out the oil levels in the skin, encouraging the skin to only produce the amount of oil it needs," says Preston.
The right blend of plant oil nourishes blemish-prone skin, encouraging the skin to heal by delivering a hint of essential fatty acids, vitamins and light moisture, to calm and clear your skin. Votary oils don’t sit on the skin they but instead are rapidly adsorbed, allowing their botanical goodness to work.
"If I had to recommend one product then it would always be our Rose Geranium and Apricot Cleansing Oil," says Preston. It suits all skin types and restores balance and glow to your skin.
Mineral make-up that lasts
Mineral make-up has long had a stigma of not being as good as non-mineral formulas," say bareminerals International make-up artist, SJ Froom. "When it comes to living a healthy and natural lifestyle, what you put on your body and skin is just as significant as what you put in your body," says Froom. "Your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it is porous, it absorbs whatever you put on it. It makes sense to be aware of what foods you consume to keep your body healthy, just as it does for your skin and how you feed it, in terms of skincare and make-up ingredients.
"The stigma with mineral make-up is the thought that you have to sacrifice the finish or performance of the make-up in order to get those good-for-you, healthy ingredients," advises Froom. However, mineral make-up has come a long way in recent years and with advancements in research and development, and we no longer need to sacrifice a flawless finish that lasts to keep skin healthy and blemish-free," says Froom.
"Mineral make-up can last from eight to twenty-four hours depending on the base you choose and how you apply it," advises Froom. "For a long lasting effect, layer small amounts of product at a time and really working it into the skin. If you like a full coverage, try one of bareMinerals foundation primers, these really help create the perfect base for foundation plus they add staying power to your make-up." There is no need to be put off by the worry that mineral make-up doesn’t offer enough coverage, once you know how to use it, you will see how buildable even the powder foundations can be," says Froom.
Micro-encapsulated pigments blend with your skin tone and dry to an invisible finish so you don't see white.
Other natural beauty brands we rate
A skin softening mask that is super nourishing and has no fillers, only natural botanicals and clay for a natural boost of hydration.
All natural minerals adjust to your unique skin tone to cover blemishes, minimise the appearance of pores and wrinkles, and smooth and brighten skin.
Skin Lightening and Radiance Complex is a lightweight and fast-absorbing serum formulated with a complex of pea extract to lighten the complexion and promote an even, radiant skin tone.
Infused with exquisite Bulgarian Rose oil, this ‘cult’ moisturiser is loved by celebrities and make-up artists across the globe. Its super-hydrating and soothing formula makes it ideal for extra-sensitive skins including eczema and rosacea.
This Organic formula combines ultimate hydration with a creamy texture that takes care of your lips in a variety of playful hues.
Infused with 23 essential oils, this charged elixir will enhance your skin,mood and body.