Natural skincare products are getting a lot of attention at the moment, so here’s the dirt on why you should invest in clean grooming.
"Your skin protects and detoxifies you, so although it’s filtering out some of those chemicals, the exposure of even small doses adds up over time."
Nature vs. chemicals
We also don’t know how a lot of these chemicals might be affecting our health over time, but we do know that these chemicals aren’t great for the planet.
It’s not easy being green (thanks Kermit), but it’s definitely better for you and the environment.
Understand the buzzwords
- “Natural” = botanically sourced ingredients formed by nature and processed to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. This is the good stuff.
- “Naturally derived” = the ingredient has been chemically treated in some way. This defeats the purpose of even using that ingredient, so avoid these!
- “Organic” = doesn’t refer to the ingredient itself, but how it’s farmed i.e. without pesticides or fertilisers, which is better for you and the earth. A product can be organic without being natural, so check the label.
- “Biodynamic” = an ecological approach to farming. Ideally, you want products that are natural and biodynamic.
Avoiding the wrong ingredients
Some chemicals are just naaaasty (no, not that kind of nasty). These are some of the key ingredients to avoid:
- Parabens: They’re used to inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungus and other microbes and extend shelf life - but there’s some research to suggest that parabens lower your sperm count, and may contribute to testicular cancer. Just...no.
- Petrochemicals: Usually labelled as petrolatum, paraffin, or mineral oil. These are basically nicer names for tar and oil, and they contain cancer-causing elements.
- Fragrances: Artificial fragrances usually contain phthalates, which trigger asthma and allergic reactions - and that’s at best. At worst, “fragrance” is a label that can hide lots of trashy chemicals.
"Check that the ingredients really are natural - the Skin-Deep Cosmetics Database by the Environmental Working Group is a great tool for this."
Choosing the right products
So you’re ready to go green - but how do you know that clean beard oil in your hot little hand will live up to the hype? Keep these principles in mind for the best natural skin care:
- Look for products with shorter ingredient lists, and ingredients you recognise and can pronounce (more on this below).
- Check that the ingredients really are natural - the Skin-Deep Cosmetics Database by the Environmental Working Group is a great tool for this.
- Support companies that align with your values: buy cruelty-free products in glass, cardboard or Mycelium packaging, or plastics that can be easily recycled.