Natural, organic cosmetics are not only better for the planet, but healthier for you too. Sarah Brooks-Wilson examines how to go green.
On average, a woman can use up to 20 different cosmetic products before she leaves the house in the morning. Our skin is our largest organ and many ingredients in these products — whether it be lotion, shampoo or deodorant — are quickly absorbed. There is increasing evidence showing a link between chemicals in cosmetics and a range of health concerns, from reproductive issues to cancer.
The good news is that studies have also revealed that a break from products made with chemical ingredients can result in a significant drop in levels of people’s hormone-disrupting chemicals.
So it’s no wonder that more and more beauty brands are using natural-origin ingredients, explaining what the ingredients actually are and why they’ve been included.
Top Australian natural beauty ranges worth adding to your cabinet
Established in 2002, A’kin sources natural botanicals from all over the world. All products are vegan and free from sulphates, parabens, ethoxylated and petrochemical cleansers, propylene glycol, silicones, phthalates, mineral oils, DEA and artificial colours.
[A’kin] by Al’chemy Lemongrass Shampoo $26.95 akin.com.au
Founded in 2011 by author, naturalist and gut-health advocate Carla Oates, The Beauty Chef is an organic wellness and beauty brand hailing from Bondi Beach. Pioneering the world’s first “inner-beauty powder”, Oats recently added skincare to her range which aims to balance, hydrate and improve your skin’s texture, boost collagen and improve cellular turnover and repair, without the chemicals.
The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner $69.95 thebeautychef.com
Founded in 1999, Sodashi has a small-batch beauty approach and hand crafts 50-200 units at a time using the purest natural botanical ingredients. Not one synthetic chemical is used in the manufacturing process and products are never tested on animals.
Sodashi Mankind Sleek Moisturiser $105 sodashi.com.au
This natural range of Australian-made body and haircare is free from harmful chemicals and cheap fillers and contains only the good for your ingredients like active plant DNA and steam distilled essential oils. Featuring three Australian native super berries, all formulas are formulated to the pH level of healthy skin and protects against premature ageing and damage.
Biology Natural Hair Duo Kit $46 biologyskin.com
Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr
Developed by supermodel Miranda Kerr this organic skincare range is made with high-performance, certified organic natural ingredients. Antioxidant-rich noni extract is the hero, combined with jojoba oil, aloe vera, essential fatty acids and oils, herbal extracts, vitamins A, C and E and many other highly active, rejuvenating and replenishing ingredients.
Kora Calming Body Wash $54.95 koraorganics.com
Created by ex-beauty editor and author of Amazing Face, Zoe Foster Blake dreamt up the brand out the confusion and frustration of never finding the right products for her skin. Go-To is a tight edit of skincare essentials that are certified cruelty-free, all natural, effective and completely free of irritants.
Go-To Face Hero Protective Face Oil $45 gotoskincare.com
INIKA is a 100% Australian owned organic and natural makeup range, which started in 2006. Born out of a need to detox and not being able to find a healthy range, founders removed the harmful chemicals. All ingredients are ethically sourced, natural and derived from botanicals or minerals.
INIKA Organic Certified Organic BB Cream $59 inikaorganic.com
Known for its antioxidant and skin healing qualities, jojoba oil is a big deal in natural skincare. It was while founder Vicki Engsall was pregnant that her naturopath recommended jojoba as being safe to use. In her search for Australian made jojoba she discovered it wasn’t easy to find, and from there the brand was born.
The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Absolute Serum $69.95 thejojobacompany.com.au
Edible Beauty Australia
Naturopath and nutritionist Anna Mitsios created this skincare range two years ago when treating clients in her naturopathic practice and seeking a way to improve the management of her Type 1 diabetes. Containing the highest grade pure, botanical and wild ingredients, these products are literally good enough to put in your mouth.
Edible Beauty Australia No1 Cleansing Milk $54 ediblebeautyaustralia.com
This small plant-based organic skincare range made in Sydney is chemical-free, vegan friendly and produced in small batches using the highest quality premium, ethically sourced botanical ingredients.
SALT by Hendrix Body Polish $34.95 saltbyhendrix.com
Created by Dr Tarj Mavi who was unable to find a natural skincare range that could deliver visible results for her skin pigmentation. Having worked in research and development for over 25 years, Tarj was able to create an organic skincare range that would deliver while being gentle to your skin and the environment.
Bronze by La Mav Self Tan Dry Oil $44.95 lamav.com
Arguably the Aussie leader in mass natural skin care, Jurlique was co-founded in the Adelaide Hills by Dr Jurgen Klein and his wife Ulrike. The brand uses its unique “biointrinsic extraction process” and biodynamic farming methods to grow its ingredients before they’re turned into skincare.
Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist $35/50ml jurlique.com.au
What to look out for when buying beauty products
- Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl and butyl) are used as a preservative and anti-bacterial agent in many cosmetics and personal care products. As parabens mimic human oestrogen, these products have been linked to breast cancer and decreased fertility, although there has been no conclusive proof to date.
- Sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate is an emulsifier and foaming agent present in most body washes, soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and laundry detergent. It’s known to cause dry skin, itchy scalp, stinging eyes, mouth ulcers, dermatitis — and that just the tip of it.
- Petrolatum (or mineral oil) is a semi-solid by-product of distilling gasoline from crude oil, found in products like petroleum
jelly (Vaseline), sorbolene, some lip balms and baby care products. These products accumulate, which can slow and distort cellular development and speed up signs of ageing. They coat the skin, clog pores and have been implicated as a major cause of eczema and similar skin conditions.
- Aluminium in cosmetics functions as a pigment and thickening agent, and is known to be neurotoxic. Mounting evidence shows that chronic exposure can cause many neurological diseases like dementia, autism and Parkinson’s disease. Commonly found in antiperspirants, lotions, sunscreens and shampoos.
- Propylene glycol is an organic alcohol, and one of the most widely used ingredients in cosmetics and fragrances. Propylene glycol and polypropylene glycols attract water and function as moisturisers to enhance the appearance of skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. While it’s not bad for your body in low doses it is bad
for the environment, reducing oxygen in waterways and affecting aquatic life.