Beginners Guide To Plant-Based Skincare

Beginners Guide To Plant-Based Skincare

When we buy skincare products, we often tend to select the products we purchase based on what’s most suitable for our skin type. Consumers with a dry skin type for instance will look for products that are mild to the skin and have extra hydrating properties.
However, we often don’t pay enough attention to the ingredient list of these products. We assume that if the product leaves our skin feeling soft, then that’s the only thing that matters, right?

That couldn’t be further from the truth, because many skincare brands use hidden chemical and artificial ingredients that, even though they make your skin feel soft like a baby, actually do more harm than good and can damage your health by putting it on your body or face.

Furthermore, many skincare brands are damaging the environment and are guilty of animal cruelty when testing skincare products in the early developing phases of the production process.

Considering that our skin is our largest organ and that our pores ingest whatever product you slay on it, it’s always the best option to opt for natural skin care products that are plant-based. If you wouldn’t eat it, then you probably shouldn’t put it on your face, right?

Fortunately, there is a movement of more and more consumers that are becoming conscious about what they eat and what products they use on their bodies, which has caused brands to be more careful in determining their product’s ingredient list.

But what are plant-based skincare products exactly? What are the benefits of swapping “mainstream” mass-produced skincare products for plant-based ones? And what toxic ingredients do you want to avoid at all costs?

In this blog post, we will go ahead and answer all the above questions, while also giving some recommendations of plant-based skincare brands we love and would absolutely recommend.

Plant-based skincare — as the name says — is made from plant extracts rather than man-made artificial chemicals. These plant materials contain active molecules that can work wonders for our skin, from boosting collagen to fading age spots.
Plant-based skincare brands carefully select high-quality plant botanicals and all-natural ingredients to create their products.

Using plants as the original ingredient for cosmetics and skincare products dates back to early Egypt, where natural ingredients such as rosewater and almond oil were used for getting clear and glowing skin.

The benefits of using plant-based skincare products are virtually endless. In this section, we will discuss the three most important benefits.

1. No Harsh Chemicals

The first benefit of plant-powered skincare is that they don’t contain any harsh chemicals that can damage your skin, especially for the more sensitive skin types. Skincare products with synthetic ingredients often strip the skin of its natural oils, which will dry out your skin in return.

2. Healthier Skin

Plants are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and are therefore great for restoring and rebalancing your skin, regardless of your skin type. Because they are 100% natural, it’s safe to use long-term without damaging your skin. Because plants have so many different components and complex structures, it is almost impossible to recreate their unique chemistry in a laboratory.

There are so many different terms when it comes to the skincare industry. Words that are often used interchangeably are plant-based, organic, natural, and cruelty-free. But what do these words mean and what’s the difference between them?
Well, we are glad you’ve asked :) Let’s define each of them.

  • Plant-based skincare: As earlier mentioned, plant-based skincare is made from plant ingredients and extracts such as nuts, fruits, herbs and vegetables. Therefore they don’t contain any artificial ingredients or animal-derived products.
  • Organic skincare: Make sure that the skincare products you purchase are certified organic, meaning that the products need to contain at least 95% ingredients that are derived from plants, and for growing the ingredients no pesticides or petroleum-based fertilisers were used.
  • Natural skincare: You might have seen many skincare products that are labeled as “all-natural”. However, unlike the term “organic”, the word “natural” is not regulated as strictly, which means that a skincare product can contain up to 30% artificial chemicals and still be labeled as a “natural skincare product”. So, if you see a product label mentioning the word “natural”, do check the ingredient list and make sure that the product contains plant oils in their most natural form (such as coconut, almond oil, extra virgin olive oil,…) instead of artificial chemicals and plant oils that have been processed and refined.
  • Cruelty-free skincare: These are skincare brands that don’t test on animals during the research, development, or production phase of their products. Fortunately, since 2013 laws were implemented in the EU and UK that forbid the sale of skincare and cosmetics that have been tested on animals or contain ingredients that have been tested on animals.

As mentioned before, there are a number of ingredients that are harmful to our health. These are unfortunately found in many of our skincare products today. As a guide, here’s a list of ingredients you can better avoid in your cosmetics and skincare products.
Let’s explore.

1. Parabens

Most skincare and cosmetics contain parabens, which are used as a preservative, to prolong shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria.
However, parabens have been linked with hormone and endocrine system disruption causing fertility issues and allergic reactions. They even potentially contribute to a higher risk of cancer.

2. Triclosan

Most skincare and cosmetics contain parabens, which are used as a preservative, to prolong shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria.
However, parabens have been linked with hormone and endocrine system disruption causing fertility issues and allergic reactions. They even potentially contribute to a higher risk of cancer.

3. Sulfates

Sulfates such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) are commonly used in facial cleansers because of their ability to create foam. The foaming effect appeals to consumers because it gives the impression that the product is really cleaning your skin. However, there is strong evidence that sulfates strip away moisture and protective barriers in your skin, causing skin irritation, acne, rashes, and other skin problems.

4. Petrolatum

Petrolatum (also called petroleum jelly) which is derived from petroleum, is often used in skincare products as a moisturiser agent. It has a softening effect which is ideal for dryer skin types. It acts as a barrier so moisture doesn’t escape your skin. However, this barrier also prevents the absorption of moisture from the air, which causes your skin to dry out eventually. That’s why you need to reapply the moisturiser regularly.
Furthermore, the EU classifies petrolatum (when not refined well) as a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics and skincare.

Have you ever heard of “greenwashing”? When companies use false advertising to make their products or services seem more environmentally friendly than they really are, this is called greenwashing.
Companies often use smart sales pitches and slogans to put you on the wrong foot, making you think you’re making green choices but in reality, they just use marketing techniques to make their products appear more eco-friendly than they are in reality.

Why do they do this? Because more and more people these days are motivated to reduce their carbon footprint and want to use natural, less artificial products.

Hence, companies try to sell more of their products by falsely convincing consumers that their brand is green and eco-friendly. But are they really doing efforts for the environment and using natural ingredients? That’s another question.

To not fall into this trap of sweet words, we recommend always doing your own research before buying a skincare line or product.

Look up where their products are made and make sure to check the ingredient list. There are apps available in the App Store such as Yuka that allow you to scan barcodes and see the sustainability score of skincare and haircare products, cosmetics, but also food items.

Clean skincare is just as important as a clean diet.
That’s why it’s important to question if the skincare products you are buying are actually good for you.

Read the label and look if it says “certified organic”, “plant-based” or “cruelty-free”. The word “natural” doesn’t mean a lot, so definitely take that with a pinch of salt.

Furthermore, it’s important to look at the ingredient list and see if the skincare products you are interested in buying don’t contain any parabens, sulfates, triclosan or petrolatum.

As we’ve mentioned before, there are a lot of companies out there that do “greenwashing” and pretend to be much more eco-friendly than they actually are, so be on the lookout. ;-)

Get started on your plant-based skincare journey with some of our favorite brands and products.

Cinque Sensi — Artemesia Face Oil

Cinque Sensi — Artemesia Face Oil

  • Sustainable underwear made from spent coffee grounds.
  • The oil has anti-aging properties as it contains vitamin E, antioxidants, and fatty acids that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. It is quickly absorbed by the skin, without leaving the typical sticky feeling.

Food for Skin — Avocado Serum

Food for Skin — Avocado Serum 

  • Vitamin E ensures a good moisture balance. The essential fatty acids and proteins ensure a good recovery.
  • Vitamin C and E stimulate the detoxification of your skin in order to preserve its suppleness and keep the skin smooth and in condition for longer.
  • Elderberry and oat oil, turmeric extract and Q10 nourish, protect and strengthen the skin.

Aromalogic — Stay Young Die Pretty — Face Cream

Aromalogic — Stay Young Die Pretty — Face Cream

  • Consciously made in the heart of Amsterdam.
  • Full of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants with a wealth of essential oils.
  • Moisturizing and relaxing. Makes your skin soft and inhibits inflammation.
  • Made with a mix of 6 natural plant oils and 9 essentials oils of the highest quality

Bliss Organics — Kapha Face Oil

Bliss Organics — Kapha Face Oil

  • Natural and Organic — Free from Parabens, Palm Oil, Sulphates & Chemicals.
  • Ideal for oily, congested skin.
  • Kapha rejuvenating blend combines a mix of invigorating, uplifting & soothing ingredients for a clear, smooth complexion.
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