Our skin is our body’s first line of defence and our largest organ, so protecting it from the barrage of toxic ingredients that we face every day seems like a logical decision. According to a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, women can put 168 chemicals on their bodies on a daily basis through their skincare routine. Alarmingly, many of these chemicals and pollutants are absorbed into the bloodstream where they can harm the neurological, immune and reproductive systems. In fact, it is claimed that women who use makeup on a daily basis are absorbing over two kilos of chemicals a year into their bodies. What’s more disturbing is that many ingredients aren’t regulated so you may not be aware of exactly what you’re exposing yourself to. Unlike these toxic synthetic products, natural skincare products are more gentle, have few to no adverse effects, and provide consumers and the planet with long-term advantages.
Understanding Natural Skincare
Natural skincare products are made from natural ingredients such as flowers, herbs, roots, and leaves, and are prepared without the use of chemical preservatives or emulsifiers including parabens, sulphates, phthalates, glycols, silicones, or phenoxyethanol.
Not only is natural skincare good for your body, but it’s also good for the earth. Chemicals from synthetic products can pollute local waterways when flushed down the drain. Ingredients in these products may also require mining, which has a number of negative environmental repercussions. Natural skincare firms are typically more environmentally responsible than their standard competitors when it comes to manufacturing and packaging procedures. Plus, most natural skincare products are cruelty-free, meaning they haven’t been tested on animals.
Many people discover that switching to natural skincare can produce equal to greater results, but it’s important to only use trusted and reputable products. Unlike the term “organic” which is regulated by the USDA and means the products are free of synthetic pesticides, fertilisers and other non-organic substances, the term “natural” can refer to a variety of things, like in the traditional skincare sector, it isn’t regulated across the industry. This means each company can choose what “natural” means for themselves.
“We know the beauty industry lacks strict regulation when it comes to definitions of clean, all-natural or organic,” Dr. Mara Weinstein, a board-certified dermatologist and consultant to LUOM Beauty explains. “So the responsibility is really on the consumer to do their research in order to know what is in the products they are putting on their skin.”
As consumers become more aware of the potential risks of synthetic skincare, they are shifting away from standard beauty and skincare ingredients and choosing natural products. According to a Prodge survey, when given the choice, 34% of respondents opted to buy natural and organic skincare. This shift in purchasing behaviours means the global natural skincare products market is expected to reach USD 12.27 billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% from 2022 to 2030.
Here, we spoke to the founders of five natural skincare companies — Emma Lewisham, Essano, Jeuneora, Tailor and Tronque — to discover more about their inspiration for creating their brands and why you should make the switch to using natural skincare products.
1. Emma Lewisham
Emma Lewisham was inspired to create her eponymous skincare brand after discovering the product she was using to combat hyperpigmentation during pregnancy was harmful to her health and banned in many countries worldwide. She was determined to find a natural alternative supported by science and equally as luxurious as the market-leading brands she was accustomed to. After significant research, Lewisham discovered that what she was looking for didn’t exist.
“There seemed to be a need to compromise between natural and scientifically proven products. I didn’t want to make this compromise and I didn’t believe other women should have to either,” Lewisham said. “I was determined to set a new benchmark in beauty, proving that 100% natural skincare could perform as well as, if not better than synthetic alternatives.
Lewisham was also concerned by the phenomenal waste produced by the beauty industry and was adamant that her products would be as sustainable as they are efficacious.
One of the most stand-out differences with the Emma Lewisham range is that all the products are scientifically proven to perform.
“They harness innovative natural actives, in higher potencies, and more powerful combinations, that are independently verified to give you results,” Lewisham said.
The second thing that sets the brand apart is its dedication to a circular and carbon positive business model.
“We were the first beauty brand in the world to offer refills for all our products, with a complimentary global take-back programme in place to collect empty packaging for refilling or recycling,” Lewisham said. “All our products are also certified Climate Positive, meaning they sequester more carbon than they emit.”
For Lewisham, changing the misconception that natural skincare can’t be as effective as synthetic counterparts is one of her drives.
“Proving that natural skincare can be as efficacious, if not more efficacious than synthetic skincare was the foundation of Emma Lewisham. I want to show people that you don’t have to compromise, and you can have 100% natural skincare that outperforms any synthetic alternatives available.”
For those looking to switch to natural skincare products, Lewisham recommends starting with products that have scientific or clinical testing behind them and then introducing products one at a time and to resist the urge to overhaul your entire routine straight away as this can lead to purging.
“Give your skin time to adjust to the new natural actives and gradually add in more products,” Lewisham said. “I would also encourage people to look for brands that offer refillable options as this can reduce the carbon footprint of your purchases by up to 74%.”
And her advice to those who haven’t yet made the switch to natural beauty and skincare?
“You no longer need to compromise. Find natural brands that are backed by science, introduce them slowly, and I promise you won’t look back.”
A true leader in natural beauty, Essano has created certified organic, award-winning formulations and unique product ranges, now retailing in over 6,000 stores and online in countries across the globe. It is also the first Australasian brand to launch body and haircare bottles made completely out of recycled plastic (rPET), using on average 25% less plastic than standard virgin plastic bottles.
Founders Anthony “AJ” Gadsdon and Shane Young created the business in 2000 with the goal of creating quality, natural skincare that’s accessible to everyone. Young’s sensitive skin inspired him to create a range of skincare for men, then his wife and daughters begged him to create a line of equally amazing skincare for women.
Essano products are made in New Zealand — from concept to production. Consumer needs are one of the drivers of Essano, and the brand always talks to its customers before creating new products. From there, an onsite chemist monitors the entire process of product creation.
The founders believe that the biggest misconception about natural skincare is that it doesn’t work as well as chemicals.
“It can work as well as or even better because natural skincare doesn’t include things that will irritate your skin,” they said. “Our products are created by chemists in a lab, with scientifically proven ingredients.”
They offer three pieces of advice for those looking to make the switch to natural skincare:
- Don’t throw all your current items out. See if friends or family can use anything that’s not an open jar container. Start researching about companies and brands to see which ones have ethics that you align with – sustainable, cruelty-free, etc.
- Ask friends and families for brands that you trust, and read reviews online to see the efficacy of products.
- Don’t just reach for large global brands and expect them to be green. Smaller local brands can be even better.
“Give it a go! You will be surprised and delighted at how your skin responds,” Gadson and Young said. “Rest assured you are supporting the health of your skin — not adding harsh chemicals to it.”
For Jeuneora founder Monique Kaminski, creating the brand brought together her two passions: her love of business and all things skincare, beauty and wellness. In 2016, an opportunity arose to promote the beauty benefits of marine collagen, which was not well known to New Zealand consumers at that time. So she created her first product and scaled from there, expanding into plant-based supplements in 2020 before launching Jeuneora Skincare in 2021.
“Creating a skincare range was always a big goal and dream of mine, but I knew it would take time to develop a range of products with exciting new formulations and bespoke custom packaging to stand out in such a competitive market,” Kaminski said. “Our vision is to continue to create enriching experiences for people in their busy lives, without leaving a lasting impact on the environment.”
Jeuneora Skincare is a range of fun, luxurious, multi-tasking formulas that are safe and gentle enough for all skin types, including sensitive skin. According to Kaminski, the customer’s sensory experience is an important part of Jeuneora’s skincare ritual, which is why the range uses use a mixture of natural skincare ingredients and key active ingredients.
“We made sure to use the right level of active ingredients to support skin barrier properties, while still ensuring your skin’s health and microbiome can thrive. To us, experience is everything and we really wanted that to shine through.”
Kaminski believes that one of the biggest misconceptions about natural skincare is that formulations need to be 100% natural to be considered ‘natural’ and that this makes them gentler, safer and more efficacious than alternatives.
“In some instances, it can actually be the opposite, where 100% natural formulations can be a bit harsh on the skin meaning they aren’t always suitable for all skin types,” she said. “This is why we have always taken the ‘science meets nature’ approach with our own formulations — to ensure they are both efficacious and luxurious, as well as being good for the planet and suitable for everyone, regardless of their skin type. We think it’s important to have balance, and we think we’ve got that balance right.”
Kaminski understands that making a switch in skincare products can be daunting and recommends keeping it simple and starting with the product you use the most frequently and building on that foundation. She also believes that consumers need to do their research to ensure the natural skincare brands they are choosing have transparency around their products.
“It’s always important to do your own research, but if we could give one tip it would be to look at brands that are transparent and extremely clear about their sustainability messaging.”
4. Tailor Skincare
Sara Corleison was inspired to start Tailor Skincare in 2012 to remove any potentially health-harming chemicals in her skincare without compromising on efficacy. Since then, Tailor Skincare has grown into a multi-award-winning, cruelty-free and eco-conscious natural skincare company tailored to your skin’s unique needs to boost skin health and self-confidence. All products are proudly formulated and manufactured locally and the ingredients are sourced locally where possible and from suppliers with fair working conditions when sourced further afield. Additionally, Tailor uses eco-conscious packaging to make sure its impact on the planet is minimal.
Corleison believes that the greatest misconception about natural skincare is that it doesn’t work, or is less effective than synthetic skincare.
“Mother Nature is so intelligent in her design and there are so many powerful ingredients which come from nature; Bakuchiol being a current favourite of mine. It mimics retinol but without irritation. Plus with advances in natural cosmetic ingredients like ester’s, you can have the product feel and perform like a synthetic formulation but without the synthetic ingredients.”
For those looking to change to a natural skincare regimen, Corleison recommends swapping out one product at a time as the synthetic products run out. This is will save both cash and waste. She also recommends purchasing from reputable retailers with authentically knowledgeable staff who can advise and answer questions.
“There can be a lot of confusion between ‘clean beauty’ a catch-all category and authentically natural products so it’s important to shop with retailers who have done the hard work for you until you’re ready to deep dive and do your own research which can be time-consuming,” Corleison said. “There is also a lot of misconception around what ‘clean beauty’ is and what ‘natural skincare’ is,” she continues.
Corleison suggests thinking of natural skincare like a healthy diet for your skin.
“We know nutrient-rich foods are the best for our bodies, and the same goes for our skincare. Quality, natural skincare will feed your skin helping to keep your body’s largest organ healthy.”
Two years in the making, Tronque was developed following founder Tanné Snowden’s personal struggle with her reproductive health. During recovery from her second intensive surgery for endometriosis and other uterine complications, Snowden discovered that her daily skincare products contained toxic ingredients proven to disrupt hormones and the human endocrine system. This led her to create her own product range using only the best ingredients and actives formulated in high concentrations for efficacy, guided by a philosophy of total transparency and sustainability.
“After writing a list of the top 10 toxic/questionable ingredients found in skincare, I had to throw away 53 products that I had been using from top to toe and was left with just three products,” Snowden said.
Finding alternatives was very difficult and there was nothing on the market with the same efficacy as her original synthetic products, while being stringently ‘natural’. After being left with five scars on her pelvis from surgeries, the first product she formulated was the Scar Concentrate — a unique product that can be used on not only scars but also a wide range of skin concerns such as stretch marks burns, pigmentation and rough skin.
“After trying everything on the market to help heal my scarring, nothing worked and most of the products were full of endocrine disruptors, synthetic dyes and silicones. After formulating in my kitchen, I found a holy grail product that erased my scars completely. I had all five scars to experiment on and to make sure I created a formula that produced the highest efficacy.”
Tronque’s values are about strength and power in our skin. Tronque means trunk; the core of the body and Snowden believes our skin is the ‘trunk’ — our powerhouse and support system that holds us together. The range of products contains ingredients that are usually found in face care products in similar active concentrations or higher, for the body.
“The body is rarely given as much care compared to the face, which allows us to fill the gap in the market with face-worthy body care, created for everybody in mind,” Snowden said. “Our formulas are free from endocrine disruptors, synthetic fragrances, dyes and preservatives, known carcinogens, silicones and more. They’re designed to work together or alone.”
Snowden believes that one of the biggest misconceptions about natural skincare is that there is no one universal definition of ‘natural’ or ‘clean’ skincare. It’s up to each brand to create their philosophy around their choice of ingredients.
“Nature is powerful, plants and superfruits are capable of so much,” she said. “It’s about respecting the ingredients and formulating them in a way where they can blossom and enhance one another’s powers. The skin can usually tolerate natural ingredients better than synthetic ingredients. However, synthetic can be more sustainable. We use natural ingredients almost exclusively, with a select few natural ingredients enhanced in a lab, which have such incredible powers. These specific lab-engineered natural ingredients can work more effectively than their original ‘natural source’, while still being 100% clean and safe.
To those customers considering making the change to natural skincare products, Snowden offers some advice.
“The skin of the body makes up 85-90% surface area of your largest organ. We have to treat that kindly. If you’re rubbing on questionable ingredients or cheap fillers all over your precious organ once or twice a day, that’s a lot for your skin to process. The clean, green natural movement is bold, and it can be daunting to make the switch. However, there are no negatives to changing over. There are a plethora of products to choose from that actually work, with the added benefit of being completely safe. Plants are potent and capable of so much.”
By making a switch to using natural skincare products, we can help reduce our exposure to hazardous chemicals and protect ourselves and the environment from unnecessary damage.
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