We are now living in a time when “less is more” is the trend of the day. However, in cosmetics, this message has not been understood well enough. Many cosmetics are full of ingredients whose purpose can only be guessed.Less is better – a very minimalistic attitude to life is a welcome phenomenon. There is just too much stuff, clothes and chemicals everywhere.
The number of chemicals in cosmetics has exploded
Natural cosmetics is becoming part of the mainstream. However, this is not just a good thing. You may find this statement odd, but I’ll tell you what’s wrong.
Big international cosmetic corporations have bought small, natural cosmetics brands which were originally found because of ethical and ecological reasons. This is the way how these small brands became well known to most of us.
How natural and toxic-free natural cosmetic is?
But there is also a negative impact in this development. Unfortunately, we have to take a closer look at the natural cosmetics – how natural and toxic-free it is? What a great multinational corporation has added to the product we used to know. Too often the natural raw materials have been replaced by factory-made chemicals.
The number of ingredients should be reduced significantly
The problem with cosmetics is the number of ingredients. This concerns all cosmetics, including natural cosmetics. Obviously, the number of ingredients is mentioned to convince the buyer. If ten different plants and ten chemicals are used in the same product, it is very difficult to say to which ingredient one has been sensitized.
Herbal chemicals are very complex
There may be hundreds of different chemical compounds in one plant. Of course, all the compounds in the plant are completely natural. They are all part of that plant. All the ingredients in the product are also biodegradable because they are natural origin. However, plant chemicals are just as powerful as synthetic chemicals. In addition, there are huge number of them in one product. No one knows the effect of the product on the skin.
Are plant compounds dangerous?
Are plant compounds dangerous in cosmetics? Of course not. The truth is here; less is more. There are very diverse active ingredients in just one plant. The active ingredients of the plants only need to be learned and understood. They need to be tested in practice for a long time or to use only plants that have traditionally been used for skin care.
Plants make a difference
There are very potent plant extracts with a variety of phytochemicals. An example of this is the familiar aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a very useful plant but is used too much. Aloe Vera is nowadays added to almost all products from toothpaste to deodorant. It is really difficult to avoid aloe vera. Another powerful and very common plant extract is lemon and citrus in general. If you are trying to find a product that contain no citrus at all, you have to spend a lot of time and efforts to do that – really.
There are also very mild and soothing plant compounds existing like oats. Oat compounds are clearly milder and more soothing to the skin than many others. Generally, in Asia rice is used to make cosmetics. Rice is also a very mild product suitable for daily use. When making homemade cosmetics, you should take a closer look at plant chemistry.
It is always a good idea to choose very mild plants for daily cosmetics and for children and the elderly people. My recommendation is to choose the simplest products suitable to everyone.
Percentage of chemicals in skincare products is often a problem
I am also concerned about the concentration of the herbal chemicals used in the products. If the product contains ten different plants, the percentage of herbal chemicals increases easily. Natural cosmetics often contains too many herbal chemicals.
Plant extracts are very powerful
When you make your own cosmetics, you should pay attention to this particular problem. Often plant extracts are very powerful. In home made cosmetics, it is difficult to study carefully the composition and concentration of the product.
The strength of the plant extract
No one can confirm the strength of self-made extracts. The strength of the plant extract depends on many things. The factors involved are: the time of preparation of the extract, the quantity and the quality of the plants used. There are several extraction methods. You can find the main methods in this blog. Extracting plant chemicals into alcohol gives very different results than extracting into hot water. If you extract herbs for four weeks in glycerol the extract is very strong. It must be used with great care.
All the plants are not suitable for everyday use
Even if only one plant is used, it does not guarantee the gentleness of the product. Strong, acid-rich plants are not the gentlest. When preparing home cosmetics, you cannot remove harmful substances from plant extracts. Even if some industrial product contains lingonberry, it does not mean that raw lingonberry juice has been added to the product. The cosmetics industry builds its products from industrially processed extracts optimized for the needs of the skin. Therefore, I do not recommend adding berries and fruits to daily home cosmetics before testing possible skin reactions first.
Do not apply products to the skin
Another thing that worries me is the current style of overlaying products to the skin. Somewhere it is recommended to spray facial toner seven times!!!! (pretty good marketing gimmick). Each time you apply the spray, the facial toner should be allowed to absorb into the skin. After that, overlaying serum and perhaps moisturizer as well. This sandwich structure leaves all the chemicals of the plant on the skin and other chemicals as well. For the skin this may be too much and no wonder if skin symptoms will appear.
How to avoid preservatives?
Now, can you imagine how much preservative is absorbed by each layer into the skin? Also, imagine that your skin will receive seven times the amount of herbal chemicals? This is especially true when using a natural cosmetic product. Synthetic creams may not contain as many herbal chemicals, but they do contain others, potentially harmful and even toxic chemicals.
I personally avoid overlaying any products to my skin. Overlaying can also be done using pure water. It does not contain any plant chemicals or preservatives. If you add a drop of glycerol in the water, it helps the skin absorb moisture. Glycerol is not essential. After moisturizing, apply a protective oil or lotion to the moist skin to lock in the moisture.
Ingredient-rich moisturizers should not be overlaid
Adding moisturizers to the skin is very popular in the winter. The room air is very dry and there is a need to add cosmetic skin moisturizers several times a day. Here we face the same overlaying problem we had with facial toner.
Too much is too much
Multiple layers of chemicals, both natural and factory made, are applied to the skin. The skin simply cannot withstand the excessive load of chemicals. The skin must somehow get rid of the chemicals. A small amount of some herbs on the skin can stimulate skin functions and help the skin cope with problems. However, excessive chemical irritation works the other way around. The skin gets irritated because it wants to get rid of the distraction.
Plant extracts are incredibly effective
I do not underestimate the power of herbs. I know well how herbs can even cure illnesses. Many herbs are most useful when used in the treatment of skin conditions. They are also often very useful for very small skin problems.
Quantity does not replace quality
However, for normal, healthy skin, plants and plant extracts should only be used in very small amounts. Again, quantity does not replace quality. So, the key is to choose the right plant for the right situation. Choose only high-quality organic plants for your skin. Always treat plants properly and with respect and avoid unnecessary use of herbal and other chemicals. Once the skin problem has been treated, stop using the herb because you no longer need it.
Always use gentle products on your skin
Products designed for everyday use should be made as gentle as possible. Avoid effective solutions as they may be harmful to your skin.
I have done so-called base cream for everyday use. The basic cream contains no plant extracts at all. I use the best available oils to the skin, such as sunflower oil or rice bran oil, as the basis for the base cream. The cream contains boiled water and Olivem 1000 that is a very reliable and skin-friendly emulsifier. I make new cream weekly and store it in the refrigerator. Because of quick use I don’t even need a preservative.
Get to know cosmetic ingredients and other basic things
Now you may feel that I am opposed to using herbs in cosmetics. This is certainly not the case. Herbs are very good in skincare when properly selected and used in the right strength in products. That’s why I encourage you to learn about the ingredients used skin care and their effects on the skin:
Important things to learn
- Learn how different herbs affect the skin
- Also learn about the healing properties of the herbs you use. Sometimes herbs can be too caring for your skin.
- Learn how to choose the right oil for your product that is right for your skin. The differences between the oils are big. You will find the right oil by experimenting, but first you need to learn the basic things about oils.
- Get to know your skin so you know what it needs in different circumstances. Healthy skin may not need any additional care if external conditions such as air humidity, etc., are optimal.
There are no base creams for natural cosmetics
I have often criticized that there are no high quality, natural base creams available. Generally, base cream in pharmacy mean unscented products that contain a lot of synthetic chemicals as well as microplastic. I have not found any non-plastic pharmacy lotion.
Natural cosmetic creams are again full of herbal chemicals.
I have decided that I will not give any negative publicity to any of those products. However, almost every cream for the whole family contains a huge number of different herbs and strong fragrances. I wouldn’t call them base creams. Therefore, I will continue to do all my creams myself. I haven’t found yet any chemical-free cream in the market, unfortunately. Here is a tip for all cosmetic manufacturers. Prepare at least one good base cream without any additional chemical.
For cosmetic minimalism
This is my case for minimalism in cosmetics. Less is more. Instead of trying to persuade the consumer with herbal bombs overloaded with essential oils, the products could be stripped. This would give the glory back to good, fresh vegetable oils. Just to make an effective mix of oils that really works will convince the consumer. There is no need to use any water or emulsifier at all.
Oil is the most important product in skin care
The only ingredient that really matters is the oil. In minimalistic cosmetics the oil is the main ingredient. In case the air is too dry the oil protects the skin from drying. The skin needs moisture from inside. In case the air is humid the skin does not evaporate the moisture.
It would be interesting to know what your daily skin care routine is: do you manage with just one product or do you need more products?