Are you up on the latest beauty trends? Natural skin care products are going head to head with conventional cosmetics' BB and CC cremes, facial serums, and oils.
Think natural products can’t compete with conventional products? Think again. Today, natural skin care and beauty companies aren’t just making products as effective and trendy as those found at the cosmetic counter—they’re beating them at their own game. Here are four advances in natural beauty products that are taking the industry by storm.
All grown up
Although product formulations have improved and companies have developed product lines for all skin types and complexion concerns, there still seems to be a sense of apprehension when trying out natural products—a worry that they just won’t work as well as chemical-filled cosmetics.
Not anymore. The natural beauty industry has grown by leaps and bounds since the first green products hit the marketplace decades ago. By developing trendy products, adhering to new certifications, using clever eco-friendly packaging, and formulating with innovative ingredients, the natural beauty products industry is proving that it’s all grown up.
The same products that have taken the cosmetics world by storm in recent years are also being made by natural brands. Moreover, some of today’s top products were developed by natural companies years ago.
BB and CC cremes
The story of BB and CC cremes goes like this: these powerful, hybrid cremes started out in Asia, where women fell in love with them for their multitasking abilities. Essentially, the cremes look and feel much like a light foundation or tinted moisturizer, but they also have priming, smoothing, antiaging, and moisturizing benefits. They’re great for people who are on the go and want to simplify their skin care routine—and who couldn’t benefit from that?
BB stands for beauty balm or blemish balm, while CC stands for colour correcting, meaning that CC cremes focus more on correcting skin tone by targeting redness, hyperpigmentation, and sallowness. The dynamic duo hit North American markets in 2012, and natural companies were quick to follow, using healthy ingredients. Today, they’re readily available at well-stocked natural health retailers.
Think of a serum as your moisturizer’s older sister: wiser, stronger, and more sophisticated. It’s loaded with more skin-benefitting ingredients and contains fewer extras than cremes, so it packs a powerful punch. Best of all, it’s fast-absorbing, and a little goes a long way.
Natural serums have been available for a long time, and there’s one for just about every skin type or concern. It’s typically used before moisturizer, once or twice a day.
Natural oils for a glowing complexion are a skin care secret that the natural industry has known for years. Now in the spotlight of the mainstream beauty industry too, oils are thought to help break down impurities to cleanse skin and restore skin’s healthy moisture levels. Ingredients range from nuts (almond) to fruits (apricot kernel) to flowers (rosehip), and there are even natural formulations specifically for oily or acne-prone skin.
Natural companies have it figured out down to the tiniest detail. To put just the right finishing touches on their products, many of these companies use packaging that’s friendlier to our planet.
Next time you’re browsing the shelves of your favourite natural health retailer, be on the lookout for trendy innovations such as
- lip balms encased in biodegradable paper
- minimal cardboard packaging
- cardboard packaging with seeds inside
- post-consumer recycled packaging, printed with vegetable-based inks
- bulk products with no packaging whatsoever
We have more than just certified organic labels to look for now! New certifications and claims are popping up on beauty products everywhere, helping consumers find products for their unique needs and preferences. Here’s just some of the new label lingo.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains that many people are allergic to. Although researchers believe that the gluten molecule is too large to be absorbed topically, some people still report reactions to skin products that contain gluten (see your health care practitioner to determine the cause if this is the case for you). Thankfully, many natural companies formulate their products without gluten—and say so on the label.
Non-GMO Project Verified
While there’s still no law forcing manufacturers to declare GMO ingredients, many natural companies are taking matters into their own hands by joining the Non-GMO Project.
The Non-GMO Project helps consumers make informed purchasing decisions by allowing companies to display the Non-GMO Project Verified seal if their products comply with the project’s strict regulations. More and more natural cosmetics products—found at natural health retailers—are proudly bearing the seal.
For those who wish to extend their plant-based diets to topical products without doing avid label-reading, fear not: a Certified Vegan Logo means that the product doesn’t contain animal products or byproducts (such as beeswax) and hasn’t been tested on animals.
Some of the ingredients typically reserved for the medicine cabinet are being added to skin care products by natural companies for an added nutrient boost for our skin. Here are just some of the many examples.
Along with surefire staples such as vitamins A, C, and E, consumers are now seeing products with coenzyme Q10 (thought to work as an antiwrinkle agent), fruit enzymes (for an even complexion), and even the fermented favourite, kombucha.
These small but mighty healthy bacteria are thought to help boost skin’s resistance and are being researched as a possible treatment for skin conditions.
Superfruits and other plants
Goji, Kakadu plum, kelp, and acai are all examples of plants that pack powerful phytonutrients, such as vitamins and antioxidants, used in skin care products.
New product primer
Let’s face it: it can be daunting to choose any new skin product out of the dozens on the shelf. Even worse is the possibility that it might not work for you, or—gulp—make you break out in an allergic reaction. Rest assured that, by asking the knowledgeable staff at your local natural health retailer some questions, you have nothing to fear.
What skin type is it formulated for?
Your skin type can determine whether or not the product will work for you. For instance, oily skin (shiny and sometimes acne-prone, with visible pores) may benefit from a foaming cleanser and a lightweight oil-free lotion, while dry skin (tight, papery feeling, or flaky) does best with a mild creme cleanser and a heavier moisturizer.
Have you received customer feedback about it?
Word-of-mouth product recommendations are key, and staff members know when a product sells and what people have to say about it. They may have even tried the product themselves, so it’s always worth a shot to ask.
Can I try a sample or is there a trial size?
Chances are, if there’s a tester on the shelf, then there are small containers behind a counter that staff can let you take home filled with the product of your choice. A good sample should last at least a few days—enough time for you to gauge if you’d like to make an investment in a full-size product.
What’s the company’s return policy if this product doesn’t work out for me?
Most retailers and companies are happy to accept products for return if it doesn’t work for you—especially in the event of a reaction—but it’s good to check just to be sure. In some cases, they may ask you to fill out a form explaining why it didn’t work out, so the company can gather valuable feedback.
What about skin supplements?
It’s not just topical products that are lining the shelves of natural beauty counters—there are also supplements specifically targeted at improving skin. Touted to improve complexion and reduce conditions such as acne or psoriasis, they can be a great source of health-promoting nutrients, including
- antioxidants such as lycopene and grapeseed extract, which may help counteract skin photoaging
- essential fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid (in borage oil) or alpha-linolenic acid (flaxseed oil), which may boost hydration and functioning of the skin barrier