Why Natural Skincare?
Belle&Basil Skincare is 100% natural.
We worked really hard to make sure our products were 100% natural (free from synthetic ingredients, parabens, sulphates, petroleum, mineral oils, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates) and felt wonderful on your skin.
Why is being 100% natural so important to us?
Is natural skincare really so much better for your skin and your well-being?
These were some of the questions we kept asking when we were creating our skincare, questions to keep us focused and make sure we did not compromise on our ingredients.
So first of all let’s look at what natural skincare actually is.
What is Natural Skincare?
There are so many terms being used in skincare at the moment and it is not always clear what they mean.
There is natural, organic, wildcrafted, vegan, cruelty free and small batch.
We were committed from the start to make sure that all of these terms would describe Belle&Basil Skincare.
The problem with the term natural is that it isn’t regulated and so lots of companies can use the term and still produce skincare containing synthetic ingredients, parabens, petrochemicals and sulphates. You might have seen companies proudly stating that their skincare is 95% natural or 98% natural. This is great in terms of transparency, but all it really means is that there is probably still a synthetic preservative in the product. The preservative is the trickiest part of creating natural skincare. Most skincare products need to have a preservative otherwise they will contain too much bacterial content causing problems like breakouts, but synthetic preservatives can cause skin sensitivities and irritations, and even contribute to long term health problems.
I started making moisturisers in 2012 because I was studying herbal medicine and learning all about the impact of parabens and sulphates on our health, when my poor Mum got breast cancer. Parabens in particular have been linked to cancer because they act as an oestrogen in the body, and excess oestrogen is one of the causes of breast cancer. So I started throwing out everything with synthetic chemicals in it: cleaning products, hand wash, shampoo/conditioner and skincare.
I found it really hard to replace the skincare with natural products that were also light and gentle, and were as effective as synthetic based skincare. I experimented for years, with assistance from a skincare chemist, before finally coming up with a formula which was 100% natural, clean of any synthetic ingredients, felt beautiful to use and really worked to create clear, healthy, radiant skin.
We use Honeysuckle and Magnolia Bark extract as our main preservatives, helped by organic glycerine, vitamin E and organic Rosemary extract. All the amazing natural ingredients we use are listed on each product page with their names in English so that the Ingredients List is as easy to understand as possible. You can also read a full explanation of our Ingredients here.
For me the choice over using 100% natural skincare is a simple one. I want my food to be natural, with as few additives and preservatives as possible, so of course I want a moisturiser which is going to be on my face all day to be natural too.
This is an easier one to understand because the term is very tightly regulated by Cosmos (which is the collaborative standard including 5 European organic certification bodies, including The Soil Association and Ecocert). Most of our raw ingredients are either certified organic and or certified organically grown.
We have not got organic certification for our finished products because we make so many of our own active ingredients, for example we infuse organic Apricot Kernel Oil with organically grown rose petals from our garden. To achieve organic certification for our products we would have to get organic certification for each active ingredient we make which would be too expensive and time consuming for our small team. This is why we call our skincare Wild, Vegan Skincare. To let you know that we are a step beyond organic. Which brings us to the next term, Wildcrafted.
Wildcrafted is another term for foraging, which is the practice of harvesting plants from their natural or wild habitat. It usually applies to food and medicinal herbs and should be done in a sustainable, respectful way. Wild food and herbs are usually stronger and more effective then cultivated plants. They are organic by default as of course they grew without pesticides or fertilisers.
We use wild seaweed sustainably harvested from the stunning coast of Donegal, and rose petals, comfrey leaves, daffodils and crabapple blossoms from our 3 acre garden. Gathering these flowers and herbs and transforming them into powerful active ingredients to nourish the skin is one of the joys of Belle&Basil.
Vegan simply means that there are no animal products used. Please see our blog about vegan skincare to learn more. Not all natural products are vegan, many contain ingredients like bees wax.
Cruelty Free means the product has not been tested on animals. Thankfully it has been illegal to test skincare ingredients and products produced in the EU on animals since March 2013. However, in China it is compulsory to test skincare on animals so please be aware that when you are buying international brands that sell in Asia they will have been tested on animals.
This means that the skincare is made in small batches to keep it fresh and usually also lets you know the skincare is handmade. We hand make all our skincare in our Garden Workshop, usually in 3 litre batches. A sample from each batch is sent to a UK laboratory to be tested to make sure the skincare has been made to the highest standards.
Why Use Natural Skincare?
They are Safer
Why take the risk of potential health issues with synthetic skincare? I had been experimenting with making my own moisturisers for several years when I turned 40. Yikes! I thought. I’d better start using an expensive skincare that is going to help with the fine lines that were starting to appear. So I spent a fortune and ended up getting lots of pimples. I realised that I had very rarely had a spot since I started making my own skincare so immediately binned the synthetic based skincare I had bought.
I’ve since heard the same thing from many customers. That when they start using Belle&Basil they can not go back to their old skincare. Their face becomes very dry or they get a break out if they return to the synthetic based skincare they were previously using.
They are better for the Environment
Some synthetic ingredients can harm plants and animals, impacting the local ecosystem if they get into the water system.
Synthetic skincare also has a negative impact on the environment as some ingredients need to be extracted using aluminium and lead which require mining. The mining creates a huge amount of pollution.
Natural ingredients are derived from plants found in nature and are all biodegradable. They may be physically or chemically processed, for example the castor wax found in one of our emulsifiers is castor oil which has been hydrogenated to create a hard wax.
They are full of Beneficial Active Ingredients
Using natural ingredients is such a joy. Imagine our Garden Workshop, full of the fragrance of organic rose and sandalwood, the rich, orange glow of organic rosehip oil, the silkiness of our seaweed serum made from wild seaweed. You get the picture. Compare this to a factory producing thousands of jars every week. It is like eating your favourite homemade dinner versus a fast food chain meal deal. Every ingredient we use has been carefully chosen because not only does it do its job in the skincare but it usually does much more than that. Take as an example the Magnolia Bark we use to boost our preservative. It is also very effective for preventing spots.
Natural skincare used to have the reputation of not being as effective as the synthetic based skincare you could buy from your local chemist or beauty department, but there is such a demand for natural skincare now that the raw ingredients have dramatically improved in quality and range, with no difference in effectiveness. They are often much more expensive then synthetic ingredients (the organic rose essential oil in our Nourishing Moisturiser is one of the most expensive fragrances in the world) but they are so beneficial for the skin, softening dry skin, bring oily skin back into balance, preventing acne and pimples, reducing the impact of ageing, that we would never consider using synthetic ingredients.
We hope you enjoy going natural with Belle&Basil Skincare.
If you have any questions about natural skincare or about any of our ingredients please contact us