When we see the words "natural" and "organic" inked across the packaging of skincare, bodycare, personal care and makeup products (the list goes on) and to top it off the imagery on their social media pages swoops our mind into thinking I want to have that natural happy smile, sunkissed buns and super soft tanned skin, so we just-totally-must-have-it-right-now and we buy it!
BY: Teisha Lowry Cox
A few days later, the package turns up on the doorstep and we open the parcel, then the bubble wrap, the wrapping paper, the bow or maybe in this case raffia or string, the box, the tissue paper and we finally get the product out, put it on our skin and ohhhhh doesn't this smell amazing, it must work because it says it does and they have over 100k on their Instagram page, so I might as well take a quick selfie whilst and I'm here and them BAM! You get a rash...ouch! Oh but wait, did you read the ingredients on the back? Or was that not disclosed at checkout? Or perhaps you don't know what half of them really mean.
Ok so I may be going overboard here, but my point is: all natural products are not created equal, and a lot of these social media brands who have come out of nowhere and without any skin-caring-big-wig-natural-ceo authority to disapprove otherwise, you - my friend, have been sold a big fat lie.
There was once upon a time where we didn't need all these products to fix problems we didn't have. And now, we are bombarded with choices on what to buy because it's natural and they have lots of followers so it must be good for me and I have all issues they say I have.
A lot of these scrub brands are the biggest liars! Because they sell the idea of a natural product really well, but what goes into them is far from that.
Other than sugar, coffee, refined cheap coconut oil and some other seed oils, these are some pretty basic kitchen ingredients - which you can whip up at home. The rest of it is what makes it dangerous. Which is usually filled with fragrances that smell like we've shoved our senses into a tv commercial of Thailand, and these are not the usual fragrances that are "made by nature".
If they say they use Pure Organic or 100% Pure Essential Oils and are selling it for less than $15 I would second guess whether the ingredients are actually 100% pure or are even organic (certified or not) these types of essential oils that smell like an exotic cocktail are bloody expensive and the product should be sold in the hundreds.
I am always going into stores and trying these products out because it is my job and I also get given these scrubs and things in my goody bags from events that I attend, and I have been making my own skincare for 8+ years so I kind of know what crap these brands are dishing out.
If someone is trying to sell you natural product and then on the ingredient listing they have the following fragrance/s or parfum:
Apple or Apple Blossom, Banana, Pineapple, Strawberry (actually most berries) Frangipani, Gardenia, Magnolia, Hibiscus, Honeysuckle, Papaya, Sweetpea, Lily, Lilac, Rose (most types), Vanilla and Coconut (huge ones) Musk (if they are it's unethical and derived from animals) and Mango are some of the most popular ingredients that are touted as natural.
Be SUSPICIOUS! Because you cannot derive a pure essential oil or natural ingredient from these plants, and if they do, they wouldn't be selling you this product at that price because - > if they are REAL and some are just impossible to get a real oil out of the seed, stem, flesh or petal, they are usually extracted with the utmost complicated methods using solvents or machinery. In most commercial cases these are synthetic fragrances - unless specified elsewhere in their marketing material, but legally all ingredients must be listed from top to bottom according to potency.
In theory, these products are doing the opposite to what they're telling/selling you. Because if you're sloughing dead skin off the top surfaces and allowing synthetic fragrances such as fake Watermelon into your system and god knows where that comes from and how it's made, then you should ask the company who's selling you this scrub for your money back, because it's just inflaming it and making skin problems worse. It's just there to make it smell good, that's pretty much it.
If all this is all too hard to take in, then just take a low-key approach to beauty and make your own body scrub: use left-over coffee from your espresso machine or buy coffee granules from the supermarket for $4 and just add a bit of olive oil. It's as pure and simple as that, and it's going to be much safer.
If you want to learn more about this stuff, head to Nourish Melbourne as I am doing a hands-on workshop later this month: Saturday 23 July 2016, 1-4pm, One Roof, Southbank.
I take you through a functional approach to discovering true skin health: We will learn about The 4 Pathways and expert skin care advice for clear skin, with tips on what foods to eat, how to detox naturally to reduce the appearance of sun damage, preserve elastin, produce collagen and even skin tone.