Organic/Natural Skincare — Cleanser Review
It’s one thing to walk into a shop and be bamboozled under glare of bright lights and the spin of slick sales speak into a later, unwanted purchase. It’s quite another to spend time with products in the privacy of one’s own home in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, the unsung heroes from those overhyped products parading about as the Emperor’s New Clothes — which is what I’ve spent the past few weeks doing.
Fast approaching thirty-five, I’m much pickier these days about what I put on my skin. Therefore, products containing parabens and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) are out. As are products containing mineral oil, phthalates, alcohol, formaldehyde, petrochemicals, artificial fragrance and colourings, and phenoxyethanol.
Occasionally, I let irritants sneak through the net; for example the preservative, phenoxyethanol, although recently banned for use in certified organic skin care products by Ecocert and COSMOS (the new EU organic certification standard) does appear in a few of my absolute favourite products, but I make sure not to use those particular products every single day. Forewarned is forearmed. So, without further ado, here’s a round-up of the natural, organic, and irritant-free cleansers I’ve been most impressed by.
My absolute favourite ‘lazy’ cleanser is Weleda’s One-Step Cleanser & Toner — ‘lazy’ because I use it when I can’t be bothered with the rigmarole of washing and drying my face: a quick wipe with a cotton pad and my skin’s left deeply cleansed, soft, and refreshed. Free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colourants, and mineral oil derivatives it does, however, contain fragrance from natural essential oils which may irritate super sensitive skin types. Still, I can’t praise this product enough. In fact, I love this citrus-smelling milky cleanser so much, I’ve almost finished the bottle – and that’s with a bathroom full of cleansers to choose from. A must buy. £9.95 for 100ml. www.weleda.co.uk
The Organic Pharmacy is a range I’ve dipped in and out of over the years who deliver consistently stellar products that look glamorous too. Their Carrot Butter Cleanser (£32.95 for 70ml) ain’t the cheapest, but while moping about with a hangover I discovered it doubles up as a decadent face mask. Packed with nourishing anti-oxidants such as carrot, chamomile, and über-soothing calendula, I left this on for an hour before rinsing off to discover a surprisingly fresh and glowing complexion — most impressed. No wonder Kylie’s a fan. Free from preservatives, colourants, fragrances, and petrochemicals, I reckon Carrot Butter would be particularly effective after a long-haul flight or a day of harsh sun/wind-exposure. www.theorganicpharmacy.com
Caudalie is a brand which caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to like them. Why not? Well, with their fancy packaging they reminded me of the other big cosmetic hall brands such as SK-II, Lancome, and La Prairie etc. I knew they didn’t use parabens, phenoxyethanol, artificial colourings, mineral oils, or animal derivatives but was still resistant… until I tried their products for myself. Wow. There are those brands I like in the sense of their packaging, their ethos (regards not testing on animals etc.), their eco-commitment, and then there are those products my skin likes — or, as in the case of Caudalie, adores. I’ve tried their Cleansing Water (£14.50 for 200ml), Toning Lotion (£14.50 for 200ml), and Gentle Cleanser (£14.50 for 200ml) for all skin types. Their Cleansing Water alone leaves my skin feeling plump and notably softer. I’ll cover their luscious, must-buy moisturiser (Vinosource Riche Anti-Wrinkle Nourishing Cream — £27 for 40ml) in a later article, but suffice to say, I’m smitten. This entire range is a must for thirty-something skin upwards. I can’t wait to try the rest of their products (particularly their body range). www.caudalie.com/uk
Trilogy is a consistently high-performer and reliable stalwart of contemporary natural skin and bodycare. Made in New Zealand, one of their directors was a journalist who, after spending her time sampling endless lotions and potions, put her money where her mouth was and set up Trilogy with her sister. With clear labelling you know exactly where you stand with the ingredients in all their products. Their Cream Cleanser (£22.50 for 200ml) is soothing and moisturising and particularly effective at ridding stubborn eye-makeup in one fell swoop. Interestingly, my forty-something boyfriend who suffers with ultra-sensitive skin has gravitated towards this product. And I have to say I’ve noticed a positive improvement in his complexion — smoother and brighter. With a change in seasons and the need for less moisturising, my skin has responded well to their soap-free Balancing Gel Cleanser (£22.50 for 150ml). My complexion tends towards being oilier, so although I couldn’t use the Balancing Gel Cleanser in the colder months, it’s a must for spring and summer. In fact, I recommend this product together with their Energising Face Lotion (£26.50for 100ml) for younger skin (teens, twenty-somethings). www.trilogyproducts.com
Pinks Boutique is a range I stumbled across on the deepest, darkest Internet. Supplier of manicure, pedicure, body, facial, and waxing products to industry professionals, their gorgeous-looking almost entirely natural and organic range is accredited by the Soil Association and hand blended in the UK. I sampled their Lemongrass and Mandarin Cleanser (£35.00 for 235 grams) which is included in their Lemongrass Facial ‘Try Me Set’ (£23.50). To be honest, anything with lemongrass in it is fine by me — a soothing, yet uplifting smell. This deep cleansing cleanser left my skin soft, radiant, and super clean with no tautness. Pinks have quietly established themselves as one of my favourite organic ranges — so much so, I plan to track down their nearest ‘Celebrated Spa’ and indulge myself. Recommended. www.pinksboutique.com
Last, but by no means least, Evolve is another natural and organic brand I stumbled across while poking about on the Internet and the one I rave about and adore the most. So far I’ve only sampled their Gentle Cleansing Melt (£12.99 for 100ml) and Multi-Action double cream moisturiser (£14.99 for 50ml). Thing is, their Gentle Cleansing Melt is so sublime I almost don’t want to tell anyone about it for fear of a frantic stampede and sell-out à la Waitrose’s ‘Bottom Butter’ — that’s how good it is. Perfect for hypo-allergenic skin, this stuff is incredible in a gentle, understated way. Unimpressive at first glance it smells like Vaseline but with a softer, gloopier consistency; however, wait until it’s on your skin and you start massaging it in — my-oh-my, it’s heavenly. It emulsifies on contact with water and is easy to rinse off taking all traces of eye-makeup with it. What a gorgeous product — and, so far, my absolute favourite. Great value for money too. www.evolvebeauty.co.uk
Thea is author of the inspiring memoir Running into Myself. Buy a copy from Amazon UK, Amazon US or, better still, order a limited edition signed copy direct from her publisher here (also ships worldwide).
“Thea’s personal journey is utterly compelling. I couldn’t put her book down. Thea manages to make Greek mythology not only understandable, interesting, and relevant to our lives today, but shows how it can be utilised as a tool for self development. She introduces ideas and ways of thinking that broaden your mind, and lights the way for others to follow.”