The Natural & Organic Beauty Troubleshooter

This week is Organic Beauty Week, and with organic and natural beauty products thankfully becoming more ubiquitous we’re shedding some light on common misconceptions and questions we’ve encountered when it comes to all things natural beauty.

If you’re new to the world of organic and natural beauty, it can seem overwhelming or even underwhelming - for those of us used to giant ingredient lists full of comforting gibberish and familiar names like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, the simplicity of some natural products can seem like it’s too good to be true. But that’s the beauty (pun intended) of organic and natural products - they don’t use unnecessary filler ingredients and preservatives to give an appearance of effectiveness.

That’s not to say all natural products are handmade in a wooden vat in a field. Organic and natural brands have become extremely innovative, offering complex and effective formulas that are truly revolutionary and care not only about being good for us but giving great results too. So we’ve put together a set of frequently asked questions about the subject with some answers that will (hopefully) help troubleshoot some of your clean beauty queries.

Q. Do they work as well as the mainstream products I’m used to using?

A. The short answer to this is yes. The longer one is still yes, however some formulas can take a little getting used to if you’re new to them. As we said before, natural products steer clear of many of the ingredients that are deemed normal in the mainstream beauty industry, such as certain stabilising ingredients, preservatives and foaming agents. This means the products can appear in a slightly different form than we’re used to.

A good example of this is natural deodorant. The Natural Deodorant Company make effective coconut oil-based deodorants that do not contain aluminium and use magnesium oxide and sodium bicarbonate for odour control. Instead of being a roll-on or spray, these deodorants are usually smooth balms - applied by hand to the underarms. If that sounds messy, don’t fear! It’s actually super easy. All we recommend is keeping your natural deodorant in the bathroom cabinet rather than your bedroom so you can wash your hands straight away - no time wasted.

As with any new thing, it’s all about what you’re used to, and very quickly things that were unfamiliar before become normal. This is the same with natural and organic beauty products - try using a coconut oil-based eye polish instead of powder eye shadow, or a face mask made with all-natural clay and charcoal. The ingredients you’ll find in these products are carefully chosen because they’re beneficial in a particular way. As soon as you eradicate harsh perfumes, dyes, preservatives and synthetics, what’s left are potent natural ingredients that work to heal and improve rather than cover up.

Image: Green makeup artist Khandiz for What's Your Legacy
Image: Green makeup artist Khandiz for What’s Your Legacy

Q. Can natural beauty products be waterproof?

A. You won’t find entirely waterproof products in the natural beauty world, however brands like Jane Iredale and Bellapierre have created long-lasting natural products through the use of minerals and natural waxes. Jane Iredale’s Purepressed Powders contain minerals that bind together upon application to the skin, so they resist running, smearing and creasing. They also offer a water-resistant formula in their PureLash mascara, and unlike conventional mascaras that use lacquers, shellac and petroleum-based ingredients, these mascaras contain seaweed lipids, algae extract and wheat protein instead. Bellapierre’s bright, pigmented mineral lipsticks stay put fantastically throughout the day, thanks to beeswax and and natural oils which are water-repellant.

Q. My sulphate-free shampoo won’t lather up! Will it clean my hair effectively?

A. Most conventional shampoos contain a lathering ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulphate which, as well as make the shampoo foamy, is an identified irritant. It gives the hair that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling, but also strips the hair and scalp of its natural sebum levels causing an over production of oil, plus it causes colour to fade quickly. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate often comes hand in hand with Sodium Chloride, which is essentially just salt and is used as a thickening agent. Both of these ingredients have a stripping effect on the hair, so we recommend going for a natural shampoo that doesn’t contain either of these. The benefits you’ll find are colour lasts longer, and you’re not stripping the natural oils off the scalp which you may find will lead to you not having to wash your hair as often. A shampoo like Organic Colour Systems’ Power Build still has a great foaming action and leaves the hair feeling clean even without those chemicals. Other brands like Sans [Ceuticals] offer sulphate-free shampoos that aren’t as foamy, but still clean the hair just as well.

Q. What certifications should I look out for?

A. It’s all very well for a product to say it’s organic, but plenty of brands use the term as a major marketing tool, even when their formulas might only contain a tiny amount of an organic ingredient. We spotlighted the Soil Associations Campaign for Clarity in a recent article - they’re calling for complete transparency from all brands and especially those who falsely advertise their product as organic but contain ingredients that would not be permitted in a certified organic product. If a product has a Soil Association certification on it, you can be sure it is what it claims to be. If you’re after cruelty-free products, look for the Leaping Bunny, an internationally-recognised certification for cosmetics, personal care and household brands which are not tested on animals. PETA also put their stamp on cruelty-free products, so they’re one to look out for as well.

Q. Do they have a use-by date?

A. As organic products don’t contain the same preservatives found in mainstream beauty products, sometimes they don’t necessarily last as long, however many products have found a way around using preservatives. You’ll often find oils and balms in the world of natural beauty - the use of oil negates the need for preservatives, as there is no water present in a product. As soon as water is introduced into a product, it requires preservatives to stop it from going off as water harbours bacteria. Which is why as soon as you see the word ‘aqua’ on an ingredients list you can be sure there will be some sort of preservative in there.

So there you have it! Whether you’re thinking of transitioning to more natural beauty products or are already well acquainted, we hope we’ve shed some light on the exciting and rapidly expanding world of natural and organic beauty.

Words & cover image: Rosie Herdman

Recycled leather makeup bag: Paperthinks from The Acey

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Glasshouse Christmas Gift Guide

    To help ease the busy Christmas shopping period, we’ve put together our top picks from Glasshouse Shop that prioritise artisan crafts, natural and organic ingredients, sustainability and design.

    More +
  2. Hair Trend: Chocolate Brown

    Leaving summer balayages behind, we’re all about moody, glossy chocolate brown shades - simple yet big on impact and the perfect match for a rich winter colour palette.

    More +
  3. Bug x Glasshouse: Anti-Waste Accessories

    Working with our East London neighbours Bug Clothing, we are launching a collection of handmade hair accessories, including Scrunchies, Hair Ribbons and Head Wraps made from leftover fabrics.

    More +
  4. Masterclass: Toners

    ​With the help of our Senior Stylist Ashleigh, we’ve put together a guide on toners to help you understand the basics of the service; what they do, why they are used and how they can help you achieve your perfect colour.

    More +
  5. Q&A: Shereen Jupp of Mother Muse

    Celebrating motherhood in all forms, Mother Muse is a bi-annual coffee table book focusing on slow living and both the beauty and vulnerability of becoming a mother. ​In conversation with Glasshouse founder Olivia Crighton, model Shereen Jupp shares the story behind the publication and the experiences that drove her to create it.

    More +
  6. Meet The Founder: Laura Rudoe of Evolve Beauty

    ​On Monday 19th November we are hosting a Q&A and skincare session with Evolve beauty founder Laura Rudoe and Glasshouse founder Olivia Crighton, covering everything from ingredient sourcing to sustainability and the story behind the independent British brand, plus the chance to try out some of our favourite products from the range.

    More +
  7. Beauty: Boyish Brows

    ​Defined yet wearable with a touch of boyish charm, the latest eyebrow trend makes the most of the brows you’ve got. Here are our top tips on giving your natural brows some extra character to make just enough of a statement.

    More +
  8. Photography: Ilsa Wynne-Hoelscher Kidd

    Ilsa Wynne-Hoelscher Kidd is an Australian photographer who’s sensitive style lends itself to capturing the subject she resonates with most: motherhood. We catch up her to find out more.

    More +
  9. Guy Morgan: Flower Of The Five Wounds

    Verified Organic, suitable for pregnancy and ideal for those with sensitive skin, we explore the new Flower of The Five Wounds range from Guy Morgan Apothecary with imagery from photographer Thea Lovstad.

    More +
  10. Rituals: Elizabeth Bennett

    To kickstart our new Rituals series on Glasshouse Journal, we speak to freelance Journalist Elizabeth Bennet to find out what a balanced lifestyle means to her and what how she stays motivated, energised and calm in modern life.

    More +
  11. Work with us at Glasshouse Salon

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We are looking for a talented Hair Stylist to come onboard.

    More +
  12. Rule Of Three

    Celebrating the diversity and freedom of colour on different skin tones, Glasshouse’s resident makeup artist Emily and photography duo Al and K collaborate for a shoot that bends the rules of colour theory.

    More +
  13. Period Matters

    As more and more topics are placed under the sustainability spotlight, we have turned our attention to an interesting one: periods. As menstrual products start to modernise and with attitudes towards our monthly cycle becoming more open, we are delving into the subject and taking a look at some of the consciously-created menstrual products that we’ve introduced in the salon and online.

    More +
  14. Fashion Month: Round-Up

    As the curtain falls on the Spring/Summer 2019 catwalks, we have gathered together some of our favourite hair and beauty looks from all four cities.

    More +
  15. Reads: 11 by Jasmine Deporta

    Jasmine Deporta has been a favourite photographer of ours since her series Sofa Safari, where she matched her models outfits with the furniture they were sitting on. Now she’s back with the release of her first ever book, 11 - a personal journey through her last 4 years of work. We caught up with her to find out more.

    More +
  16. Hair Story: Ayesha McMahon

    As part of our Hair Story series at Glasshouse Journal, we spoke to up and coming model Ayesha McMahon about her natural hair and the story behind it. From free flowing curls to intricate braided styles, Ayesha walks us through her favourite looks and her love for her fro, along with her thoughts on the misconceptions of black hair in society.

    More +
Load more posts