As we collectively continue to make a conscious shift towards a more natural skincare routine, there are many questions that arise. In amongst the scaremongering on synthetic ingredients and potentially damaging terms such as 'clean' skincare (which suggests that the opposite of natural skincare is 'dirty'), we don't blame you for feeling confused.
To us, it's not about choosing natural skincare because synthetic skincare is 'toxic', it's about choosing natural skincare because it performs so well for the skin. So whether you want to avoid synthetic ingredients, or you want high-performance skincare and are interested in natural ingredients, we've got you covered.
We've put together a handy guide to give you straightforward answers to your most frequently asked natural skincare questions, to help you make the most informed decisions for your skin.
Are natural skincare products better for my skin?
There is much scaremongering about synthetic ingredients and while we are a natural skincare brand, we are not here to say that synthetic ingredients are bad in order to sell our products. If an ingredient was proven unsafe then it wouldn't pass legal cosmetic testing procedures, whether it is a synthetic or natural ingredient. We are also not scientists so we don't want to add to the hugely conflicting information out there already.
What we do know is that natural ingredients work extremely well for the skin and so given the choice to produce high-performance natural skincare or high-performance synthetic skincare, for us it is a no-brainer to opt for natural.
Our natural skincare ingredients work with your skin's natural balance instead of against it, and that is where natural skincare ingredients really come into their own. They put the vitamins, antioxidants and moisture that our environment can deplete, back into the skin to let it flourish.
How do I know how natural a skincare product actually is?
Unfortunately there is no governing body to determine what is genuinely natural or organic in beauty, so it's always best to become familiar with ingredient labels and a brand's ethos. Some products will be labelled 'natural' when they actually only have 1% natural ingredients in the formulation, so look for brands that are transparent about their ingredients and have an ethos you trust in.
At Willowberry all of our products are as natural as possible, usually 99% and above. We decode every single ingredient (not just the fancy ones) and state the natural % of each product on our website pages.
Does natural skincare contain preservatives?
Oil-based (anhydrous) natural skin care products that do not contain water (such as face oils and cleansing balms) will not develop bacteria and so they can remain completely preservative-free. Any skincare products containing water (such as lotions and creams) legally require a preservative to be used, otherwise micro-organisms such as fungi and bacteria could grow in the product and it wouldn’t be safe to use.
With Willowberry products, when we need to use preservatives in our formulations we choose safe, gentle, tested preservatives that won't irritate the skin.
Should I be avoiding 'chemicals' in my skincare products?
Everything in life is a chemical. Oxygen is a chemical. Water is a chemical. So anything labelled 'chemical-free' is impossible and to avoid chemicals in skincare is impossible. If an ingredient is sourced from nature, it is not 'chemical-free'. If an ingredient is made in a lab rather than being sourced from nature then that ingredient is a 'synthetic' ingredient.
What is the difference between natural and organic skincare?
Natural skincare contains ingredients derived from a plant, mineral or animal by-product such as honey or beeswax.
The term ‘organic’ refers to how a natural ingredient is farmed. For example, it must be grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, GMOs, sulphates, parabens or antibiotics in the soil.
Whether you opt for natural or organic comes down to personal choice. At Willowberry we opt for products that are as natural as possible, using the highest quality natural ingredients. Willowberry products are not organic because organic ingredients cost more than natural, non-organic ingredients do, which would bump the prices of our products up higher than we are comfortable with making them, and natural ingredients already do an incredible job for the skin.
What is the difference between 'natural' and 'naturally derived'?
An ingredient is ‘natural’ when it has been used in its natural, raw state after being extracted from the plant source. For example, chia seeds are cold-pressed to extract the oil from the seeds; this chia seed oil is then used within our products.
An ingredient is ‘naturally derived’ when the natural ingredient is then treated in a lab to access other properties of the raw material; for example, getting natural fatty acids and natural fatty alcohols from a coconut.
Naturally derived ingredients such as natural fatty acids and natural fatty alcohols are necessary to create certain elements of skincare products, such as emulsifiers and preservatives that are needed within a cream-based product. We think it’s pretty great that we can source these from nature, rather than creating them synthetically in a lab.
A lot of skincare will simply label itself as 'natural'. But at Willowberry we like to go a step further and state when an ingredient is naturally derived rather than just calling it natural, as we want to be as transparent as possible, to arm you with knowledge so that you can have 100% confidence in our products.
How do I know if natural ingredients are sustainable and responsibly sourced?
In short, do your homework. Unfortunately, there are very few guidelines when it comes to ethical beauty standards. A lot of brands, like Willowberry, will be proud of their sustainability and ethical practises and are therefore likely to include this on their website. You can read our ethical ethos here.
Can natural oils be used on oily skin?
Although it sounds counter intuitive, yes, natural oils are excellent for oily skin types. If you use drying products on your skin to try to 'strip' your skin's excess oil, this will simply prompt the skin to create more oil to compensate, thereby exacerbating the issue in the process. By applying a light, easily absorbed natural face oil such as the Willowberry Nutrient Boost Face Oil, it not only helps to regulate sebum production, it also provides your skin with the vitamins and antioxidants it needs for good health.
What natural ingredients are good for mature skin?
We believe that the key to looking after skin as it ages is to protect the skin’s natural barrier function to nourish and transform grown-up skin, rather than using harsh products that strip the skin and leave it vulnerable.
Look out for natural ingredients that are rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants (all of Willowberry's formulas are based on this) to fight off oxidative stress and inflammation, which would otherwise weaken and damage the skin. Hyaluronic acid is another natural superhero, as it has the ability to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, offering superior skin hydration to rejuvenate, plump and smooth the skin.
What natural ingredients are good for dry skin?
Many natural ingredients are great dry skin busters. Grapeseed, chia seed and rosehip oils are perfect to replenish dry skin, as they are highly moisturising and contain lots of fatty acids and antioxidants to ensure your skin holds moisture more effectively. Cocoa butter is fantastic at helping to nourish, soften, condition and protect the skin to help hydrate, smooth and improve skin elasticity. Also keep a look out for products containing hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water, which is why we included it in our Willowberry Nutrient Boost Day Cream.
Willowberry is 'Nutritious Natural' skincare for grown-ups for your best skin. Launched in 2017, Willowberry is an award-winning independent British brand that has gained a cult following. Loved by top make-up artists, the streamlined, highly effective range protects skin’s natural barrier function to nourish and transform grown-up skin, with indulgent formulas that feed the skin and soul.