The skin-care world seems to be broken up into two distinct camps: those that can’t live without cosmeceuticals, and those that advocate natural skincare. (What is a cosmeceutical anyway you ask? Well, it is the combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals with biologically active ingredients which purport to have medical or drug-like benefits.) Whilst natural skincare is based around very pure and less complicated formulations of natural ingredients. No tampering and no lab coats.
Anecdotally it seems that even though many may favour natural skincare in principle, when it comes to keeping skin tone even and pesky lines at bay many people give up on natural skincare after a time, and revert back to the harder hitting “medicinal” options.
There is a common claim that natural skincare in reality cannot live up to the demands of the modern beauty ideal, so I decided to seek the opinion of a natural skincare advocate to let us in on what the most potent natural ingredients are, and what using them can do for our skin.
Kim Lewin-Reilly co-founder of Lewin & Reilly* an organic skin care company based in Melbourne, was more than happy to testify the benefits of natural ingredients and share her expertise with us. According to Kim, the top 3 natural ingredients you need to be on first-name-basis with are:
Kakadu Plum – terminalia ferdinandiana
You may have seen this in quite a few products over the last few years and there’s good reason for it! Kakadu Plum has evolved to survive one of the harshest environments on the planet – the Australian desert. It does this by producing the highest naturally occurring levels of Vitamin C of any known plant – 3150mg/100g of fruit, compared with rosehip (2000mg/100g), and even oranges (50mg/100g).
Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that protects the plant by scavenging free radicals caused by harmful UV rays from the sun. Skin-wise, Vitamin C is extremely important in helping to ward off premature wrinkles by aiding collagen production which results in a flawless, smooth and glowing complexion. The crucial thing with Vitamin C however, is its stability when heated – as it can often be during the extraction process. That’s why it’s imperative to seek heat-stable Vitamin C within an extract, or you’re better off with an orange.
Tamanu Oil – calophyllum inophyllum
If you’ve never heard of Tamanu Oil before, you really are in for a treat. It is a luxurious, bottle green viscous oil, most often found in beautiful parts of the world such as Vanuatu and other islands within the South Pacific region (swoon) and Asia. It has an array of fatty acids which include calophyllic acid and calophyllolide which have anti-inflammatory properties and linoleic acid, which can help protect skin from external elements by helping to improve your skin’s natural barrier.
Tamanu Oil is a well-known ‘skin healer’ and can be used for helping to relieve cuts, bruises, blemishes and bites. Wow. It has a distinct grassy/earthy scent, but in a good way – not like you’ve just finished cutting the grass (although I know some of you are thinking ‘I love that smell’).
Coconut Oil – cocos nucifera
(Essential reading: 12 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY & DE-CLUTTER WITH COCONUT OIL)
‘Here we go again with Coconut Oil’ I hear you cry, but it really is one of THE greatest substances on earth. Bold claim. The reason behind all the hype is its high levels of Lauric Acid – an anti-microbial substance found naturally in human breast milk which can help relieve certain strains of acne and balance sebum production.
Without delving too deep, it does this by helping to protect the acid layer on your skin’s surface that can get dry and damaged from excessive washing, pollution and cosmetics. It also has a longer shelf life compared to most oils and is naturally antiseptic and antibacterial. What does all this mean for your skin? A visibly clearer and overall happier complexion that you can feel confident showing off naked – as in au naturale, foundation-free!
*Lewin & Reilly – an organic & wild harvested skin care brand based in Melbourne, Australia. Their beautiful hand-crafted range is good enough eat!