just coz it's natural...

... doesn't mean it's safe.

Today, if I may, I’d like to have a little rant. And my rant is about bloggers, vloggers, the media and some skincare brands that tell you to buy only products that are 100% natural.

Just because a product is 100% natural, doesn’t mean to say it’s 100% safe. And I’m a HUGE advocate for safe (and honest) skincare. That trumps 100% natural any day of the week.

Now don’t get me wrong, products that are 100% natural AND 100% safe…. well that’s a no-brainer. AND products that are 100% organic AND 100% safe… well in my eyes you’ve just hit gold.

But I will never give up the safety and health of my skin.

Here’s a little story about what happened to me when I was first started my business a number of years ago, and wasn’t exactly a bag-full of confidence.

I was on a research project. At the time I thought I might fancy making baby products – commendable idea you might think but can you imagine - me, mother of zero human babies, woman severely allergic to (practically all) children, making baby products? I don’t mean to offend, but seriously? What was I thinking? To put it mildly, that wouldn’t have been a good fit… at all!

Anyway… back to my story. So I was researching baby products and found a brand from the States. I was reading the ingredients label on the back and was really puzzled. First ingredient ‘aqua’ (ie water)… but for the life of me I couldn’t find any preservatives. Hmmm…. in the school I had attended, where I learned to make all the products you see today, I was taught that where there is water (aqua) there must always be a preservative.

Now I don’t know about you but I find that there’re so many skincare ingredients on the market and the name they’re given on a skincare label (the legally required ‘INCI’ name) can sometimes be… well…. difficult to understand, that it’s impossible to recognise all ingredients without trawling along a HUGE encyclopaedia with you when you’re out shopping.

So I did what I suspect you might do and I asked the assistant for help. She confidently advised me that the essential oils in the product were acting as the preservative.

Immediately alarm bells went off in my head as my memory went back to what I had learned at the skincare school. There I was told that “essential oils can prevent against up to 80% of bacteria/fungi etc but they’re not a preservative because they can’t protect the product 100%”. Had I understood correctly? Was my memory playing tricks and I wasn’t recalling what I’d learned correctly?

So you know what I did? I ran out of the store in a tight old tizzy! Back then I didn’t have the confidence I have now to redress the assistant. And my lack of confidence was chirping in my ear “she knows more than you”. It was horrible.

But that was such a valuable lesson for me as I can now imagine what it’s like when you don’t have industry insight and are a consumer just seeking advice from someone you believe should be knowledgeable – the shop assistant.

And that’s why I bang on about topics like misleading skincare claims on labels, why ‘toxic’ ingredients are probably not toxic at all, and other similar things. I want you to become a savvy shopper so you don’t need to listen to the advice of anyone (be it shop assistant, blogger, vlogger or even friend quoting the latest craze) who may not have all the knowledge you think they may have.

By the way, to end my story. I contacted the teacher at the school I attended and she confirmed my understanding was correct. Essential oils cannot act as a preservative.

Viv xx