Should you make the switch to natural beauty?

Welcome to Hit Refresh. This month, we’ll be bringing you articles created by experts that will help you live your best life in 2019. Today, beauty editor Anna Lavdaras takes us through her transition into natural beauty.

For the launch of Goop by Juice Beauty in 2016, Gwyneth Paltrow went on The Tonight Show to promote the new skincare line. She along with host Jimmy Fallon dipped McDonald’s French fries into a pot of her moisturiser and ate it to prove just how pure it was.

The premise of her skincare line was to provide a ‘natural’ alternative to the chemical-laden formulas that dominated the market. “The idea that you’re exercising and trying to eat well and then slathering yourself with chemicals, parabens, and silicones – it’s not great.” Unlike her other questionable theories, she’s far from alone in her distrust for skincare.

Over the past few years, a parallel beauty industry has exploded alongside the traditional one. One which peddles language such as ‘natural’, ‘clean’, and ‘organic’.

I pride myself on trying to live as ‘clean’ as possible in all facets of my life, bar beauty. Yes, it sounds hypocritical, but I’ve been working the beauty desk at a magazine for the past four years – I couldn’t afford to be picky. Especially when La Mer was up for grabs…

The temptation to do a full-scale chemical purge peaked at the end of last year. After three relentless months of planning my wedding – and all the events that came with it – a honeymoon, and then coming back to the December Christmas party circuit, my body was spent and my skin was suffering. That’s when I met Anna Mitsios from Edible Beauty Australia.

Anna is a naturopath and nutritionist, who created Edible Beauty in 2004 while working in a fertility clinic. At the time, there were very limited skincare products that combined edible-grade formulas with luxurious packaging. Edible Beauty has since grown into a global brand stocked worldwide in Sephora stores and online.

Before I made the transition into an all-natural skin routine, I wanted to quiz Anna on all things ‘clean beauty’…

Do I need to go ‘edible’ grade? What’s the difference between that and ‘natural’?

“Whilst there is a growing awareness of the need to use pure and organic ingredients on our skin, at Edible Beauty our gold standard for purity is an “edible” ingredients list. One of the common traps we may fall into when considering natural products is that they are classified as “pure or “organic”. This does not make a product edible – in fact natural organic products may still contain synthetic chemicals, fragrances and preservatives along with organic botanical extracts. Our products are made with pure, wildcrafted ingredients which are also edible.”

What are the nasties I need to avoid?

“This means that not only are our products free of the usual nasties – sulfates, parabens, phthalates etc., they are also free of benzyl alcohol, fragrances, propylene glycol, all preservatives, colours, synthetics and any ingredient that you would not recognise or find in your food. Every ingredient in our products is pure and botanical, and good enough to eat.”

Why is it so important to use pure skincare?

“The skin, being the largest organ of the body, absorbs close to 60% of the products that we place on it. Given we absorb such a large percentage of what we put on our skin and the fact that what we put on our skin bypasses our digestive and detoxification systems, what we are putting on our skin becomes just as important as what we are eating.”

With that information under my belt, I was prescribed a full skin routine to trial starting Jan 1 for a whole month. This is what happened:

My prescription-

Day 1. I wake up and it’s business as usual, but instead of using my favourite glycolic acid scrub in the shower, I use the gentle creamy milk cleanser by Edible Beauty. It smells soothing, very different from the chemical scent I’ve grown quite fond of. I don’t feel quite clean enough after cleansing, so I use my Clarisonic with hot water to scrub off any remaining cleanser. My face is currently looking quite dull, with quite a few blemishes around my jawline. This is hormonal I’m told, and should clear up once I rebalance my oil flow.

Day 5. This is the longest I’ve ever gone without exfoliating, and I’m starting to have deep withdrawals. My skin has been a little more oily than usual, so I start using the Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mousse before bed.

Day 10. The oil flow seems to have re-balanced, and my skin is starting to look a little brighter. The angry congestion that had flared up around my jawline has subsided.

Day 20. My blemishes are clearing up, and I’ve stopped using my Clarisonic. I caught a whiff of my retinol serum today and it made my eyes sting. I’m tempted to throw it in the bin, but then I remember I paid $180 for it. I’ve struck the perfect balance, alternating daily between the Probiotic Tonic with the Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum.

Day 30. My skin is in a much better place than it was when I started. I haven’t had a hormonal breakout since I started, and my natural oils re-balanced without all the heavy duty exfoliating products. I am so impressed, I’m going to keep using this new regime.