Here at Hip & Healthy, we are a little obsessed with natural skincare and beauty. Gone are the days of drab and non-effective alternative skincare – over the past few years, we have seen a surge in natural products that are just as luxurious as their (actually not-so-luxurious) chemical laden counterparts. To fill us in on why natural skincare is just as important as a wholefood diet, we caught up with the girls from one of our favourite green beauty blogs Clean Beauty Co, to find out their cannot-live-without products, desert island essentials and all that’s in between. Read on for the lowdown…
What inspired you to start Clean Beauty Co?
We were agonising over the ingredients in food, researching clean eating and already super concerned about what was going into our bodies in an effort to move away from high-processed rubbish. But we were still obsessed with beauty products, using up to 20 different products a day. Clean Beauty Co came out of a natural merge of these two things: if we were so concerned about what we were putting into our bodies, why weren’t we thinking about what we were putting onto our bodies? After all, our skin is our biggest organ and – surprise surprise – it absorbs a lot! After a little research, we were both horrified to discover what actually goes into our favourite shampoos, moisturisers, face scrubs and foundations. We were already making simple face masks and bath soaks, so we invested in some essential oils, upped our DIY game and CBCo was born!
Was there anything in particular that made you keen to make the switch to using only ‘clean’ products?
The realisation that we could find or make products that contain only the good stuff. High quantities of our favourite plant, nut, flower and seed oils, all the anti-ageing, super-moisturising, ultra-nourishing goodness that hasn’t been diluted with pointless fillers and chemicals. We were spending so much money on beauty products that were promising to change our worlds, but when we actually looked at the ingredients, there was not only nothing spectacular in there, but actually every effort had been made to cut corners and fill the bottle out with cheap alternatives. We want the very best for our skin and hair, so we decided to make a change and document the journey.
Do you have any particular role models within the world of natural beauty?
Stacy Malkan is an absolute inspiration. She wrote Not Just a Pretty Face and is a campaigner for safe cosmetics in the US. Some of her work and the progress she’s made is amazing. Karen and Victoria of La Bella Figura are doing a really interesting thing in the US with A Night for Green Beauty – we love that they’ve created a green beauty community and would love to try to do a similar thing in London. Also Olivia at Glasshouse Salon in East London as she’s managed to nail a super-trendy hair salon that offers natural alternatives when it comes to hair treatments and colour. And finally our girls at Call It Vanity who are old-hats at this natural beauty lark! Their blog is an inspiration to us as there’s so much amazing content delivered in a really accessible (and funny) way. Great for those first starting out.
Name your 5 cannot-live-without products…
Vita Coco Coconut Oil – Don’t think we need to go into too much detail here, if this isn’t already a staple on your beauty shelf then we suggest you go out and get some ASAP! We love that Vita Coco’s oil comes from the Philippines, where some of the best coconuts are grown!
Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap – We love Dr Bronner’s, it’s a really versatile soap made of just a few natural ingredients. It can be used all over, as a body wash, face wash or hand soap. We even use it to clean our makeup brushes! It is really gentle and smells great (our fave is lavender). It’s just awesome.
Une Foundation – We’re both recent converts to this stuff and love it. It’s light and dewy but provides enough coverage to hide pesky blemishes and under-eye circles after a late night. We use an anti-ageing version with hydraulic acid and it smells divine.
RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek – RMS is an awesome brand and their makeup game is strong. We love their Lip2Cheek as it’s so versatile – both a gorgeous lip gloss as well as a glowing blusher – and because it’s made up of coconut oil it also moisturises while making you look pretty.
CBCo Nutter – not to blow our own trumpet, but our hair serum made up of Argan, Macadamia, Sweet Almond and Geranium is a big hit in our households. It can be used as a post-washing serum or an overnight treatments, promoting healthy hair and shine. Winning.
For all those sceptical of going natural, what would you say to persuade them that it really is important to overhaul the toxins from our lives?
We’re not here to preach about the chemicals, toxins and dangers that can lie in your high street beauty products. Moving to natural products not only eliminates toxins, but also nourishes your body with the real stuff that has beneficial properties. And if that doesn’t convince you, then you should also know that you are wasting your money on ‘luxury’ skin and hair care. It is a huge, and very naughty, marketing ploy and most of the time the products you buy are filled with chemicals that give absolutely no benefit.
Your all time favourite beauty recipe from your website is…?
Are we only allowed to pick one? It will probably have to be our Fuss Free Moisturiser which is an all-round miracle worker. We haven’t been able to live without it since concocting the recipe at the start of the year. It’s a powerful combo of Coconut, Jojoba, Rosehip and Vitamin E oils and is just like a great big nourishing cuddle for your skin. The best way to use it is as an in-shower balm – slather on in the shower, rinse off and there’s no need to moisturise when you get out. Handy right?
What does your daily skincare routine look like?
Both pretty simple to be honest!
Elsie: I am obsessed with Antipodes Grace Cream Cleanser. It’s sooooooo gentle but also very moisturising and nourishing. I’ll follow that with a rose water toner and oil-based moisturiser. Right now I’m loving Rosehip oil with a drop of Frankincense (if you can’t be bothered to make your own then Pai do a great range).
Dominika: I am loving Green People’s cream cleanser, my skin is really dry in winter and is loving the richness of this. I always tone with our Rosy Glow, Rosewater with Barbary Fig oil to keep my skin clear and supple. I’m giving Weleda’s Rose Day cream a whirl at the moment, I’ll admit it, I love the scent of rose.
For those of us currently dependent on using a lot of commercial products, what would be your top tip for making the switch to more natural alternatives?
Ease into it. You honestly don’t want to be investing in an entire new skin and hair routine all at once because, aside from it costing a small fortune, you have no idea how your skin might react. Make the change gradually with one product at a time – start with a cleanser, ensure it’s the right one for you and your skin’s happy with it before moving on to your toner. And be patient. Your body is used to the commercial products that you’ve been using for so many years and may take a couple of days to adapt to your new, super-potent face oil.
How important do you believe the link between our diets and beautiful skin to be?
Now, we definitely don’t proclaim to be any kind of nutritionists, but there is no doubt that diet has a massive impact on the look and feel of your skin. We’ve woken up many a time after one too many glasses of prosecco to dry, dehydrated and grey skin. I guess our approach to diet is similar to our approach to beauty products – we want as much of the good stuff as possible! We try and cram oodles of green veg, avocado, eggs, berries, proteins and pulses in as we know that they’re a quick fix way to glowing skin. Many of the nutrients you get in these foods are similar to the nutrients found in our favourite beauty products – antioxidants, essential fatty acids etc – and your skin still benefits.
Can you suggest a few must-have beauty accessories/utensils?
A killer make-up brush is always worth investing in and there are a number of brands that have vegan options but equally aren’t made up of gross, toxic fibres. Have a look at RMS Beauty or Kjaer Weis’ ranges.
Your desert island beauty product would be what?
It would have to be coconut oil again (we know, we know, change the record!). We love the stuff so much, it’s pretty much the third member of CBCo. And it would be perfect on a desert island! You could use it to moisturise, keep your hair conditioned, it has a small SPF so you could slather on before sunbathing and then use as a soothing aftersun. Plus you could eat it.
What is your favourite way to keep active? Are there any workout trends you’re loving at the moment?
We are firm gym buddies as well as business partners and have a weekly session with our awesome PT Jordan. At the moment we’re both loving handstands for balance and core work, then we’re a teeny bit obsessed with boxing for an all-round killer workout.
If you had to share just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t believe everything you’re told and make the effort to do the research yourself. This applies to big beauty brands, as well as small ones claiming to be natural and organic. The regulations are very loose around cosmetics, so make the effort to understand your labels and ascertain fact from fiction. Or just make your own!
Interview by Meryn Turner