I have a bit of a reputation for disliking natural ingredients.
But that’s not true. What I dislike is the idea that natural is always better. Cos slathering your body in poison ivy is better for you than silicones… 🙄
Or what about those plants extracts that are just sprinkled in? You seriously believe it’s that drop of apple extract that moisturises your skin? 🙄
See how I got my bad rep now?
I hate it when natural extracts take the merit for something they don’t do. But I’m the first to admit that some natural ingredients are AMAZING.
They make your skin soft and smooth, protect it from UV harm and keep those pesky wrinkles away. I honestly couldn’t live without them. Here are my fave natural ingredients that have found their way into my skincare routine:
1. Zinc Oxide
Since I’ve switched to zinc oxide-based sunscreens a few years ago, I’ve never looked back. I love zinc oxide because it can protect against the entire UV range ON ITS OWN. No other UV filter does that. Plus it is very gentle. It’s one of the very few filters even sensitive skin can tolerate.
Ok, its texture is thick and it does leave a white cast behind but I can live with that. It’s a small price to pay for the excellent protection it provides.
Plus, there’s a workaround. You can always get a tinted sunscreen, like Sunumbra Sunscreen SPF30+. 😉
2. Shea Butter
The skin of my body is very dry. Shea butter is the only thing that can make it soft and smooth again. For hours.
Shea butter is so moisturising because it’s loaded with fatty acids, including oleic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and linolenic acid. They create a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss. Studies show it helps skin recover from TWL [transepidermal water loss] within two hours and improve skin’s barrier after three or four.
Related: Why I Love Shea Butter
3. Coconut Oil
I’m not a big fan of coconut oil for skincare.
It’s true that, like shea butter, it’s very moisturising and can amp up your skin’s hydration. But it can also clog pores and give you pimples. My skin is combo so I’m sure my drier areas would like it. My oilier ones? Not so much.
But I LOVE coconut oil for hair. Coconut Oil is one of the few ingredients that can actually penetrate hair, strengthening and moisturizing it from within. The best type is virgin coconut oil, but don’t go overboard with it. You don’t want to turn your hair into an oily mess.
4. Ferulic Acid
Ferulic Acid is a little known antioxidant that naturally occurs in whole grains, coffee, spinach and many vegs and fruits. It’s one of my fave antioxidants because it can destroy three types of free radicals: superoxide, hydroxyl radical, and nitric oxide!
It works very well on its own but it’s when paired with vitamins C and E that it really shines. Together, these three antioxidants enhance one another’s effectiveness so they’re even more powerful against wrinkles.
In case you’re wondering, I usually get my fix from Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster.
5. Green Tea
Green tea is another antioxidant that does double duty. It’s loaded with polyphenols, a group of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. They keep wrinkles at bay and reduce the redness and inflammation caused by sun exposure.
Green Tea is included in my favourite day moisturizer, Olay Total Effects Day Cream SPF 15, and serum Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum.
6. Olive Oil
I couldn’t end this list without mentioning olive oil too. I’m Italian, after all. 🙂
Extra virgin olive oil (the only type you should use on your skin) is a multitasker: it’s rich in fatty acids (such as oleic, palmitic, and linoleic) that are super moisturising and antioxidants (like resveratrol) that prevent wrinkles.
That’s not all. EVOO is also a great makeup remove and hair conditioner (olive oil is another of the few ingredients that can penetrate hair). Seriously is there anything it can’t do?
What are your favourite natural ingredients? Share yours in the comments below.