I have a bit of a reputation for disliking natural ingredients.
But… I don’t. What I dislike is the idea that natural is always better. Am I really supposed to believe that slathering your body in poison ivy is better for you than using a moisturiser with 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 For Sun Protection
Since I’ve switched to zinc oxide-based sunscreens a few years ago, I’ve never looked back. I love zinc oxide because it protects 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. 😉
- Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($34.00): available at Cult Beauty, Sephora, and SpaceNK
- Mad Hippie Facial SPF 30+ ($24.99): available at Free People, iHerb and Ulta
- Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 ($33.00): available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
Related: Why Zinc Oxide Is The Best UV Filter Ever
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that fights wrinkles and gives your skin a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” cheat sheet to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
2. Shea Butter For Moisturising Dry Skin
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 shea butter helps skin recover from TWL [transepidermal water loss] within two hours and improve skin’s barrier after three or four.
No wonder sshea butter is the key ingredient in all my fave body creams and lip balms!
- The Body Shop Shea Body Butter ($21.00): available at The Body Shop and Ulta.
- Haus Of Gloi Pumpkin Butter ($4.50): available at Haus Of Gloi.
- Paula’s Choice Clinical Ultra-Rich Soothing Body Butter ($19.00): available at Paula’s Choice.
Related: Why I Love Shea Butter
3. Coconut Oil For Stronger, Shinier Hair
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.
Related: What Does Coconut Oil Do For Skin And Hair?
4. Ferulic Acid For Anti-Aging
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.
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00/£67.00): available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
- Paula’s Choice C15 Booster ($49.00): available at Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166.00): available at Blue Mercury and Dermstore
Related: Why Ferulic Acid Is One Of My Fave Antioxidants
5. Green Tea For Soothing Skin
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.
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum ($80.00): available at Cult Beauty, Sephora and SpaceNK
- MD SolarSciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA-UVB Sunscreen ($30.00):available at at Dermstore and Sephora.
- Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($34.00):available at Paula’s Choice
Related: Why You Should Add Green Tea To Your Skincare Routine
6. Olive Oil For Multi-Tasking
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?
Related: Why Olive Oil Is A Godsend For Skin And Hair