BEAUTY & SKINCARE

Sustainable Skincare – Best of Summer 2015

Having evaluated, in total, more than 120 products, today I’m happy to share my top 10 green skincare essentials for summer and autumn. Plus: 3 readers’ Q&As!

All products shown here are suitable for women and men alike, individual intolerances and allergies aside.

All picks are synthetics free, cruelty-free (although the sun screen contains organic beeswax), free from conflict palm oil ingredients, free from wheat protein based ingredients and don’t contain toxic substances or unspecified synthetic fragrance.

Natural Skincare Essentials,
Summer 2015

summer-essentials-2015-10-favourites1. All-natural anti-perspirant powerhouse: Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. Read full and updated review here.

2. Non-nano all-natural 5-ingredients sunscreen: Badger Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream. Read full review here. Refresh your sunscreen knowledge here.

3. A refreshing gesture: thermal water – here any natural mineral or spring water would do.

Kind-of-a-disclaimer: La Roche Posay appears here because I happen to have a little ‘stock’ of those sitting in my pantry; once they’re used up, it will be a re-usable spay bottle filled with natural mineral water from a source not far from Berlin – as you can see, there’s always room for improvement.

4. Moscquito bite, sunburn, razor burn, inflammation and irritation cure that doubles as a basic deodorant: CMD Silicon Gel.

You remember – of course – that silicon is an important trace element and is not the same as silicone, which is the name for a synthetic compound family. But well, even brands muddle it up sometimes: what a difference an “e” makes, eh? But I digress.

The CMD Silicon Gel above is a semi-transparent fluid with strong skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory and adstrigent properties.

The possible uses are many, for example:
a) Application prior to shaving to tighten and even out skin; after shaving as a cooling treatment
b) Application as a cooling treatment to cure insect bites or light sun damage
c) Acne or large pore treatment applied both as a mask or as a serum or even make-up base to tighten up pores and calm down inflammations
d) Application as a light and non-irritant deodorant, great for runners’ feet also
e) Application (diluted in water) as an alcohol-free anti-inflammatory mouth rinse

5. Triclosan- and synthetics-free hand sanitiser: When on the road, we sometimes lack the possibility to wash our hands. No problem at all with Dr Bronner’s Fair Trade hand sanitiser – made from natural alcohol and lavender oil, it cleanses and refreshes without water.

The five products that come next are
seed and essential oils with amazing
skincare & health benefits.

summer-essentials-2015-pinterest6. Inflammation cure; insects, bugs, (and people) repellant: Akamuti Organic Neem Oil.
Antiseptic, antifungal, antipyretic and antihistamine, neem oil has got so many amazing benefits to offer. Unfortunately, it stinks like a sweaty sock stuffed with old garlic. (One drop of Mint or Clove or Cinnamon essential oil is most likely to counterbalance that and still maintain all the amazing perks.)
Neem oil is widely used in oral care products, for example by Dr Hauschka and Living Libations.

7. Light & universal liquid wax: Apeiron Pure Jojoba Oil. Jojoba oil is great on its own or as a wonderfully light, silky base for body, hair or cuticle oils. Infuse it with one drop of essential rose oil for a rejuvenating massage or with on drop of essential mint oil for a refreshing scalp treatment and forget all your worries.

8. For skin protection and tone: Primavera Organic Black Cumin (Nigella Sativa) Oil. Rich in linoleic acid (good for acne-prone skin!) and thymoquinone, a medically powerful substance intensely researched in the moment, this thick oil with a herbal, spicy scent is great to restore hair health – it strengthens the roots – and to heal damaged or irritated skin. Suitable for all skin types, in particular beneficial for mature, dry, irritated, or blemished skin.

9. Herbal first-aid: Biopark Cosmetics Mentha arvensis (field mint) Essential Oil. The cooling scent is great in summer, helps with tension headaches and soothes digestive problems.

10. SOS-cure for sensitive, blemished or irritated skin: Primavera Organic Inca Nut Oil (Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil). Inca Nut, or Sacha Inchi, is rich in linoleic acid and made from the edible nuts of the eponymous plant, native to South America and the Caribbean region. Claimed the next superfood a few years ago, the oil is gaining popularity for both internal and topical applications. Applied topically, the oil locks in moisture, softens, restructures and strengthens skin.

And finally…
Readers Q&As!

Sometimes readers will ask me questions that I can answer via email (and I do).
Sometimes however, readers don’t mind if I shared the Q&A anonymously on the blog and, in one case (Q3 below), the email address I was given didn’t work.

Q1: I only use certified organic cosmetics. I am curious which labels you prefer and why, thanks.”
– A reader from Europe

A1: I look for ingredients first, in particular when researching seed oils, essential oils, and dry mineral make-up products. The latter are often not even certifiable (as you can read in my interview with NaTrue’s Francesca Morgante).
The INCI declaration can sometimes reveal a clean and safe product in an otherwise “conventional” range.
On the other hand, to avoid hopefully all sneaky ingredients based on conflict palm oil, I choose BDIH-certified cosmetics, in particular for PO-heavy product formulas such as: mascara, lip gloss, lipstick, and several kinds of lotions or shampoos.
If I’m not sure about PO or other ingredients (mica for example can be sourced from mines deploying child labour: not shiny!), I ask the brands directly. Some brands, like Pai Skincare or Zao Beauty, declare their PO strategy upfront.
Now, I understand if your head is buzzing and you think “that’s too much, why did I even ask?”, consider using such databases as Codecheck – they offer both a comprehensive listing of the good, the bad and the mediocre ingredients, and a simple visual symbol for a “good” or “bad” product. Here is a link to the Codecheck app review.
Hope it helps you!

Q2: I love your Making Skype calls – look your best post! Fancy adding real photography, or maybe product suggestions? That would be cool, I have bookmarked the post!”
– A reader from Asia

A2: Wow, thank you.
I like that post too 😉 It was certainly fun to make. Given that it’s #6 most-read post ever (yes!), maybe it’s about time to say goodbye to the paper doll… I will think about it! Thank you!

Q3: Are BEAUTYCALYPSE blog subscriptions free of charge?”
– A reader from the USA

A3: Of course! I am yet to see a blogger who charges for post updates!
You can follow my blog by subscribing to free email updates (type in your email address into the form at the upper left corner or at the end of each post), via WordPress and via Bloglovin’ (please use this link).

As usual, discussion and comments are highly appreciated.

10 replies »

  1. That’s some testing and a half! Neem is so useful but the pong *holds nose*. Inca nut oil shows up in some oil blends but i’ve never used it straight up. Silicon before shaving……interesting.. does it go on dry or wet skin?

    • I think that neem is great in a blend. There is really brings in a “zest”, like stinky substances generally do, whether in perfumes or in cooking (Asafoetida overdose, anyone?)
      And the silicon gel goes to dry skin and topically “dries” it, thus tightening it a bit. I found that if I used a bit it would not happen, you certainly need a heavy hand for the pre-shaving treatment 🙂 But it’s now a favourite. So, so versatile! Don’t you LOVE it when one bottle performs like five?! 🙂

      • Stinky things always seem to have great health benefits too. You’ve reminded me that the jar of asafoetida is languishing in my spice drawer – I only reach for it in emergency when i’ve got no onions!

        • Ah, a cool idea to sub it for onions… Stingy-stinky-health-bombs… I am now afk for holiday 😉 Make sure to not miss my giveaway! xo

  2. Do you buy the natural mineral water already bottled or are you able to collect it yourself from source? Just wondering because I have been talking with another blogger about the availability of public springs, with water which is safe to drink.

    • Oh well. Sadly I don’t know of any source in my proximity. I have to buy natural mineral water from a brand that collects it from a source in a nature reserve near Berlin; and it’s really good and award-winning and whatnot.

      On the other hand, Berlin tap water has been praised in the media over and over again but now we have a severe sulfate contamination from brown coal power stations in near Brandenburg. Cuppa, anyone? :/

  3. I am in love with #1, #3 and #5. You will find all three for sure in my travel bags and most of the time in my handbags, too. #5 is for sure the most used product ever I owned. Thanks for the recommendation a while ago.

    • Dammit! WordPress just pushed my answer to the top thread. Here we go again:
      I think you’d like #4 too. It’s rose scented though… But it’s such a versatile skincare rockstar!