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Gorgeous naturally

Your guide to natural hair dyes, make-up and beauty products without the nasties

Simple skincare

“A lot of conventional products can strip the skin of its natural oils whereas natural products contain a combination of oils which help to support the health of your skin,” says Brid Smyth, manager of Evergreen in Barna, Co Galway. “Natural cosmetics are effective as they contain a wonderful combination of oils which are kind to your skin. This is especially useful if you have dry skin as they do not strip the skin like some conventional products. We stock cleansers, toners and moisturisers in the form of oils, milks, creams and sprays.”

“We try to be really fussy about ingredients, avoiding those containing parabens, SLS and so on,” says Nancy Flexman of Eats of Eden in Limerick city. “Some customers just try our products based on a magazine review or a friend’s recommendation. However, many people settle on one brand that suits them. Mothers bring their daughters in for their first face care products. Men are looking after their skin more these days too.”

Aromatherapist Ellen Cox of Atlantic Aromatics says, “Organic, cold pressed, unrefined vegetable oils combined with selected pure essential oils have many benefits for skin health without potential irritating ingredients like alcohol and preservatives. The essential fatty acids in many unrefined vegetable oils are especially nourishing and rejuvenating when applied to the skin.”

“Natural Products will often feature fats and oils from seeds, nuts, fruits that are rich in fatty acids and help to truly nourish the skin,” says Rebecca Goodyear of beauty blog Biteable Beauty. “Botanical extracts may be selected to aid certain skin complaints, such as flowers calendula and chamomile, rosewater, and herbal extracts including rosemary, thyme and sage. Essential oils can also be effective at treating skin conditions, for example lavender and geranium are calming and sage is good for balancing, whilst frankincense is highly rejuvenating.”

Colour and cosmetics

“Natural cosmetics are a better choice than conventional ones because they do not contain any harsh or harmful chemicals,” says Brid Smyth. ”Once you find a product that suits your skin type they can be just as good as any product. We stock a wide range of natural cosmetics including foundation, powder, blusher, lipstick, mascara and eyeshadow. We find that the people who buy them are conscientious customers who may have skin issues, alongside those who do not support animal testing.”

“Lots of people think that skin is impermeable but they are mistaken,” says Nancy Flexman. “A high proportion of cosmetic ingredients are absorbed into your body. It makes sense to use cosmetic ingredients that your body can recognise, rather than synthetic ones that your body may not know how to detoxify. Natural cosmetics are available to suit all skin types, and are often preferable for problem skin.”

“Mineral make-up combines minerals such as zinc oxide, iron oxide, titanium dioxide, mica and ultramarine, ground up into fine particles to make powders and foundations,” says Rebecca Goodyear. “These minerals provide pigment, coverage, sun protection and possess anti-inflammatory effects. It is also still important to read the ingredients list with mineral make-up, as it may still contain parabens, fragrance and synthetic dyes.”

More natural hair dyes

“One of the most commonly used chemicals in hair dyes and bleaching products is Toluene-2,5-Diamine Sulfate,” says Rebecca Goodyear. “Used as an oxidative hair colouring agent, this chemical group is a known allergen and toxin. Natural hair dyes come with much less risk of allergic reaction, and without these potentially hazardous to health chemicals.”

“Natural hair dyes are as effective as conventional dyes, but like all hair colours bolder shades such as red may tend to fade,” says Brid Smyth.

“Conventional hair dyes can contain a number of toxic ingredients.” says Nancy Flexman. “As you continue to use these products, toxic ingredients build up in your scalp. Some people develop problems after years of using the same conventional product. However, even natural hair dyes have to contain a small amount of a potentially toxic ingredient in order to be permanent. So rather than saying ‘natural’ it is more accurate to say ‘more natural’. Manufacturers of more natural hair dyes are constantly on the lookout for plant-based ingredients to give better results.

“At Eats of Eden we stock one range of permanent hair dyes and a range of henna-based semi-permanent colours,” says Sally Smith.

The role of Vitamin C

“As we mature we start to explore ways to avoid the dreaded wrinkles,” says Susie Perry Debice, author and nutritionist for Altrient C, a liposomal vitamin C gel supplement. “The good news is that with the right nutrition and skincare regime you can help boost and maintain your youthful looks. Drink at least 1-2 litres of water a day to stay hydrated, take vitamin D for skin cell renewal and rejuvenation, protect your skin from UV damage by using an SPF moisturiser all year round.

“Vitamin C also plays an incredibly important role in the synthesis of collagen,” says Susie, “the proteins in our bodies responsible for the skin’s suppleness and elasticity, maintaining that youthful, plumped up, healthy glow. One of the noticeable effects of vitamin C deficiency is that the skin becomes dry and dull and begins to lose its firmness and tone.”

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