Updated: Feb 24
Right up, we can tell you it’s a confusing world out there. There’s no one size fits all, and if you are browsing the internet for your skincare needs and routines, then it can be even more so. Almost like a dozen tabs open on your screen and trying to figure which one’s playing the music. We get it, it can be intimidating, overwhelming and complex. So before we get into the hows and whys of natural skincare, how about we start with a skin quiz to determine your skin type?
Now that you have a general idea of where you fit in, here’s our beginner’s guide to the world of natural skincare. A word of advice, always remember, overthinking and overdoing kills it.
To begin with, the word “natural” itself has a definition issue in the world of skincare formulations, and wherever there is grey there is somebody making hay, so it maybe a good idea to start with defining what’s natural for you. Even certifying agencies whom we tend to trust, have widely varying opinions on this. For us at Oleum Cottage, minimal processing of a plant ingredient, involving little or no chemical processing, and not from an animal source, is a natural ingredient. And a natural formulation is one which is minimal, delivering only what we intend to add to the skin, and none to improve the texture, colour, fragrance or dissemination of the formulation. To add to that, made in small batches with a shorter cycle time to consumption makes things more nature aligned.
Secondly, and most importantly, natural is not equal to homemade. We cannot emphasise on this enough. Don’t get us wrong, we are big fans of DIY but we are sometimes a little perplexed by the casual approach to natural skin care, and the following rejection of it. For example, a friend said she tried Aloe Vera and gave up on it as it didn’t help and switched to a serum that she knows has chemicals. Well, natural formulation is an extensive science and art, so give it that time and understanding. We have said this before, and we will say it over and over again, the journey to healthy skin is a long one. Commit and stick to it. Good things take time.
Thirdly, natural skincare is holistic, and therefore minimalist. Since each formulation tends to multi-task, you won’t need an overwhelming list of things to address your skin concerns. This also means it is important for you to understand your skin type before choosing a natural skincare routine. And that’s exactly why we said, give our specially curated skin quiz a try. We promise you, it will make your decisions simpler.
Natural skincare, we’ve often been told is more cumbersome and slow in action. We agree it is slower than skincare formulations with chemicals, but with very good reason. The way natural works is by improving your skin’s inherent immunity, enhancing its barrier function, delivering tools to make it resilient against photo damage and environmental damage, which then leads to all your external symptoms fading away. If you are patient through the short period of adaptation (could be a week to 15 weeks, depending on its current state of inflammation), you will be spending less time and less money on your skin, while enjoying the sun a little more. Doesn’t sound cumbersome, does it?
A natural skincare ritual is not merely about cleansing, toning, moisturising. It is about strength building. Every formulation that you apply on your skin adds specific nutrition that enhances your skin’s immunity along with doing its day job of say, cleansing or hydrating.
In the world of trends and buzzwords, we want to reignite the love for oils, because it is so basic, so simple, and it resonates with every culture. Our genetic memory is perhaps more likely to accept plant ingredients that we’ve used for ten thousand years, over a synthetic ingredient created in the laboratory just a few years ago. And so, we always pick the former. Whether it be food, skincare, health or experience, being more attuned to our body is only natural, and perhaps more rewarding in the long run.