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This guide will help you navigate the world of natural beauty, with information about what ingredients are ‘natural’ and what their benefits are, as well as the ingredients you may want to avoid.
You will also find recommendations for natural makeup, skincare, hair and nail products from our carefully curated natural beauty range here at H&B.
Natural beauty means something different for everybody – and that in itself is beautiful.
For some, natural beauty may mean going back to basics and focussing on nourishing their hair, skin and nails with a healthy diet and carefully selected supplements and beauty products.
For others, natural beauty may still look like a full-face of makeup and styled hair, but with a focus on products that use natural ingredients as their inspiration.
Whatever your reason for wanting to delve into the world of natural beauty, we can give you all the information you need to help you understand what it could do for you.
Clean beauty and natural beauty share many of the same values, but clean beauty has its own niche focus points.
For a beauty product to be classed as ‘clean’, it will usually be:
Here’s an A-Z of the most common natural beauty ingredients and what they’re used for:
A natural plant-based emollient rich in vitamin E.
A powerful antioxidant.
A substance bees product to make their hives.
An oil extracted from the cocoa bean (also used to make chocolate).
A natural protein found in the human body and other animals/fish.
A powerful antioxidant.
A natural oil made from flaxseeds.
A natural skin humectant.
A natural agent already found in our skin.
A natural oil that is similar to sebum (skin oil).
A water-soluble acid made from sugary fruits.
A specialist, high-quality honey from New Zealand.
A common herb.
A beauty version of your morning porridge.
Short-chain amino acids.
An essential vitamin.
A naturally occurring humectant.
A natural astringent.
Essential oil used as a fragrance.
One of the most important minerals for humans.
This acid can be found in sugarcane, sugar beet, pineapple, melon and grape plants. It’s commonly used as an exfoliator – especially chemical peels.
Inositol has a similar structure to B vitamins and is vital for hydrated hair and skin.
Kaolin is a clay normally used in face masks to draw out excess oil in the skin while soothing it.
A poly-unsaturated fat that helps moisturise skin and hair.
Marula oil is extracted from marula tree nuts. Used in skin and hair products due to its hydrating and protective properties.
This natural plant hormone is usually sourced from things like willow bark. It’s amazing at penetrating through your skin.
A rich source of fatty acids that can help to keep skin and hair moisturised, nourished and protected.
Helps regulate your skin barrier to keep it protected and hydrated. Commonly used in anti-ageing products.
A plant pigment (flavonoid), which is a natural antioxidant.
This water-soluble acid is made from sugary fruits and can help to cleanse your skin of excess oils and dirt. It’s also an excellent exfoliator.
Produced in our bodies as a lipid, but production declines over time (like collagen). Estimated to make up 10-12% of our skin’s natural oil. Can hydrate, cleanse and help protect your skin from negative effects of free radical damage. Can also make hair more shiny, strong-looking and moisturised.
An essential oil derived from orange rind with an uplifting natural fragrance.
This essential fatty acid can help support skin and nails. It can’t be made in the body, so it must be obtained from food or supplements.
An antioxidant found in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach. Used to hydrate skin and support skin.
When it comes to most parts of our lives, the general consensus is that natural is best, and your beauty regime is no exception. Here are some of the benefits of switching to natural beauty products:
Some chemicals, fillers and artificial colours / fragrances can irritate skin, especially if you have sensitive skin / a sensitive scalp to begin with.
Making the swap to natural beauty products could cause less irritation and help you see better results as they are often a lot gentler.
One of the best things about using natural ingredients and fragrances is that they smell divine.
Forget strong, offensive fake smells that are used to mask the smell of other chemicals in products and go au naturel if you want to be kind to your nose.
Extra brownie points if you opt for beauty products containing natural essential oils! They have the potential to provide you with a little aromatherapy too, so take your time rubbing it into your skin or hair.
Most beauty products contain some sort of preservative to extend their shelf life, with the most popular being parabens.
While there is nothing wrong with making sure your face creams, shampoos, serums and more get from the shelf without ‘going off’, some people prefer to use more natural preservatives.
Thankfully, there are natural preservatives like grapefruit seed extract, salicylic acid, sorbic acid, benzyl alcohol, and more.
Unlike conventional beauty products where you would need a lab and a fair few test tubes, some natural beauty products can be made at home.
A lot of natural beauty products don’t contain animal products – especially those pesky animal-containing E numbers that tend to pop up in ingredient lists.
Most natural beauty brands don't test their products on animals. It’s not like they are coming up with some fancy new chemical after all, so why would they?
Handpicked content: The ultimate guide to vegan beauty
With the focus on natural ingredients, a lot of natural beauty brands will take this one step further and go organic.
Some people opt for organic skincare and other products as they are grown without the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), herbicides, synthetic fertilisers and more.1
A lot of natural ingredients have been used for centuries to care for people’s hair and skin, just like Cleopatra with her famous milk and honey
Some have an advanced ability to soften, nourish and hydrate your skin and hair, especially if they are combined with other complementing ingredients.
Why try and re-create what nature has already supplied for us? Especially if doing so could hurt it.
The manufacturing process of some conventionally produced ingredients can have a harmful impact on the environment.
Think about it, when you apply un-natural products to your skin, they can easily seep into the environment and the water system. For example, when you’re in the shower using body wash, shampoo, conditioner, it all goes down the drain in the end. And while they may not hurt you / your skin / your hair, they could pose a threat to our delicate eco-system.
Using eco-friendly skin care that contains natural ingredients and avoids known contaminants like microbeads (those little bits of plastic found in face masks, etc) is better for the planet. This is because they use fewer unnatural and potentially harmful chemicals that would otherwise get released into the environment.
On the label: Sodium lauryl sulphate
SLS is commonly made from petroleum, but you can find versions made with palm oil or coconut oil (SCS).
However, even these more natural versions are usually reacted with sulfuric acid to create sulphate – so it is not usually considered natural.
On the label: Paraffinium liquidum, cera microcrystalline, petrolatum, mineral oil or paraffin waxes
Vegetable carrier oils like olive oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, pumpkin seed oil and more.
Natural and gentle essential oils.
On the label: Ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben
Handpicked content: What are parabens and are they bad for you?
Natural preservatives include grapefruit seed extract, salicylic acid, sorbic acid, benzyl alcohol, and more.
Natural exfoliants include sea salt, salicylic acid, oats and more.
On the label: Dimethicone, trimethicone, amodimethicone, cyclopentsiloxane
Natural emollients like squalene and olive oil.
There are a lot of shops online and offline that specialise in natural beauty products. You can also probably find them in your regular go-to beauty destination – just get good at reading labels!
We specialise in clean and conscious natural beauty products here at H&B; you don’t have to do all the digging and the research; we’ve already done that for you.
If you want to trust in nature to help you feel your most beautiful, here are X of the best natural beauty products we sell here at H&B.
Putting our best face forward sure is a lot easier if we nourish it with natural ingredients!
Whether you like to keep it simple with a moisturiser or like to go the whole shebang with a full-face natural skin care routine, there are lots of nature-inspired products that can help. Here’s just a few of our favourites:
You can still enjoy natural beauty if you like to use makeup! The following natural cosmetics will give you the made-up look you love, while nourishing your skin with natural ingredients.
Like to keep your skincare natural? Whether it’s because you have sensitive skin or just want to embrace what nature provides, here’s a few of our favourite skin care natural products for you to try.
Your hair naturally deserves a treat, too! The following products are full of natural ingredients ready to nourish your locks.
Last updated: 19 March 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Mar 2019
BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science
After completing her BSc in Biomedical Science, Doaa worked in Research and laboratory for 3 years. Doaa was also a member of a product development team in a manufacturing company specialising in sun care and personal care products, researching and providing regulatory advice regarding international regulations.