Finding a cleanser that’s both natural and effective requires a certain amount of due diligence. It starts with understanding how a good cleanser works and which products are actually delivering on the ‘natural’ promise.
How does a cleanser work?
The role of a facial cleanser is to dissolve skin oil, sweat, makeup and grime, so that it can be wiped or washed away. Some cleansers do this job too thoroughly and remove your skin’s natural moisture barrier as well, opening the door for all kinds of skin problems. Others don’t do the job well enough, which means your skin isn’t really clean after cleansing, leading to problems like blackheads and a dull complexion.
In general, cleansers are either water-based or oil-based. Water-based cleansers, which can be a lotion, gel or foam, are designed to be rinsed off with water. They have a habit of messing with your skin’s pH levels because they are often alkaline. To be healthy, skin needs to be 5.5 on the pH scale, which is slightly acidic. To avoid problems, choose a wash-off natural cleanser like Okana Apple Juice Foaming Cleanser, which won’t mess with your skin’s pH.
Oil-based cleansers, usually a cream or lotion, work by binding to surface impurities to pull dirt, sweat, sebum and makeup out of the pores. The cleanser then needs to be rinsed or wiped off thoroughly. Some oil-based cleansers may need the help of a facecloth, or you could end up with too much residual oil on your face. Some residual oil is OK if you have dry skin, but not so good if your skin is already oily.
If you’re into double cleansing, you can use both types of cleanser. Always start with an oil-based cleanser and finish with a water-based cleanser. Also, save your double-cleansing for the end of the day. If you double cleanse twice a day, you run the risk of disturbing your skin’s barrier function. Find out more about double cleansing.
Why is it better to choose a natural cleanser?
The number one reason for choosing a natural cleansing product over a synthetic cleanser is skin health and general wellbeing. Mass-produced skincare products are known for containing suspect ingredients, like parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, polyethylene glycol and artificial fragrances. Find out why these ingredients are considered risky.
Another good reason to choose a natural cleansing product is economy. Natural cleansing ingredients are not expensive, so the products made from them are generally affordable. For example, our Mango + Apricot oil-based cleanser is under $20 and our foaming cleanser is under $16.
What are best ingredients for a natural cleanser?
The best ingredients are things you could safely eat or drink. We’re talking fruit juices, amino acids, plant-derived glycerine, apricot kernel oil, macadamia oil, mango butter and hydrogenated canola oil. Before you buy a natural cleanser, read the ingredients list carefully.
Be on the lookout for parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben), which are used to keep products shelf-stable for longer. A product that calls itself natural should never contain any kind of paraben.
Also watch for sodium lauryl sulphate, also called SLS and sodium laureth sulfate. It’s a surfactant that’s often used in cleaning products, including household cleaners. It has the potential to irritate skin and eyes.
While you might love products that have an attractive scent, unscented products are better for your skin and your health. More than 95% of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances come from petrochemicals – examples include benzene derivatives, aldehydes and phthalates. These chemicals are capable of causing allergies, cancer, birth defects and nervous-system disorders.  When you’re reading an ingredients list, the constituents of fragrance won’t be listed - this is because fragrances are considered ‘trade secrets’ by law. Allergies to artificial fragrances are very common. Recent estimates say that up to 4% of the general population are sensitized to fragrance ingredients. In New Zealand, that’s equivalent to 200,000 people.
Why is locally made better than imported?
Natural products from your own country are better for you and the planet. When you buy a local New Zealand brand like Okana Skincare, you’re getting fresher products that didn’t have to be shipped or airfreighted from another country.
Freshness is important for natural skincare products, because the potency of some natural ingredients can diminish with time. We only make small batches of our products to ensure you get maximum bang for your bucks. And our shipping is local not international, so the carbon footprint of your delivery is smaller.