Choosing a moisturiser can be almost as difficult as choosing a life partner. What you’re immediately attracted to might not what’s best for you. And what’s best for you might not leap off the shelf and woo you with loving words. The trick is to gather some criteria, so you can make a smart decision that you can live with for a long time.
Here’s our checklist for a natural moisturiser that won’t let you down:
Has an ingredients list that reads like a fruit and vege store
Some moisturisers say they’re natural, but then hit you with an ingredients list that reads like a laboratory storage room. So take a magnifying glass to the ingredients list and look for baddies like methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben. These have no place in a so-called natural moisturiser.
For the sake of your health and the environment, we also think you should avoid products that contain polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, oxybenzone, aminophenol, diaminobenzene, phenylenediamine, triclosan, triclocarban, petroleum distillates, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, hydroquinone and formaldehyde. Would you put these in a salad? Nope. At Okana, our motto has always been “real food made beautiful”. So if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t wipe it onto your face.
However not all chemical-sounding names are bad guys. Sodium anisate is a 100% natural preservative obtained from anise and fennel, and hydrogenated rapeseed oil is made using a process that’s been around for 100+ years. Hydrogenation uses a catalyst to improve the oxidative stability of vegetable oils, so that they don’t decompose. Take a look at the ingredients list of our Vegetable Day Moisturiser and use it as a benchmark for other products you’re considering.
Uses natural preservatives
Four of the baddies we mentioned above - methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben and ethylparaben – are used to keep products shelf-stable for longer. They collectively belong to a group called parabens, which have been around since the 1950s. Parabens are xenoestrogens, which means they mimic oestrogen in the body, which is a problem that has been linked to cancer. That’s why we don’t want them anywhere near your face.
Nature-based skincare products, like Okana, use natural preservatives that are weak acids. Sometimes these preservatives are inherent in the product, because they’re already part of a key ingredient. For example, our day cream contains glyceryl caprilate, which is a naturally derived, multi-functional ingredient that’s effective as a preservative.
Is free of irritating perfumes
Women often sniff a product before they try it, expecting to detect a pleasant scent of some kind. But inevitably any fragrance is not due to the ingredients; it’s added afterwards, to make the product more appealing.
Fragrances are often a cocktail of carcinogens, allergens, irritants and endocrine disruptors. They can actually make you quite unwell. However the individual ingredients that go into a fragrance don’t have to be listed. They are considered ‘trade secrets’ by law. A typical perfume is made with petrochemicals and synthetic chemicals – you won’t find them in the local fruit and vege store!
Contains natural antioxidants to fight free radicals
Free radicals sound like weird-thinking semi-militants who want to take over your mind, but in reality they’re just molecules looking for other molecules to react with. Here’s how science explains it:
“The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these atoms, called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA.”
A great natural moisturiser will include several antioxidants, which act as free radical scavengers. There are hundreds of different substances that can be described as antioxidants. The most well-known are vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lycopene and the minerals selenium and manganese. Our day cream contains carrot juice (full of beta-carotene), tomato juice (rich in lycopene and vitamins C and E) and olive oil (full of vitamin E and polyphenols).
Is affordable, so you can keep buying it
Affordability is definitely a factor when you’re choosing a mainstay for your skincare regime. If your moisturiser of choice costs a king’s ransom, you might ration your use of it and not apply enough, because you want it to last forever. There’s really no reason why a good natural moisturiser should cost more than $25, because the ingredients aren’t expensive. Most of them can be found in any supermarket fruit and vege department. See our guide to saving money and looking better with natural skincare.