You make a big thing of supercritical extraction and how it can help my skin. What is it, exactly, and why is it so good for my skin?
Supercritical extraction is what happens when your tooth is extracted by a really judgmental dentist…
Nah. Just kidding! As you might expect (given how much we bang on about it) supercritical extraction – sometimes known as co2 extraction – is really important to us. In many ways, it sums up who we are and what we’re trying to achieve with our natural skincare and makeup – namely, to create products which not only look and feel great, but which are truly good for your skin, no matter whether your skin is sensitive, dry, oily, or in that magical land in-between.
So, what is supercritical extraction, exactly? Well, this is where things get a bit sciencey, but in a nutshell, supercritical extraction is a breakthrough in herbal extraction; the cleanest, purest way to extract all of a plant’s goodness and deliver it to your skin.
Here’s a few reasons why it’s so amazing and why we pride ourselves on being world leaders when it comes to using the technology (and you don’t just need to take our word for this – for those of you who are into your science, you might like to look at this article about co2 extraction, published by Formula Botanica https://formulabotanica.com/what-are-co2-extracts/):
- Unlike many other extraction techniques, supercritical extraction is not reliant on chemical solvents (like alcohol) to extract a plant’s nutrients. Instead, it makes use of a harmless natural gas (CO2) found in the air we breathe and absorbed by plants all around us. The extraction process involves using this natural gas (CO2), which is compressed until it is a semi-liquid. Working at low temperatures, it’s then ‘washed through’ the plant or herb, collecting all of its key nutritive compounds (that’s the really good stuff, the kind of stuff other extraction techniques generally fail to capture).
- The process allows us to get the maximum nutritional and beauty benefits of the whole plant – literally thousands of important compounds – and not just isolated chemical constituents.
- Equally important, the extracts are extremely concentrated as they are full extractions, including pure essential oils as well as other water-soluble and fat-soluble substances from the plants we use (you only need to smell the aroma of a product like The Good Oil to understand how beautiful these extracts are!). The end product is an extract that is all-natural, wonderfully pure, and super potent (in fact our extracts can be up to 500 times stronger than conventional extracts!).
Sciencey, right? Hopefully, the explanation above gives you a little bit of insight into this amazing technology, but all you really need to know is that it delivers the full spectrum of nature’s benefits straight to your skin. Our products don’t just smell, look and feel great, they also offer a breakthrough in high quality, therapeutic, all-natural, makeup and skincare.
Are your products cruelty free? You don’t test on animals, do you?
Nope. No way. Uh uh. Not ever.
There are approximately 20,000,121,091,000,000,000 reasons (that’s 20 quintillion to the uninitiated, which is the number of animals estimated to exist on our planet) why all our products are cruelty free and why we would never test on animals, but let’s drill it down to this:
TESTING ON ANIMALS IS UNNECESSARY AND BARBARIC.
We make great natural skincare and makeup, using the very best organic ingredients, and we do so by employing exacting methodologies in our manufacturing plant, and by testing on ourselves (which might sound brave, but it so isn’t…. because we only work with natural and organic ingredients, the only adverse reaction we have to worry about is whether a new shade or color suits our skin tone!).
It’s important to remember too, that we acquire the ingredients for our natural makeup and skincare from organic farms. That means no synthetic, chemical herbicides or pesticides – toxic products which leach into the environment and do great damage to the delicate ecology that animals are so dependent on for their survival. There’s plenty of information about the effect toxic chemicals have on the environment and animals, but this article from One Green Planet gives you some idea of the extent of the problem – https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/how-pesticides-are-harming-animals/
So, are we cruelty free? You bet. In fact, the only time any of our products comes anywhere near an animal is when Winnie gets a rash and we apply a little Task Force Nine to her belly (seriously, it works a treat – nature is such a great healer!).
You highlight that your makeup and skincare is vegan. But are vegan beauty products really any good for me?
All our products are vegan. We work with the certification agency, the UK Vegan Society, for our Vegan Certification.
We make vegan skincare, vegan makeup, and all our accessories are vegan too. Our designer, sustainable makeup brushes, for example, are made with vegan bristles.
We’re proud of our vegan certification and our vegan cosmetics, but there is something important we want to share with you.
Just because a product is vegan, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Sadly, veganism is in danger of being exploited by unscrupulous marketers who couldn’t care less about your wellbeing. It’s a growing problem, but thankfully there’s something we can do about it…
With more than five hundred million adherents worldwide, veganism is on the rise. Whilst this is a positive for our environment, our wildlife, and human health, it also means that vegans are now well and truly in the sights of marketers. Suddenly, veganism is trendy: a rising, powerful market segment that promises riches for those who can tap into it.
Beauty is one area where the rise of all things vegan has been particularly noticeable. Right now, vegan skincare, vegan shampoos, and – increasingly – vegan makeup, are all the rage. A quick visit to any large online beauty store will tell you all you need to know. Products that are touted as vegan are everywhere, a key component in marketing campaigns designed to convince you that beauty products are cruelty free, good for you, and good for the planet.
But here’s the thing. Whilst vegan claims might guarantee that your makeup or skin care product hasn’t been tested on animals – that it’s cruelty free – it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good either for you or the environment.
To explain, let’s head back to one of our aforementioned online beauty stores (you choose which one). There will almost certainly be some wonderful vegan makeup and skincare to be found there, made by ethical manufacturers, using only the highest quality natural ingredients. But there will likely be other products too; products that make much of their vegan credentials but which, when you do a little digging, you realize you really should avoid.
Here’s one example (without naming names). A listing for popular makeup products, heavily marketed as vegan and with the additional claims that they’re 100% safe and 100% cruelty free: good for you and the planet. But they’re not.
The first thing you notice, when you look a little closer at the listing, is the lack of an ingredients list (always a red flag, we think). So, you decide to dig deeper, heading to the manufacturer’s website, where you find the ingredients list at last. And… there’s not a single natural ingredient to be found. Everything is synthetic and almost impossible to pronounce. Not all of the ingredients are harmful, of course, but some of them are, because amongst them you find:
- Aluminum powder: Listed by EWG as potentially high hazard, a known human nervous system toxicant.
- BHA: Listed as potentially high hazard by EWG, a known endocrine disruptor; and classified by the National Institute of Health as ‘reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen’.
- Propylparaben: A known human endocrine disruptor.
- Chromium Hydroxide Green: Classified as expected to be toxic or harmful.
- Epoxy Resin and Phenolic Epoxy Resin: These two ingredients are the final kicker. They’re not even listed on the EWG database, because who, seriously, would want these substances anywhere near their face? Epoxy is widely used in the construction industry as an adhesive and sealant, notorious as a cause of allergic skin disease amongst workers and suspected of causing airway and eye irritations, as well as more serious diseases like cancer.
So, are these products vegan? Yes. Are they 100% safe? Good for you? Good for the planet? No, no, and no. These chemicals don’t break down easily, if at all. When you wash them off your face, you wash them into the environment, where they accumulate, exposed to the very animals that most of us want to protect. And as for what they’re doing to your skin? Well, you be the judge.
By way of comparison, here’s the list of ingredients we put in our natural eyeshadows. Which would you rather be putting on the delicate skin around your eyes?
Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil*, caprylic/capric triglyceride, oriza sativa (rice bran) wax, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, silica, magnesium stearate, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) supercritical extract , punica granatum (pomegranate) supercritical extract* , calendula officinalis (calendula) supercritical extract* . May contain titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarine violet (CI 77007), manganese violet (CI 77742), chromium oxide green (CI 77288), mica (CI 77019).
Sadly, when it comes to beauty products, vegan claims often amount to nothing more than greenwashing. The good news is, once we understand this, we can take action. We can start to learn about the ingredients in the products we use, we can take advantage of apps like ‘Think Dirty’ (https://www.thinkdirtyapp.com/), and we can look for products that are certified organic.
Do this, and we’ll be doing ourselves, the environment, and – ultimately – the whole vegan movement, a favor.
Do your beauty products contain any genetically modified ingredients?
Please don’t get us started on GMOs. Let’s just say we’re not a fan…
No. Wait! Actually, you know what? Let’s get started. This isn’t something we should step over.
GMOs are organisms that have been genetically altered in some way. Generally, this is done to make crops more resistant to disease, or to help them survive the toxic chemicals that we routinely spray them with (chemicals which are strong enough to kill the weeds around the GMOs, or the insects which feed off them, but not the GMOs themselves).
That’s fun, right? Mother Nature has worked for millions of years to get something right and we undo it in a heartbeat. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, this. According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (https://www.aaemonline.org/gmo.php), several animal studies have shown that there are serious health risks associated with eating genetically-modified foods, with links established to an increase in allergies, asthma, intestinal damage, and inflammation.
That’s not only bad news for our general wellbeing, it’s also bad news for our skin. Remember, the skin is our largest organ and it can absorb whatever we put onto it into our bloodstream. Do we really want to be putting GMOs on our skin? When we reach for our moisturizer, do we really want the lauric acid in it to be sourced from genetically modified canola?
Our answer is a resounding ‘No!”. That’s why we steer clear of GMOs and work with certified organic ingredients. Organic standards do not allow for GMOs. When you use our organic makeup and skincare (including our moisturizers!), you can relax knowing that what you’re putting on your skin is as Mother Nature intended; that you’re using pure, safe, nurturing organic ingredients, and not exposing yourself to potentially harmful GMOs.
Is your makeup and skincare gluten free?
All our makeup and skincare is gluten free. It’s more a preventative measure than anything – the jury is still out on whether the topical application of beauty products with gluten in them can adversely affect those with gluten allergies – but we prefer to err on the side of safe, rather than sorry, and offer organic makeup and skincare that is free of gluten.
Perhaps the major concern for those with a gluten sensitivity is the prospect of ingesting beauty products which contain gluten. Because gluten is hydrating and contains antioxidants, it is sometimes used not only in face moisturizers, but also lipsticks.
Given that the average woman ingests more than a kilogram of lipstick in her lifetime, if you have a gluten sensitivity (or indeed, an aversion generally to consuming toxic synthetic chemicals), then we recommend you look for natural, organic lipsticks (and other cosmetics!) that are gluten free and free of chemical nasties.
Is your makeup and skincare safe for sensitive skins?
The answer is yes. Generally. BUT… everyone is different (which is a good thing!). Some people may have individual allergies – and react to tomatoes, for example, or peanuts, or milk – which will cause their skin to react. The same applies to natural skincare. Occasionally, the active ingredients in plant botanicals and essential oils will cause a reaction in some individuals. For this reason, we strongly recommend that people go slowly when they first begin to use natural skincare and that they conduct a patch test prior to use.
All your skincare is certified as ‘Made with Organics’? How come the same doesn’t apply to all your natural makeup?
We’d absolutely love for all our products to be certified as ‘made with organics’ (meaning they contain 70%+ organic ingredients). But a few of our makeup products aren’t, because they contain mineral oxides.
So that you know, mineral oxides are perfectly safe, wholly natural colours derived from the earth, but sadly, they don’t currently sit within the parameters set by certification agencies for recognizing organic ingredients. This means that whilst our all our skincare and makeup is natural, a few makeup products can’t be certified as ‘made with organics’. Our natural eyeshadows, for example, are full of luscious organic and natural ingredients, but they’re not certified by BioGro, simply because they contain mineral oxides.
You can easily identify which of our products are certified organic by looking for the BioGro logo we stamp on our packaging, and which we display on our website.
What’s the shelf life of your products?
All our products have a minimum two-year shelf-life, and most even longer than that. Once they’re opened, if you want to experience the full therapeutic benefits of our organic ingredients (and why wouldn’t you?), we recommend using within 6 months.
Why are most of your products made in India?
We love the relationships we’ve forged with community farms in India and we’re enormously proud that many of our products are sourced from, and made, there. Here’s why:
Trade for Aid:
As a country still largely reliant on agriculture, India has suffered badly from its dependence on chemical fertilisers and pesticides. In many areas, crops are failing and farmland has become infertile. We want to help reverse this potential disaster and have lent our full support to the movement towards community organic farming in India. This movement has led to increasing yields, lower input costs (thanks to the use of traditional products like manure) and, perhaps most importantly of all, real social benefits for Indian communities. These benefits include improved community infrastructures (water, housing, education), higher incomes, and increased cultural harmony. We have established working relationships with organic community farms and we happily pay 10-15% more than the going market rate for the wonderful organic ingredients they supply us.
More than 70% of our gorgeous organic ingredients are sourced from India. It is far more sustainable to manufacture our products in the same country.
State of the Art Manufacturing Plant:
Most of our products are manufactured in a purpose-built, state of the art industrial plant in India. The plant is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified, and one of the few facilities in the world that is mainly solar-powered.
What’s the problem with synthetic chemicals? Why should I use products that are certified organic?
Okay. Big statement time. Here’s our truth. If you want to give yourself a chance to avoid the ever-increasing set of diseases and ailments that so many of us seem to be suffering from, you can help yourself by using certified organic skincare and makeup products. Here’s why:
The Problem with Synthetic Ingredients:
Many companies use synthetic ingredients in their products because they’re easy and inexpensive to manufacture. However, their concern with the bottom line comes at the expense of your health. For example, did you know that:
– Strong links have been established between parabens (low cost, commonly used preservatives) and breast cancer.
– Synthetic perfumes have been linked to hormone disruption and infertility. If you ever see the word ‘fragrance’ on an ingredient listing, run, very fast!
– Synthetic agents like sodium lauryl sulfate, which are commonly listed in skincare and beauty ranges, can also be found in industrial cleaning products.
– Even something as harmless sounding as mineral oil has its dangers. A key ingredient in baby oils, mineral oil is a petroleum by-product that coats the skin like plastic, inhibiting the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins and various skin disorders.
In the end, the list of synthetic chemicals that are used in many beauty products, and which are potentially doing us harm, is simply too long to break down here (there are thousands of them!). If you’re interested in protecting your wellbeing, then it’s important to either invest in natural skincare and makeup that’s certified as made with organics by a respected certification agency, or make use of databases like EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/), to check out the safety of the ingredients listed in the product you’re thinking about buying.
Beware Green washing:
Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated claim about the environmental or natural benefits of a product (or, just as bad, pretending a product is organic and ‘good for you’ by giving it a natural sounding name). It happens all the time because too much of the cosmetics industry remains unregulated.
A product which claims to be natural might only contain 1% natural ingredients. That’s a joke, right? However, you can protect yourself by reading the ingredients listed on the packaging and by looking for certification stamps.
Natural and Organic is Better:
We may be biased (well, actually, there’s no may – we are biased) but just as your body becomes happier and healthier when it is fuelled with real, whole, natural foods, so too does your skin when it is fed natural ingredients.
The skin is the body’s largest organ. It provides a direct filter to our bloodstream and internal organs. This means that whatever we put on our skin, we’re putting inside us.
Recent studies have indicated that we respond instinctively to natural, organic ingredients. Our bodies recognize them and accept them more willingly than synthetic ingredients.
This is a key reason why our makeup and skincare is natural in its origin. It’s important to us that our natural beauty products not only smell and feel great, but that they’re good for you. That’s why we’re such big believers in supercritical extraction technology and that’s why we always have in mind the therapeutic qualities of the ingredients we choose when we design our formulations.
What differentiates your natural makeup from other cosmetics on the market?
Our makeup doubles as skincare. For too long, the beauty industry has been producing cosmetics which have been all about enhancing our looks, without consideration for anything else. And that means, our skin, in particular, has suffered. The main culprit, of course, has been toxic synthetic ingredients (we talk about their dangers elsewhere in these FAQs); chemicals which are detrimental to the long-term health of our skin and – indeed – our general wellbeing.
The good news– when it comes to makeup – is that you no longer need to compromise the health of your skin to get the look you want. That’s because we formulate all of our natural makeup products with your skin in mind, every bit as much as your looks, using natural and organic ingredients that are not only sympathetic to your skin, but actively work to enhance it.
As an additional bonus, we also include supercritical extracts in all our products. Super-pure, and super-concentrated, they add a real dash of goodness to all our makeup and skincare. Again, we talk about the power of supercritical extracts elsewhere in these FAQs, but you should know that we’re the only company in the world that includes them in all of our makeup.
By way of example, it’s worth looking at the ingredients we include in our natural primer. Not only do we include 4 hydrating, skin-replenishing, antioxidant-rich supercritical extracts (honeysuckle, pomegranate, amla berry and rosemary anyone?), it’s also rich in organic aloe vera and sunflower seed oil, as well as possessing a shot of invigorating sweet orange essential oil. It’s these ingredients which make our primer the best makeup primer on the market, in our opinion, and why so many of customers use it without adding anything else to their skin, because of the soft natural glow it provides.
We also pride ourselves on producing makeup which has multi-purpose benefits beyond doubling as skincare. Our natural blush (Cheeky Lips), for example, can be worn on both the cheeks and the lips, and also works as an eyeshadow too!
In the end, we want to create makeup that is good for you and your skin, easy to use, multifunctional, and which has the kind of lasting-power and quality of pigment you expect. Throw in our customizable, refillable packaging systems and you’ve got a makeup range which we think ranks alongside anything on the market.