Updated: Feb 13
This blog was inspired by... you guys! I made an Instagram post about botanicals that attracted a ton of interest, and like I keep saying, if you request something, I will do my best to deliver!
So here it is… let’s talk botanicals!
First off, what does botanical even mean? This fancy, cool, word simply means PLANT-BASED! A botanical is a substance or ingredient derived or obtained from a plant. This is a neat concept and something that is taken very seriously in three of the brands I carry and recommend. Products with an emphasis on botanicals ease my mind knowing that they are full of safe ingredients, and it's so cool that we can achieve results at a cellular level that are driven by plant derivatives! Botanicals are so effective because our skin recognizes products that are the closest to their original natural state, which allows the product or ingredient to absorb quickly and efficiently into the skin. The least amount of processing and altering in a product and or in an ingredient, the better. It is far too common that products are manipulated so much that they cannot physically represent the original ingredient source. This can potentially create an issue with how well our bodies recognize it, absorb it, and of course, how safe it is for us to use. Put another way, our body’s cells have been programmed through evolution to respond to botanicals that are naturally occurring in nature. So, when we use products that are derived from botanicals, it's easier for our bodies to recognize and metabolize the necessary response.
Companies often want us to believe we're purchasing a natural product, but really the ingredients have been manipulated so much our bodies no longer recognize them as natural. For example, watch out for claims such as “Grapefruit Extract”, “Aloe Vera properties”, “humectant sources” and “Organix.” These are marketing ploys used to lead the consumer to believe that products are made with botanical extracts or with botanical sources, potentially leading you to believe they are made with organic ingredients. Unfortunately, all of these statements are very misleading (though often successful!). In order to say something is “extracted,” only a simple drop of grapefruit is needed, and then it is chemically remade and repeatedly mimicked for the product you are buying. So sure, the original source was inspired by a drop or “extract” from a grapefruit, but by no means does that mean the specific product that you purchased has that natural or organic source. Horrifying isn’t it? This is marketing taking advantage at its best! If a product has a high potency of the said extracted ingredient, you can feel more confident in the product and in the dignity of how the product was made with pure ingredients. Another example is when something is advertised as having properties, such as "Aloe Vera properties." It is important to check how potent the properties are in the product or to see how pure the ingredient is. The last thing I want is for you to be paying for the word “properties” or “extracts” to just be on the label! Instead, let's make sure you are getting the true and full benefits of those “Aloe Vera properties” and “grapefruit extracts.” An easy option is to look for specific symbols or wording on your products. These labels and certificates are very hard for a company to obtain, so you can feel confident and secure if you do see these images on your product. One thing to note, some companies don't label the product itself but only the packaging. I don’t know why they do this because in my opinion they should be proud and plaster it everywhere…but as long as it's labeled on the box or the product itself, you are still safe. Here are some images and or acronyms you can try and get familiar with.
USDA: 95% organic (excluding salt and water)
NSF: 70% organic (which means 30% can be anything else – including additives and nasty ingredients if the company so chooses – this does not mean every company chooses harmful ingredients, the remaining 30% of ingredients just aren’t specifically organic)
ECOCERT: 95% plant-based which 10% of that is fully organic
ECO NATURAL: 50% plant-based 5% of that is fully organic
ECO: 95% natural, 50% of that is plant-based, 5% fully organic
This blog is specifically about the benefits of botanical products, what botanical means, and how to keep an eye out for botanical or clean products. This being said, there are amazing products out there that do not follow these strict guidelines. If a product is not labeled organic or does not have the vegan symbol or ECO on it, it can still be safe and deliver incredible results. This blog is not bashing other products or brands that do not meet these standards, this blog is specifically for those clients who search for clean, organic, or botanical products and want to learn more!
So why are botanical products such a trend right now?
This is a great question and to be honest, it is one I get often. Requests for “green products,” “safe products,” “botanical products,” and “natural products,” have become more and more frequent over the last 5 years and have become common buzzwords in the beauty industry. Even though this has recently become a trend, these standards and ingredient policies have been around for decades! Like, we are talking since Cleo Patra! That’s right, she was the OG of not just the beauty industry and beauty products but the OG of BOTANICAL and CLEAN products! She was the one that used fruits and flowers to make the pigments for her eye shadows and lipsticks… she knew what was up before anyone even thought about beauty being an industry! So why, oh why, did we ever detour so far from the original and natural intentions when Cleo Patra knew all along!
People are realizing more and more the importance of health and seeing how the things we do daily impact our quality and longevity of life. Personal care products were finally taken into consideration. It’s no surprise that a person uses on average 7 personal care products each day, and whether you think about it or not, those products absorb into the skin within 60 seconds of application. One of the main reasons people started to look at their health and consider personal care products as a factor was because our ingredient standards have faced somewhat of a revision (for the better). Thankfully Canada is now starting to minimize the use of harmful ingredients in cosmetics. This is a move in the positive direction, but unfortunately, we still have quite a way to go. (Fun fact: European standards are the highest of standards)! Of course, this move has forced many companies to reformulate or completely discontinue specific products which didn't meet the new guidelines, which is certainly good for our future health! However, it is incredibly startling to think at one time nobody batted an eye at these harmful ingredients! It's kind of scary to think about how many ingredients we use right now that will be banned in the future. Naturally, with products changing it got people talking and thinking, bringing many people's attention to being more mindful of what they buy and where they shop. Companies now had to figure out new ways to market to this growing trend, so what did they do? Brands started highlighting new slogans and new claims “made without preservatives,” “made without artificial fragrances,” “made with natural extracts,” etc. These claims and statements are still alive and well, but scarily enough there was a time that these were not important or popular claims to be able to make. So now, since these slogans are heavily marketed people are starting to listen for them; society is now drawn to products that protect their health and ones that use cleaner ingredients. We are now thinking of treatment and prevention… thank goodness!
The benefits of botanical products are endless, and we know with technology constantly growing, the beauty industry booming, and the health community skyrocketing, the benefits and the sources are only going to get better and more advanced! Due to research and clinical results and trials, we know that botanical ingredients are known and loved most because of their healing and medicinal properties that work not only when consumed orally, but also release benefits when applied as a topical ointment. Plant extracts are rich in antioxidants which no doubt have their own powerful properties! It depends on the specific plant, but properties can range from soothing, healing, calming, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, tightening, brightening, promotion of cellular restoration and regeneration… the list goes on. Yes! You may recognize these same words used towards other companies that may not be botanically based, but botanical products do have the ability to achieve the same results with safer ingredients. When botanicals are mixed with scientific research and cutting-edge technology, the product advancements are endless. This is exactly how products can smell better while being derived naturally. This reduces the need for artificial fragrances in products that are one of the most harmful ingredients added to cosmetics, as they are highly irritating and carcinogenic.
Now, let’s highlight a few popular botanical ingredients that you likely hear about or see listed in your products, here are the ingredient names and the benefits as to why they are used in cosmetics!
Grapeseed Oil: - contains a high amount of antioxidants
- powerful properties of vitamin C, E, and D
- antiaging benefits (promotion of smoothness and firmness)
- extremely rich moisturizer
Stabilized Vitamin C: - improves skin elasticity which helps slow down the aging process - helps to brighten and lift any darken pigmentation damage - high in antioxidants which are great to fight free radicals, antioxidants help prevent any further damage to the skin at a deep cellular level
- has the most antioxidant properties known to mankind (good to apply topically and ingest)
- anti-inflammatory properties which help with redness or discoloration in the skin and or blemishes - tannins are also powerfully sourced in green tea which helps shrink blood vessels which in turn can help with puffiness or darkness under the eyes (hence why it is a common ingredient in eye care products)
Aloe Vera: - calming and soothing benefits - relief of pain/burning or itching sensation - speeds up the repair process - packed with powerful antioxidants - key nutrients like vitamin C and E (which also help keep the skin looking and feeling youthful) - anti-microbial properties (immediate ability to calm and hush inflammation)
Which Hazel: - anti-inflammatory properties (which helps with acne/blemish control/ oil production control) - astringent properties (this means it causes your skin to contract! Tightening the pores so less guck can be built up in your pore for one example. - neutralizes free radicals which slow down the damage that was potentially targeted to the skin
Marine Algae (brown algae for example):
- superfood from the sea
- emollient used to soften the skin - high antibacterial properties which help control inflammation within the skin - increase of skin elasticity which helps with the process of aging and dull cells
If you want to learn more about what botanical products could suit you best feel free to get in touch. We can always do a skin consultation and talk about switching over your products to safer products that still deliver results.
I hope this blog was what you needed! Happy learning and like always, thank you so much for your support and coming to read one of my blogs!
May you be healthy and your skin glowing!