Yippee: after all the hard work involved in judging the FreeFrom SkinCare Awards, the shortlist and commendeds are now out! Here is the SkinsMatter Newsletter which has lots of interesting links and the lists for you. Sit down with a cuppa and enjoy choosing your next healthy skincare range. Oh dear, what a chore!
Many of you know that I have been honoured to be a judge for these awards for the last two years. The awards basically give us a chance to look at what is available to consumers in the natural skincare industry.
There is MUCH debate and researching of ingredients, which takes a lot of time. Once we feel a product is worthy of inclusion, we then look at the use of allergens and the labelling of them, consider, reject, moan about or reward the use of specific preservative systems, emulsifiers and the like, giving brownie points to the most non-toxic ones, and then we cogitate on the composition of the products and how likely they are to achieve what it says on the tin. And that’s all quite apart from how does it smell, feel, act upon the skin! We are nothing if not extremely thorough and try not to let anything get past us without a query, as you would expect..
Shaping the Market
It’s a lot of work but also a lot of fun. The reason I like it is two-fold: first, you know I have moaned for years about the toxic toiletries on our High Street shelves and the harm they can do to us, so it’s nice to be able to see more and more non-toxic versions of our old favourites as well as some new innovative products come onto the market.
And, second, in some small way, I hope we are helping to encourage and shape the market. This year, for example, we noticed a really significant improvement in most of the elements mentioned above; it was much harder to choose between them because so many of them were meeting the criteria brilliantly. The biggest change was a major drop in the use of the more ‘dodgy’ ingredients, which was fab to see. I hope the awards play a part in encouraging better products.
Even Better FreeFrom Labelling
This year, I wittered on constantly about the need for labelling ‘vegetable’ products, which means diddly-squat for a sensitive person. We look at a label that says ‘Vitamin E (natural)’ or ‘tocopherol (natural origin)’ or ‘vegetable oil’ and wonder what is the source? Is it soya, sunflower, wheatgerm or what – all of those are common allergens and people sensitive to the foods want to know they are not putting them on their skin either?
I am hoping that, even though I know it is not legally required, if a skincare company is aiming for a freefrom market or, in fact, just want to label helpfully for the zillions of people who may reject their products because they can’t assess them properly, they will start to label items like these and even things like xanthan gum and ascorbic acid (both corn-derived mostly).
That may make labels huge, I am aware, but we live in a world of online shopping and spacious websites, so the very least would be to put this information in the ingredients list on the product page, which would be SO helpful. I have lost count of the number of times I have had to contact a company to ask for derivations, which is more than a little annoying. Currently, many companies only list the beneficial ingredients and not even the full INCI ingredients list on their websites, which is just an immediate reject for me personally and my patients/readers.
Anyway, I’ve gone off on one again there, haven’t I?! I can’t help it: it’s a subject I’m passionate about. If we want to be healthy, we need that to be not just what we eat, but what we put on our skin too. I am thankful that many natural skincare companies are doing a fabulous job, better than just a year or so ago, too. Well done them; now can the others please catch up and can we take it forward even further? I look forward to our job being even harder next year..
Ok, get your cuppa now then and enjoy the fruits of our labours :) Get the lists here: Newsletter