One thing I can say with certainty is that, in my experience, natural beauty products work. In their purest form, with the harmonizing ingredients that support each other, I believe there are few people that wouldn't benefit from a natural beauty regimen. However, the amount of powerful "ingredients" available to consumers and businesses have steered many of us away from a minimalist skin care routine. Adding dozens of ingredients to a recipe becomes irresistible, but it's not always necessary.
After I ditched soap for good, I found myself overwhelmed as I learned about the amount of plant and natural based ingredients that had topical benefits. While my skin never got worse during this experimentation phase, it didn't actually get better until I took a step back and made sure each ingredient I was using had a purpose.
For example: Bees make honey to store food that is unavailable during the winter months. We want bees to eat and be healthy because they pollinate approximately 84 percent of the food we consume, The Guardian reported. In skin care, honey creates a balanced pH level, controls excessive oil, and pulls impurities from the skin. See where I'm going with this? Plants and humans have a lot in common, we are both made of oxygen, carbon, potassium, magnesium, hydrogen and much more, which means it isn't all that crazy that plant-based products can be so beneficial to human skin.
Whether you are an at-home remedy connoisseur or purchase OTC natural based products, the advantage of a minimalist approach to your skin care will help you identify ingredients that cause irritation, dryness, or acne among other things. Once you've sorted out the ingredients that work best for you, keeping your skin healthy gets a whole lot simpler.
Fortunately, many natural brands are practicing this minimalist approach too. Amy Adams, founder of Old Orchard, a holistic skin care line, expresses this in her own line. Together, we've put together all the reasons you should embrace a simpler routine for your skin.
1. Fewer Ingredients Means Higher Concentrations
According to Adams, "The fewer ingredients on a label, the higher the concentration of each. I prefer to use higher concentrations of fewer, carefully selected ingredients to gain the maximum benefits from each [for my products]." This is especially true when working with essential oils. The more different types you use the less amount of drops you'll be able to add with a fixed oil to create a safe application.
2. Fewer Ingredients Also Helps Identify a Problem
A minimalist approach to natural skin care is the most effective way to determine which products work for you. While purchasing a product with an endless list of valuable ingredients isn't likely to cause irrevocable damage to your skin, it may keep you from reaching the flawless complexion you're seeking. According to Adams, "I always recommend paring down an overly complicated skin care routine and then identifying specific ingredients or products that your skin loves or those that cause issues. For me, discovering turmeric was the difference between breakouts and super happy, balanced skin."
3. Too Many Ingredients Can Cause Breakouts
As April Long at Elle.com reported, cosmetic companies typically use 25 to 50 ingredients to create a formula. For those with sensitive skin, the lengthy list of ingredients can cause unforeseen irritation. Reading labels will alert you to the amount of ingredients that are about to go on your face, but the way your skin feels after you use a product can also tell you a lot.
"Your cleanser should leave your face feeling clean and smooth, and never dry or tight," Adams explains. "I think finding the right type of cleanser can be the hardest step in creating an effective skin care routine. Your toner is there to help balance pH, especially if you’re using a cleanser that lathers, and to provide extra moisture that your moisturizer, oil, or balm will lock in. Your moisturizer should keep you hydrated throughout the day or night."
4. Being Super Familiar With The Products Makes For A Customized Routine
There is no shame in Googling an active ingredient on the back of a product before you purchase. Even if you've read an awesome article on lemons for dark spots, doing your own research by way of patch testing will help you decide what's right for your own skin. For example, products containing citrus essential oils are great for oily skin, but for those with sensitivity to sun and/or dry skin they aren't serving a purpose. If you find yourself drawn to products with lots of ingredients or tend to use more ingredients in your DIY routine, start zeroing in on common ingredients that could be doing your face more harm than good.
5. Safety & Flawless Skin Go Hand In Hand
Most of us are looking for control in our skin care and nothing gives you that level of control like making your own products, but keeping the amount of ingredients to a minimum when working on your own is also important. Always do a patch test before putting anything new on your face and make sure you follow all the safety and blending instructions with essential oils. Adams cautions that following the guidelines for what percentage of essential oils to use within a formulation is incredibly important. "Some essential oils are not safe for use on skin even when diluted significantly, some can be sensitizing, and some are absolutely not safe for pregnant women or children," Adams explains. Seriously, I can't stress enough to do your research with any natural ingredient, but also take advantage of the amount of bloggers and Aromatherapists online that can answer any questions you may have — it can be the difference between a clear face and an irritated face.
A natural routine doesn't have to cost you a fortune and it doesn't require a degree in science: All you need is the willingness to experiment and a little patience!
Image: Ashley Batz/Bustle; Kristin Collins Jackson (5); Old Orchad Co.(2)