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Photography by George Harvey. Beauty by Poppy France; Hair by Yumi Nakada-Dingle using Aveda; Nails by Cherrie Snow using Bio Sculpture

Seven Ingredients Defining the Natural Beauty Movement

From quartz to tree bark, we explore the properties of the essential natural ingredients in modern make-up and skincare

Lead ImagePhotography by George Harvey. Beauty by Poppy France; Hair by Yumi Nakada-Dingle using Aveda; Nails by Cherrie Snow using Bio Sculpture

Once upon a time – circa 1996, that is – natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty products could only be discovered when rummaging through the shelves of your local health food store, nestled discreetly between the packets of hemp seed and blocks of silken tofu. Such make-up and skincare was, for the most part, considered to be rife with low-performing ingredients; reserved only for militant eco-warriors who might even dismiss The Body Shop as too conventional. 

How things have changed. Today, the natural beauty movement has undergone a revolution, with mainstream consumers more conscious than ever of what they slather and spritz over their skin. The benefits of these ingredients – often derived from plants and botanicals – are numerous. Not only do they possess the power to nourish and enhance, competing with some of the most chemically dense brands on the market, but they are a refreshing antidote to the synthetic lotions and potions that were once deemed as the only alternative. Here, we explore the properties of seven such elements – from clarifying quartz to bedewing coconut oil.  

1. Quartz (above)

Clear quartz is renowned for being the master healer of all crystals; absorbing, storing, releasing and regulating energy. Simultaneously, it wards away negativity, neutralises radiation, electromagnetic smog and petrochemical emanations. In the Cult of Treehouse Complexion Mist, clear quartz is the starring ingredient. Shake the formula to activate the tiny particles of gemstone, and spritz on the face throughout the day for optimum hydration and to set make-up in place. It also reduces blemishes and soothes redness overnight for clarity of both the mind and body. 

Ingredients: Palo Santo, Cactus Flower, Pilon Pine, Silver antibiotic pre + probiotic botanical hyaluronic acid, Clear Quartz crystal mixes + Charles elixir + clear quartz essence

2. Rose

Contained in a delightfully weighty glass bottle – designed by Marc Atlan, the man responsible for creating Comme des Garçons’ exquisite perfume bottles – The Beautiful Oil by Kjaer Weis is an amber-coloured elixir which provides an unprecedented glow via rosehip seed oil and extract of chinese yam. Wear as a base before dabbing on the brand’s Cream Foundation, which also contains organic ingredients including coconut oil, sweet almond oil and jojoba seed oil. 

Ingredients: Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Dioscorea Batatas Root Extract·, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Spilanthes Acmella Flower Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Parfum/Fragrance, Geraniol, Citronellol, Canola Oil, Limonene, Citral, Linalool

3. Beeswax

Glossier’s Boy Brow is a cult product for a reason. Not only does it hold hairs in place with beeswax and carnauba wax, but it also contains oleic acid, an emollient found in olive oil that is no longer just for your salad dressing. Additionally, the formula can assist in the growth of brows thanks to the inclusion of Lecithin A, a natural fatty substance that provides texture and sheen, and Atelocollagen A, which helps to condition and strengthen the hair fiber for those who are looking to rectify overplucking. 

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Beeswax (Cera Alba), Butylene Glycol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Propylene Glycol Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Isostearic Acid, PVP, Dimethicone, Tromethamine, Oleic Acid, Silica, Polybutene, Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Laurate, Sorbitan Laurate, Atelocollagen

4. Avocado

Similarly, the blend of waxes and oils in ILIA’s mascara will give those who are short of lash a plant-based boost. In four shades – a rich black, asphalt grey, mahogany and chestnut brown – even the most sensitive eyes will be slicked with a 100% natural tint. Aloe soothes, and avocado butter conditions and plumps for the antithesis to that spidery dryness that other mascaras can often bestow on lashes. 

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Serenoa repens (Saw Palmetto Berry) Fruit, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Flax Seed, Glyceryl Hydrogenated Rosinate, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Ford Oil Copolymer, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Butter

5. Grape

Many of the ingredients in Ainsel’s lipsticks are food grade; meaning that if you buy into the adage that those who wear it on a regular basis consume seven pounds of the stuff over their lifetimes, you can rest easy. In lightweight matte textures and punchy colours – from shocking fuchsia to classic car red – grape seed oil provides lustre, whilst vanillin tastes and smells quite delicious. 

Ingredients: Hydrogenated Cocoglycerides, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Ozokerite, Octyldodecanol, Hydrogenated Microcrystalline Wax, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Silica, Cera Carnauba, Lecithin (Soybean Phospholipids), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Glyceryl Caprylate, Vanillin, Glyceryl Undecylenate

6. Coconut

RMS Beauty is renowned for its raw and organic ingredients, using minimal heat in the process of manufacture to maintain the living properties of naturally derived botanicals. The Magic Luminizer contains coconut oil, which bedews the high-points of the face with incredibly natural ethereal opalescence, while healing and nourishing the skin as you wear it. 

Ingredients: Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax) (Cire d’abeille), Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherol (non-GMO), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract 

7. Bark

Tree bark may be coarse, but once it is finely milled and its essential oils are extracted from the wood, it becomes the perfect emollient for rough hands and cuticles. Aesop’s Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, a headily scented cream that softens and nourishes, is free from parabens and silicones contained in the most aesthetically pleasing peach and black tube. Store your balm below 21 degrees so that the plethora of oils and extracts can perform at their very best. 

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract