Using natural cosmetics used to be considered mildly eccentric, and the products were difficult to find. But natural skincare is now much more mainstream: almost every skincare brand has a “natural” range. And the high quality of home-grown natural skincare from brands such as Kinvara, Green Angel, Elave, Voya, Tan Organic and Seavite means buying Irish is easy.
Recently I met one of natural skincare's pioneers, Oxford woman Emma Hardie whose Amazing Face range is built around one key ingredient: moringa oil. The Moringa Cleansing Balm is one of the best balm cleansers around. It's very difficult for an independent brand to compete with giants L'Oréal and Estée Lauder, but Hardie is up for the challenge.
She continues to expand and diversify her face and body range, beginning with a dedicated Age Support line. The Treatment Cream and eye cream are light in texture, sink in quickly and contain peptides, hyaluronic acid and marine technology.
- Try facial massage: Hardie made her name with her facial-massage technique. She believes application methods are crucial for great skin. This might be revelatory if you are used to slapping on cream and hoping for the best; incorporating massage will support and smooth your skin.
- Skincare as pregnancy test: If her cleansing balm suddenly causes breakouts, Hardie says it's often down to a hormonal change and has nothing to do with the skincare. Throw away the pregnancy test: she breaks into a belly laugh as she reveals that she has been able to diagnose more than one pregnancy in this way.
- Heavy creams do not mean more moisture: If you are dry-skinned, you might be tempted to slather on a rich, thick night cream before bed. Don't bother, says Hardie: most of the cream will probably end up on the pillow case. Hardie prefers a light cream with ingredients that contain small molecules to effectively penetrate the skin.
- Approach toner with caution: Toner is experiencing a revival, but Hardie does not include one in her range. She believes that glycolic toners are much too harsh and will upset the natural pH balance of skin.
- Use facial oils: Like many skincare experts, Hardie recommends a blend of oils instead of a single ingredient. The new Brilliance Facial Oil contains a rich mix and reminds me of Liz Earle Superskin.
Brands that get the Hardie seal of approval include Dr Hauschka, Jane Iredale and Weleda. When I meet her, she isn’t wearing foundation yet her skin looks so smooth and even in tone. “Look,” she says, rubbing vigorously with a muslin cloth and displaying the make-up-free fabric to prove it.
Aisling is on Twitter @aismcdermott For more see beaut.ie
Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Oil Capsules
A blend of wild rose seed oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, peach kernel oil and evening primrose oil to wake up dull, dry skin.
Voya Lazy Days
Rehydrate this organic seaweed from the west coast of Ireland in your bath to release natural moisturising gel and enjoy a nourishing bath. Be careful getting out – it gets slippy.
Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream Light
This favourite of Hardie’s is a lighter version of the original Rose Day Cream with less oil, which makes it ideal for use under make-up.
Bia Beauty Apple Blossom Body Butter
The Irish Bia range smells so delicious you might be tempted to give it a taste test. This body butter is so oil-rich, even very dry skin feels the benefits.
WATCH OUT FOR . . .
Emma Hardie Midas Touch Serum (€80)
This is light, fresh and hydrating, and it sinks in quickly. Using it regularly is said to plump and firm skin. I’ve been following it with the Brilliance Serum for intense moisturisation. Available in the coming months.