With Valentines approaching people get a bit preoccupied with the kiss, its everywhere, cards, mugs, bears, balloons, its all a bit daunting.
The skincare and beauty market is also a large and often daunting place for many woman, and men. We have a lot of words thrown at us by marketing bods, social media and bloggers (me included sorry). Words come thick and fast; natural, pure, eco, clean, green, vegan, botanical, are just a handful, but are they all the same? Do all labels in the natural, skincare and beauty market instil a sense of trust in the consumer? Do all products with these labels come from businesses with the same moral and ethical compasses? More importantly does it matter to you, the consumer?
Last year I was at a lot of fairs and exhibits, and spent a lot of time talking about natural skincare and the benefits of using fragrance free products on sensitive skin. I met some amazing people, some of whom have become regular customers and product testers.
Going out and meeting people always gives me the opportunity to ask questions and have questions asked of me. What really struck me last year was the huge array of ‘natural’ skincare and beauty products people use. But what I wasn’t surprised by was how little notice people take of what is on a label. How rarely people even read a label or instructions, but just see a few key words on the product and somehow trust it. The majority of people told me they didn’t understand the label anyway.
To abide by EU rules, we legally have to produce our labels with INCI names for ingredients, but this really does limit the consumer being able to take control over their purchases. But some people I have met really seemed to want to know more and to understand more about the importance of looking after our biggest organ of the body.
Towards the end of last year I really got thinking about the change that seems to be happening in the bigger brands. How they seem to be leaning towards the indie brands for inspiration and ideas. I noticed a real push by the big brands to get in on the artisan platform. This shows itself though subtle changes in imagery, messages and branding. For example, Boots No.7 recently launched a hot cloth cleanser. Read the label though, if you can understand it, because anything that says ‘fragrance’ in its ingredients list makes me question its ‘naturalness’. If it is a natural fragrance sensitizers will be included on the label, but in this case they aren’t so can we assume it is a chemically produced fragrance? It also has alcohol in it, so altogether not the greatest product for people with any kind of problem skin.
This year the BBC took a short break from their regular ‘New Year, New You’ diet program for New Year inspiration. Instead, this New Year viewers were treated to a program about skincare and beauty. Sadly no small, artisan, natural beauty products were tested and shown. Unsurprisingly it drew some conclusions from very small test groups. University researchers concluded that moisturisers aren’t worth the money, as they don’t work. I say unsurprisingly as two of the products tested all had high levels of water content and chemicals within them. The research lasted 3 weeks and was tested on 9 people so not the biggest research group! The show has been called out a bit by industry for the lack of diversity and misreporting.
Alongside all this numerous natural skincare businesses have been bought up and seen private investment come to them. We are an area of beauty that is becoming both a threat and a financial excitement.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Sara Mac, @coffeechamomilecinnamon, on Instagram this year as she posted about what attracts people to products and our influences. The chat revolved around manufacturers’ assumptions that people choose products based on the need to get the look right, but also if people deem it to be cheap then this relates to an inferior product. I love Sara’s feed, she is a northerner championing the indie brands, looking after her grandkids and enjoying lovely Manchester life. She seems excited about what indie beauty has to offer, but she isn’t afraid to challenge us and our thought processes.
So what has this got to do with the simplest, but most adored and recognised symbol of love, the KISS?
One of the things that’s important to me is the idea of Keep It Simple Skincare (KISS). Knowing the origin of my ingredients is vital, responsibly sourced, ethically produced. Not using hundreds of different ingredients is vital to me, keeping our skincare clean, easy and letting Mother Nature do all her amazing and magical work.
I want people to know what they are putting on their skin. I want people to feel pampered, to feel luxurious, to feel spoilt. I want my customers to understand the label, to know what each ingredient is and what it does for the skin. I want people with sensitive skin to be able to quickly recognise what ingredients are in my products and know if they will cause a reaction. This also then means I can keep my products in what I think is a responsible price point.
People I have met always start a bit taken a back that I can remember my ingredients in each product and the effects they have on the skin. It isn’t that surprising, if I only use the maximum of nine ingredients in a product, and you have nurtured them and loved them to their launch, then its hard to forget. What I would be more worried about is those that don’t know what is in a product and what the effect may be on skin, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
I am therefore making a pledge to myself and Ginger Stone customers past, present and future. I am going to review my labels and make sure they all have the English name, as well as the INCI name, for all ingredients so you know what you are putting on your skin. I have them on my website and I tell you when I meet you but I can do more.
My hope is that more people move towards the KISS principle of skincare. Begin to read labels, demand transparency from all beauty brands for ingredient lists and the effects this may have on skin.
I mean who doesn’t like the idea of starting and ending each day with a KISS.