Concern about the mainstream, commercial beauty industry is growing. Toxins, packaging, animal testing and waste are just a few of the issues people are worrying about. At the same time, the number of locally-produced, natural, organic and cruelty-free beauty products is growing in South Africa. More and more people are committing to using these products and we’re determined to support this trend.
The trick to a new natural and clean beauty regime is to try and test options until you find something that best suits your skin. Here is this month’s write up of three brands, and reviews of a product from each. By showcasing them, our intention is to help you find what you’re looking for to clean out your vanity cupboard.
Khween Shebar Cold Pressed Soap and Organic Products
After learning the history and science of soap ingredients, Mosa Skosana, 32, wanted to use ingredients to bring calm and healing to people struggling with their skin. She had left a corporate as group marketing communcations manager to create a business that would focus on the well-being of the customer. Conscious skincare, says Mosa, is about being aware of everything and anything you put on and into your skin. Learning about skincare made her realise, that like most people, “I had hardly scrutinized how my daily body products were made, what ingredients were used and about their the sustainability”.
She made the tumeric soap first (now a best-seller), educated family and friends and sold 90 bars in the first month. Mosa says about her new business that she provides everyday ethical and natural skincare solutions and wants to help people “unlearn harmful skin information”. The beauty company has a little soap studio in Harrismith in the Free State, South Africa, as well as in Sandton, Johannesburg. Mosa will be opening another soap-making studio in Johannesburg soon.
Product we tested: Khween Shebar Tumeric Bar
This bar of orange-coloured soap surprised me. It looks heavy-duty, like a hardy, body soap, or even a soap for washing clothes. It’s wrapped in thick paper, no plastic. I double-checked with Mosa that I could use it on my face before I did. When wet, it lathers gently, the suds are soft and small. On the skin, it feels light. Washing your face with a bar of soap seems the antithesis of good, gentle skincare, but I love it – it’s practical, and unfussy. In the shower, it’s easy to rinse off. Afterwards, my skin feels very clean, a little tight, but only for a brief moment. It’s a cold-pressed natural soap (no heat is used), containing GMO-free tumeric root powder, raw unrefined shea butter, organic coconut oil and carrot oil. No fragrance, preservatives or chemicals are used. Mosa says that it’s a skin calmer, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, holistic healing and beauty soap. I highly recommend this soap. I’m ordering another bar.
Price: R170.00 per bar, excluding deliver
Delivery: Khween Shebar deliver nationwide and have a growing network of like-minded stockists and distributors nationwide
Orders/Enquiriers: WhatsApp 0825863809
When she couldn’t find what she needed, Anne Van Huyssteen started making cleaning and care products for her family. Ten years ago, they were hard to find. “I was driven by a desire to avoid the harsh chemicals, ubiquitous packaging and high prices of store-bought cleaning and care products,” she says. Since then, the Observatory-based company, has been growing slowly and organically. Ingredients are naturally-occurring, minimally processed and organic. Anne says packaging is biodegradable material when possible, and if not possible, they use glass and metal. Products are handmade by Anne and her partner, Nikki, in small batches in Observatory. The Apothecary as a fiercely ethical business that would always work to make things better for everyone and everything that it touched.
Product we tested: The Apothecary Marine Mint Facial Polish
This polish, which I bought from Nude Foods, smells like it could be eaten with your Sunday roast (when last did you eat one of these?). It has a slightly bouncy feel to it, and it doesn’t come out the pot very easily. In fact scoooping it out with a spoon is useful. But once on a sligtly damp skin, it is easy to use: it spreads with ease and comfort. The hard-working granules are finely ground giving your skin a very gentle scrub. It’s not drying at all, and despite cleaning well, it feels nourishing. It contains ground oats, ground coconut, raw honey, food grade vegetable glycerin, castor oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, bicarbonate of soda, powdered sea algae, sea vegetables and grasses, natural bentonite clay, peppermint essential oil (hence the Sunday-lunch fragrance!). As an option for a natural exfoliator, this is a winner. It comes highly recommended by me, and by Apothecary it is recommended for all skin types.
Price: R105.00 (Faithful-to-Nature)
Stockists: Shop Zero, Nude Foods, Good Source and others including online Faithful-to-Nature
My Abby Range
Many oils are used by the beauty industry. Coconut oil, jojobo oil, avocado oil… all of which are said to have their particular benefits. Argan oil, known as liquid gold, was all the hype not so long ago. Then coconut oil came into fashion, before being slammed. A Harvard professor called it “pure poison” (admittedly, in relation to food, but her criticism didn’t do the oil any marketing favours). Now, Abyssinian oil is the darling of the moment. Luckily for us, local brand My Abby Range launched skin and hair products made from Abyssinian oil in July 2016. The lightweight oil, high in fatty acids, is extracted from the seeds of the Crambe Abyssinica plant, indigenous to the highlands of East Africa. It’s used for both skin and hair care products. Robyn Lasarow started making the range of products in her kitchen, developing and mixing product formulas manually. She has always been clear about wanting to use chemical-free and natural ingredients only.
Product we tested: Body Oil
Stephanie Tourles says Abyssinian oils “are characteristically slippery to the touch, smooth in texture, and lighter than water, with an extremely low evaporation rate.” The MyAbby body oil, beautifully packaged in a slender green bottle, is all this and more: it feels luxurious on the skin. When I first applied it, I was concerned that it was going to leave a greasy film on my skin. But within seconds, it had sunk into my skin. It has a very light and gentle fragrance. Remember that oils nourish and form a protective lipid barrier on the surface of the skin to help keep water in, but because they don’t contain any water themselves, they do not hydrate the skin i.e. they do not moisturize. The body oil is approved by Ecocert, an international organic certification organisation.
Price: R349.00 (currently on special for R299.00)