It's refreshing to discover a totally stripped-back, natural beauty product which does more than just smell delicious. Recent months have seen a host of new options hit the green beauty market, each one offering peace of mind as well as efficacy. These small, independent brands have shifted the spotlight from glossy marketing campaigns to ethical roots and sustainable processes, with results to rival the big beauty players. Here's our rundown of the brands to know now.
Holistic skincare brand Kypris is named after the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who rose from the foaming waters of the Cypriot coastline and entranced locals with her beauty. There's something mystical about the brand's supercharged skincare - these products are as natural as can be, yet there's powerful science behind them. The moonlight catalyst serum, for example, uses herbal ingredients to mimic the brightening effects of retinol, but with none of the redness or peeling. Fermented pumpkin enzymes encourage cellular renewal, while biometric EGF - a vegan, non-GM peptide of epidermal growth factor (excuse the jargon) - works to plump fine lines as neroli calms the skin and prepares the nervous system for sleep.
While the virtues of natural skincare are widely extolled, it's more difficult to find a haircare brand that follows the same path. Swedish brand Maria Nila raises the bar with its socially responsible standpoint: their products are 100% vegan, free from sulphates and parabens (chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics) and recognised by both PETA and Cruelty Free International. The products are manufactured in Helsingborg, Sweden, enabling the company to keep a close eye on working conditions and monitor exactly what goes into every bottle. The range is sizeable, and there's a category to suit every hair type. For frizzy textures, the true soft line is loaded with argan oil to hydrate and smooth, while structure repair line is ideal for distressed tresses, with algae extracts to strengthen damaged strands.
This super-natural skin and body brand draws on wealth of unique plants that grow in the forests of Latvia. Due to the country's long, bitter winters, these plants have developed the ability to thrive in harsh circumstances, cultivating a remarkable amount of active substances. Every Madara product is crafted in accordance with the international ECOCERT standard, produced using sustainable methods, and never tested on animals. The brand's founder, Lotte, was shocked into action when a chemical-based cream upset her complexion, spurring her to create a skincare line that is not only organic, but entirely safe for the most sensitive of souls. A highlight is the Time Miracle Cellular Repair Serum, which contains sea buckthorn, bilberries and horse chestnut to lift and define the facial contours. Birch juice is used instead of water, increasing the potency and resulting in a seriously powerful concoction..
When it comes to organic beauty products, Bottega Organica is as pure as they come. The brand is developed by Dr Andrea Alimonti (winner of the prestigious Josep Steiner cancer research award) and based on a select few ingredients, dubbed 'natural inhibitors of senescence' which are proven to slow the ageing of human cells. Each product is exclusively formulated using botanical serums and floral spring waters, as well as Bottega's own extra-virgin olive oil. All plants are wild and grow on organic soil at the brand's farms in Liguria (Italy) and upstate New York, while every formulation is 100% sustainable, organic, and vegetarian. The star ingredient is a rare form of sage, salvia haenkei, which clinical trials showed to improve skin elasticity, luminosity, and texture - a true powerhouse. In the brilliant restorative mask, it's blended with soothing chamomile and wild carrot to produce an instant lit-from-within glow, while the extra-nourishing face formula includes vanilla planifolia, a potent antioxidant.
A.S. Apothecary is the baby of Amanda Saurin: a plant grower, gatherer, distiller and crafter of fab beauty products. Making each concoction in her small-batch distillery in the South Downs National Park, Saurin follows a 'seed to skin' philosophy which sets the standard for slow beauty, using only traceable ingredients from trusted local growers. Rich and indulgent, the facial serum is a stand-out for any skin type, combining antioxidant rose-hip with blemish-soothing arnica and calendula to help heal acne scars. Another stand-out is the mineral powder, a double-duty formula that's loaded with hebridean kelp to decongest and heal blemishes. Mixed with the geranium cleansing water, it becomes a nourishing mask and when combined with cleansing oil it transforms into an active exfoliator - multi-tasking beauty as its very best.