‘Natural’ and ‘organic’ beauty might be all the rage right now, but the duo behind organic beauty blog ftoxins (I’ll give you three guesses as to what the ‘f’ stands for…) are in this for the long haul.
Offering no-nonsense swaps for your favourite products, from essential skincare to cleaning products, sisters Delphine and Ariane are on a mission to educate you about the nasty ingredients you could be soaking into your system and turn your beauty bag clean, green and organic.
I grabbed some time with ftoxins to talk greenwashing, the problem with parabens and the products the sisters can’t live without.
When did your interest in all things organic start?
Delphine: Our mum’s a homeopath so we’ve always grown up holistically-minded but TBH, I didn’t really start dabbling in natural and organic products until my late teens or early twenties. I used to use all the usual brands (Rimmel, Bourjois, Maybelline, Barry M glitter…) because yes, I was the teen who rocked baby blue eyeliner with pink hair mascara. Growing up, I used to have loads of pimples of my forehead – a sign of stress from what you’re ingesting from eating or putting on your skin – and I also used to suffer from bad headaches. Honestly, changing to natural beauty helped to alleviate both those issues so I started looking into it more.
Ariane: As Delphine said we grew up in a holistic household, but I was spending a lot of money on ‘designer’ makeup until I was about 25. My interest in all things natural and organic grew when I started to put a conscious effort into my health and wellbeing. The research is really difficult to ignore once you’ve read it. The best bit now is that I actually spend a lot less money on makeup than I used to. Trust me when I say that there is nothing luxurious about designer cosmetics.
It's Thursday which means those dreaded dark circles have probably appeared 👀. Touche Eclat used to be my go to but now I prefer to spend my money on something that is not full of talc and mineral oil and parabens… ~ The under-eye concealer by @janeiredale is made of only good stuff like avocado oil, rosehip oil and cucumber fruit extract. These super ingredients will help reduce the dark circles while covering them up 💯
How hard did you find making the switch to natural, organic beauty?
D: At first it was tricky because it wasn’t that available. We used to have to order our favourite brands (Lavera and Benecos) from America or Germany, so that was the biggest struggle. On a social level, I’d have to make sure I had my makeup on me as I was more conscious about buying or borrowing something random.
A: Letting go of things we love (even when we know they are bad for us) is always difficult. My MAC lipsticks were the last things to go because I struggled to find a good replacement for them but once I did, I never looked back. That’s why we focus on ‘swaps’ so much on ftoxins – it’s not about giving up your favourite beauty products, it’s about upgrading them.
Is there one product you miss the most?
D: If you’d asked me this a few weeks ago, I would have said dry shampoo. I’d been looking for a good alternative to using Batiste for a while because real talk? I wash my hair twice a week max so sometimes girl needs a lift. Now, I’ve found the amazing Acure brunette powder which you just puff onto your scalp and brush through, or I use Nature’s Baby Organics Silky Dusting Powder which is an amazing alternative to talc, made from tapioca starch.
A: I’ve never thought about this before but there really isn’t! You can find everything from great natural hairsprays to amazing natural fake tans nowadays, so there is truly nothing to miss.
Wednesday normally sees the dry shampoo come out. I’m not alone with this am I?! Of the 12 ingredients contained in Batiste Dry Shampoo, 11 are hazardous synthetic chemical substances. Butane and Isobutane – the first two ingredients – can cause skin, eye and lung irritation, organ system toxicity and allergic reactions. ~ Swap to a natural and organic dry shampoo like this one by @acureorganics or if you’re feeling creative make your own out of organic cornstarch and arrowroot powder 💁🏻
What are the most dangerous ingredients to watch out for?
D: We have a list of ingredients we try to avoid and why on our blog but as an easy rule, try to remember to avoid SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), parabens (all of them like propyl, isopropyl, butyl and isobutyl) and propylene glycol. These are all preservatives to keep our toiletries on the shelves longer (ergo, saving money.) They are also chemicals used as primary ingredients in things like brake fluids. These toxins can combine with others to become carcinogenic, can affect endocrine and reproductive systems and can be serious skin irritants. Just say no!
A: Even though I’ve been on this organic beauty journey for a few years now, I still find myself using the ThinkDirty app or searching for an ingredient on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database quite a lot, especially because you can’t always trust the ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ claims brands make. My general rule is that if it looks like you need a science degree to be able to understand it, don’t put it on your skin.
Do brands twist the truth when it comes to their ‘natural’ claims?
D: Absolutely! Greenwashing is so rife now that the organic beauty industry has become so popular. Sadly, a lot of brands are jumping on the train just to make money rather than to make the world a healthier place so I’m very conscious of labels like ‘paraben free!’ or ‘natural ingredients’ because of course the more natural, the better, but those claims don’t mean that those brands don’t contain other terrible ingredients.
A: Greenwashing annoys me so much. Lots of the big, been-around-forever, companies have recently come out with ‘natural’ lines because they know consumers are becoming more savvy about ingredients. But while they may be made without parabens, sulfates and phthalates, they still contain ingredients I personally would never use. Newer brands do this too and I find it really disappointing.
A reader of ours asked us to look into Tarte Matte Shape Tape Foundation to see if they used any toxic ingredients. It’s obviously great that this brand is cruelty-free and made without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, SLS and gluten but their first ingredient is Cyclopentasiloxane. This is a silicone that helps make fluids easily spreadable and forming a barrier on the skin to fill in lines/wrinkles. There are many concerns around the harmful effects it has on marine life and the environment when flushed away and it’s been known to cause skin and eye irritation. It also contains PEG 12 Dimethicone, another silicone-based polymer which can contain impurities like Ethylene Oxide that are known to increase incidences of cancer. It’s advised that PEGs are never used on broken or irritated skin so seriously, we shouldn’t be using this ingredient to cover up popped pimples! ~ I don’t use liquid foundation myself but expert acne coach @amy_skyntherapy recommended @nuicosmetics foundation as a great alternative for that matte full-coverage and after looking at its 90% certified organic ingredients list, it might just convert me to wearing foundation too.
What are your top three organic products?
D: I’m obsessed with Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. I’m trying to avoid using aerosols in general and a lot of women’s commercial deodorants have aluminium in them which you definitely want to stay away from. I’ve been using Soapwalla for a year now, so for all seasons, and it’s amazing. It smells fresh, goes on so easily and dries in seconds so don’t get put off the ‘paste’ texture.
Antipodes lipsticks have been my saviour when looking for bright shades, they have everything! Benecos are a great cheaper alternative too.
And, cheating here as this will add up to four, but Lavera Endless Definition Mascara gives me life (they also do great eye makeup and highlighters) and Green People’s Pressed Powder makes me look airbrushed IRL.
A: I couldn’t live without my Hurraw Lip Balms. I have a serious lip balm addiction so have tried them all (natural and not) and these are by far the best. They are made of raw and organic ingredients and are delicious. I wear the Tinted Black Cherry Lip Balm during the day and their Moon Lip Balm at night.
Organic oils are another must have for me. I have hemp oil, jojoba oil and argan oil on rotation and use them as a face and body moisturiser, hair serum, makeup remover… There’s nothing they don’t do or can’t fix.
If I only put on one bit of makeup it will be to fill in my eyebrows a little with my Benecos Eyebrow Pencil so I guess that has to be the third favourite! They are such good value for money and really perform well. Benecos have a comprehensive list of stockists here if you prefer to see them in store. It’s a safe bet that where there is Benecos they’ll be Lavera and other great organic makeup brands.
Do you have any advice for others starting their organic journey?
D: Everyone has to start somewhere. Learning about ingredients and introducing yourself to new brands can seem like a long and daunting process, but just take it one step at a time. There’s never been a better time to go on an organic journey because it’s so readily available now. Once you educate yourself and realise that commercial brands don’t usually have the consumer’s health or interests at heart, you start realising what you want and expect from the products you’re paying for and that’s really liberating. I want my products to be ethically-sourced, completely cruelty-free, free of pesticides and toxins and ones that’ll make me feel beautiful and glowing inside and out.
A: I think the easiest way to make the switch is to buy organic bit-by-bit. Instead of buying your usual face wash when it runs out, try a natural one. When you fancy a new lipstick colour, treat yourself to an organic one. Also follow some organic beauty bloggers on Instagram – they are continuously inspiring me and introducing me to new brands and products.
Image background: Virginia Lackinger on Unsplash