Why you must not always buy natural products hype

Sunday December 25 2016

Google has countless recipes promising precisely what every other product does; glowing skin, thicker, softer, lustrous hair, clear skin. But what do you need right now, this minute with your specific set of concerns from acne, generally soft skin to anti-aging? Just because you can eat it does not mean you can apply it. PHOTO | FILE

Google has countless recipes promising precisely what every other product does; glowing skin, thicker, softer, lustrous hair, clear skin. But what do you need right now, this minute with your specific set of concerns from acne, generally soft skin to anti-aging? Just because you can eat it does not mean you can apply it. PHOTO | FILE 

By CAROL ODERO
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Enough women are turning into budding scientists when it comes to beauty. The home self-care movement has snowballed to the point where there is no distinction between kitchen and bathroom products.

And they make it look like the most natural thing in the world, smearing sweet potatoes and bananas in your hair. Except did you know just like any other manufactured product that may or may not have the ingredients you are filtering out, you still have to pay attention? Resist the temptation to get caught up in experimenting and find out if these solutions actually work. 

Like any other aspect of beauty you need to find a combination that works for you, a recipe with the right mix. All formulas have guidelines after all that go beyond an avocado and egg mask. It includes awareness on how research now says it is perfectly unnecessary to sleep in this mixture because it works within the first 30 minutes.

Home prep can be messy. It is much like preparing a meal. The ingredients do not have preservatives. It requires measuring small doses as most recipes, being food, have a short shelf life before they lose potency.

What is your source? Google has countless recipes promising precisely what every other product does; glowing skin, thicker, softer, lustrous hair, clear skin. But what do you need right now, this minute with your specific set of concerns from acne, generally soft skin to anti-aging? Just because you can eat it does not mean you can apply it.

I love honey. It goes on my hair, tea, coffee and pancakes.  But it will never go on my face because the moment my skin makes contact I develop what appears to be a severe case of German measles.

Which reminds me. When trying out recipes, try keeping ingredients to a bare minimum. One to three ingredients will help isolate what went wrong should something go awry and modern medicine must fix it.

NATURAL TRENDS

Home ingredients require testing and observation. Success is not guaranteed or as quick as processed products. Guesswork has to be eliminated. The same questions apply; are you getting value for your money and is it working as promised? Just because it costs less to make a body scrub with olive oil and sea salt does not eliminate the need to assess if this is a success story worth repeating.

A lot of websites declare homemade products perfect gifts, but like any other gift knowing the receiver counts. Give something whose interaction is known. How pure is this product or will you be mixing it with other commercial products? And if you are, what does the recipe call for or describe them as? Is Jamaican Black Argan Oil purer than argan oil? What does it mean when it says raw honey or unrefined coconut oil and where do you buy it?

A specialised health store? What about coffee scrubs? Is it espresso, finely ground, medium grind or instant, how large and therefore abrasive are the particles, is it organic and does it matter if you grind the coffee beans yourself? Does it have to be fair trade tea particles?

Which kind of the two types of turmeric is it and will you find it in Indian spice shops in Ngara or have to order it online? Is it shea butter from South Sudan or Ghana? Is it Braggs apple cider vinegar or will any supermarket selection do?

Not all ingredient iterations are created or cost equal. Potency and purity costs more. How far down the ingredient rabbit hole are you prepared to go? Is this a casual interest, a lifestyle or a commitment intent on preserving the environment?

Believe it or not even home care has trends. There was a time EVOO and ACV were the perfect pair. That’s extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Now raw coconut oil is everything from a superfood, shaving cream, moisturiser to toothpaste. It now has the magic.

Skin care companies are phasing out beaded scrubs. But natural skin care arrows point towards particle scrubs instead of enzyme exfoliation. Salt, sugar, coffee, baking soda and oatmeal mixed with water and oils promise soft, touchable, glowing skin swearing they will obliterate acne, lighten skin and generally eliminate imperfections requiring an entire range of specialised products.

Let us not forget applying lemon on the skin even though it felt like my skin was being dragged along the hot tarmac at 60kph. Moving your kitchen to your bathroom does not absolve you of the responsibility of being conscious and observant about your beauty choices. If anything, playing scientist demands closer attention because it comes down to this.

Do you trust it or are you buying the hype?