We are Louise and Sara Beauchamp, non-identical twin sisters and qualified natural skincare formulators. We are founders of La Femme Verte, our own natural skincare range for women in midlife and beyond. ‘Ageing joyfully’ as a mantra to live by is thankfully starting to gain the attention, traction and… dare we say it… respect that is so long overdue. Today, we shine a light on the power of ‘natural efficacy’ when it comes to taking care of our skin.
One of the joys of retiring, either fully or semi, is that we may have a little more time to give our skin some love and attention. Caring for our skin is caring for ourselves, after all, our complexion is what most people are referring to when they remark on how well we look! And skin really is amazing and the ultimate multi-tasker. How often do we stop to consider all the different functions it performs? It contains us, it forms a barrier between us and the environment, it absorbs good Vitamin D from the sun, it helps to regulate our body temperature if we get too hot, it supports our hair follicles, and there are many other functions besides.
The idea of ‘natural efficacy’ has been with us for possibly thousands of years. The term refers to the natural power of an ingredient to produce an effect. The Ancient Egyptians used oils such as Castor and Moringa in skin tinctures, and of course they became experts in skin preservation! The Romans used Rose water, Olive oil, Almond oil and Frankincense for softer, more youthful skin. Put quite simply, natural ingredients work. The natural compounds found in botanical extracts can be assessed for efficacy just as effectively as synthetically produced chemical compounds. Natural ingredients in skincare can be roughly divided into three main categories – essential oils, carrier oils and butters, plus active ingredients.
What are essential oils?
Essential Oils are concentrated plant extracts. They each have their own unique chemical compound and they capture the scent and flavour of the plant. They provide aromatherapeutic benefits such as relaxation by their inhalation, and skin health benefits when used topically, such as disrupting the growth of bacteria, or stimulating the regeneration of skin cells. They are also documented as having positive benefits on our internal systems and functions, such as the lymphatic system. Each essential oil has its own ’dermal limit’ which must be observed by the skincare formulator.
What are carrier oils and butters?
Carrier oils and butters are extracted from the seeds and nuts of a plant, such as Sweet Almond oil, or Apricot Kernel oil. A ‘butter’ is an oil that is solid at room temperature, but quickly melts once on the skin. They are fantastic in skincare preparations because they not only nourish the skin cells, but they act as the ‘carriers’ for the essential oils, which are too concentrated on their own to be used safely. Oils and butters are comprised of lipids which are fatty acids. Fatty acids are an essential component in the skin. They play a critical role in the structure and function of the skin cells. By applying skincare formulations containing these fatty acids, the new skin cells forming in the basal layers of the skin are nourished and strengthened before they make their way to the outer layers.
What are active ingredients?
Active ingredients in skincare formulations are those ingredients that have been chosen to target a specific skin concern. They are also referred to as high-performance ingredients. HPI’s have been scientifically proven, even when naturally derived, to do what the product says they will. A good example of this would be hyaluronic acid. It helps to prevent water loss from the skin, thereby plumping it to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Another example is seaweed extract, good for improving skin tone and pigmentation.
Here at La Femme Verte, we use many different essential oils, carrier oils/butters and active ingredients across our skincare range. One of the joys for us of being able to formulate our own products is learning about all the different natural ingredients and their natural efficacy. We have chosen to focus our range on the ingredients considered to be premium. We wanted to be able to offer the very best in natural skincare. Women in their retirement years have often dedicated much of their adult life to the raising of children and caring for others, and indeed many continue in that role. We want our customers to embrace that this is now ‘their’ time, and to experience the feeling of super soft velvety, nourished skin together with an uplift in spirit.
Some of the beautiful ingredients we use are:
- Geranium Rose essential oil, rehydrates dry and mature skin and relaxes the mind, helping to ease insomnia.
- Bergamot essential oil is good for rebalancing oily skin and is soothing emotionally.
- Perilla seed oil is fantastic for calming and protecting dry, cracked and mature skin.
- Sea Buckthorn oil is full of antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids to moisturize and strengthen the skin.
We are currently trialling a new night serum that will contain White Poppy seed oil. This particular oil is quite light and deeply nourishes the skin leaving it soft and smooth.
We hope we have been able to shine a light on what natural efficacy is, together with some examples of the natural efficacy of some of the ingredients that we use in our skincare range.
What did you think of Louise and Sara’s skincare tips? You can share your questions and comments for them below!