This post was sponsored by STUDIO BOTANIC, all views my own.
Beauty is an area I’ve increasingly enjoyed as I’ve gotten older; it provides a way to combine self-care, a little bit of craft, and a calm state of mind as I set aside time to focus on a simple physical task.
But while there are many recipes, like bath bombs and body scrubs, that I really enjoy creating and experimenting with, there are also areas that I know are way beyond my knowledge or skill level. Our skin is our largest organ, so treating it well is as important as it is fun, and there are some differences depending on where on the body we’re talking about. For example, the epidermis on our face is thinner and more sensitive, in particular around the eyes, whereas the skin on our hands and feet is a lot thicker. So while an ingredient like coconut oil may be ok for our body, it’s high comedogenicity means that it can block pores, and may not be the best idea for the face.
This is where it starts to get beyond my fun DIY level of expertise, and I like to delegate to someone trustworthy with more expert knowledge than myself. When it comes to these areas, especially things like facial skincare or more repair based care, I prioritise finding items that are:
- Non-toxic (as we absorb chemicals through our skin)
- Made with sustainably and ethically sourced, natural and organic ingredients
- Produced under ethical conditions
- As long lasting and multifunctional as possible (meaning that I don’t need thousands of products, but just a few that work really well)
I’ve only encountered a small handful of brands over the past few years who I feel meet these criteria, and STUDIO BOTANIC, who I met at NEONYT back in January, recently joined their ranks. It was a real treat to learn more about this company and to try some of their products for review.
About STUDIO BOTANIC
All of STUDIO BOTANIC’s products are deliberately created in harmony with people, animals and the natural world, and their ethos can be summarised as a union of old and new. They combine traditional botany with innovative technology, using natural ingredients and the latest approaches to develop formulations that care, protect, clean and regenerate.
Their approach is based on transparency, inclusive and unisex design, and a minimalist mindset, opting for a small number of carefully selected, high-quality plant-based ingredients over long overly-complex ingredient lists.
STUDIO BOTANIC consider each individual ingredient that makes it into their products; they spend time on each formula to ensure they get the maximum benefits from the smallest amount of raw ingredients, naturally reducing waste and creating a better final result.
Each ingredient they use must be vegan, cruelty-free, and non-irritating, while also being free from:
- Silicone, mineral oils, petrolatum (Vaseline), paraffin wax and other petrochemical derivatives
- SLS, phthalates, PEGs (polyethene glycols), DEAs (diethanolamines), MEAs (monoethanolamines), PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), retinol and TEAs (triethanolamine)
- Synthetic fragrance enhancers, colourings, buffer substances and plasticisers
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Aluminium Salts
- Evening primrose oil and nut oils
This leaves room for nourishing and revitalising ingredients such as olive oil, citrus extracts, avocado oil, shea butter, rose flower extract, hemp oil and jojoba oil to take the lead instead. In contrast to mainstream cosmetics that contain fillers and artificial fragrances, these ingredients are packed with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants, while also being antibacterial and moisturising.
The fragrance question
When it comes to beauty products it’s also important to delve more into fragrances and cosmetics. Most cosmetic products have some sort of scent, but ‘fragrance’ is also used a label to encompass many toxic chemicals without having to disclose their existence in the product, as companies argue that these are ‘industry secrets’. These synthetic fragrances can trigger allergies, affect our hormone balance, and negatively affect flora and fauna, while many compounds are also suspected of being carcinogenic.
In contrast, natural fragrances are based on essential oils, extracts and resins and can be obtained from flowers, leaves, fruits, seeds, herbs, wood or even roots, with various methods used to extract the fragrance and process accordingly. There are disadvantages to natural fragrance, namely that they’re limited by nature and can run out, the fragrance doesn’t last as long, and they can still cause allergic reactions on rare occasions. However they are also not carcinogenic, don’t hurt the environment, and don’t influence our hormone balance.
If I could only advise people to check one thing on their cosmetic labelling, it would be fragrance. STUDIO BOTANIC use only natural fragrances and, because they’re committed to conscious creation without unnecessary ingredients, they have a ‘less is more’ approach. They use small amounts of natural oils, such as mandarin and peppermint, to create fresh but subtle scents that don’t overpower, while also keeping ingredient lists short, transparent and non-toxic. If you look through their ingredients lists you’ll never find the word fragrance, as each ingredient is listed individually instead.
STUDIO BOTANIC also uses a production process that is transparent, natural and sustainable, avoiding long confusing supply chains where exploitation can creep in. Instead, all of their products are made in Germany (which also keeps them under EU labour and ingredient laws) and then sold online, keeping prices lower. Their external certifications include:
NATRUE Label: a label focusing on ingredients, specifying what is allowed in a natural cosmetic product and how it should be processed. This label aims to support natural and organic cosmetics and combat greenwashing through criteria designed by an independent scientific committee when it comes to ingredients.
The Vegan Society: a certification to ensure that a brand doesn’t use animal products and avoids animal testing, while also combating the use of animal genes or substances in the development and manufacture of genetically modified organisms.
FSC Seal: A label to support environmental and socially responsible management of forests. To receive the FSC certificate a company must prove that their paper materials come from FSC-certified forests or that their packaging consists of FSC-certified recycling material.
STUDIO BOTANIC isn’t a completely zero waste brand, but they did settle on aluminium tubes over plastic bottles, in order to protect their ingredients. This is much more important in creams rather than things like soaps or shampoos, as they are more sensitive to contact with air, light or water. By using aluminium tubes (coated on the inside so nothing comes into contact with the aluminium itself) ingredients are kept safe from this contact, considerably extending shelf life. The tubes are also highly recyclable and made from recycled content (as aluminium isn’t downcycled like plastic), difficult to damage, and low weight, meaning that they produce less CO2 during transportation.
The aesthetic of the products themselves, as well as being deliberately modern and minimal, is also decidedly gender-free. This makes them perfect for sharing, gifting and use for anyone with any type of body. Plus, each one comes with illustrations that show you how and where to use each product.
This is the product I’ve been using the most, as I’ve been putting it on every night before bed. This face cream uses hemp oil, olive oil, and shea butter to provide moisture plus a good dose of vitamin E and beta-carotene. It has a light lime scent and absorbs quickly, meaning it doesn’t feel greasy but instead has quite a mattifying effect instead. You really only need the tiniest bit of this to go a long way: the first time I used it I applied a bit too much and realised my mistake quickly, now I use a much smaller amount (I actually use less than recommended as I have a tiny head) and my whole face is covered, so I think this should last for a good few while, making it effortless and a little less wasteful. Since using it I’ve definitely noticed that my skin is more even and balanced, while I also smell fresh and feel more moisturised too.
I have never found a hand cream that I liked before this. I don’t tend to need them every day but have found that they’re helpful as I’m a contemporary dancer (so rolling around on the floor a lot) and I also use my hands for art projects and lifting weights, so they need a bit of overall love. The problem I’ve usually found is that hand creams tend to moisturise and then leave you feeling greasy for ages, however this one doesn’t as it’s designed for quick absorption! I actually timed it, and from application to feeling like my hands weren’t overly slippy took about a minute, which is a significant improvement on anything else I’ve tried.
This cream also contains waxes (candelilla, carnauba and myrica fruit) to protect your skin from drying out, alongside oils that keep skin supple and stop it from becoming brittle. This hand cream provides a mixture of protection and care, with citrus extracts also providing Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Q10, and a beautiful citrus scent. This is actually my favourite smelling product of the three and is officially the first hand cream I’ve ever liked. I’m moisturised, but I can still pick things up!
This is a cream that’s specially formulated for when your skin needs extra care, for example if you’re having issues with dry or reddened skin, and it can be used on both the body and face. It’s a perfect cream for winter, when cold weather and indoor heating can be tough, or when the weather changes rapidly and leaves skin a bit confused.
It contains vegan waxes, again for extra protection, alongside olive oil, shea butter and avocado oil which moisturise and provide multiple vitamins, and rose flower extract which regenerates, soothes and prevents inflammation. Peppermint oil also provides a slight cooling effect, encourages circulation, and is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Overall the smell is slightly botanical/floral mixed with a hint of mint, but it’s very subtle. This cream does take longer to be absorbed, however I think this makes sense because suffering skin needs that extra time and care, and this formula is specifically created for that. I haven’t used this as much as the other two, but I really like it, and I now keep it as a back up for those moments when I need a bit of extra help or protection. I think for that reason this is also going to last a long time too, and I probably wouldn’t need to look for something else for a year, which is great.
Overall I’m a big fan of all three of these and a big fan of STUDIO BOTANIC in general! If you’re looking for something genderless, minimal and subtle that still gets the job done and leaves you feeling fresh and nourished, these guys are the one for you.