Do you Know Your Squalane from your Tocopherol?

OV naturals purple glass bottles, with flowers.

Are you someone who reads the label when you buy a skincare product? Are you interested in what you're putting on your skin & what it can to do help? Do you look out for specific ingredients? Have you ever wondered what an oil actually is? Here's a 5 minute read which tells you about our favourite ingredients & what they do for your skin.

What's in my Skincare?

The majority of ingredients in OV naturals Skincare products are high quality aromatic essential & plant oils & extracts. We seek out ingredients that work wonders for the skin. 

Botanical ingredients contain a wealth of magic properties, many of which have been clinically-proven & some of which have been used traditionally for centuries. With naturally nourishing & protective properties, containing vitamins, proteins, amino acids, antioxidants & other phytonutrients, these extracts help us to look vibrant & youthful. That’s why we trust in our natural ingredients & we hope you will, too.

A note on 'oils'

Don't be put off by the word 'oils'. We know our subject & formulate your skincare products so that they are never greasy - the word 'oil' covers a very wide spectrum. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated... some plant oils are heavy & oily (think coconut), others are light & quickly absorbed (think safflower).

Essential oils are different altogether. They are extracted from plants, but non-greasy (& to confuse things further, aren't actually oils, although they behave in a similar way). 

Read on to discover some of our favourite ingredients.

Cold-pressed, certified organic plant oils

We use a wealth of Soil Association/COSMOS certified organic, unadulterated, cold-pressed plant oils/waxes, which being unrefined are richest in their natural components such as vitamins, phytosterols & fatty acids, all of which are highly beneficial to the skin. Examples are Apricot, Grapeseed, Jojoba, Nigella (Black Cumin), Prickly Pear, Rosehip, Sacha Inchi & Safflower.

Certified organic, deodorised Argan oil

We use a Soil Association certified organic, deodorised Argan oil from Morocco. Through the deodorisation process (passing the cold-pressed oil through a steam process in a vacuum), the nutritional content isn't altered, but the colour is lighter and the smell is neutralised. If you have ever smelled the natural aroma of organic Argan oil, it can be extremely pungent to the point of being unpleasant. This is why we choose the deodorised version, so that we can use a lot of this powerhouse oil along with other botanicals. It's a very fine balance using natural extracts & we didn't want the argan overpowering the aromatic essential oils. 

Olive squalane

A fairly new kid on the block, in the sense of skincare ingredients on the public radar, olive squalane is highly moisturising & works brilliantly for dry, flaky & sensitive skin. 

Squalene (with an 'e') is naturally produced by our own bodies in small amounts, but this production declines with age. 

Sadly, some squalane is produced from shark squalene found in the liver. It goes without saying we would never touch this.

The Squalane in our products is a plant sterol - an extract from olives, obtained by distillation. It is a natural extract (not organic). Squalane is highly compatible with human skin, antioxidant, protective, emollient & helps improve suppleness & to reduce signs of ageing. It absorbs extremely fast, almost ‘disappearing’ to leave your skin glistening & soft.

Organic essential oils

We use a wealth of pure, whole, Soil Association certified organic essential oils for their aromas & therapeutic properties. Many essential oils are known to have a beautifying effect as well as reaching the subconscious through the olfactory system. 

Natural essential oils

There are also natural essential oils we use which are not organically certified. It really depends on your ethos & budget as to whether non-organic ingredients are acceptable to you. We buy our ingredients from independent & responsible suppliers & we only choose ingredients that we feel meet our high standards of purity & sustainability. 

We'd choose essential oils over synthetic fragrance any day. Of course some people can't tolerate essential oils, we understand that. And all of our formulas have been assessed scientifically to ensure they are safe. In general, essential oils tend to cause reactions only when they are used incorrectly without understanding of the dilutions & contraindications (we have this direct from an experienced dermatologist).

Fractionated bergamot

The certified organic Bergamot essential oil in our products has been “fractionated” (separated), by distillation. This is a common process used to remove the phototoxic component, bergapten. Bergapten can cause the skin to be extremely sensitive to sunlight and is therefore best avoided in topical skincare products. Where you see Bergamot BF, this means Bergapten-free.

Absolutes

Although often grouped with essential oils, absolutes are different, produced by a different process.

Rose & Jasmine Absolutes in OV products are produced with no pesticides or synthetic chemical fertilizers. Our Jasmine Absolute has been approved by the Soil Association to be used in COSMOS natural products.

To produce Absolutes, a solvent is used to extract the aromatic compounds, which is then evaporated to leave the fragrant molecules. In the past, goose fat was used for this process. Nowadays, Absolutes are made using Hexane (a liquid chemical extracted from petroleum). Because the Hexane is removed during the manufacturing process, there should be no trace in the final product when a high-quality Absolute is chosen.

Pure vitamin E

Our Vitamin E (Tocopherol) is 100% natural, derived from soya and the highest grade available. It is approved by the Soil Association and COSMOS and certified GMO free. The Vitamin E is extracted by fractional distillation and is a natural D-Mixed tocopherol, a mixture of all the natural Vitamin E isomers. (There is no such thing as an organically certified vitamin E). 

There is synthetic Vitamin E & natural. Received wisdom suggests that the natural version is superior & more beneficial for your skin. 

So there it is, in a nutshell (or a leaf, petal, seed...) our favourite natural ingredients. Thank you for reading.

Wondering about your skincare routine? Check out this short blog about what you might need. Or try this  5 minute read to give you an insight into facial oil formulation.

Have Your Say

Thank you for reading the blog. Which of these ingredients do you love? Have you any questions about others we haven't mentioned? Ask us or leave a comment. We'd love to know.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own & there are no affiliate links. References are correct at the time of writing to my knowledge. Information provided by this blog is subject to change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within as a definitive guide to the matter being discussed. You are advised to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author. Lucy Stevens, 2020. 

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