Natural, Organic, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Green, Botanical, Aromatherapeutic, Compliant, Ethical, Sustainable... what does it all mean, really?
With so many skincare products & so many words, we know it can be confusing to know what's genuine & what's just ‘marketing-speak’ or 'greenwashing'.
So, in plain terms, here's the lowdown on OV naturals ingredients.
“When clients asked for natural & organic, cruelty-free, plant-based facial oils to use at home (similar to the ones they'd experienced in aromatherapy treatments) I had to say yes.”
Lucy Stevens, OV naturals
We've been making aromatherapeutic skincare products for a decade. Using our knowledge of essential oils & plant extracts, we are able to choose the perfect match for your skin. We make organic face products, natural body products & natural fragrance.
Today, most of our OV naturals products are still made here in our Somerset workshop (the others made for us in the UK). Our products sell with independent stockists & are used by therapists. We have always remained a small-batch, independent small business because Lucy, who makes OV skincare, is also a hands-on therapist.
The first range of OV naturals skincare launched in 2011. Triple Rose Luxury Organic Facial Oil was part of this collection & is still our bestseller today, under the name Vital.
"You won't know how you lived without it".
Sarah Stacey, beautybible.com
Back then, when face oils were still niche, we were lucky enough to be 'discovered' by veteran health & beauty journalist Sarah Stacey, co-founder of the Beauty Bible. To have the support of a high profile journalist was a huge boost & we have remained in contact ever since. Sarah has featured Triple Rose (now called Vital) on many platforms & included it as one of her favourite products in the Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible. OV naturals has since been featured in magazines, newspapers & blogs.
Over the years, OV naturals has evolved, while always staying true to its roots. We still have some of the same customers from the early days. Our products have been used in spas & are used by therapists & sold in independent shops. In 2017, OV naturals products were taken by the Eco-Spas, Scarlet & Bedruthan in Cornwall, where guests received them as Christmas gifts.
Our IngredientsSkin, aromatics, energetics. We take all of these into account with our formulations. Essential oils have an inherent 'life force' & an energy all of their own. So we consider how the formulas will help your skin look its healthy, natural best. How they smell. How they make you feel. It's a delicate balance.
There's a strict ingredients policy behind our small-batch skincare. You will never find 'greenwashing' here. I want to know what I'm putting on my skin & my customers do, too. All of the products we make, we also use ourselves.
I have seen first-hand in therapy clients, how the goodness encapsulated in essential & plant oils can help keep us hydrated, soft & supple. I see the results of OV naturals products on a daily basis in my therapy room, so I can safely say that I know the products work.
We do our very best to source sustainably & ethically. So most of our ingredients are sourced from small independent businesses in the UK, where we have contact with the suppliers & can verify anything we need to (such as whether the natural ingredient is grown sustainably).
Importantly, OV skincare products are legally compliant. They are approved by cosmetic scientists & made professionally in a dedicated workshop. If you have any sensitivities to essential oils, then patch test before use.
Reading the LabelTake a look at the ingredients label and/or the listing in our online shop. These both show INGREDIENTS in order of quantity (apart from our natural fragrance, Golden Eau de Toilette, which as a perfume can have a proprietary recipe). As well as the universally recognised INCI terms (from the International Nomenclature of Ingredients) you'll find the common name in brackets. So you don't need a dictionary & you can easily scan for particular ingredients. This is so useful, especially if you have a known allergy or aversion to anything.
A note about allergies: If you’re seeking unfragranced products, then our Face Cream is your go-to. The rest are formulated with essential oils which are naturally aromatic, while the Beauty Waters contain traces of essential oils. Body Polishes contain organic cane sugar which is produced in an environment where nuts are also produced. Some of our products contain nut & seed oils.
Now, here are some of those words & what they mean to us.
This is one of the most flexible terms out there. We associate natural ingredients with plants & the goodness within. This is how we use the term.
However, lots of ingredients can come under this heading, really anything that has a natural source, however far away from the finished ingredient that may be. You could even call fossil fuels like petroleum ‘natural’ if you think about it.
Natural & Chemical aren’t in opposition. Another misconception. Everything in the world is made from chemicals. So I prefer to use Natural & Synthetic in distinctions between entirely man-made ingredients & those which are from, and close to, nature.
Natural isn’t always a soft fluffy word, either. Think of those natural history programmes! Plants can kill – think hemlock. Even essential oils, in the wrong hands, can be poisonous – just a few ml of Eucalyptus oil can kill you if ingested. Likewise, if you drank too much water (I’m talking way, way, way too much), it could be fatal. Hence why we have Cosmetic Legislation to limit & monitor ingredients in your skincare products.
So the word natural can be problematic – but we love nature & it’s at the heart of everything we do, so we use it anyway.
We source many Soil Association Certified organic ingredients for our facial oils & you'll find organics in other products, too. Organic botanicals are grown without harmful pesticides or other toxins, so the strain on the planet is lessened enormously, wildlife is protected & bio-diversity can thrive.
There are between 84% and 99% Soil Association certified organic ingredients in each facial oil. Supple body oil is also mostly organic. In other Body Oils & Body Polishes, you'll find the ingredients are high quality 100% natural botanicals.
Everything we make here is 100% natural except for the Eau de Toilette (which contains a denaturant to discourage drinking of the pure ethanol!).
Some natural ingredients cannot be certified for various reasons. For example, sometimes certification can’t be given due to the fact that they are grown in plantations (such as Sandalwood, which can only be grown sustainably in this way). Or maybe there is some kind of chemical or solvent during the manufacturing process to extract or create the ingredient, such as Olive Squalane, Vitamin E & Absolutes. (This wouldn't appear in the final product).
We state on our products that all, (including those made for us), are cruelty-free. Our definition of this is that the ingredients we use & our final products are never tested on animals. From 11 March 2009, testing of cosmetic ingredients was banned in the EU & testing of finished cosmetic products had already been banned. This is something we applaud - but sadly, there are caveats which means this legislation has plenty of loopholes. There are also still laws in certain countries (such as China) which require animal testing for certain products. We don’t & wouldn’t sell in China.
‘Natural’ is not always equal to 'botanical' so a natural product is not necessarily a vegan product. Many cosmetics companies use animal derivatives in their natural (& synthetic) products. Ingredients in the products we make ourselves are 100% vegan.
The OV naturals organic, unscented FACE CREAM is the only non-vegan product in the range. This is made for us in the UK & contains a small amount of beeswax. We make this clear on the label & website, as we're conscious that vegans may wish to avoid this.
A few of our favourites botanicals
The majority of active ingredients in OV naturals products are high quality aromatic essential & plant oils & extracts, plus natural Vitamin E. We seek out ingredients that have been clinically proven to work wonders for the skin. Don't be put off by the word 'oils'. We know our subject & formulate your skincare products so that they are never greasy. They sink into your skin like a dream.
These ingredients contain a wealth of magic properties, many of which have been clinically-proven & some of which are anecdotal over centuries of use. With natural moisturising & protective properties, containing vitamins, proteins, amino acids, antioxidants… they all help us to look vibrant & youthful. That’s why we trust in our natural ingredients & we hope you will, too.
COLD PRESSED, CERTIFIED ORGANIC PLANT OILS
We use a wealth of Soil Association 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 & SAFFLOWER OIL
We use a Soil Association certified organic, deodorised Argan oil from Morocco & a certified organic, deodorised Safflower oil. 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 or some batches of Safflower, it can be extremely pungent to the point of being unpleasant. This is why we choose the deodorised version.
The Squalane in our products is 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 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).
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.
Rose & Jasmine Absolutes in OV products are grown 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 is 100% natural, derived from soya and the highestgrade 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).
Have we covered everything you need to know? If not, please get in touch & we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.