Using oils to cleanse oily, congested skin. Sounds a little bit like rubbing soil into your jeans to get the grass stains out right? Dubious? I was slightly confused about this cleansing method too, so I set out to find out just why oil cleansing not only works, but has plenty of devotees the world over. Firstly: not all oils are created equal. In my head, ‘oil’ could mean anything from the contents of the vat my fish supper was fried in to the contents of the sump in my car. It’s certainly a broad definition: an oil is a hydrophobic substance that is usually liquid at room temperature. Although it will not mix with water, it blends easily with other oils. Oil can come from animals, plants or chemical processes. Also, it comes from our skin!

An oil dropper of siam botanicals facial serum

Use natural oils to work with your skin

Having been exposed to decades of marketing intended to encourage me to buy harsh astringent chemical products, I’ve been wary of embracing my skin’s natural oils. Don’t they cause breakouts? Well, the short answer is no! Our skin has evolved to take care of itself perfectly well. The oils it makes are what keep it hydrated, help to heal minor wounds and keep infections at bay. The problem with this harmonious system comes when we expose our skin to environmental factors that disrupt this balance, such as polluted air, makeup or chemical irritants. If skin isn’t properly cleansed, these beneficial natural oils can clog our pores and when trapped lead to blackheads, blemishes, and unhappy skin.

Using harsh chemical cleansers will strip the oils from your skin. It’s true! They will! But they will strip all the good away along with the bad, and can lead to irritations, rashes, dryness and …you guessed it… unhappy skin.

But what if we were to use a natural oil, with antibacterial properties, that was similar in consistency and chemical make up to the sebum made by our own skins? Well, the oil cleanser gently mixes with – and lifts out – dirt and oil from your pores, leaving them cleansed without drying, working in harmony with your skin’s own amazing self-regenerative properties.

apricots ripe on the tree

Apricot kernel oil is rich in essential fatty acids, and a sustainable by-product

Siam Botanicals’ COSMOS Organic Apricot Facial Cleansing oil has been carefully blended with oils of castor seed, sweet almond, apricot kernel and black caraway seed. Used daily in conjuction with a face cloth and hot water, this oil cleanser will care for oily skin, removing impurities and congestion without upsetting the skin’s delicate balance. Simply massage the cleanser into dry skin (no eye make-up remover required either) and then soak your face cloth in hot water, drape over your face and allow your pores to open. Then simply wipe away: the cleanser, impurities, stress and makeup. Intended to be used before bed: the added bonus being that a quick splash of warm water is all that’s required in the mornings!

Castor seed oil is a key ingredient: it has been traditionally recognised for its antiseptic and astringent properties. Although it feels quite a heavy oil in the hand, it’s actually very similar to the skin’s own oils and as a result is a highly effective deep cleanser.

Siam Botanicals Rosehip and teatree oil cleanser

Hydrating and cleansing: Rosehip and Teatree oil cleanser

Do you have drier skin that needs a little more hydration? Try our COSMOS Organic Rosehip and Tea Tree oil cleanser. Rosehip oil is naturally moisturising: blended with olive fruit oil and just the right proportion of Tea Tree oil, this cleanser will gently remove impurities whilst controlling and reducing blemishes thanks to it’s naturally antibacterial properties. Of course when you use either of our oil cleansers you can rest assured that our premium organic ingredients are working with your skin to support its own natural systems.

Moringa has been cultivated as a food and beauty crop for over 5000 years and is native to the tropics, especially India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The leaves, pods and seeds are all edible and highly nutritious – so much so that the dried leaves are used to combat malnutrition in poorer areas. It’s known colloquially as the ‘miracle tree’. I thought that was quite a claim, so I set out to find out why!

Siam Botanicals' Argan and Moringa Face Polish

Siam Botanical’s Argan and Moringa face polish contains Moringa oil for happy skin

The answer partly involved free radicals. Free radicals are not an obscure garage band from 1975, but oxidative compounds inside your body that are both by-products of your own metabolism but also cause by pollution and other environmental factors. They can cause damage to DNA which in turn can accelerate the visible effects of the ageing process and even cause chronic illness. The best way to reduce the impact of free radicals is to provide your body with plenty of antioxidants – which can be found in fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of other plant-based sources. This is where we get to the “miracle tree”. Raw moringa oil, derived from pressing the seeds, combines a whopping 46 separate antioxidants. It is one of the most concentrated natural sources of oleic acid, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which boosts the production of collagen and helps to keep free radicals in check!

Moringa, or Drumstick tree, in blossom

Moringa, or Drumstick tree, in blossom

Moringa oil – also known as ben oil – has been traditionally used for its moisturising, cleansing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so any minor breakouts or blackheads will be soothed away. Happily, moringa produces a light oil that your skin will drink happily with no greasy residue. Our single-ingredient cold pressed Organic Moringa Oil is great for face, hands and nails, keeping skin nourished and cuticles soft. If your skin is struggling a little with the pressures and pollution of city life, our Replenish facial serum contains moringa and argan oils as well as juniper seed and grapefruit oils to cleanse and purify. We have always known it was great, but it was lovely to hear that it had been commended in the 2019 Beauty Shortlist awards!

Siam Botanicals Replenish facial serum

Siam Botanicals’ award-winning Replenish formula facial oil

The chemical-free myth 

When we think about the dangers lurking in our skin care and our food, the focus is usually on the threat posed by artificial chemicals and additives. A climate of fear has built up around chemicals. The word ‘chemical’ is frequently misused by green skin care and organic food aficionados – and the industry itself – to mean something really bad; something poisonous that must be avoided at all costs. We talk about living chemical-free lives, and how evil mainstream cosmetics companies cynically stuff their products full of chemicals. Of course, we all know what is meant by this lazy language, and perhaps it’s nothing but pedantry to pick up on it. We mean artificial ingredients, of course; we mean man-made chemicals. There is not (usually) a deliberate intention to mislead, and most people don’t want a science lesson about how everything is made of chemicals every time they buy their face serum or toner. This point has already been well covered so I don’t need to rehash what has already been said – these excellent articles say it all:

The Myth of Chemical-Free Cosmetics by Lorraine Dallmeier of Herb & Hedgerow
Can We Claim a Skincare Product to be Chemical Free? by Sarah (Sugarpuffish)
Manmade or natural, tasty or toxic, they’re all chemicals… The Guardian science blog

Natural v man-made chemicals

At Siam Botanicals, we’re all in favour of using natural ingredients. 100% natural skin care is what we are all about. But just because something is man-made, it doesn’t make it inherently bad. And just because something is natural, it doesn’t mean you can consume it or slather it onto your skin in as high a dose as you please. It’s just not that simple. It can’t ever be assumed that because something is 100% natural, it is 100% safe. Would you eat lightly steamed poison ivy, for example, or a fricassee of unverified wild mushrooms? Would you choose a body lotion whose active ingredient was arsenic or Clostridium botulinum? They’re all natural, after all.

Take a look at this useful infographic by Sense About Science, which tackles some of the misconceptions we have about chemicals:

Natural and man-made chemicals

 

To take one example from this infographic, amygdalin is a dangerous toxic chemical that can produce hydrogen cyanide when metabolised. It is found in apple pips and apricot kernels (among other fruit and veg). Aaaagh! Apples contain a toxic ingredient! Therefore, apples are poisonous! We must stop eating apples or we’re all going to die!

But wait a minute. Unless you’re planning to consume a cupful of apple seeds or 20-odd apricot pits in one sitting (and I don’t mean swallow whole, I mean chew extremely thoroughly), you don’t need to worry about the toxic effects; the body is more than able to detoxify cyanide in small doses.

‘The dose makes the poison’

For me, the key sentence in the infographic is this:

Chemical toxicity is a sliding scale, not black and white – and whether a chemical is naturally occurring or man-made tells us nothing about its toxicity.’

The truth is that almost everything has the potential to be toxic – even water and oxygen. Both natural and artificial chemicals can be dangerous; and by that logic, both can also be safe. Pretty much anything, if consumed in the wrong concentration or if put into contact with the wrong part of the body, can prove damaging to your health. Aside from the all-important concentration of the ingredient, there are other factors to take into consideration – your skin colour, your age, where you live, the part of the body to which the product is being applied (because absorption rates can differ substantially) to name a few.

You’re right, of course, to care about what you’re putting in and on your body. It’s the very reason why we decided to make our own skin care products. But remember the sliding scale. We don’t all react in the same way to individual ingredients, whether natural or not. Nor do we all have the same boundaries – what is an acceptable ingredient to some is blacklisted by others.

Our advice? There’s no right and wrong. Decide where your own boundaries lie and find a company you trust, whose ethics and ingredients reflect your personal choices.

Do you have a list of ingredients you try to avoid, or do you choose your skin care products based on other criteria? Where do your personal boundaries lie? Let us know in the comments below!

SIAM BOTANICALS – ABOUT US

We believe in the power of nature. That’s why we created Siam Botanicals, an honest brand of natural face care, skincare and personal care products.

We guarantee that our products are made with the finest-quality natural ingredients. We’re committed to responsible sourcing and work with local suppliers wherever possible. We also make a conscious effort to keep our packaging simple to minimize our impact on the planet.

Our face care, skincare and aromatherapy ranges are 100% natural – that means they are completely free from synthetic chemicals, colors and fragrances. Our premium personal care products are formulated with aloe vera juice and cold pressed oils. They contain no synthetic detergents, preservatives, colorants or fragrances. It is our policy to be completely transparent about the ingredients we use. Take a look at our website – we list everything that goes into our products because we have nothing to hide.

By combining age-old ingredients with scientific know-how, we have succeeded in creating a simple but highly effective range of unisex products to suit all skin types. Every formula is hand blended in small batches, to ensure that our exceptionally high standards are faithfully replicated in each pot, bottle and bar.

Our range includes premium face care, massage and body oils, balms, bath salts, solid perfumes, soaps and shampoos. So whether you’re looking to rejuvenate and revitalize, tone and tighten, soothe and soften or simply pamper and preen, we’re sure to have the perfect product for you.

WHY NATURAL?

If you find a high-performing skin, face and haircare range that happens to use the purest ingredients possible, why wouldn’t you choose it? If it delivers results while at the same time being sustainable and responsibly sourced, why say no? As our loyal customers around the world will testify, our products work. The fact that they’re natural and environmentally safe is the icing on the cake.

We simply believe that natural skincare products are best,

not only because they don’t contain artificial chemicals but, even more importantly, because they do contain botanical ingredients that offer benefits not found in synthetic alternatives.

COSMOS organic logoCOSMOS Natural certificationCOSMOS CERTIFICATION

Many of our products carry the COSMOS-standard certification, which means they meet the rigorous requirements set by BDIH, COSMEBIO, ECOCERT, ICEA and SOIL ASSOCIATION for organic and natural cosmetics. Look out for the logos on our packaging!