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.

With the organic and natural skincare market becoming ever more competitive, consumers are quite rightly becoming more and more discerning about the products they use and the ingredients they put onto their skin. One way to stand out in a crowded market is to go through the lengthy process of receiving certification from an official body.

In a world of greenwashing, where terms such as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are bandied about all too freely with little or no substance behind them, a recognised ‘stamp of approval’ such as the COSMOS-standard certification gives customers confidence that a company really is sticking to the ethos it claims to espouse, and that the ingredients it uses really can be trusted.

This is the road that Siam Botanicals started down last year – and finally, in April of this year, our products were approved! [**Pops cork**]

champagne celebration

 

We were, in fact, one of the first companies to be awarded the COSMOS certification under the new, more stringent guidelines introduced in February. Our products were assessed and approved by BDIH, the German non-profit association, but the COSMOS-standard label is a Europe-wide standard that was developed by not only BDIH but also Cosmebio (France), Ecocert (France), ICEA (Italy) and Soil Association (UK). The certification can be approved by any of these organisations.

 What does the COSMOS-standard certification mean?

COSMOS Natural certificationCOSMOS organic certification
Maybe you’re imagining that we simply send our ingredients lists off for analysis, wait for a bit and then receive our certification in the post. Well, you’d be very much mistaken! Reassuringly for consumers, it’s a LOT more comprehensive than this – and we chose COSMOS precisely because it is (in our view) the strictest and most rigorous of all the certifications out there.

When you see a product that has been COSMOS-certified, it means that every aspect of that company’s production process has been put under scrutiny during an audit that can last several days. It means that:

•the manufacturing facility has been inspected

•there has been a full audit of ingredients, including their origin and how they were processed

•the company has demonstrated that its production methods are ecologically sound – this includes providing an environmental management plan that addresses the whole manufacturing process

•its product formulas, labels and packaging have been approved

•any non-organic ingredients have been used because no organic equivalents were available

•all ingredients are GM-free (non-organic ingredients can only be used if the supplier has submitted a declaration that they are non-GM)

There are two certifications available – COSMOS Organic and COSMOS Natural. To achieve either option, the full audit must be carried out successfully on each product.

To receive the COSMOS Organic label, at least 95% of the agro-ingredients must be organic.

Products that pass the audit but do not contain at least 95% agro-organic ingredients are eligible for the COSMOS Natural certification. COSMOS Natural products may of course contain some organic ingredients (as ours do), but at a lower percentage than those with the Organic certification. For these products, the percentage of natural origin ingredients must be indicated on the label – except where the products are 100% natural origin.

We are proud to say that ALL Siam Botanicals products are 100% natural origin. We do not use any synthetic chemicals, nor do we use ‘nature identical’ ingredients. We strive to find the best, most ethical providers and have chosen organic ingredients wherever possible.

The full list of Siam Botanicals products that are COSMOS-standard approved is listed below. You can buy these products safe in the knowledge that we take our responsibilities and promises incredibly seriously – and we have the stamp to prove it!

COSMOS Organic: 

Argan & Moringa Face Polish

Rosehip and Tea Tree Face Cleanser

Apricot Face Cleanser for Dry Skin

Apricot Face Cleanser for Oily Skin

Rudis Oleum Botanical Face Care – Day Formula

Rudis Oleum Botanical Face Care – Night Formula

Rudis Oleum Botanical Face Care – Repair Formula

Rudis Oleum Botanical Face Care – Replenish Formula

Gentlemen of Siam Lemongrass & Tea Tree Shave Oil

Gentlemen of Siam After Shave Toner

100% Pure Bulgarian Rose Water

Rosewater & Glycerin Facial Tonic

Rosewater & Tea Tree Facial Tonic

Witch Hazel Facial Toner

Witch Hazel & Tea Tree Facial Tonic

Revive Skin Conditioner

Siam Roots Skin Conditioner

Argan & Lemon balm Revitalizing Hair Treatment

Coconut & Curry Leaf Revitalizing Hair Treatment

COSMOS Natural: 

Energize Face Serum

Natural Balance Face Serum

Tamanu & Cucumber Face Balm

Soothing Thai Balm

Gentlemen of Siam After Shave Balm

Coconut Lip Balm

Orange Lip Balm

Peppermint Lip Balm

After Sun Artisan Body Oil

Detox Massage & Body Oil

Meditation Massage & Body Oil

Rejuvenate Massage & Body Oil

Relax Massage & Body Oil

Skin Therapy Massage & Body Oil

Oriental Artisan Body Oil

Siam Roots Artisan Body Oil

Oriental Skin Conditioner

Lavender & Rosemary Skin Conditioner

Tea Tree & Neroli Skin Conditioner

Rose Geranium & Ylang Ylang Skin Conditioner

Detoxifying Bath Salts (Juniper & Grapefruit)

Refreshing Bath Salts (Lemongrass & Orange)

Reviving Bath Salts (Rosemary & Peppermint)

Relaxing Bath Salts (Lavender & Tea Tree)

Bio Guard with Lemon Eucalyptus

 

 

April saw Siam Botanicals exhibiting at another show, this time in London. The event, which is called Natural & Organic Products (it also takes place in Hong Kong in August and in Sweden in November), not only showcases a host of big brands and start-up beauty companies but also Fairtrade/sustainable/organic food and drink products, and natural healthcare and household products. There were about 600 exhibitors and thousands of trade-only visitors.

Tamar, the owner of Siam Botanicals, flew over from Thailand and I joined her to man (or should I say woman?) the stand. I think you’ll agree that it looked rather lovely. People were definitely drawn to the lush Thai backdrop – a moment of escapism!

Natural & Organic Products: the Siam Botanicals stand

Natural & Organic Products: the Siam Botanicals stand

Natural & Organic Products: the Siam Botanicals stand

Lots of lovely stock, now available in the UK!

It was interesting to see what appealed to European buyers – they were particularly attracted to the more unusual or typically Asian ingredients such as rice bran oil, guava oil and moringa oil, and those scents that are commonly associated with Thailand – lemongrass, ginger and plai (all of which feature in our signature Siam Roots range of products). Visitors liked to be able to smell the pure oils – especially our guava oil, which was new to everyone we spoke to and was universally liked for its wonderful fruity smell.

Natural & Organic Products show - guava oil

It smells soooo good!

Natural & Organic Products show - rice bran oil

It wasn’t just this lady who loved the scent of our cooling rice bran oil with a hint of peppermint

Of course, people were very interested in the fact that our products have now received the COSMOS-standard stamp of approval from BDIH and are now proudly wearing their COSMOS Natural and COSMOS Organic badges! More on this in a separate post…

Natural & Organic Products: the Siam Botanicals stand

We enjoyed introducing our products to the UK market and made some interesting contacts, which we will be growing and nurturing over the coming months! The event also allowed us to meet in person several people we’ve been following on Facebook and Twitter for some time, including natural beauty and eczema/allergy blogger Sugarpuffish, Alex from Skins Matter (a great resource for resource for natural beauty and ‘free from’ skincare), and Lynda, otherwise known as Wonderlusting, who writes a great blog about ‘products and places that inspire wonder and lust’ – well worth a read!

We were also pleased to catch a seminar about the latest trends in innovative beauty ingredients by Rebecca Goodyear, another Twitter friend. And we were very encouraged to see that a talk on ‘How Asian skincare trends are taking off in Europe’ gathered a good crowd. As far as we could see, we were the only Asian skincare company at the show (correct me if I’m wrong), so we feel confident that there’s still a gap in the UK market for our 100% natural Thai brand.

Were you at the show? Did you visit our stand? Let us know your thoughts!