This article has been written by Fiona Brannigan, who is the passionate herbalist behind our Miss Bees Balms products. If you have any questions about using plants in your skincare or other products, please do leave a comment!
The power of plants
As a seasoned herbalist, I've learnt over the years that herbs and plants provide an endless rich and ready source of natural ingredients to heal, condition, nourish and balance the body, the mind, and the skin. It’s a well-known fact that plants help contribute to a happier and healthier environment, both internally and externally, and when used alongside a healthy diet, exercise, and spiritual practice, encompass a holistic approach to beauty.
When we eat a plant-based diet - one that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants - the nutrients we ingest are readily 'recognisable' and available to the body to digest and absorb. However, when foods are mechanically processed, these naturally occurring nutrients can be damaged or destroyed and become less 'recognisable' to our body. It is often the case that those lost nutrients are replaced by 'synthetic' or chemical additives to make food more palatable but which the body can only partly absorb. Food becomes a fuel source, but it lacks nutrients and ultimately leaves us depleted.
What is in our skincare?
The same principles can be applied to skincare. Plant-based ingredients, used correctly and appropriately, possess a variety of actions. They can heal, cleanse, tone, condition or nourish and these actions can be hard to mimic in skincare and cosmetics that are made with chemical solvents and synthetic additives. A good example of this is the widespread use of petroleum/paraffin as the base ingredient in the vast majority of mainstream skincare. Don't be mistaken: apart from it being a by-product of the oil industry, it does nothing for skin health (and can often work against it).
The benefits of using plants and herbs in skincare are far reaching. A big one for me is that botanical skincare often includes ingredients that multitask. You might choose an ingredient for it’s anti-fungal properties, but it may also be toning, antiseptic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. Marigold does this: whilst also being a potent skin healer by increasing the number of skin cells needed for repair in the affected area. If you’re looking for a universal skin healer with a beautifully uplifting scent that also relieves anxiety, choose lavender! Rose otto calms and soothes dry, sensitive, mature skin, and has a divine scent that supports the heart in times of need.
Plant-based skincare is available to everyone
Plant-based skincare is also accessible to all and everyone. Many ingredients can be found in your kitchen cupboards: oats, almonds, ripened strawberries, honey, yogurt and olive oil can all be used in face scrubs - it's actually an exhaustive list!
The connection between plants and autoimmunity and hormone imbalances
One of the reasons behind starting Miss Bees Balms was because of my ongoing interest in autoimmune illness and hormonal health. The cumulative effects of questionable substances that are directly absorbed into the body can have a notable negative impact on hormonal balance and the immune system and compromise our general well-being. Limiting or minimising our exposure to known proven hormone disruptors can help to keep our bodies in balance. It's worrying that some of the most popular baby products on the market are the worst offenders and was one of the reasons I formulated a baby oil.
There is a really exciting surge of interest in plant based diets as well as plant based skincare at the moment. And for those choosing botanical skincare, they can be assured that their choices bring minimal environmental impact, maximum and numerous skincare benefits, and beautifully healthy radiant skin, to nurture safely and kindly.