Luxe Botanics

A botanic skincare line scientifically formulated to allow nature to nurture your skin.


Leave a comment

Living a Life of Lagom

balanced

There’s something about Scandinavian concepts of living. Clean lines with a minimalist approach. We’ve been buying into their beautifully simplistic interiors for decades, and with good reason why.

While Hygge, the Danish idea of cozy living, has been huge in the last year, now “lagom” has quietly elbowed its way into the spotlight as an ideology for life. Never heard of lagom? Well we’re here to enlighten you…

A Swedish word that means “just the right amount” or “not too much, not too little,” lagom is the latest lifestyle trend people have fallen in love with. And we have too! With its emphasis on moderation, it can be thought of as a more mindful way of living, for everything to be a balance and “just right.” It emphasizes frugality and sustainability, inviting people to live their lives with more consciousness of the world around them.

Lagom is a moment for pause, to look at all the items we use and why, asking us to really consider the importance, or lack thereof. By becoming more centred around what we genuinely value in life, this can bring about a sense of greater purpose and even help to de-stress. It can be massively beneficial to let a little bit more lagom seep into our busy, often overwhelming lives, and here are a few ways you can start living a life of lagom through your beauty routine:

 

Bare Necessities

If you stop to think about it, you really don’t need five different types of moisturizers and three different types of eye cream. Sometimes we find ourselves purchasing more and more without once stopping to ask why. We’re so used to consumption that it becomes second nature, and we find ourselves in a race to constantly buy new things. Retail therapy, after all, didn’t become a phrase without reason, but it’s an instant gratification that seldom lasts and has an insatiable appetite.

Get into a lagom state of mind by getting rid of beauty items that have long expired. Mascara older than three months can go, as can skincare products you’ve had for a year or more and never use. Starting with expired items is a good way to begin the de-cluttering process without feeling like you’re throwing your hard-earned money away – those moisturizers and serums didn’t come cheap, we know. But once these are gone, you may want to consider what you use on a daily basis, and what is simply taking up space on your shelves. Only you know what really works and what products deliver the best results. Stick to those and thoughtfully curate your beauty ritual to be the best it can be.

 

Back To Basics

Lagom preaches the belief of “just right,” which means goodbye to excess. This can relate to the ingredients in beauty products, putting emphasis on those that are simple yet powerful. The current trend of plant-based face oils fits right in with lagom, as does the rise in popularity of natural and organic beauty. Clean, nature-based ingredients like argan oil and shea butter provide effective results without any of the harshness of added preservatives and synthetic ingredients.

833b6da6e2c0da8ab5e2220e9b8ab57c

The rule tends to go, the fewer number of ingredients in a product, the better. But that doesn’t mean these ingredients are any less potent. It’s all about finding the right combination and balance, ensuring each ingredient actually serves a beneficial purpose. Careful consideration of each ingredient and what it brings to the table is a core principle of lagom.

 

Sustainability

Our resources cannot last forever. This is one of the reasons why lagom emphasizes eco-friendliness. Practice lagom by using products with recyclable packaging as well as re-using the many jars and bottles that house your favourite beauty products. By scaling down your beauty regimen, you can also make sure you’re doing your part by using a product until the very last drop. This way you’ll ensure that you’re not being wasteful—and it’s easier to do if the product you’re using is wholly effective and one that you love. In the end, it all comes full circle.

 

gallery-1483971294-ikea-sortera-waste-sorting-bins

Sustainability can refer to ingredients as well. Ingredients that are sourced through wild harvesting or organic means ensure there is harmony between a finished product and its origins. Cultivating ingredients through fair-trade practices also respects the farmers who look after the land and who should stand to gain from their hard work just as you stand to gain from using a beautifully crafted product. It can be a win-win for all. Hurrah!

Hands-of-farmers-family-holdin-sapling

Beauty that is rooted in sustainability also ensures that the planet will not be unduly harmed by harsh methods of cultivation that are ultimately unsustainable and cause pollution. By supporting eco-conscious brands that respect the planet and prize business methods that leave a small footprint, you can adopt many of the core ideals lagom.

 

Practice Makes Perfect

You don’t have to dive headfirst into lagom. Like any lifestyle change, it requires patience and understanding on your part. It will also take some time. It can be difficult to let go of old and comfortable habits, like hoarding every old beauty product and voraciously purchasing new ones, especially if you’re a self-professed beauty obsessive and love new things. Don’t we all? But if you’re serious about curbing old habits and embarking on a change that will ultimately benefit you and the planet, lagom can come easily to you. Start out small, taking tentative baby steps, and before you know it, you’ll be leading a lagom life.

 

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team

 

Advertisements


1 Comment

The Confusion of Skin Care Labels: What Does Organic Really Mean?

bd70f0d62604587a042aa17715f678e9

There are armies of skin care brands and marketers determined to push their products by using words that make you believe they’re the most effective and the least harmful to their distinct advantage. But what do these terms really mean? We break it down so you can be an informed consumer. Take back your power!

 

Organic

The term “organic” should signify that an ingredient was grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or radiation. In other words, the plant or animal was grown as close as possible to its natural state, just as if it was in the wild. Take note of this, it’s an important one for later…

The food industry in the US regulates organic food products through the National Organic Program (NOP). Manufacturers and farmers must meet the standards set by the NOP in order to have the organic label placed on their products.

In skin care, the criteria are far less stringent. Some companies may skirt around the issue, finding loopholes that allow them to label a shampoo or moisturizer organic simply because one of its main ingredients is water. Water is, after all, natural and harmless (permitted it isn’t boiling hot). If you see a product with “organic” written on the package, know that no authority has deemed it so (unless it bears the certain certified labels, which we’ll get into below). It is possibly a marketing technique, or the manufacturer has figured out it can use the term because just one or two of its ingredients fits the bill. 

 

Certified Organic

Though “organic” on its own is a flimsy term, the “USDA Organic” logo has much more authority behind it—that’s because in order to display it, an ingredient or brand must be certified by the USDA. This certification is enough to give you peace of mind that almost all of the ingredients in the product have been grown and processed in regulated conditions that mandate cleanliness, and that it does not contain pesticides, synthetic preservatives, petrochemicals, GMOS or ionizing radiation.

USDA classifications are based on the percentage of organic ingredients in the product, ranging from 100% organic to 70% organic or less. A product containing 70% or less organic ingredients will not carry the seal, and may be simply labeled “made with organic ingredients.”

The Soil Association, a nonprofit organic certification body in the UK, is another logo available to guide customers. Our Kigelia products are all certified by The Soil Association.

Like “USDA Organic,” The Soil Association classifications look for ingredients grown without the use of GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and more. They review the end-to-end manufacturing process including sourcing of ingredients, formulation process and premises as well as packaging. They even require an environmental waste management plan. For a product to be called organic, 95% of all ingredients must be organic. A product containing  20% or less organic ingredients will be labelled “made with organic” products.

And then there’s EcoCert, a certifying body that focuses on the percentage of natural ingredients within a formulation. To obtain EcoCert, the ingredients must be “derived from renewable resources and manufactured by environmentally friendly processes.” Formulations cannot contain GMOs, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes and animal-derived ingredients (unless it’s naturally produced, such as milk and honey). On top of that, they check out whether or not the packaging is biodegradable or recyclable.

EcoCert has two labels: “natural and organic cosmetic” and “natural cosmetic.” To obtain the former, at least 95% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and at least 10% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming. For the “natural cosmetic” label, a minimum of 50% of all plant-based ingredients in the formula and a minimum of 5% of all ingredients by weight must come from organic farming.

745c7ebcd271c7451b0493133e0c546d

 

The Tricky Part

Your best bet is to look for the USDA, Soil Association or EcoCert seal if using an organic product is important to you. But here’s the tricky part: It can be challenging for poor rural communities to obtain an official organic certification often due to costs, time constraints, lack of resources and education barriers. Moreover, it can be supremely difficult—bordering on impossible—to certify a plant grown in the wild, like the Marula fruit. Wild crops are harvested in areas not under any sort of agricultural management. Therefore, the specific organic certification cannot be applied the way it can on a farm, where everything is heavily regulated and under constant manipulation by humans. Do note that many of these communities, for the same hurdles that impede their ability to nab certifications, cannot afford pesticides in the first place. What to do in this case?

 

Wild Harvested

Remember how we talked about organic simply meaning that a product is grown in a manner considered to be as close as would occur in the wild? This is where wild harvested comes in: the practice of harvesting plants from their natural, or “wild” habitat, for food or medicinal purposes. It applies to uncultivated botanicals untainted by chemicals wherever they may be found in nature. Ethical and sustainability considerations are often involved, such as protecting endangered species and taking care to remove only a few flowers or branches at a time, so plenty remains to continue the supply.

It’s really up to individual brands to work in harmony with rural communities that practice wild harvesting to ensure the ingredients are grown in optimal conditions and processed using techniques that maximize benefits. For example, our Marula is extracted from the kernel (nut) of the Marula tree in the Kenyan bush and cold pressed by the Maasai. And our Camu camu comes from deep within the Amazon basin harvested from bushes that grow along the waterways, hand-picked and processed by the local community in Brazil.

 

This Is Where We Stand

Aside from the certified seals mentioned, labels don’t guarantee anything. They can tell the whole truth (and nothing but the truth) or they can tell you only a part of the story.

Ultimately, what matters is the integrity of the brand. It’s up to the skin care company to not only produce high-quality products that perform, but also offer clear-as-glass transparency—from where and how their ingredients are grown, how they’re processed, transported and tested and how they ended up in the bottle you hold in your hand.

At Luxe Botanics we use certified organic ingredients whenever possible, but we believe wild harvested is equally as beneficial and should be respected as such. Because of this choice, along with the high percentage of wild-harvested ingredients in our formulations, sometimes our end product doesn’t meet the minimum percentage required by USDA/EcoCert/Soil Association to be certified as an organic product by these bodies. To meet their expectations, we’d have to reduce the percentage of wild-harvested ingredients in our formulations and increase our percent of those that are certified organic.

The downside? We wouldn’t be supporting local communities and wild harvested areas. For us it’s all about balance, having a mindful skin care ritual that not only gives back to the environment, but supports communities and nurtures sustainable farming practices for the future.  

For more info on labelling take a look at our earlier blog on skin care buzzwords

Naturally yours,

The Luxe Botanics Team