Natural wonders

Gwyneth Paltrow has long been a proponent of organic skin care ranges.

Gwyneth Paltrow has long been a proponent of organic skin care ranges. Photo: Jason LaVeris

These days it's near impossible to pick up a beauty product without the word "organic" on the label. The major benefits of using organic ingredients are that they're grown without using pesticides and chemical fertilisers, and so are good for the environment, and that they are often richer in antioxidants (ingredients that tackle ageing). Here, we show you what to look for when buying organic.

Head straight to the source. "Organic products are subject to strict production procedures, where the growing environment, harvesting and processing of ingredients are assessed by an independent certification body," says Keston Muijs, co-founder of Australian skincare line Grown Alchemist. The good news for Aussie consumers is that Australia boasts some of the toughest certifying standards in the world. Look out for products labelled with the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) logo, which is the leading certifier for food as well as skincare. See aco.net.au for more information.

Natural doesn't necessarily mean organic. As the organic buzz gains momentum, more producers are looking for ways to eliminate the use of synthetic ingredients and chemicals in a bid to deliver greener products. But even when a product is labelled as using natural ingredients or as being paraben- or sulfate-free, there's a chance it still contains other chemicals, so always read the ingredients list.

 

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ASK THE BEAUTY EDITOR

I'm trying to grow my hair but the ends are looking dry and brittle. What's the trick to restoring split ends?

There's no remedy for split ends like a good trim. The longer you leave it between salon visits, the more the damage builds up, which means you'll eventually have to sacrifice more off the ends. In the meantime, you can minimise damage by easing off on hot styling tools and using a wide-tooth comb to detangle knots. If you're after a quick fix, working a shine-boosting serum through the hair will temporarily seal the ends to keep them looking glossy and smooth.

Questions to sundaylifemail@fairfax.com.au.