Did you know that it takes 1,000 years to generate 3cm of top soil? And that, according to the UN, if current rates of degradation - a major cause of which is intensive farming using chemicals - continue, all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years? As more of us become aware of the danger our eco-system is in, there's a growing interest in using 'conscious' cosmetics, that are kinder to both our skin and our planet.
Last year alone saw a whopping 24pc growth in the certified organic and natural cosmetics market, according to the Soil Association's latest Beauty Wellbeing Report. It states that this is the seventh consecutive year of growth in the sector, fuelled by consumers who are embracing 'soil to skin' beauty.
Most of us will already be familiar with the 'farm to fork' approach to food, but what are the benefits of the 'soil to skin' philosophy? "I think it's part of a general inside and out shift towards healthy, toxin-free living," says Nicola Shevlin, a nurse with specialised training in skin healing and co-founder of Ría Organics (riaorganics.ie). "We're exposed to so much pollution in our everyday lives, so choosing clean beauty products is something we can actually control. Our skin absorbs toxins into the body, so by choosing organic, you're steering clear of those nasties."
So, what exactly is the difference between 'natural' and 'organic' products? "Natural generally means the ingredients come from nature - plants, minerals and animal by-products - instead of being created synthetically," says Nicola. "Organic ingredients must pass more difficult standards, such as being grown with no GMOs, chemical pesticides or fertilisers. The best way to tell what's organic is to look for the logo on the packaging of your skincare. When something has the Soil Association COSMOS-Organic stamp you know it's the real deal." Read on for some brilliant, soil-friendly certified organic natural beauts.
Top of the crop
The top certified organic product on the Irish market currently is the Nunaïa Nourishing Radiance Serum, €79. With a very difficult to attain 99.5pc COSMOS Organic Certification, it was created by Irish woman Nicola Connolly.
Three Irish siblings (one a skincare nurse, one with a background in chemistry and the other a horticulturist) combined their talents to create this gorgeous certified organic skincare line that comes straight from the Wicklow soil. For a great daytime skin booster try the Ría Organics Energising Day Cream, €40, from riaorganics.ie and health stores nationwide.
To ditch all synthetic chemical nasties and mind baby's skin, opt for the certified organic skincare line Neal's Yard Remedies. Their Organic Baby Balm, €12.65, is a brilliant all-natural option that can also be used by parents. Keep an eye out for their make-up line, too.
The Burren Perfumery is a certified organic brand that has been making waves for a few years now for its all-natural skin remedies and scents. The plant-based ingredients are nearly all grown on the West Coast of Ireland. Try the Burren Perfumery Nourishing Lotion for Hand and Body, €24, from Avoca stores and burrenperfumery.com.
If you fancy an all-natural, organic, holistic break away, look no further than the eco hotel Brook Lodge in Co Wicklow. Its restaurants serve all-organic dishes and their treatment menu is no different. The Wells Spa uses the certified organic Irish skincare brand Lucy Annabella. Treat yourself to their Mindfully Uplifting Body Massage from €40, or buy the Lucy Annabella Adore Organic Treatment Oil, €58, from brooklodge.com and lucyannabella.com.