the importance of plant-based skincare eight saints

Cutting Through the Jargon: What’s Plant-Based Skincare and Why Should You Use It?

In recent years, the plant-based lifestyle has become a major trend. In diet, skincare, body products - you name it - people want to be as natural and as plant-based as possible.

On one hand, it makes perfect sense. Loads of research has come out about the problems associated with preservatives, stabilizers, and toxic chemicals that consumers often find in “traditional” skincare products, and there are now tonsof options out there that allow you to avoid these dubious ingredients. Plus, many animal ingredient sources require animal harm to be sourced (like squalane, which is often sourced from shark liver - yikes!) and nobody has time for that.

But the real “why” behind plant-based skincare, in particular, is often a big question mark, and it’s often hard to differentiate between high-quality products and snake oil (no pun intended).

Here’s what you should know.

The Broader Context: “Conventional” Products and the Harm They Can Cause

Conventional beauty products can be quite problematic, as they can contain a slew of fragrances, toxic chemicals, preservatives, and stabilizers that can cause harm to the skin and the environment. This includes:

  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Butylated Hydroxy Anisole and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)
  • Hydroquinone
  • Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others)
  • Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others)
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG compounds)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES)

These harsh chemicals can also damage your skin’s natural barrier and throw your microflora out of balance. In the big picture, this can have a major negative impact on your skin’s appearance and lead to things like out of balance sebum production, acne, redness, and irritation.

Finally, ingredients in conventional beauty products are often sourced from environmentally dangerous or cruel places. Squalane, for example, is frequently sourced from sharks, while collagen is often derived from the cartilage or skins of cattle and fish. And when many ingredients -- like microbeads or oxybenzone -- go backinto the environment, they can kill fish or cause irreparable damage to coral reefs.

Why Plant-Based Skincare is a Healthier Alternative

plant-based skincare eight saints

Plant-based skincare, on the other hand, can provide real benefits to the skin withoutthese controversial drawbacks.

First: Understanding the Industry Language

Before we dive into the details, though, it’s important to clarify what we’re talking about here. There are many “good skincare” terms (often used interchangeably) that are important to understand:

  • Plant-based: Broadly speaking, plant-based skincare is any product that is free of animal by-products and not produced from animals.
  • Cruelty-free: Similarly, “cruelty-free” simply means a product or its ingredients have not been tested on animals by a supplier, manufacturer, producer, or any third-party entity. Generally speaking, plant-based skincare lines are also cruelty-free.
  • Vegan:In vegan lines, there are no animal products whatsoever. That means that common ingredients that can be sourced from animals without harming them -- like honey, beeswax, keratin, and lanolin -- are not used. A natural skincare line can be plant-based and responsibly sourced without being fully vegan.
  • Responsibly sourced:This means that products were not made using ingredients that come from places that cause harm to people or the environment.

It’s also important to understand that, while such terms can provide some clarity, they’re not fool-proof, and they don’t guarantee that you’re dealing with a great brand or wonderful products. Why not?

Well, many similar terms -- like natural, organic, or hypoallergenic-- are not well regulated or even acknowledged by the FDA in the United States (they only require that a company is not directly “misleading,” so it’s kind of the wild west when it comes to these terms.

That said, there is currently a push toward transparency, regulation, and clearer labeling with legislation like The Personal Care Products Safety Act, and you can look for verifications like an official USDA Organic seal (which guarantees that a product is at least 95% organic) or a Leaping Bunny stamp, which certifies that no animals were harmed in the making of a product.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Skincare

With all that said, though, there are many benefits that you can experience when you use truly plant-based, cruelty-free, responsibly-sourced products. Specifically, plant-based products usually:

  • Are packed with nutrient-dense ingredients.Jojoba oil, for example, is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic (pain-relieving), hypoallergenic, andanti-inflammatory. Similarly, plant-derived squalaneis one of the most effective humectants, meaning it can draw moisture into the skin and smooth wrinkles, prevent flaking, and stave off irritation.
  • Can restore pH, microbiome, and skin’s natural barrier.Harsh synthetic ingredients -- like surfactants, parabens, and alcohol -- can destroy the skin’s barrier and kill your natural microbiome. Plant-based skincare, on other hand, is often microbiome-friendly. Natural oils, for example, feed your skin’s healthy bacteria, while antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E can protect skin and prevent day-to-day free radical damage.
  • Contain fewer additives and preservatives than conventional skincare products. While this does imply a slightly shorter shelf life, it’s important to keep in mind that it doesn’t mean that your products will instantly go rancid. On the contrary, there are many natural preservatives and stabilizers -- like jojoba oil and sunflower seed oil that can actually keep a product in tip-top shape without any of the drawbacks.

The Best Plant-Based Ingredients to Incorporate Into Your Routine

With all that in mind, some of our favorite plant-based active ingredients to accompany Eight Saints superstars include:

Try them all -- and figure out which ones work best for yourskin -- with our Eight Saints Discovery Kit.