Interview with Nat van Zee
Having worked with stars like Lily Cole and Karlie Kloss, Nat van Zee is no stranger to the spotlight. But, she’s making waves in the beauty industry with her commitment to clean beauty. Her goal? To make it more accessible than ever. Here, she talks to us about the nitty gritty of natural beauty…
Why is organic beauty so important to you?
It’s about self worth and empowerment. If you don’t eat processed food, and you work-out, because you want to look your best, why use processed synthetic beauty?
Make better choices with your beauty products, nutrition and stress management and you’ll be able to avoid so many skin conditions.
Last year, I trained in Cosmetic Acupuncture and it helped me understand how much our inner health affects the way we look. Our skin reflects how well we are so if it plays up, it’s a message that we need to make some changes.
Hormonal/rosacea/eczema or premature ageing skin needs a 360 degree approach to heal or improve in the longterm.
What made you change to organic beauty?
Our skin absorbs what we put on it so I wanted to change to healthier products. And, I feel the responsibility to look after my clients’ skin and health.
Mainstream products are mostly made from unsustainable petrol-derived chemicals that routinely include small amounts of harmful chemicals. Used to preserve the product formulation, they’re harmful to our health when layered on day in day out.
If you add up how many personal care products and make-up you use a day, it’s similar to the cumulative effect of a full-time diet of junk food or smoking.
What are the challenges of using organic make-up?
Pigments like neons are not available in nature so you need synthetic colouring. Also any claims of “kiss-proof lipstick” or “24-hour sweat proof foundation” requires man-made chemicals.
Don’t be fooled by a conventional formulation with ‘green’ buzz words as anyone can say they are natural and organic, instead, learn to read the ingredient list.
What are the immediate pros of going organic?
Anyone wanting glowy, hydrated or balanced skin is better with organic beauty as natural ingredients are in synergy with the body. Organic beauty does not block or disable skin function like staple ingredients like mineral oil or silicones do.
Ingredients that are grown organically biodegrade easily and are in harmony with the environment, animal welfare and often fund fair-trade women-owned communities around the world.
And what are the difficulties when trying to go organic in your beauty?
It’s not widely available on the high-street so it’s harder to try a product in store for texture or colour. You often need to buy them first online so it can be confusing to work out which products are genuine and worth investing in. As organic make up is typically silicone free, you also need to adopt some new techniques like using the warmth of your fingers to blend the make-up in. The shelf life is also shorter (18 – 24 months) as opposed to 5- 6 years which translates to the same principle as low nutrient processed food, and high nutrient organic food. Organic food gives more ‘fuel’ to our bodies but does go off sooner than supermarket food that looks good but has been radiated or sprayed with chemicals to keep it fresh longer.
Which make-up items are the hardest to find organic/natural?
Bright colours, waterproof mascara. liquid eyeliner, nail polish and hair colour.
Which make-up items are the easiest to find organic/natural?
Any creams, oils, balms. Basically anything involving skincare, foundation, lipsticks, cream blushers, highlighters and bronzers.
What ingredients do you stay away from?
Endocrine Disrupting Chemics (EDCs) as they affect everyone. Parabens are a common example of an EDC as they’re used as a standard preservative in anything with water content. Plus, they mimic the female hormone oestrogen which can disturb our hormone balance. The World Health Organisation has highlighted the link between EDCs and their contribution to breast cancer, malformed male genitals, prostate cancer, developmental disorders on the nervous system in children, attention deficit /hyperactivity in children and thyroid cancer.
Nowadays you can see ‘paraben-free’ on some labels which doesn’t mean the product is safe. The chemical methylisothiazolinone (also known as MI) is a common replacement – and it’s been responsible for a rise in contact dermatitis and eczema. Just make sure you read the ingredient list before you buy!
Which ingredients do you love the most in make-up products?
I love cold pressed organic plant oils as facial oils. They’re full of antioxidants and other plant power that skin loves. Jojoba oil, argan, rosehip, marula and ottoman rose are my favourites for skin and body care. I love hyaluronic acid serum too as it really helps to fill in fine lines in mature skin. Broccoli seed oil is nature’s dupe for silicones as it gives that silky texture and finish.
Sign up for more healthy beauty news at vanzeebeauty.com where a Clean Beauty eCourse is launching soon where you’ll find out how to read ingredient lists, which logos to use and which ingredients to avoid as well as getting inspired by make-up tutorials