Look at the ingredients in your skincare products and you’ll be sure to find things from all over the world. Every few months a new star ingredient hits the headlines with promise. More often than not, these are ingredients grown in tropical climates: argan oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera, squalene oil, coconut oil, frankincense, turmeric ...
Even if we overlook the ‘skincare miles’ involved in this globalisation of skincare, and we do our best to ensure ingredients are ethically and sustainably farmed (palm oil? essential oils?) there are real advantages to staying close to home when selecting our skincare ingredients.
Affinity of climate
To grow plants successfully we’re advised to look at the conditions that plant originated in and attempt to recreate similar. Plants, being rooted to the ground, have made specific adaptations to their local climatic conditions.
People have freedom to move around the planet but we still need to make adaptations to thrive in different climates. Mostly we do this with clothing, shelter and shade or artificial heating and cooling, giving us maximum flexibility. It’s easy to miss, therefore the impact climate has on our physiology.
But we know that travelling between cooler and warmer climes can require a period of acclimatisation while our body adjusts to the new conditions. And we’ll quickly associate gloomy or sunny weather with the impact it has on our mood. So we are creatures of climate, just like plants.
As we are moulded and shaped by the climate we grow in, we are likely to find greater affinity with plants that have grown in similar climatic conditions. So for those living in a temperate climate, using temperate herbs and seed oils can be especially beneficial to our skin, we’re of the same soil.
Local and seasonal
When we seek, we often find ways in which nature is helping us. The ingredients we can gather in fields, hedgerows and gardens change throughout the year. The short window of availability for some ingredients heightens their value (through scarcity) and galvanises our action (use it, or lose it). Some appear as we need them – such as the variety of cleansing plants that arrive in spring; others can be preserved for use throughout the year. With knowledge, and care, we can meet all our skincare needs using the ingredients growing locally to us and flexing our routines through the seasons.
Do what’s right for you, where you are.