The clean beauty movement has been growing in popularity over the past few years, with consumers becoming increasingly aware of the various unwanted chemicals present in so many beauty products. Moving to natural “clean” alternatives is undoubtedly the way forward, but Janet Hayward, founder of luxury organic skincare brand Ipsum Skin, thinks it’s time the industry went one step further. We spoke with Janet about the inspiration behind Ipsum, and how she takes a “green skincare” approach: with Ipsum products made in a way that promotes the health of people, the planet, and the cultures that make clean beauty products possible.
With a passion for natural alchemy, Janet launched Ipsum in 2019, as a culmination of knowledge from years working in journalism: interviewing experts in cosmetics, botany and chemistry. The concept was, and still is, to use high quality, nutrient dense oils, and supercharge them with potent Australian botanicals.
When explaining the reasoning behind her ingredient list, Janet explained:
“I’ve always been fascinated by how we can harness the power of nature. It makes sense to me that if you eat good food, it shows in your general health. Equally, if you apply natural ingredients to your skin, that shows too.
The movement called the “clean beauty” movement is growing and often refers to specific ingredients as being ‘toxic’. But of course everything can be toxic in excess! I think Ipsum falls more easily into the category of green beauty. What I’ve come to understand is that nature is incredibly
complex. The reason I choose to use natural plant oils is because you can’t replicate these incredible and complex compounds in a laboratory. From a scientific and beneficial standpoint, it makes sense to harness the work that nature has already done for us. I would always choose plant oils over synthetically made ones because, if you do your research, you can always find a natural version of a compound that is superior to what you would get out of a laboratory. When plants grow naturally, they evolve and adapt to their environment and as a result become complex and incredibly powerful, resilient structures. Specifically, a lot of ingredients found in Australia are highly potent – supercharged – because of the extremes in weather they’ve been faced with over time and the effect this has had on all aspects of their environment. These plants have adapted to survive, and as a result are more potent than ingredients grown elsewhere. That potency has incredible power: for instance, the Vitamin C levels of a kakadu plum are over 50x that of an orange, and fragonia extract is not only antimicrobial and antiviral, it also works on an aromatherapy level to help regulate your melatonin level, which in turn regulates your circadian rhythm to improve your sleep pattern . The ability to harness the power of these plants seems simultaneously magical and obvious to me – like a very organic step in our evolution as humans,”.
While the powerful nature of these highly potent natural compounds is the first reason Janet uses them in her products, she also explained the cultural and environmental benefits of choosing to work with certain plant extracts in the way that she does.
“The lavender I use is from Provence, and the reason I choose that over lavender grown elsewhere is because lavender is a plant indigenous to that region, and when a plant is grown in its natural environment, it really thrives to produce the most efficacious oil.”
“Through COSMOS Certification (COSMetics Organic and natural Standard), the provenance of every ingredient is rigorously checked and regulated. The COSMOS auditors will examine how every ingredient is grown, harvested, distilled, extracted, transported, bottled, packaged and delivered. I have a file that’s around 400 pages thick for each Ipsum product which documents the provenance of every ingredient, and I think that’s so important to have.”
“By purchasing plant oils from their native regions,
you’re not only getting the best quality plant oil you’re often also supporting heritage industries and communities. For example, kakadu plum is still wild grown and it is harvested using traditional foraging methods by our indigenous collectives – similarly argan grows naturally in Morocco, and is also traditionally harvested. This is amazing because it helps support the local indigenous communities and their economy while helping to maintain cultural traditions – plus the local people really understand the plants and their powers and are able to pass this on.”
The final pillar of Ipsum’s green beauty approach is environmental preservation: ensuring that, in harvesting these potent plants to make powerful products, the health of the planet is being preserved. As well as adhering to the strict regulations put in place by COSMOS to ensure plants are grown, harvested and processed sustainably, Janet and the Ipsum team have made an on-going commitment to support Bush Heritage Australia.
“Bush Heritage Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that works with local communities and First Nation communities to make sure that land is purchased and then only used to regenerate and restore. That’s so we can preserve and protect the landscape in terms of ecology, which means we can maintain the health of natively grown ingredients. The work that Bush Regeneration Australia are doing isn’t just about native plants – the work they do is also about protecting our native animals and the landscape as a whole. They’re very active, and work with local communities at a grassroots level to make sure that the land thrives in the way it has for generations. It’s really great for me to know that, as a small brand, I’m helping to support our unique Australian landscape and the incredible natives that grow here.
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