We are excited to have the exclusive launch of two of the latest products from raw skincare brand LIVE NATIVE. Launching at CONTENT the Essential Gold Rejuvenating Eye Balm and Pure Native Cleansing Balm combine raw, organic skincare ingredients in clever formulations, ideal for the conscious consumer. We chatted to the founder of LIVE NATIVE Vicky Ewbank about her careful choice of ingredients and her favourite products.
It was a combination of the right thing to do and the right time to do it!
I have been interested in nutrition nearly my whole adult life, since beginning my Saturday job at Hanover Health Foods in Edinburgh at the age of 19 when I first became vegetarian. A few years later I became vegan and since 2002 I have enjoyed a raw vegan diet. During this time I also studied nutrition and homoeopathy (qualifying in 1999) and have been in private practice since. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to be able to help many people with their health issues and in so doing have developed a strong philosophy and understanding of health and how it may be improved.
When I became a raw vegan I realised that even though there were many organic skincare brands available, there weren’t many living skincare brands! Having made a conscious personal choice to lighten my diet and cleanse my body by eating only fresh, organic and living, vegan foods, I couldn’t then use conventional organic moisturisers or I would simply be putting the ‘dead’ ingredients that I had eliminated from my raw diet onto my skin instead. When viewing skincare from a ‘food for the skin’ perspective, I wanted to feed my skin topically, the same quality of nutrients I was feeding my body internally. Trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, alcohol and sodium benzoate can all be found in conventional and organic skincare, and the conventional production methods tend to strip the vitality from the raw ingredients, the same way over-cooking food does.
My skin soon began to reject the ‘cooked’ products I was using – even though they were still healthy choices. So I decided to make my own Living SkinFoods from premium, fresh ingredients with proven therapeutic benefit and formulated with the knowledge that I had accumulated through my professional life. It was after using my own moisturisers for a couple of years and feeling how nourished and healthy my own skin had become that Ian and I decided to set up LIVE NATIVE (it was actually Ian’s idea – something I remember to point out when we feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that is involved!) We officially launched in April 2008.
Who is the range designed for?
Our unique range of living skincare is primarily designed for people who are concerned about the health issues posed by more conventional, petro-chemical based skincare and are actively seeking the purest and freshest skincare available. In addition our discerning customers expect excellent results and enjoy our sophisticated formulations, in which the bio-active enzymes and phytochemicals remain intact due to our cold-processing production methods.
Because of the gentle affinity for all skin types that our living formulations have, they are suitable for use by all. As our formulations are nutrient dense and enzymatically active they can re-energise even tired, dull and problem skins and re-balance the traditional definitions of oily, combination and dry skin. For this reason we consider our living skincare to be ‘Adaptogenic’ in that it has the ability to restore all skin types to health.
We are a vegan company and are against animal testing of both our raw ingredients and our finished products. Through our buying choices we actively seek to improve the livelihood of others, and have designed new products around ingredients that are exceptional not only for their therapeutic skincare benefits but also for the impact they have on the producers lives. We support women’s co-operatives in Ghana and Morocco, indigenous cultures in Nepal, Brazil and Peru, and closer to home we donate money to ACE IT – a charity who teaches pensioners computer and internet skills in Edinburgh. We also support various animal charities including Hillside Animal Sanctuary and Compassion in World Farming.
So our range is designed for the conscious consumer who appreciates quality products and integrity in business, and enjoys not only the luxurious fragrance and textures of our unique living skincare, but also the short and long term benefits experienced by their skin when using Live Native!
Why is it important for you to use raw skincare ingredients?
Often organic skincare is seen to be morally superior but less effective than laboratory formulated skincare, but it is precisely because we use raw skincare ingredients that we are able to argue against this preconception.
Traditional skincare is made by a process in which the raw ingredients are heated to around 80C or above in order to add emulsifiers and other additives. Heating ingredients results in a loss of nutrients and the creation of various unwanted chemicals (trans- fats being a good example of this). The best that can be said of skincare produced in this way is that it has an inert base that acts as an emollient into which a few active ingredients are added.
In contrast living skincare made with truly ‘raw’ ingredients promotes skin health, vitality and beauty by containing nutritious, enzyme active nature-intact ingredients. As a fresh, crispy salad can boast more nutrients than a plate of over-cooked vegetables or a slice of white bread, so living skincare contains an abundance of healthy bio-active nutrients: antioxidants, phytochemicals, essential fatty acids, alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, vitamins and minerals; and as the ingredients are derived from a living plant source, probably a great many other nutrients that we have yet to discover. Our super-critical extract of Sea Buckthorn, for example, contains over 190 bioactive substances in one drop. It simply isn’t possible to create such a powerful and complex ingredient in a laboratory!
We can see that living skincare is an unparalleled source of nutrition for the skin, so much so that we simply call it ‘SkinFood’. Presenting your skin with such an abundance of nutrition allows your skin to absorb what nutrients it needs to achieve balance and maintain radiant health, now and for years to come!
What is the most unique ingredient in your range?
I would probably go with our fresh and unpasteurized Aloe Vera Gel.
We don’t use water in our skincare, instead we use fresh Aloe Vera Gel to give the lighter oil/gel-like consistency of our moisturisers and balms. Aloe Vera contains polysaccharides that give it the ability to penetrate the skin and retain moisture, but these beneficial sugars are damaged by pasteurization - and sadly almost all Aloe Vera Gel that you can buy has undergone some form of pasteurization. In the USA it is illegal not to pasteurize it. Additionally most skincare that contains Aloe Vera uses the dry powdered form reconstituted…look at the first ingredient on the jar, in nearly all cases it will be Aqua (water). So although Aloe Vera is a common ingredient in skincare, our raw and unpasteurized form is not!
Aloe Vera contains some 200+ known phyto-chemicals including vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory enzymes, acids & plant sterols and 19 amino acids, 7 of which are ‘essential’. It is a natural source of the super-skin ingredients MSM, Salicylic and Hyaluronic Acid in safe and effective concentrations. As our Aloe Vera Gel is simply hand filleted and pressed through charcoal filters without heating or drying, it retains many of these bio-active compounds that help make our living skincare so effective.
For people new to LIVE NATIVE, if they were going to try just one product from the range which one would you recommend?
It is so hard to recommend only one product! Our most popular product is our ESSENTIAL WOMAN MOISTURISER with the delicate fragrance of Iranian rose and exotic frangipani, but one of my personal favorites is our ESSENTIAL EARTH EXFOLIATING CLEANSER WITH LEMONGRASS…mostly because it is so unusual, but also because it is gentle and effective.
I personally don’t believe that soap based products are good for the skin, so instead I designed our ESSENTIAL EARTH CLEANSER. The rich, dark and earthy blend of oats, Rhassoul Clay and Seaweed detoxify, remineralise and soothe all skin types, while the anti-inflammatory Chamomile Flowers and Liquorice Root gently exfoliate. Argan, Coconut and Calendula Oils dissolve grime while conditioning skin – it is almost a Spa treatment in a jar! I recommend using it in the shower in the morning, and using our new PURE NATIVE CLEANSING BALM in the evening.
With a passion for wellbeing can you share your favorite skin tip?
As you know I am a raw food vegan, and combine my passion for healthy food with my passion for healthy skincare! Knowing the unparalleled anti-oxidant content of raw chocolate (or cacao) led me to create our most delicious and decadent product – the BOTANIC EARTH ANTIOXIDANT MUD MASK with raw cacao and 23k gold!
Raw cacao contains approx 7 x the amount of antioxidants of cooked dark chocolate, a staggering 95,000 ORAC units per 100g. As anti-oxidants are one of the most important ingredients in anti-ageing skincare, being that they neutralize the free-radicals that damage skin cells, I thought to combine raw cacao with other superfoods such as acai and Acerola, Spirulina and MSM to make a mouth-wateringly chocolatey and super effective detoxifying and re-mineralising mask. This really is good enough to eat…and good for you to eat too! Try 1/2 tsp of mud mask in water before meals and you will get not only an anti-oxidant boost but the rhassoul clay will neutralize any toxins from your lunch!
And not to diminish the effect of fresh foods on your skin, try mixing up your BOTANIC EARTH ANTIOXIDANT MUD MASK with one of the following
- crushed strawberries for a collagen-promoting Elagic Acid boost
- live yoghurt for a probiotic and protein boost
- raw honey for anti-bacterial effect
- papaya for an enzyme exfoliation
I look forward to hearing all about your kitchen skincare fun!