Mel Jenkinson is the founder of online beauty shop Glow Organic. As an MUA in the film, fashion and bridal industries, she created Glow Organic as a resource for people looking for natural alternatives for cult beauty products. From her website, you can buy a huge selection of skincare, makeup, haircare, brushes and candles, all of which are natural, organic, eco-friendly and cruelty-free! Glow Organic’s blog is also an amazing guide for anyone interested in natural beauty, with information on ingredients to avoid and product certifications, great makeup tutorials, and product recommendations. They also offer one-on-one consultations for makeup lessons, colour matching and personalised advice on how to find natural alternatives for your favourite beauty products.
What would you say prompted your movement towards natural beauty?
My interest in natural beauty started when I began to develop quite bad cystic acne. I started looking really closely at the ingredients in my beauty products in case the cause of my bad skin was due to the products I was using. I noticed all of these ingredients that I couldn’t pronounce and had no idea what they were! With more research, I discovered just how harmful these ingredients could potentially be to not just my health, but also the environment as well. I started to gradually transition my personal beauty stash to natural, and then went on to change my professional makeup kit wherever it was possible.
We love that you feature beauty products without synthetic ingredients – what advice do you have for anyone else hoping to avoid them?
Get used to reading the labels and ingredients list, and know what to look for. Most natural brands state on their labels which ingredients are natural and which are organic and the percentage of each. If you come across an ingredient that you aren’t sure about, a quick google will usually tell you if it’s natural or not. Also, bear in mind that not ALL synthetic ingredients are bad. We allow a small amount of synthetic colouring in a select number of our products, as long as they serve a purpose. If you require a bright, bold red lipstick for example, the formula might include a synthetic red dye in order to achieve this colour, but we will always make sure that ingredient is in no way harmful. It is also always clearly stated on our product pages to ensure complete transparency, so consumers can avoid this particular product if they prefer.
I would also suggest finding brands that you love and trust, and know that they won’t include any ingredients you would prefer to avoid. There is a lot of greenwashing that goes on in the industry, so you really do have to be a smart and savvy shopper these days as more mainstream brands catch on to the natural trend.
Our ethos is influenced by the ancient Ayurvedic practice of hair oiling, and modern Western style sensibilities. Where do you look for beauty inspiration?
I’m very interested in the different beauty trends that develop from around the world. I like the makeup trends that have come from South Korea – that flawless, natural skin look with a flush of cheek colour is so flattering. The relaxed, tousled, beachy hair and fresh faces in Australia is very ‘me’! And I think here in the UK we still love a highlighted cheekbone, I will usually pair this with a pop of colour either on the lips or eyes.
If you had to choose just one product to switch, what would it be?
Body lotion, because it covers the largest surface area, and I much prefer the fragrance of natural essential oils to synthetic fragrances!
We think that hair care is a vital part of looking good. What do you think is the most important step in the beauty routine?
Moisturiser! I cannot tell you how many women I make up that don’t use any, or will only use it occasionally. Even if your skin is oily and you think you might not need it, you do. Oily skin hugely benefits from a good moisturiser., it will balance out the sebum production and make the skin less oily.
Your website offers natural alternatives to cult products – what is your favourite alternative right now, and are there any replacements you’re hoping for?
I have always loved matte lipsticks, but found them to be too drying for my lips. Couleur Caramel have released some amazing shades of matte lipsticks in bright reds, pinks and nudes that are incredibly long lasting and not drying at all. I would love to see a natural alternative for a really good volumizing hair mousse. My hair is quite fine and I haven’t yet found a natural one that provides quite enough volume!
We believe that rituals (like our hair oiling) are important parts of self-care and relaxation. What rituals do you have?
I love my bathroom time on a Sunday evening, I find it really helps me wind down and prepare myself for the week ahead. I’ll cleanse my face really well, usually with the Evolve Facial Cleanser, then apply an exfoliating face mask, I’m using the Supermood Luxury Peel at the moment. Then, I’ll put my PJ’s on, grab a cup of white tea (or a good gin and tonic, depending on my mood!) and relax watching a film with my boyfriend.
The natural beauty industry is reportedly set to grow over £10 billion by 2018. What changes would you like to see for natural beauty?
It’s an exciting time to be a part of this industry. I would like to see more regulations put in place for using the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic to avoid companies claiming their products are natural when they aren’t. I would also love to see some more of the popular US and Australian natural beauty brands available in Europe. I launched Hynt Beauty, a popular US based natural makeup brand on my website a few months ago, and the response has been phenomenal. I am working on bringing a couple more of these popular brands over to Europe, so stay tuned!