The perhaps-not-so-humble avocado is well known as a ‘superfood’ but did you know that avocado oil has several benefits for your hair and skin when used topically?
Celebrating their 45th year, Faith in Nature has taken inspiration from how it all began with an avocado seed and created a new avocado range. I was pleased to be asked to review their new range of bath products, as I’ve been a customer for a few years and have yet to find a product that I haven’t liked.
The 3 new products being launched this week – a body wash, shampoo and conditioner – all contain avocado oil. So, what qualities does this ‘super’ oil have that make it good for our skin and hair?
The benefits for your skin include fatty acids that are key for regenerating skin cells. The oil also contains phytosterols (plant compounds) that help to keep skin hydrated and antioxidants that neutralise free radicals, which attack skin cells.
As for the benefits for your hair, avocado oil is rich in Vitamin E and B. Vitamin B supports hair growth, while Vitamin E is known to aid the repairing of hair damage. It has a high level of fatty acids (even higher than extra virgin olive oil), which nourish and strengthen hair.
Why I love Faith In Nature products
I’ve been using their shampoo and conditioners for a few years. More recently, since switching from liquid soap to soap bars, I’ve tried a few different brands and found Faith in Nature’s soap bars to be kindest on my sensitive skin.
This is why I first chose Faith in Nature over other brands:
- cruelty free
- 99% natural origin ingredients
- sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and paraben free
- made in the UK
- bottles made from recycled plastic
This is why I’ve stuck with them:
- available packaging free at many refill stations in shops across the country
- smell great
- lather up well (other SLS-free products I’ve tried haven’t done so)
- soap bars don’t dry out my skin like some others have done
Are Faith in Nature products eco-friendly?
To some degree, yes (see above reasons why I chose to use them). Definitely more so than most skin and hair care products widely available. Are they 100% eco-friendly? No – but what is?
They score highly (15.5 out of 20) on ethicalconsumer.org and are in their ‘best buys’ recommendations for shampoo, shower gel, soap and skincare. The independent organisation investigates, scores and ranks brands based on their ethical and environmental record.
Faith in Nature have a lot going for them in terms of eco credentials. I’m happy to call myself a customer. However, there is definitely room for improvement.
The destruction of natural habitats to make room for palm oil plantations is an issue with which you’re probably familiar. Like me, you might be seeking out products that use certified sustainable palm oil or none at all.
Faith in Nature products don’t contain palm oil as an ingredient, so you won’t see it listed on the bottle/box. However, some of the ingredients they use are manufactured using palm oil as the base. On their website, they say:
“Where practical alternatives exist, we are switching to non palm oil or we use certified sustainable palm oil, and have recently made this switch covering over 100,000kg of ingredients per annum. Also all our soaps are manufactured with sustainable certified palm oil from properly managed and sustainable sources, which cause no concern to animal life. Other ingredients we use which do contain a percentage of palm oil are all sourced from suppliers who are signed up to the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil, and are all actively looking to source from responsibly harvested palm oil.”
I recently came across an article which suggests that there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil. However, it’s a very complicated issue and, according to the WWF, sustainable palm oil can be the solution and boycotting palm oil isn’t necessarily the answer.
So, the jury’s out and I have some qualms about Faith in Nature’s statement. I’d like to believe that palm oil obtained for their products does indeed cause ‘no concern to animal life’ but I’m sceptical.
I shared the article with Faith in Nature and asked if they have any plans on moving away from using palm oil in their products. This was their reply:
“We are looking into alternatives but this would require a formula change across all of our products, so we are finding the best alternatives and trialing and testing at the moment!”
If you’d also like to see Faith in Nature stop using palm oil based ingredients, please let them know. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, call them on 0161 724 4016 or contact them via social media on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
This particular range does throw up another, similar issue. Our increasing demand for avocados is fuelling illegal deforestation in Mexico and potentially elsewhere.
Do I still eat them? Yes. But I see them as a luxury – a treat rather than a daily staple.
I contacted Faith in Nature to find out where they source their avocados. What assurances they can give that they are from sustainable sources? They said:
“You can be assured that we have a firm supplier qualification procedure in place for our avocado oil, which is sourced from a wide variety of countries depending on the season. Our procedure enables us to be confident that our avocado oil suppliers are committed to both protecting the ecosystem of the land, and the employees working on the land. We commit ourselves to disqualifying a supplier that does not meet these standards, which are set by the Nagoya Protocol on Biodiversity. The avocado oil we use in this product is also extracted from the seed itself, and therefore does not contribute to further wastage driven by an increasing global appetite for the food.”
What do I think of the new avocado range?
I’ve tried all 3 products – the shampoo, conditioner and body wash. I found them to be of the usual high quality I’ve come to expect from Faith in Nature.
The first thing I noticed is that they smell amazing – but not of avocado (does it even have a smell?). The scent mainly comes from the ‘parfum’ (unspecified), citronellol and geraniol (all plant derived).
Secondly, a little goes a long way. The shampoo lathered up well, as it does with all Faith in Nature shampoos I’ve tried. Some SLS-free shampoos I’ve tried by other brands don’t produce a good lather. While that doesn’t mean they don’t clean the hair as well, it does feel like you need to use more product. I didn’t feel I needed to use much of this shampoo. I also didn’t need much of the conditioner or the body wash.
My hair felt great after using the shampoo and conditioner. I think it might even have been a little bit less frizzy than normal (but don’t quote me on it). My skin felt clean as clean can be. Certainly no complaints there.
I can’t comment on using the body wash as a bath foam, as I don’t do baths. Sorry, not sorry.
Do recommend them?
I really do like these products and I would recommend them to some people – but not everybody (I’ll elaborate in a moment). However, I don’t necessarily plan on using them going forward. Here’s why:
- I switched from body wash / shower gel to soap bars a while back
- I refill my shampoo and conditioner at local zero-waste shops. This means I’m restricted to the products they stock. If they have the avocado range in stock then I’d definitely buy it.
- I’m considering trying going without shampoo, and maybe conditioner (the ‘no poo’ method)
If you’re currently using bath products by an unethical brand (check yours here) and want to switch to a more sustainable product – but aren’t quite ready to try soap bars, shampoo bars or quit shampoo altogether – then I definitely recommend you try the new avocado range by Faith in Nature.
Just promise me that, if possible, you’ll refill your bottles at a zero-waste / bulk / organic shop near you when they’re empty.