Could organic and natural products be good for our mental health, as well as for the planet?

We’ve all felt the impact of the last year. Even for those not directly affected by the virus, the effects of three national lockdowns and economic uncertainty have taken their toll. It’s no surprise that more of us are experiencing increased levels of anxiety, depression, stress and loneliness as a result of the pandemic. 

In times like these, you’d be forgiven for thinking that conscious consumerism wasn’t exactly the top priority when it came to shopping. You’d expect it to be at the back of your wardrobe with your fanciest outfit that you’ve not worn in a year. But against all odds, sustainable shopping has continued to rise. More and more people are choosing to support brands that have a positive impact on people and the planet. In other words, even in times of crisis, people still want to make a difference.

For many, that has meant switching to brands that use clean and non-toxic ingredients in their products and are geared towards green solutions. In the last twelve months, demand for organic skincare, haircare and cosmetic products has skyrocketed. In fact, new research states that the natural and organic beauty market is expected to reach $23.6 billion by 2027. That’s a whole lot of vegan lip balm. 

So, why are people making this switch? And how does the world around us impact our mental health?

When we care for it, nature can provide endless positive mental health benefits: improving sleep, reducing stress, increasing happiness and reducing negative emotions. Being in green environments boosts various aspects of thinking, including attention, memory and creativity, in people both with and without depression.

However, when not cared for, our environment can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. Growing evidence suggests that pollution and the effects of our changing climate can be linked to mental health illnesses such as depression, dementia and, anxiety.. 

Air-borne chemicals like pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates can also affect our hormonal systems, artificially disrupting their natural behaviour. These changes in your hormones can cause anything from irregular periods or hormonal breakouts, to neurological health issues and illnesses. Similar hormone changes can be caused from chemicals you may find in your everyday products. 

How will natural products improve my wellbeing?

If you’ve ever glanced at the label of a bottle of shampoo, you may have been confronted with a seemingly endless list of unpronounceable chemicals. While certain chemicals which have been clinically shown to interfere with the hormonal system are banned in the beauty industry, a lack of regulation and transparency in the industry means that not all of them are. While exposure to these everyday hormone disruptors won’t cause our bodies major harm in the short term, we may wish to avoid some - or cut down - on exposure to them where we can. 

One of the ways we can do this is by making the switch to natural and organic products. Products with the certified organic beauty product logo avoid GM ingredients, toxic chemicals, parabens, synthetic colours, nano particles and animal testing. They’re basically our skincare heroes. At Mint Green, we fully vet brands that call themselves ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ to ensure they follow our standards, and support brands that self-declare their status if they can’t afford official authentication. Not only are these brands great for your health and wellbeing, but they are also doing their bit for Mother Nature too. Our organic collection is made up of brands who follow natural farming methods that are accredited by COSMOS, USDA or other groups. They promote tillage, rotation, biological pest or weed control, and various organic cultivation practices that work with nature rather than against it.

Nature has a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing, so it makes sense to protect it as best we can.