Guide to Buying Homemade and Small Business Skincare

This is a short little guide I’ve pulled together for anyone thinking about (or worried about) buying skincare products from Etsy and other small sellers. When you’re switching from your trusty Garnier to an unheard-of brand, there’s always some concern.

Is it safe to buy skincare products that have been handmade by an “artisan” in a garage? Are small-scale skincare brand products as effective as mass-produced ones? These are all valid questions.

I’ve had some experience buying skincare products from these small sellers and I can assure you, there’s really no reason why you can’t fill your daily skincare routine with organic, handmade skincare products.

Here are the rules I follow.

3 Golden Rules for Buying Etsy Skincare Products

I’ve mostly brought skincare products through Etsy, but this guide works with any seller.

Do a little research

clay-face-mask-set

It takes less than a minute to simply put the name of the skincare creator into a search engine and hit enter. Look for anything negative that comes up, obviously, but also look at the positive reviews. Are they too positive? Watch out for fakers.

Another great thing to do is follow the skincare company on social media for a week or so before buying. Check the comments of everything they post. There might be some negative comments left by customers – remember that how the brand responds to those comments is just as important as the comments themselves. Responsible, responsive small companies will be able to defend their products.

Most of all, you’re just trying to ascertain the vibes of the company. This isn’t just for safety – there’s a lot of “green-washing” online, where companies say their ingredients are organic and they follow eco-friendly practices, when actually they don’t. So, by looking at the online reputation of the brand (or solo maker) of the products, you’ll get a sense of whether they’re a decent company to buy from morally.

Read the full ingredients

You need to know exactly what is in the skincare products. I get that some sellers don’t want to disclose ingredients because competitors might steal their ideas – which is a legit concern – but personally, I won’t risk buying something that I am uncertain about.

It’s not worth the risk of breaking out in hives from an allergic reaction or unsafe ingredient.

Here’s what I look out for:

  • Full ingredients list from A to Z, not just the main ingredients in it,
  • Use by dates and instructions for use (every product should have them),
  • Details about how/where it’s made,
  • Explanation of why these ingredients are included (their skin benefits),
  • The seller’s story – specifically, what makes them qualified to make skincare products.

If any of this isn’t available, I message the seller and ask directly. For the ingredients, I sometimes Google them as well just to be certain. INCI Decoder is a brilliant resource for checking the safety of skincare ingredients too.

In some cases, the seller or creator doesn’t have any qualifications to make the skincare products other than their own experiences. It’s up to you whether you trust them or not.

Do a test patch

etsy uk skincare jar

Hands up, how many of us actually do a test patch of a new product?

You really need to start doing this. Just because you didn’t have a reaction to an ingredient last year, doesn’t mean you won’t have a reaction now.

With homemade, artisan products that haven’t been lab-tested and approved, it’s doubly important. So, regardless of the product, I use a small amount on my forearm and wait 48 hours to see what happens.

I’ve never had a bad reaction… yet. Better safe than sorry.

Finding the Best Skincare on Etsy (and Online)

Safety aside, finding natural skincare and organic skincare online is a brilliant and fun thing to do. Even if you aren’t looking for skincare from an eco-friendly perspective, there are plenty of great reasons to buy from indie sellers rather than big brands. Supporting black-owned skincare businesses is just one of them. You can also find some scents and ingredients that you won’t find anywhere else too.

Etsy is my favourite place to start my search, but you can try Amazon and Not On The High Street too. Instagram is another great tool for finding unique brands – I recently discovered all-natural refillable Boca toothpaste on there.

3 Best Homemade, Natural or Organic Skincare Products

These three have been personally tested by yours truly! All three are made by UK sellers, as I like to shop as locally as possible.

Natural Wisdom Spa – The Lamu Bar

lamu bar face cleanser

This is gorgeous! I alternate this creamy facial cleanser with the exfoliating one below to gently cleanse my face. It’s made with vegan and cruelty-free ingredients and arrives in plastic-free packaging. Scroll to the bottom of the Etsy listing for this organic skincare product to see the full ingredients list AND find out which ingredients are approved by Ecocert. One of the many Etsy reviews describe using it as “like washing your face in cream pudding” and I totally agree.

Banks-Lyon Botanical – Clay Face Masks

french clay mask skincare

Sometimes I see this product available with Banks-Lyon Botanical, other times it seems to have disappeared completely. It’s definitely worth checking, however! Not On The High Street has a growing range of small organic skincare products so don’t write it off. These clay masks dry on beautifully and wash off to leave my skin bright, soft and supple. The pomegranate scented one in particular is a favourite of mine. Only use these once a week.

Perfance – Natural Face Cleanser

perfance coffee face scrub

You will love this one if you want to give your skin a gentle scrub without flooding the ocean with tiny plastic particles. Packaged in a brown glass jar, this natural face scrub has coffee grains and tea tree oil in it which leave your skin tingly fresh. It’s perfect for your wake-up routine. Alina at Perfance also offers 15ml size sample pots so you can try this out without buying a full jar. That’s a bonus you rarely find with small business skincare products.

Conclusion? Go for Natural Skincare!

In my experience, buying skincare products from small Etsy sellers is perfectly safe when you follow common sense precautions. Of course, it can take a few tries before you find products that perfectly suit your skin type, but in the meantime, you’ll be supporting artisan, indie craftspeople who deserve your hard-earned cash more than the big names in the skincare game.

If you want a great herbal tea to drink with your new skincare products, I can help with that too!

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