skip to content
My Green Pod Logo

Keeping skincare simple

A focus on corporate profit can lead to unhealthy skincare products and routines – but simple, multipurpose products offer an alternative
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Baby girl inspecting the stopper from a beauty product

This article first appeared in our COP28 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published 30 November 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

When Enis Anteplioglu, founder of Haoma, was studying for his master’s degree, his professor gave a striking example of innovation that Enis still thinks about today.

‘He said Colgate’s biggest innovation was to make the opening of the toothpaste’s tubes wider so that each time more product would be used, and people had to buy it more often’, Enis remembers.

This, to Enis, is what’s wrong with mainstream skincare: ‘If I were to summarise it in one sentence’, he says, ‘it is mass produced, and the only focus is on low costs and high profits – with no regard to human health and sustainability.’

‘Cheap water with chemicals’

Products designed with only profit in mind are at best a con and at worst a health risk waiting to happen.

They can strip your skin of its natural oils and leave you reaching for ‘moisturising’ creams that leave you feeling even more dehydrated.

’Creams contain emulsifiers, which dry your skin so you have to keep reapplying’, Enis explains. ‘It’s a cycle that keeps companies profitable.’

Creams and lotions typically contain around 70-85% water. ’Check your most expensive cream’, Enis says. ‘I guarantee the first ingredient you will see is ‘Aqua’. You are paying a premium price for a product that is 85% water.’

Beyond the issue of price, water-based skincare requires preservatives to prevent microbial growth and emulsifiers to make the oils and water mix.

For Enis, water-based products were only invented to make companies more profitable by keeping costs down and extending shelf life.

When he launched organic skincare brand Haoma in 2019, he did so with a commitment that no Haoma product would ever contain any preservatives or emulsifiers. ‘It was a really big no for me from the start’, he tells us, ‘and it’s our main promise to our customers: we will not sell people cheap water with chemicals.’

Skincare as community service

The only drawback to keeping Haoma products free from preservatives and emulsifiers is that some products need to be shaken before each use, which seems a small price to pay.

‘One example is our award-winning toner, which contains organic witch hazel and organic hemp oil’, Enis explains. ‘These two ingredients will not mix, so instead of using an emulsifier we ask that our customers shake the product before use. I think it is a good compromise instead of using a chemical on your face every day.’

Other Haoma bestsellers include deodorants, perfumes and ‘mood rolls’ – aromatherapy rollers for the pulse points.

‘Our organic and vegan skincare products are the boldest in the UK because we simply do not give in to the urge of making high profits or keeping up with trends that do not make sense’, Enis reveals.

Haoma uses no plastics – including bioplastics and recycled plastics – and the products are free from water, preservatives, emulsifiers and synthetic ingredients.

‘Everything is certified food grade’, Enis explains. ‘We are certified organic and vegan and everything is made by hand with the utmost care. Our costs are extremely high due to this, so Haoma is not a very profitable business. I treat Haoma almost as a community service and want everyone to be able to access the products. If I did not have Haoma I don’t know what products I would be able to use on myself, so we keep going.’

Beyond organic certification

Enis confesses he has always had ‘an obsession with organic’, and says he only feels ‘genuinely safe’ if a product is organic.

For Enis, third-party certification serves as the best guarantee that a product contains no pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, herbicides or artificial fertilisers, and that no unsustainable processes or plant species have been used.

‘If you do not allow your company to get inspected to get this certification, then you are absolutely not going to convince me you are actually natural or organic’, he says. ’It is a myth that being certified is cost-prohibitive. I know brands that spend more on their social media in one month than the cost of one year’s organic certification.’

Less is more

While cost might not be a convincing argument against organic certification, Enis does accept that today’s financial concerns prohibit many from choosing the organic skincare products that appear more expensive next to mainstream counterparts.

‘I never want Haoma to be an exclusive brand’, he says; ‘I want Haoma products to be used daily by all people, regardless of circumstances.’

Achieving this will on the one hand require us to ‘revisit our priorities’; ‘I urge people to look at the studies of the health effects of synthetic fragrances on our bodies’, Enis says. ‘We use deodorants every day where our lymph nodes are; do we really want all these chemicals and synthetic ingredients there? It is so important to pay attention to what we are putting on our skin – an organ – every day.’

There is also an opportunity to cut costs through education and transparency; Haoma soap contains seven incredibly healthy oils and naturally occurring glycerin, meaning you won’t need to reach for a moisturiser after washing.

Enis has created a range that is multipurpose and holistic, allowing you to cut down on the number of products you use and the frequency with which you apply them.

Some Haoma customers advocate using the deodorants as a facial mist and the massage oils as body lotions.

‘I urge people to understand less is more’, Enis says. ‘Our bodies do not need to have tens of products on them every day. With the correct ingredients, our bodies will take care of themselves.’

Here's more related content

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at River Cottage
Food & Drink

Championing organic

River Cottage’s Julia Johnson explains why organic food and farming should be at the heart of any sustainable food system.

Read More »

Join The Conversation

Leave a Reply

Here's More Ethical Health & Beauty News & Features

  • All
  • EU
  • Fairtrade
  • Hero
  • P.E.A. Awards
  • Personal Care
  • Spirits
  • activism
  • activists
  • air pollution
  • air quality
  • awards
  • baby
  • beauty
  • business
  • celebrity
  • climate
  • climate action
  • climate justice
  • community
  • consumer
  • cruelty-free
  • drinks
  • education
  • environment
  • ethical business
  • events
  • family
  • farmers
  • farming
  • food
  • garden
  • gifts
  • greenwash
  • hair care
  • health
  • helath
  • holiday
  • home
  • human rights
  • inequality
  • insects
  • justice
  • kids
  • law
  • leadership
  • legislation
  • lifestyle
  • media
  • mental health
  • natural beauty
  • natural health
  • natural products
  • natural skincare
  • organic
  • organic beauty
  • packaging
  • pets
  • plastic
  • plastic-free
  • podcast
  • policy
  • politics
  • pollution
  • schools
  • shopping
  • skincare
  • sports
  • sustainability
  • travel
  • vegan
  • wellbeing
  • women