AAs a millennial, I am all about a natural lifestyle, natural clothing, natural food, and natural beauty products. I try to consume pure and natural ingredients in my diet, dress in natural fabrics, and keep natural ingredients in my beauty cabinets. And you might be in the same boat as well.
In terms of beauty, when I buy beauty products, I would like to know every one of its ingredients. Is it natural? What makes these beauty products natural? When I set out on this journey, my intention was to have trustworthy natural beauty products in my beauty cabinet.
When I became interested in buying natural beauty products, I did a lot of research, and I learned that no governing body regulates the term "natural."
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States regulates the word "organic," but not the term "natural." The beauty and wellness industry defines their own standards when it comes to natural. But as a consumer, we need more defined clarification on this topic.
That's why I created this blog post to talk about what natural skin care really is.
But first, why natural skin care?
The natural vs. synthetic debate has become very intense and polarized. Which is better or safer? What should I use? Will synthetic products give me cancer? The questions are endless. There is a lot of information out there, and frankly, it makes me dizzy sometimes.
Women of our generation gravitate towards natural products because of health and safety reasons, or because we are allergic to synthetic ingredients. And yes, many of us (including me) are serious about changing our lifestyle as well.
Generally, people think being natural is safe because it comes from nature in the purest form. But tell me one thing, when you get those beauty products from the store, how many ingredients can you identify. Honestly, I couldn’t recognize many. I didn't understand why sorbic acid claims to be "natural" in 100% pure natural beauty products. Is it worth a thought, right? I don't have a satisfactory answer for that, but through this blog post I am trying to get the bottom of it.
But first, let's talk about why we should use natural beauty products in the first place!
Here are the reasons:
1) Everyone should treat their skin like the body organ it is! Let say you don't have breakfast; you get a headache or stomach pain. So next time, you will try to be diligent about taking care of your tummy, right? You will make sure to have breakfast in a sufficient portion, so you don't get those headaches or that stomach pain.
I said sufficient portion because a person should eat what you can digest – that's what you will do!
The same theory applies here. These are some of the underlying reasons to choose a natural skin care product. You will listen to your skin and provide necessary nourishment using natural ingredient products. Take care of your skin with appropriate timed care using pure and natural ingredients, which should be your mantra.
2) Going back to the food analogy, if you eat processed food every day, you will have other problems such as weight gain and constipation. In this case, you will try to balance your meals, right? You will make sure that you incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Similarly, if you use synthetic chemical peels or any other synthetic products regularly, it might damage your skin. So instead of using those synthetic chemicals on your body, try to add the freshness of natural products.
3) When you go out grocery shopping, you read labels. I always do that for every food item! So why not apply the same practice here! It is good to realize that you have been using petroleum jelly for years on your skin, and that’s not right, as it clogs your skin pores!
So there are several reasons why you want to choose natural skincare.
Organic Vs. Natural
Many people do not know that natural and organic are two separate things. Natural ingredients can be organic, but not all organic ingredients may be natural. Thankfully, the term organic is very much standardized compared to natural. To identify organic skin care, you should look for the USDA NOP certified organic seal or ECOCERT label.
But the beauty industry uses the term "natural" very loosely. To my knowledge, there is no regulated stamp or seal. When a brand says they are a natural skincare brand, that does not mean they are not using synthetic ingredients like emulsifiers, surfactants, and preservatives. They may use these artificial ingredients along with some natural ingredients.
To further identify natural ingredients vs. synthetic ones, we need to know the names of the ingredients they use. In this blog post, I came up with four types of ingredients. These types will help you to identify whether these products are natural or not.
Types of Ingredients in Natural Beauty Products:
*1) Natural I: Beauty products such as body butter, lip balm, and salves contain oils, butter, and waxes. These kinds of ingredients are found in nature in their natural form. That's why these beauty products are 100% natural (note: Mineral oil is not a naturally derived ingredient).
*2) Natural II: These natural products consist of naturally derived ingredients. You cannot find these ingredients in their natural form. However, you use some natural botanical substances to make these ingredients. Some examples of these ingredients are natural solubilizers and natural emulsifiers. To clarify further, I came up with some instances: 1) sodium citrate – a vegetable-based aqueous thickener and emulsifier (derived from natural ingredients), 2) Coenzyme Q10, which is derived from plant material.
*3) Natural III/Synthetic I: This category is a bit controversial, as these ingredients replicate natural ingredients but are synthetically derived without using any natural resources. I would say you are entering a grey area when the brand uses these ingredients and claims to be a natural beauty brand. I wouldn't call it natural. Examples of these ingredients include citric acid, sorbic acid, etc.
*4) 100% Synthetic: This means that these products are not natural. If you are like me and have a desire to use natural beauty products, you would not want to buy these products. • Reference - For detail discussion on this listen: /formulabotanica.com/category/podcast/
This article is not very conclusive on how to define natural skincare products. But if you are a consumer who wants to make a responsible decision, you can use this as your quick guide. It would be great if clean and indie beauty brands came forward and became transparent about their ingredient selection process.
For me, I came up with this synopsis:
Body butter, lip balm, and bath salts consist of 100% natural ingredients, while shampoo, conditioners, and face washes fall into the type II category. These products contain ingredients like emulsifiers, humectants, surfactants, and many more.
I hope this article will give you a little sneak peek into natural skin care. Follow me on Instagram & Facebook for regular tips, tricks, and some knowledge on skin care. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Note: All my articles are based on my own research and personally experience.