There’s been a surge of natural beauty brands and products in recent years. As more and more people become conscious of the power of natural beauty, manufacturers try to cope with the rising demand by releasing products that are labeled as “natural” or “organic.” But as the market is quickly getting oversaturated with natural beauty products, how can you make the best choice on what’ll work for you?In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into why natural beauty products are better for you and how you can build a natural beauty routine.
Why Go Natural?
There’s a couple of reasons why it’s a smart move to adopt a natural beauty routine. For one, natural beauty products have a lower environmental impact compared to those that are manufactured conventionally. One ingredient that you can find in non-clean beauty products are palm oil derivatives. From fatty oil to glycerin, palm oil derivatives are sought out for their moisturizing and foaming properties. However, much of palm oil is not sourced sustainably. The Independent points out that the demand for palm oil has created massive plantations that have affected local wildlife. Palm oil is only one unsustainably sourced ingredient that you can find in conventional beauty products, so it’s safer to bet on natural products.
Another reason why it’s better to go natural is that this type of beauty product has a lower risk of having adverse effects when used. As natural beauty products only source the purest ingredients, there’s a lesser chance for your skin to get inflamed or irritated, which can lead to breakouts. What’s more, some natural beauty products have nourishing ingredients like Vitamins A, C, and E to help your skin look more radiant and glowing.
Don’t Get Swayed By Buzzwords
As we’ve mentioned, there’s now a lot of natural beauty products in the market, that it's important to be discerning about your choices. Many of these are often slapped with labels and buzzwords that don’t have a clear definition. Examples of these are: "natural," "organic," "clean," "safe," and "non-toxic." Most of these terms aren’t regulated by the FDA or the Federal Trade Commission.
The market for natural beauty has been booming, and a ton of huge companies want to cash in on this beauty trend without putting in the effort to actually reformulate their products. Even if some beauty products that have "natural" slapped on their front label mean that they have plant-based ingredients, it’s still ultimately hard to tell if it’s good for you as beauty companies can define the term "natural" however they want. As these buzzwords can be used interchangeably and create confusion, how can you find truly natural beauty products?
The Ingredients List Holds The Answer
Since it can be hard to decipher if a beauty product is truly “natural,” the best way to start your natural beauty journey is to skip the front label and read a product’s ingredients list. Through this, you’ll be able to weed out a product if it contains any suspicious ingredients. In Pretty Me’s review of the Asian favorite kojic acid soap, beauty writer Sheena Dizon highlights the importance of doing this so that you understand what exactly the product can do for you. In this case, kojic acid — which isn’t technically an acid, but rather, a by-product of rice production — can help lighten dark spots on your skin. But it can also have a drying effect, which is why it’s good to look for other moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil in products like this.
Another naturally derived beauty ingredient that does wonders for the skin is glycolic acid. However, glycolic acid can irritate the skin since it’s primarily used as an exfoliant. This is why Glamour recommends using the Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser when you have glycolic acid in your routine, as mild cleansers don’t strip your skin of its natural oils.
As with all beauty products, you need to check if a natural beauty product you’ve chosen is safe and effective for your skin. The best way to find out if you can add a beauty product to your routine is by doing a patch test. Those with sensitive skin and allergies especially need to do this in order to avoid experiencing unnecessary skin discomfort. To do a patch test, simply apply a little bit of the product on your neck or on a tiny area of your face. If you don’t experience any signs of inflammation or irritation, then you can safely add your chosen product to your natural beauty routine.
Ingredients You Should Avoid
Since you can only find the best natural skincare products by looking at the ingredient list, here’s a quick list of ingredients to avoid in order to build a natural beauty routine that’ll work for you.
The raw odor of some beauty products can be a little strong for some consumers, and that’s why some companies opt to add fragrance compounds. However, there’s at least 3,000 compounds that are used to enhance a product’s smell. You should be wary of fragrance in your skincare as these can cause allergies and asthma attacks. To help you determine whether a natural beauty product has added fragrances, you can instead check the ingredient list for phthalates — substances that are used to help preserve the longevity of the fragrance compounds.
Talc can be commonly found in eye shadows and face powders. Usually, this substance is made from silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, and magnesium. While talc is usually safe to use on the skin, there have been instances where huge companies have had problems purifying talc. This can be a problem, as unpurified talc may be contaminated with asbestos, a highly carcinogenic substance.
Despite being excellent preservatives that inhibit microbial growth, parabens have really bad effects on the human body. In fact, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners note that parabens are linked to breast cancer cell growth and can even block the effects of chemotherapy drugs. Furthermore, a few types of parabens have been banned by the European Commission due to their harmful effects, although these are still allowed in products in the United States.
From petroleum, manufacturers can derive sulfates, which are used to thicken, soften, and even act as a foaming agent for beauty products. Other than being by-products of harvesting natural gas, sulfates should be avoided as it’s a harsh cleanser that can damage your skin and hair. There's also some evidence that shows that petroleum can't be metabolized by the body and can speed up the formation of skin cancer tumors.
Read Between The List
Once you’re familiar with the ingredients to avoid, you can now scan for natural beauty products — and even look for some that feature a star natural ingredient. This can be a great identifier if you’re finding it hard to find natural beauty products.
Our post ‘Best Eyecream Ingredients 2020’ highlights that you should look for natural ingredients like tea and caffeine when buying an eye cream as these have anti-swelling antioxidants. Other natural ingredients that can be good for your skin are manuka honey, rosehip oil, and witch hazel. As labels and buzzwords cannot define whether a product is truly natural and safe, the best way you can find natural beauty products these days is by intently reading its ingredients list.