What to Know About Natural Beauty Products

A young woman putting on skincare in front of a mirror.

In today’s world, there’s a large focus on selecting products that are deemed natural, organic, green, and healthy. From items that clean our homes to what we feed our bodies to the products we use on our skin, there’s no shortage of information out there surrounding what products are “good” for us and the earth alike. With so much information available, though, it can be overwhelming to figure out what the facts are and, furthermore, to make a choice on what products are truly the best. When it comes to natural beauty products, with so many options you definitely want to go into the process of finding the right ones for you with general knowledge surrounding the ins and outs of natural beauty products.

Making the change to clean beauty, especially as you get closer to your wedding day, is a big but sustainable change. The experts recommend keeping your skincare and makeup routines simple and making the change gradually and thoughtfully in order to make it a success.

Understanding the Buzz Words

There are some common buzz words surrounding clean beauty to know. First, what does “clean” even mean in the context of cosmetics? In general terms, it means that it’s safe for both people and the planet and is created considering human and environmental health. Additionally, it points to the fact that it contains nontoxic and plant-based ingredients.

Another common term is “green” products. This means that a given product does no harm to the environment. A good example of a green cosmetic product is reef-safe sunscreen that is safe to use in the ocean.

The next common term is “organic.” This is one we hear frequently associated with food as well as cosmetic products. Any product that is certified organic (meaning it’s made with 95 percent organic ingredients or more) bears a USDA Organic Seal. This includes handling and manufacturing specifications that must be met in order to attain the seal. This is an expensive certification, so many smaller businesses that produce cosmetics may not have them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the product itself isn’t organic.

“Vegan” is another term thrown around a lot on clean beauty items. Items are deemed vegan as long as they don’t contain any animal by-products or ingredients that are sourced from animals. Keep in mind that it’s possible for clean beauty products to not be vegan, including natural ingredients such as beeswax, honey, or lanolin.

Finally, “cruelty-free” is another widely used term in conjunction with clean beauty. As long as an item is not tested on animals anywhere from the manufacturing process all the way until it is sold, it is considered cruelty-free. Additionally, this term could indicate that any animal derived ingredients used in a given product were not extracted at the expense of an animal’s welfare.

What Ingredients to Avoid

A woman wearing a skincare face mask and looking at a computer.

Looking at the ingredients list on any product can be overwhelming. To keep your beauty routine clean, there are definitely certain ingredients to avoid. These include Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA), Triethanolamine (TEA), Propylene Glycol (PEG), Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Propyl, Ethyl), Isopropyl (SD-40), Mineral Oil, Triclosan, DMDM Hydantoin & Urea, FD&C Color Pigments, and synthetic fragrances. Synthetic fragrances are really important to avoid on a quest towards clean beauty. In lieu of these, opt for products that are scented with essential oils.

Certification Labels

A woman opening up a cosmetic case.

As mentioned above, there are certain certification labels that help you understand which products meet set “clean” criteria. For instance, when a product is labeled as “made with organic ingredients,” it only has to contain 70 percent organic substances. The remainder of ingredients could, in fact, be those that are not clean. Instead, look for that USDA Certified Organic seal that requires a 95 percent or higher organic ingredients. This way, it’s easier to avoid harmful chemicals that could affect the health of your skin.

Natural and Clean Beauty by the Numbers

If you’re debating whether it’s worth making a switch to clean beauty products, here are some stats to consider (as cited by Treehugger). While over 1,000 cosmetic ingredients are banned in the European Union, a mere 10 ingredients are banned in the United States and only 11 percent of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products have been documented and publicly assessed for safety by the U.S. government. Furthermore, 20 percent of cosmetics contain at least one chemical linked to cancer. With $160 billion spent annually on hair, skin, makeup, cosmetic surgery, fragrances, gyms and health clubs, and diet products, this is a huge industry and it’s worth learning more about the movement towards green products for your own health and safety.

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