What is Natural Skincare?

NATURAL SKINCARE DEFINED

What exactly is natural skincare? This should be easy, right? Well, unfortunately, there is no clear definition of natural when it comes to beauty products. To make it worse, in the US, there is no regulation for the use of the word "natural" on cosmetic labels. Any company can put natural on their label regardless of what is in the skincare product.

In 2016, four beauty companies agreed settle with the Federal Trade Commission after a compliant was filed for misrepresenting their products as natural. Synthetic chemicals were found in specific products promoted as natural. I know this can be frustrating and alarming. It leads to confusion and misguided labeling. Don't worry, I have some tips to no only help you define natural, but I will also give you ways to spot true natural products based on your definition.

3 TYPES OF NATURAL INGREDIENTS

Generally speaking, natural products are made with ingredients that come from nature and are not synthetic. A quick note on chemicals. Everything is a chemical, whether it is natural, synthetic, safe or non-toxic is a different story. In this case, the use of the word chemical is not intended to carry a negative connotation.

Let's look a little deeper...ingredients. There are different level of natural and ingredients can be categorized into three main types: Natural, Naturally Derived and Nature Identical. 

Natural

Raw, minimally processed i.e. cold pressed, unrefined (preferably organic, wild-crafted or unsprayed).
Examples
Carrier oils, butters, waxes, unpreserved hydrosols and pure essential oils.

Naturally Derived

Derived from natural ingredients via chemical processing.
Examples
Natural preservative (Benzyl Alcohol and Salicylic Acid and Glycerin and Sorbic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol and Dehydroacetic Acid), emulsifiers (Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Olivate and Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol and Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cetearyl Wheat Straw Glucosides and Cetearyl Alcohol), tocopherol (Vitamin E) and ascorbyl palmitate (Vitamin C).

Nature Identical

Created in a lab and having the same chemical formula as found in nature.
Examples
Citric acid, salicylic acid, sorbic acid.

It is far more sustainable to produce these synthetic chemicals, with a chemical makeup identical to those found in nature, then to be derived from their natural source.

5 WAYS TO IDENTIFY NATURAL SKINCARE

First, decide which form of natural matches your definition of natural. It is much easier to hone in on these ingredients when you know what you are looking for.

Look for companies whose brand aligns with your definition of natural. The quality of the ingredient is important, so pay attention to companies that talk about their ingredients and where they come from. Keep an eye out for sustainable, zero waste and minimal packaging. Brands who make the effort to reduce their environmental impact, probably also care what goes into their products.

Check the entire list of ingredients. Make sure the hero ingredient being promoted/featured is a main ingredient or at least, near the top.

Beware of ingredients mislabeled as natural, especially polysorbates. Polysorbates are derived from PEG and therefore, are not natural. 

Lastly, a quick solution is to look for certifications. A few good ones to keep in mind are Ecocert, Cosmos and Made Safe. Not all qualified products are certified because the certification process can be pricey. Often, smaller brands are not ready for this step yet. This is still a great tool especially when you don't have the time to dissect the long list of ingredients.

With all that said, there is a type of skincare product that makes it so much easier to decode the green beauty. Can you guess what it is?

OIL BASED SKINCARE PRODUCTS

Personally, I strive to use mainly oil based products because I am familiar with their ingredients and they don't require preservatives and other nonfunctional ingredients to keep products safe and stable. With a quick read of the label, I know exactly what I am getting. 

Oil based skincare ingredients are listed by their common name, their botanical name or both. I personally list both to eliminate any possible confusion.

Jojoba oil, a common carrier oil, can be listed in the following ways:

Jojoba oil (common) 
Simmondsia chinensis (botanical)
Jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba oil) 

There is a wide variety of oil based personal care products on the market. Here are just some of the types of products that can be oil based.

Oil based skincare products

  • Oil face cleansers
  • Face oils and balms
  • Clay face masks - add water when ready to use
  • Body oils
  • Hand salves
  • Hair oils
  • Salt or sugar scrubs
  • Body butters
  • Lotion bars
  • Deodorants

    Oil based products can be very moisturizing, but they do not contain water. There are a few tricks to adding a little hydration to your oil based skincare routine without jeopardizing a products stability.

    2 hydrating ways to apply oil based skincare

    • Apply to slightly damp skin
    • Place oil in the palm of your hand and add a spritz of hydrosol - lightly massage into skin

    I hope you feel more confident in selecting natural beauty products. I know you are busy and don't have time to research every possible product available to use on yourself or your kids, so leave it to me, I've done the work for you.

    All of Blyssen's skincare products are oil based using natural (raw & minimally processed) ingredients, so you don't have to worry about what you are putting on your skin. Now, you can glow confidently both inside and out.

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