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What Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know About “Natural” Beauty Products

Posted by Kim Kelley on
What Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Know About “Natural” Beauty Products

Clean, all-natural, organic, green, safe, chemical-free… What do these terms really mean? More importantly: does it mean it’s good for me and the planet?

Did you know:

For a company to say their product is “natural”, only 1% of the product has to be plant-based, naturally-sourced, or minerally-derived. There are no regulations or requirements for testing, inspection, or certification. This means, clever marketers can label a product as “natural” because one of its ingredients is water - even if it has a long list of other potentially harmful ingredients.

Because there’s no regulation in the skincare and beauty industries, terminology can mislead customers into believing they’re investing in a healthier option. Basically, any company can market any product as “natural” or “clean” - regardless of what’s in it.

The European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from being used in beauty products. The USA has only banned about 30. The USA’s cosmetic regulations for safe products is 81 years old. Clearly, we have a long way to go to achieve truly healthy, safe beauty products.

chemicals in beauty products

 

While “natural” is a broad statement that can mean pretty much anything, “clean” beauty and skincare focuses on both the product’s ingredients, as well as its environmental impact. Clean beauty products should be able to specify what toxic ingredients they’re “free from” - such as sulfates, BPA, and parabens. 

 

Clean Beauty Is A Spectrum.

Keep in mind, just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you - or good for your skin. And by the same token, not all chemicals should be avoided (i.e. poison ivy is natural, and water is a chemical).

Fact or fake?

While trendy words may make the product seem superior, dig a little deeper and look for evidence to back up the claims.

 

Let’s Define Some Buzzwords:

"Natural" or "All-Natural"

What it implies:

A product is made with ingredients sourced from nature that are minimally modified.

Keep in mind:

  • There is no regulation for the word “natural”; it can be used for pretty much any product. 
  • Natural does not always mean healthy - or specifically - good for your skin. Some natural substances can be harmful, cause irritation, or lose their value once extracted.

 

"Naturally Derived"

What it implies:

The ingredients from natural sources that may have undergone some chemical processing. 

Keep in mind:

  • Further research may be needed to determine the natural origins and methods used to create this product. How manipulated or processed is this “naturally derived” ingredient?

 

"Chemical-Free"

What it implies:

The product does not contain harmful chemicals, such as lead or formaldehyde. 

Keep in mind:

  • Not all chemicals are created equal. Every ingredient (natural or synthetic) - including water - is made up of chemicals. Chemicals are inseparable from human biology! 
  • Look for specifics such as “paraben-free” or “BPA-free.”
  • Read the ingredients and research them to determine which chemicals the product avoids and what it contains.

 

"Nontoxic"

What it implies:

A product and its ingredients are not poisonous or harmful.

Keep in mind:

  • This broad term is meaningless unless it lists specific ingredients.
  • Read the ingredients and research them to determine which toxins the product avoids and what it contains.

 

"Green" or "Sustainable"

What it implies:

Eco-friendly products and ingredients with minimal environmental impact.

Keep in mind:

  • Look for specifics: does the company specify “how”?
  • Are a couple ingredients (i.e. water) “green” or is the product and its packaging made with 100% green ingredients?

 

"Vegan"

What it implies:

The product does not contain any ingredients derived from animals or animal byproducts (i.e. honey, animal fats, etc.)

Keep in mind:

  • Vegan products can still have been tested on animals. Look for both “vegan” and “cruelty free” if this matters to you.

 

"Cruelty-Free"

What it implies:

No animal testing has been done on the product or its ingredients.

  • Cruelty free products can still contain animal ingredients or byproducts. Look for both “cruelty free” and “vegan” if this matters to you.

 

"Organic"

What it means:

The product was grown and manufactured without harmful chemicals, pesticides, artificial fertilizers, or other synthetic ingredients.

Keep in mind:

  • This is the only government-regulated term in the beauty space. 
  • In order to be considered organic the product must be made with at least 95% synthetic-free ingredients. You can learn more about the USA’s definition of organic cosmetics here.
  • Look for the “USDA-Certified Organic'' seal or emblem to ensure the product is certified organic. That means it was produced, handled, and packaged to the proper standards.
  • NSF Organic-Certified means the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients.
  • Just because a product doesn’t have the official USDA Organic seal doesn’t mean the product isn’t organic.
  • Just because the product has a USDA Organic seal does not mean it’s a healthy product or better for you or the environment.

 

"Fair Trade"

What it implies:

A product or ingredient is made or grown by workers who are fairly-treated and paid.

Keep in mind:

 

Ideally, anything that’s applied to and absorbed by your skin should not be toxic.

Clean Beauty

At MintBiology, all our products are 100% natural, non-toxic, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and made without any harsh methylparaben, propylparaben, alcohol, or any other paraben. Unlike most “natural” beauty products, they’re also free of hormonal disruptors, epigenetic triggers, immunity suppressors, gut imbalancers, and ingredients repeatedly linked to cancer.

KOA Massage Tool

The KOA Massage Tools DO NOT contain the following as raw materials:

Benzotriazol

Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol S (BPS)

Dimethyl fumarate

Latex

Octabromodiphenyl ethers

Pentabromodiphenyl ethers

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)

Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)

 

We raised our standards much higher than the industry requires, because we believe that what you put in and on your body matters. 

It’s not just about how a product or ingredient makes your skin look or feel. It’s how it affects your unique biology on a chemical and cellular level. Everything you put in and on your body impacts your brain health, energy, immune system, digestion, nutrient absorption, nervous system, skin health, and SO much more!

 

Read the labels

To Simplify: Here’s What To Look For In Clean Beauty Products:

Quality

Everything about the ingredients - from the way they’re sourced and grown, to their harvesting and extraction, to packaging and fulfillment - can make or break the quality of your natural beauty products.

Ingredients

Read the label, research the science behind it, and see if it’s recommended for skin like yours.

Transparency

If a company makes claims like “clean ingredients” or “eco-friendly” - see if they provide specifics on their website. If not, they may be greenwashing. 

 

Product research

Other questions you may want to ask:

  • Where are the ingredients sourced from?
  • What’s the science behind this [ product or ingredient ]? Can you send me the research that supports these statements: [ insert marketing claims ]
  • Does the company give back or support charitable organizations?

 

Keep in mind that each company will have their own moral and ethical standards. Find brands that resonate with your personal values and beliefs and who are passionate about bettering the beauty industry and the planet.

 

Research the products

Most importantly: does the product work?

  • Does the company have legit reviews, or are they just paying influencers for promotions?
  • Do you need a 20-product-routine to get the skin of your dreams?
    Then you might want to invest in 2-3 skincare products that do it all so you get the most banging looks for your bucks.

 

How to Transition To Clean Beauty

Start by evaluating the products you use on your skin every day. See if you can switch them out for something that’s good for you and the planet.

Research the company and each ingredient before you buy. Choose products that are non-toxic, have science-based ingredients, and are transparent with their ingredients and product information.

 

Natural beauty products

In Summary:

True, clean beauty is about avoiding ingredients that can be harmful to your health and/or Mother Earth. 

There’s a lot of misinformation disguised as marketing when it comes to cosmetic and skincare products. There’s no regulatory body for the beauty and skincare industries, so companies can call any product “natural” or almost anything they want. 

Do your research, find evidence to support the claims, and see what works best for your unique skin.

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