We all hear terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ being thrown around within the beauty industry, so I wanted to help clarify a few of these terms and how to navigate the ingredients on your beauty buys next time you go shopping. While I don’t think everyone aims to mislead consumers, its easy to see how the ambiguity of ‘natural’ products can benefit brands.

First all all, lets talk ‘natural’ beauty products. This has to be the most ambiguous of them all. With regards to the legal definition there is no defined regulartoy from the FDA (Food And Drug Administration) within cosmetic labelling. So much like the food industry, natural doesn’t necessarily mean it grew in someone’s garden, let alone came out of the ground.

That being said, I think it’s worth asking yourself what you expect from a product when you read ‘natural ingredients’ on the label? What does this mean to you? Coconut oil? Vitamin C? That it came from the soil?

Defining ‘natural’ products as a makeup artist is the hardest question to explain let alone give a full answer, because there’s no legal definition. I think by association of a product being labelled ‘natural’ means the automatic presumptions about a product include: ‘well does that mean it’s organic?’, ‘Does that mean it’s also cruelty free?’, ‘Is it vegan?’, and the spiral continues. And there’s just not always one answer.

For example it’s possible for a product to be organic but not vegan, and vice versa.  As a consumer, the best thing you can do is to develop a greater understanding of ingredients used in cosmetics and skincare, know which ones you would like to use and which ones you would like to avoid.

I use a mix of all different brands, that vary in ingredients both on myself and in my pro kit and for me (and this is only my opinion, not a fact in any way) natural beauty means that they include food grade ingredients, where possible are organic or at least contain a percentage of organic ingredients) and are free of potentially harmful toxins (and to make it even harder what’s considered ‘toxic’ can vary from country to country).

So I know the next question will be, Harry what are the Toxins?

The main toxins commonly used in cosmetics and skincare that can cause sensitivities or health risks include: Parabens, synthetic colours, fragrance, Phthalates, Triclosan, Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) / Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), Formaldehyde, Toluene,  Propylene glycol, benzophenone, PABA, avobenzone, homosalate and ethoxycinnmate.

There’s a great site called EWG’s Skin Deep Data Base where you check products to find out what ingredients in a certain product could be harmful.

And if you are interesting in further reading of ingredients considered harmful in cosmetics, I really recommend this site Safecosmetics.org

Let me know your thoughts on this topic.