What Are Natural Beauty Products and Are They Actually Better for You?
There’s been a lot of buzz about natural and organic makeup and beauty over the past few years. From skincare to makeup, consumers are increasingly seeking out products made form natural and organic ingredients. The concept of natural beauty sounds great, but is it actually better for you than the tried and true products that we’ve always reached for? Here are all the pros and cons of natural beauty products that you need to know before making the switch.
What is Natural Beauty?
Natural beauty products are exactly what you think — beauty products made from ingredients that are derived from nature. This can include plants, minerals, and other naturally occurring substances. The idea behind natural beauty is that these products are free from synthetic chemicals and other potentially harmful ingredients, that may be linked to health problems or that many people get irritated by (or both), making them safer and gentler on the skin.
Pro: Gentle on the skin
One of the top reasons why people switch to natural beauty products is because they tend to be gentler on the skin. Synthetic ingredients such as parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions in some people. By using natural ingredients, you can avoid these potentially harmful substances and reduce your risk of adverse reactions.
Con: Not everyone is so lucky
On the flip side, natural ingredients can also cause allergic reactions or irritation in some individuals. Just because something is natural does not mean it is hypoallergenic. It’s important to do a patch test before using any new natural beauty product to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction. Two common culprits to look out for are limonene and bitter orange. And be cautious of Bergamot — it’s an oil that can make skin more sun sensitive, so layer up on the sunscreen if your beauty products contain this ingredient.
Pro: It’s better for the environment
Another advantage of natural beauty products is that they tend to be more environmentally friendly. Many synthetic ingredients are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. By using natural ingredients, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and promote more sustainable practices.
However, it’s important to note that not all natural ingredients are created equal. Some natural ingredients, such as palm oil or certain plant extracts, can contribute to deforestation and other environmental issues. It’s important to research the sourcing of natural ingredients and choose products that prioritize sustainability.
Pro: It doesn’t contain endocrine disruptors
Endocrine disruptors are pollutants and toxins, which mimic, change or disrupt your hormones. You can find this in parabens, synthetic colours and fragrances and even some essential oils. Unfortunately, many of these endocrine disruptors are found in regular makeup and can be linked to mood swings, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues and (in extreme cases) even cancer. With natural and organic products these man-made chemicals are taken out of the mix, lessening the risk of your endocrine system being disrupted.
Con: No preservatives
Preservatives in cosmetics prevent bacteria from growing. They do this by killing microbe cells and creating an environment where it’s difficult for bacteria to spread. Think back to your favourite jar of luxurious face cream. Without preservatives, every time you dip your fingers in and out of that jar, you’d essentially create a cesspool of germs. If you keep preservative-free cosmetics in the fridge, they will only last for about five days before starting to spoil.
Things to Look Out for When Buying Natural Beauty Products
If you’re interested in incorporating natural beauty products into your routine, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. First, read the ingredient list carefully.
Make sure that the products you buy don’t contain anything you may be allergic to, but do contain at least one preservative — unless you plan on using the product for only five days. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and other antioxidants are commonly marketed as natural preservatives, but antioxidants don’t prevent bacteria from spoiling cosmetics (they only fight against oxidation).
2. Start slowly.
If you switch everything at once and have a reaction, you won’t know what caused it. Try introducing one new product every two to ten days to keep an eye on things. Consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns about certain reactions.
3. Do your research on the brand.
Look for companies that prioritize sustainability, ethical practices, and transparency. Choose brands that are open about their sourcing practices and committed to reducing their environmental impact.
Natural beauty products can offer many benefits, including gentler formulae, sustainability, and ethical practices. But the grass isn’t always greener – as much as the colour of the bottle tells you it is. Your skin and your face are the first things people notice when they meet you and the first thing you see in the mirror when you wake up, so make sure you really know what you’re putting on them!
Beauty Editor, Simran Pasricha
Australian Over 50s Living & Lifestyle Guide