Google 100% natural skincare and you are bombarded with beauty brands selling their virtues of being 100% natural.
Is this concept of being 100% natural worth its weight in gold? I want to offer my own opinion on this topic and what I have researched and learnt over the past 13 years formulating natural and certified organic skin care.
My mission is to educate you about the industry giving you my views on the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. At the end of the day, I want you to have the information so you have the power to make your own informed choices.
First, let’s look at the definition of natural in a cosmetic context:
The definition of natural by NATRUE who are an International Natural and Organic Cosmetics Association who certify natural and organic cosmetics worldwide is classified in 3 ways:
- Natural ingredients are those to which only physical processes or fermentation have been applied.
- Derived natural ingredients are the result of chemical processes of natural ingredients.
- Nature-identical ingredients can be either pigments, minerals or preservatives. They are reproduced in the laboratory but exist in nature. These ingredients are allowed when strictly necessary in order to ensure consumer safety (preservatives) or because the extraction methods result in an ingredient becoming too chemical. All of them have one essential characteristic: they can be found in nature.
Here’s where it gets interesting with such broad terms used to identify natural.
And you are probably asking why all the fuss about natural? Personally, for me, it matters because our skin is our largest organ and what we put on our skin each and every day can directly affect our overall health and wellbeing.
The biggest problem for me is the beauty industry seems to be abusing and overusing this term “100% natural” like it’s going out of fashion.
Brands are marketing themselves in a way that you the consumer think ‘natural’ is good, so 100% natural must be the pinnacle and even better. They are in effect over promising and under delivering on their claims. Currently, there is no regulation in New Zealand around the labelling of skincare products. This can cause confusion, as a brand can use 1-2 natural ingredients and put the word “natural” on their packaging.
So here’s the thing: Any product that contains a water element (this can be water, aloe vera juice, floral waters, hydrosols) which are likely to be found in your cleanser, toner, face mist, serums, face cream, shampoos and the list goes on are almost never 100% natural. This is because they need preservatives to firstly keep you the consumer safe but also to avoid the growth of mold, fungus and other harmful microorganisms that are not present to the naked eye.
Most truly effective preservatives that allow your products to last more than a week on the shelf without refrigeration generally have a synthetic component to them. I am not saying there are no plant-based alternatives out there but with my own experimenting at this time they do not seem as efficient or effective.
When it comes to oil only based products such as face and body oils they do not need these preservatives and use antioxidants such as Vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract (in my opinion highly controversial) and rosemary extract to prevent the oils from going rancid. Not all of these sources are 100% natural either.
So why care whether the ingredients you’re putting on your skin are natural? I believe it goes deeper than a brand being 100% natural or not. It’s about brands having a responsibility to tell you, the consumer, the truth about the ingredients they’re using, to bring integrity and transparency to a somewhat superficial industry. If they aren’t doing this or are cagey about answering your questions, then don’t use them.
So, instead of putting that so-called 100% natural product on a pedestal maybe it’s time you started looking for more thoughtful brands that do not over promise or exaggerate but rather are passionate and transparent… 100% of the time.
You out can find our more about what True uses and doesn’t in our F&Q’s section.
BIO – True Mindful Beauty
True Mindful Beauty Founder Nicki Hanning describes herself as a skin health alchemist. Trust me, hundreds of hours in the past 15 years have lovingly gone into the development and creation of skin potions, formulas, and recipes and I’ve often felt a bit like a mad scientist! So much research, finding exactly the right botanical plants, oils, butters and clays and blending them into the right ratios, have culminated into these beautiful, nutritious, revitalising products. Lovingly crafted by hand in small/micro batches in my home skin lab, I hand-pour my potent pure magic into miron glass vessels, writing the batch codes, labelling them and sending them out into the world with peace, intention and love.