What Does 'Natural' Really Mean in Beauty Products?

Wellness Activist, Best Selling Author, Motivational Speaker

You see the word printed on skincare advertisements and beauty packages, but what does it really mean for a product to be “natural?” The confusion about the term natural in the beauty industry may stem from the lack of government regulation over use of the word.

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration impose strict guidelines about using marketing buzz terms like “botanical” and “natural” when it comes to skincare products, although the agency is responsible for ensuring the safety of cosmetics.

Some companies, in an attempt to have broader appeal to the growing number of consumers who are concerned about chemical-laden products, will opportunistically use the word “natural” on their labeling. Products advertised as natural – due to a lack of government regulation – can mean that all or maybe even just one or two ingredients are actually of natural origin. Many “natural” products can also contain synthetic ingredients that are potentially harmful.

Products labeled as organic are regulated under the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, which, when certified, means that 95 percent of ingredients have been organically produced without chemicals, pesticides or hormones.

Keep in mind, though, that products labeled as organic, botanical or all natural are not always safer or hypoallergenic. Skincare products with all or some natural ingredients can still have adverse effects, especially if you have sensitive skin. So it’s up to consumers to be vigilant about finding products that contain truly natural ingredients, if that’s what they seek.

Stemology defines “natural” products as ones that do not contain chemical ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, petroleum, ethoxylates, formaldehyde donors, GMO’s or artificial colors. Stemology products are intelligently organic whenever possible; and we are dedicated to using ingredients that are derived from natural chemical compounds, utilizing the healing and nourishing benefits of whole foods and plant extracts. Stemology is also cruelty-free and enlists the use of antioxidants – not parabens – to prevent fungi, bacteria or mold from developing in our formulas.

To avoid any confusion about what “natural” means when used in skincare products, opt instead to learn more about common ingredients and their effects. If you are looking to make your skincare and cosmetic cache chemical-free, look for skincare products that are free of synthetic ingredients like parabens and phthalates that may contribute to serious health problems.

And remember this quick consumer tip: Always read labels and do your research to determine if the ingredients are natural in origin, pure and safe!