If you’re trying to make healthier choices by purchasing products using the word ‘Natural’ on their label, you should understand what that means.

By Ashley Sachs Licensed Esthetician, Creator of Blended, Reiki 2 Certified

Cosmetic regulations in the US are almost non-existent. Because of this, companies are legally allowed to use the word “Natural” with little to no consequences. So what does “Natural” really mean? Unfortunately the health of Cosmetics is not covered in Esthetics School or required to sell products. Much like the food industry, understanding the Health of Cosmetics is our responsibility as consumers. I want to be assured that what I am putting on my skin and my client’s skin is good for us (or at the very least, not harmful) while enhancing our appearance.

When my research led me to Formula Botanica (an award-winning and accredited online Organic Cosmetic Science School), I was thrilled! Finally a company who is explaining the health of cosmetics in simple terms (without long legal jargon or eighteen-letter scientific words intended to confuse us). According to Formula Botanica there are four “shades” of the the word “Natural”. Once you understand the different shades of natural, you can choose your personal standards when purchasing products.

Shade 1- The purest form of natural cosmetics

The ingredients used in your products were plucked straight from nature and it maintains its original chemical structure. For example, an oil; you pick a seed from a plant, cold press it and it still maintains its original chemical shape and structure. 

Shade 2 – Ingredients have been naturally derived

Harvested ingredients have undergone chemical reactions. Generally used in the creation of water based products like lotions, creams, foundations, etc.

Shade 3 – Ingredients are “nature identical”

Ingredients are not derived from nature, they are synthetically processed, BUT the ingredient is identical in its chemical structure to the same ingredient found in nature. For example citric acid; you can derive it naturally, but because of the scale of consumption (in foods and cosmetics) a majority of citric acid is processed synthetically.

Shade 4 – Ingredient is obtained from plant resources but are mimicking a synthetic molecule

The cosmetic industry has created synthetic molecules to enhance the performance of cosmetics. An example is glycol; used as solvents, humectants, dispersants and preservative boosters. Because of their enormous benefits, “Natural” cosmetic brands use plant resources that are processed to mimic these synthetic molecules.

It is clear that there are no Foundation Flowers, Lipstick Trees or Moisturizer Meadows. All Cosmetics (other than pure oils) are formulations of multiple ingredients; some from nature, and some not. For the most part, I would ignore the word “Natural” when purchasing your Cosmetics and instead understand the ingredients, delivery systems and the brand’s mission.

I am unsure if the creators of goliath cosmetic brands actually wear their products, I however,  have only been wearing Blended Cosmetics since 2011. Their performance as well as their ingredients are as important to me as they are to you. I hope this helps!

To subscribe to my monthly Newsletter where my mission is to demystify the world of Healthy Cosmetics and Empowered Aging, sign up here. Or to schedule a Virtual Custom Blend Consultation click here. 


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