The ocean of beauty products is vast, deep and difficult to navigate. With ingredient lists as long as a whale’s tail, it’s easy to feel adrift when it comes to knowing what, exactly you should be looking for in products – especially natural beauty products.
To make matters worse, when we look to beauty brands for guidance, we’re often hit with claims such as ‘all-natural,’ ‘hypoallergenic,’ ‘certified organic’ and ‘dermatologically tested.’ But often, there’s a lack of information on what these terms actually mean.
To help you stay afloat in your quest for skincare perfection, we’re throwing you a life preserver! Here are five important steps to take before buying beauty products.
1. Understand your skin type
Didn’t a wise man once say, “Know thy-skin”? The very first step in choosing beauty products is to know your skin type, tone and sensitivity. Natural ingredients are great – but if you have an unknown allergy to shea nuts, for example, spreading a lotion made with shea nuts on your skin will cause more issues than it will solve.
Request a test sample of natural beauty products.
When searching for a new natural beauty product, ask the salesperson for a test sample to help you understand if it will work well for your skin. Once at home, you can perform a patch test on the back of your hand to see how you react to it.
2. Unmask the ingredient list
This step will initially take some time, but once you understand what those hard-to-pronounce beauty and cosmetic ingredients truly are, you can make wiser choices for your skin. Whenever you pick up a natural beauty product, get in the habit of scanning the label and researching ingredients you’re unsure of.
To assist you in your learning, here are some helpful beauty product databases:
When choosing natural beauty products, avoid the following:
- Artificial and synthetic fragrances
- Petroleum derivatives and preservatives like:
- Parafﬁnum liquidum (mineral oil)
- Petrolatum (petroleum jelly)
- Propylene glycol
- PEGs (polyethylene glycol)
- Polysorbates (which are usually followed by a number)
- DEA/MEA/TEA (Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine, Triethanolamine)
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben)
- Benzyl Alcohol
- DMDM Hydantoin & Urea
- FD&C Color Pigments
- Isopropyl (SD-40)
*Ingredients like these have been linked to allergic reactions, hormone disruption, central nervous system disorders and skin/breast tumors.
When choosing natural beauty products, look for:
- Real plant-based ingredients
- Real fruit-based ingredients
3. Investigate regulated/unregulated claims
This can be tough because the beauty products industry is not closely regulated by any U.S. government body, meaning you really have to pay attention when a brand makes claims such as natural or organic. Whatever a brand says about their natural beauty products, be sure to follow up with your own research, checking into what they’re claiming and what it truly means.
If all else fails, head back to the ingredients list.
If you can’t determine whether or not a company’s claims are legit, head back to the label. When you understand what each ingredient is, you will have a better idea as to whether or not those claims are consistent.
4. Research the brand
It’s always a good idea to look into a brand you’re considering buying from, whether you’re purchasing beauty products, food or even clothing! Make sure the brand is reputable and that they adhere to your standards for natural beauty products. For example, if you’re vegan, you will want to make sure there are zero animal products in your makeup, including insect-derived ingredients such as beetles (which can appear as ‘Natural Red 4’ and ‘E120’).
5. Read user reviews
Before you make a purchase, don’t forget to look at what other consumers are saying about a product. Starred reviews are a good start, but take the time to click through each person’s comments, learning what they liked and didn’t like to help you make a better decision. For example, if you are sensitive to certain textures, you’re likely to discover this information in a review – as well as see how popular a product is!
Enjoy your natural beauty products experiment!
Hopefully, these steps will help to make your decisions clearer in the effort to go all-natural with your beauty products. Have fun searching and experimenting with different beauty products and feel good about your efforts to go ‘au naturale’!