In the past few years, we’ve seen a rebirth of the natural cosmetics industry, and everyone from dermatologists to influencers seems to be raving about them. But why are these natural skincare products so popular, and why should you make more room for them in your beauty routine? Just like the rest of our organs, the skin deserves special care, and with natural cosmetics, you can create an excellent skincare routine to follow every day.
These products are made with no artificial ingredients, fragrances, or mineral oils. Instead, they contain natural and essential herbal ingredients, which can contribute to maintaining your skin’s health and balance. Such products can be used on different skin types, including sensitive and problematic skin.
Natural cosmetics are much more efficient than those generic ones you find on the cosmetics aisle in the department store, and, with all the variety of good ingredients, a small dose will be enough to satisfy your skin needs.
The problem with mainstream skincare products
To understand the importance of switching to natural skincare products, first, we have to understand the alternative and, more specifically, why that alternative isn’t sustainable when it comes to your general health.
The average woman applies no less than 12 products on her body every day, from cleaners and moisturizers to makeup and fragrance. That means that every day, your body absorbs 160 different chemicals. Are all these chemicals good for you, or can they hurt you in the long run? If you care about the ingredients in your food, shouldn’t you also care about what goes in skincare? After all, the skin is an organ, it absorbs the substances you apply on it, and these substances end up in your bloodstream.
Nowadays, consumers are more and more informed, and the colorful packaging and clever marketing of household brands are no longer enough. As people start to analyze the INCI list before buying products, it becomes evident that many of the products we’ve loved for decades might not be as skin-friendly as we thought.
Here are just a few problematic ingredients in mainstream skincare products that make us want to try natural skincare brands:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a surfactant used in foaming products such as shower gels and shampoos. But while it may create a rich and luxurious lather, SLS is also highly stripping, causing irritations and dryness in the long run.
- Synthetic fragrances have been linked to allergies, contact dermatitis, and even respiratory distress. Heavily fragranced oils can also cause coughing, sneezing, and hyperpigmentation for sensitive skin types.
- Parabens are used in just about every skincare product, from toners to soap. Apart from being toxic to the environment, parabens have been linked to endocrine disorders and even some types of cancer.
Reading the side effects of these common ingredients, you might be wondering how something so pretty can be so harmful. Can use a simple shampoo or bath soap be that dangerous? While you may not notice anything crazy right away (perhaps only a little dryness or itchiness), the skin is an organ, and it has a memory. When you use 12 products and hundreds of harmful chemicals in small doses every day, all those bad ingredients will have a cumulative effect, and, in a few years, you might end up with weird symptoms without knowing where they came from.
If you feel revolted by this idea, you’re not alone. According to a report from the NPD Group, more and more women have to conduct in-depth research to find out if the products they use are truly right for them and that they prefer transparent companies that back up their claims.
How natural products solve the problem
Natural skincare brands are all about rediscovering the benefits of pure, clean, ethical recipes. Apart from not using those nasty artificial ingredients we mentioned above, they include natural substances that help the skin recover and stay healthy.
Let’s look at one product that we rediscovered thanks to the natural skincare industry: soap. The plain old soap bar has been around for centuries, but in the past few years, its reputation became a bit tarnished because of what companies put in it.
Growing up, your Mom may have told you not to wash your face with soap because it’s way too dry. But soap isn’t to blame here. Instead, the culprits are the misleading “beauty bars” containing harsh cleansing agents and synthetic fragrances.
Soap, however, can actually be good for you if it’s done right, using natural ingredients such as goat milk, shea butter, and olive oil. For example, goat milk soap benefits include replenishing the skin thanks to its natural fatty acids and amino acids, keeping it youthful with antioxidants, and leaving it soft to the touch thanks to vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, C, D, and E. Some of the oldest uses of goat milk in skincare goes back to ancient times, so we can see an interesting shift to traditional, no-fuss formulas.
If you replace your drugstore shower gel with natural soap, you’ll also notice that the formula is much gentler and that your skin doesn’t feel tight and irritated after use. In fact, people with skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis are often advised to switch to natural soaps that don’t flare up their symptoms.
Ethical & cruelty-free production processes
Apart from the use of questionable synthetic ingredients, the cosmetics industry has also come under fire for its controversial manufacturing processes, which often involves animal testing, wasteful plastic packaging, and hiring underpaid workers in third-world countries. Putting value over profit is another mission that natural beauty brands have taken up. So, in addition to safer ingredients, many companies have pledged to use only safe, cruelty-free testing and manufacturing their products locally instead of outsourcing production.
Cynthia Madison is a fitness buff and organic skincare enthusiast who loves educating herself and sharing the best tips with her readers. Cynthia believes that sustainable choices are the future of health and fitness, which is why she’s always looking to share her insights on local, ethical companies that want to make a difference.