The confusion in the natural beauty world is real. When I opened the first eco-chic beauty boutique in the country in 2007, every natural beauty brand sent their products for review. Clients from all over the world seek my help to "clean up" their beauty products. I had to research every ingredient in every natural product I received.
Can you imagine?
Go through your products and really read the ingredients (not the marketing that says it's eco-friendly or sustainably sourced, that part of profits go to charity). Even when something says it's natural, do you truly know what you're putting on your body?
I can't tell you how many clients came to me with eye infections from using natural mascara or eye cream that didn't have the right preservatives. Or those whose organic face oils dried their skin because of an overload of essential oils that weren't extracted and proportioned properly. Or the people who waited months for the bumps, redness, and irritation caused by "natural" fruit acids to heal.
Natural brands are always screaming about how there are no regulations for ingredients in the U.S., so conventional brands get away with adding a lot of not-good-for-you stuff into their products. Well, if there were regulations as strict as in other countries about testing beauty products for stability, efficacy, and bacteria and fungal growth, 90 percent of those same natural brands wouldn't make the cut.
The words that cause hysteria in the green world — parabens, sulfates, phenoxyethnol, phthalates — are SO 2007. Even huge conventional beauty giants have removed these ingredients from their products, and many others are bound to follow.
For all the good it's doing, the green beauty industry keeps looking for ingredients to burn at the stake; the witch hunt for the next life-ending, cancer-causing preservative is misleading and doesn't make any sense. When clients and colleagues started asking me about "naturally sourced preservatives," I realized it was time to draw the line and speak up.
People need to be educated on what ingredient names actually mean instead of relying on beauty dictionaries or ingredient rating websites that indicate that something might not be safe enough. (What does "moderately safe" even mean?)
So. Here we go. My first step toward educating everyone on the things they should care about when it comes to green beauty: