Natural skincare is a diverse field that covers everything from DIY to anything that’s labeled as natural. This simply is because the word Natural is not regulated or backed by any authority. Hence often everything in the market labeled Natural despite products loaded with synthetics is a way for sellers to tune with the natural growing industry. The undefined, unregulated word “NATURAL” leaves the field/industry open for such malpractice.
It becomes really difficult for the consumer to differentiate between a 100% natural product and a natural identical/synthetic product. This article will help you understand the ingredients, their source & processing, and labeling thereby help you make an informed choice while looking for natural products.
Ingredient Source – The first question is to ask/know the source of the ingredient. Is the natural source like plants, soil, etc? Or is it a petrochemical-derived ingredient?
Processing – If the source of the ingredient plants, then the next question is to know the technique used to process the ingredient.
For example, coconut oil can be prepared through multiple cost-effective – high-yield technologies these days but the traditional technique of pressing the dried coconut-copra between the two heavy wooden logs or metal blocks releases the best nutrient-rich oil suitable for consumption and application. Similar to coconut oil, many nuts & seeds oils in the market are available for different uses like cosmetic use/external use only as they have been multiple-stage treated with high temperature & solvents to make them economical.
Likewise ingredients like vitamin E, Vitamin C or say hydrogenated oils are although derived from plants but have undergone multiple stages of processing resulting in immense loss of nutrients and loss of wholesome benefit to the skin/body.
So when the ingredients are processed chemically like with usage of solvents etc – their natural composition or structure changes while when processed physically (cold pressing), their natural composition/structure stays the same. Another example of a physical processing to facilitate better understanding for the layman is breaking a whole herb into coarse or powder form using mortar & pestle and sieving it.
Labeled ingredients – Read the label to know what all goes into the product. Often brands do not disclose the complete list of ingredients on the label. For example you may come across products with mention of only key ingredients, Base q.s etc. This simply means there is something much more than the natural ingredients but kept hidden to give the consumer a feel of a product truly natural. And many times some brands do not choose to label in common parlance as many ingredients are synthetically prepared.
Look & feel of the product – The color, texture, consistency, and fragrance can help you judge the product if it’s 100% natural or a mix of natural & synthetic-chemicals & preservatives.
Colour – Any product be rosewater or a rose with added gel or an aloe vera gel cannot really be pink/red or green in color as we often find them in the market. Similarly, the bright-colored soap bars or liquid soaps often derived their color from synthetic color added to give a feel of the herb labeled.
Texture & consistency – The texture & consistency of the product, in reality, should be the texture and consistency of the natural ingredients added to the product. But often the product is way different from the ingredient’s physical property. For example, a lotion made with shea butter and almond oil is a milky running liquid while the oil is golden(often) and greasy in nature.
Fragrance – Natural aroma in the products derived from skin vital ingredients is far different from perfumes. We all understand the difference between what’s given to us by nature and what’s synthesized in a lab. Do not look for perfume in skincare products.
Skincare products are to nourish the skin. Hence whenever you look for natural products recall the points in the article and make sure to give a thought to the product’s composition to make an appropriate purchase. This way we can escape the trap and use the right skincare for us and our family.