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When you see the words “all natural” on a product label, you probably assume that means it’s a good thing, right? It’s natural, so it must be pure and healthy. When it comes to cosmetics, can you assume that a product labeled as natural is going to be better or gentler on your skin? You may be surprised to find that none of these assumptions are necessarily true.

what exactly are natural cosmetic products?

It’s tricky, because there’s no legal definition. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate natural cosmetics. So this means, there are no regulations or rules defining what a natural cosmetic is. Practically speaking, using the word “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean anything when it comes to cosmetics.

A lot of us may use the word natural as shorthand, associating it with certain desired qualities or attributes. It may be that you’re interested in botanicals, products that contain plant ingredients. Or you may want something that does not contain synthetic ingredients or harsh chemicals. But putting the word natural on the label is not a guarantee of any of these things. It may be helpful to think of cosmetics with plant ingredients as plant-based products as opposed to natural; i.e. a more specific description of what they actually are.

so how should we think about natural labels on cosmetics?

Look at the ingredient list first! In doing so, you will tell you exactly what’s in the product. It is important to know that ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. For example, the ingredient with the highest concentration will be listed first. As you go down the list, the quantities and importance of each ingredient get progressively smaller. Product labels can be a little confusing or misleading at times. By looking at the ingredient list, you’ll be better informed about what you’re actually getting.

Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration

 

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