In my life, I like to embrace nature in everything whenever and wherever possible. I enjoy my food clean and from the earth and I like the people I surround myself with to be real and honest. There’s no reason why I would want the beauty products I use be to be any different.
Unfortunately, many products that label themselves as natural are not as ‘natural’, ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘organic’ as they want you to believe.
As there is no governing standard in Australia that brands have to meet to call themselves natural, brands can do two things without breaching Consumer Laws. Firstly, companies can use words such as ‘naturally inspired’ to lead consumers into thinking that their products are natural when that is not the case.
They can also use words, like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘botanical’ so that the consumer believes they are natural, when in fact they’re not. They can also include ingredients in products that aren’t truly natural – in a ‘fake natural’ product, it’s often you might see a natural oil listed next to a mineral oil.
This lack of governing standard means there’s lots of confusion amongst those seeking out truly natural products, and an even greater need to be vigilant to know what phrases and ingredients to look out for and which ones to avoid.
It’s unclear if this level of regulation is likely to change in the future, however if people continue to voice their concerns about misleading labels then hopefully we can see some change.
Often, companies will mask unnatural products by throwing them next to a natural one in the label so it can get really confusing when searching for truly natural skincare. It’s my mission to encourage and provide you with information about how to read a label and understand what is best to avoid so that you can be on your way to becoming a naturally glowing version of yourself.
Natural, to me, means both the product’s activities and its formulations are plant-derived ingredients. I define fake naturals as products that call themselves natural but aren’t truly natural. Products that contain fake naturals can cause serious skin issues such as allergic reactions, dermatitis, skin sensitivities and blocked pores.
While these may not seem so serious to the average person, what we put into our skin is absorbed into the blood and then the rest of our body! There’s never been a more important time to take care of your skin and be aware of what you’re applying onto it.
When using fake naturals, there can also be deeper issues too. For example, talc powder (a mineral that is drying on the skin) can contain traces of asbestos and heavy metals, several animal based studies have indicated that triclosan (a synthetic chemical that has anti-microbial properties) may be an endocrine (hormone) disruptor and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs – low level impurities in petroleum derived ingredients) are directly linked to cancer in general and breast cancer specifically.
I’ve highlighted just a few ingredients to be wary of when looking at labels, but make sure that you also test out different products for yourself and perhaps do some of your own research too. Natural instinct has a wonderful Ingredient Standard list of over 400 unnecessary synthetic chemicals that could contained in your skincare products to be aware of here.
- Propelene Glycol or PVP/VA Copolymer: these are petroleum-derived synthetic ingredients that have been associated with allergic reactions and dermatitis.
- Triethanolamine (or TEA Stearate / TEA): This is widely used as a pH adjuster in skin care products; it’s an alkaline ingredient and reacts with fatty acids to form soaps found in cleansers. Low grade and poor quality TEA can contain high levels of nutrosamines that are known to cause sensitive skin in some people.
- Phenoxyethanol: A preservative and synthetic ingredient that has been known to cause skin irritations and reactions in some individuals.
- Polyethylene Glycols: PEGs or Polyethylene Glycols is a synthetic petroleum derived emulsifier and emollient that can cause dermatitis in some individuals.
- Dimethicone – “Polydimethylsiloxane” or “PDMS”: Dimethicone is a synthetic silicone emollient frequently used in cosmetics. It forms a barrier on the skin, thus not allowing the skin to breathe and impurities to escape.
Luckily for us, there are some natural and beautiful brands out there. Natural Instinct uses truly natural ingredients in both their activities and bases – which is why I stick by them 100%.