Organic, Natural and Clean Skincare: What Do These Buzzwords Mean?

Labels like “natural”, “organic” and “clean” seem to be flooding the packaging of beauty and skincare products like never before. But what do these buzzwords really mean? Deliberately or not, the packaging of skincare products can be confusing. It’s easy to begin grouping these labels together in our minds without understanding the criteria (if any!) behind them.

What is a “clean” skincare” product?

Clean Skincare Products - Jar of Lotion

Clean skincare products can contain both natural and man-made ingredients that are free of dangerous chemicals that can have adverse effects internally as well as on the skin. Not all “natural” ingredients are safe (lead, poison ivy, mercury, etc.) and not all synthetic ingredients are harmful. The focus of clean products is always on safety. Keep in mind that our skin is our largest organ, and what is applied topically is absorbed directly into our bodies. Truly clean products avoid using harmful ingredients like synthetic fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and silicones. The ingredients are also not treated with any pesticides or fertilizers and are usually certified organic.

Clean skincare manufacturers choose ingredients for their purity, effectiveness, and safety. These are ingredients that won’t compromise the “dirty dozen” list, which is clean beauty’s banned ingredients. This list of ingredients has been linked to cancer, infertility, neurological disorders, respiratory issues and can interfere with hormone functions. You want to feed your skin, not poison it.

Why is it important to use clean products?

Organic Skincare Products - Woman In Bath Tub

It's vital to understand that harmful ingredients impact our bodies externally, but more importantly, internally. Presently, there is no US governing body that inspects the chemicals and ingredients that go into our personal care or beauty products to make sure they're safe for use. Shocking, right? Many people assume that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would play some sort of role in monitoring our products. The fact is the FDA, which plays a role in prescription drug approval, does not have the authority to approve cosmetic ingredients or products before they go to the consumer market. The only condition the FDA provides cosmetic companies is that they cannot make medical claims or misrepresent their products. The only ingredient that requires FDA approval is color additives. The rest of the ingredients used in a product are completely up to the discretion of cosmetic companies. This doesn’t mean that all companies are making harmful products, but it does put a lot of responsibility on the consumer to be mindful of what we’re putting on our skin. Unfortunately, this also means that companies can add tons of filler to their products which makes them cheaper to produce and decreases the potency.

What do "natural" and "organic" labels really mean?

Natural Skincare Products - Image of 2 Leaves

"Natural" has become one of the most overused words in the skincare and beauty industry, and the term doesn't necessarily mean much. A product can be described as “natural” even if it has just 1% naturally-sourced, plant-based or mineral ingredients. The same thing goes for "organic" products and skincare.

The clearest way to know what's in your product is to turn the bottle around and examine the ingredient list. Sometimes brands indicate their natural or organic ingredients with an asterisk or symbol – this is helpful when looking for truly natural skincare. Brands are also required to disclose their ingredients in the order of highest to lowest concentration. For example, a company can market a product as a "Vitamin C Moisturizer" when it only contains one drop of vitamin c – essentially making the product ineffective.

Are “clean” products effective?

When people see the word “clean” on a product, they tend to assume it’s not as potent or effective – but that preconception is completely wrong! Clean products are effective and give you peace of mind that you’re using a safe formula. The most important thing to remember is that staying consistent with your daily skincare routine – twice a day, every day – is the key to seeing results. Potent ingredients mean nothing if you’re not diligently using your products! Every skincare regimen should include four steps: exfoliation, antioxidants, stimulation (peptides, retinols, and other nutrients) and finally sunscreen with daily hydration.

We are so excited to share our new clean skincare line, Dubois Beauty, with you! Learn more about Our Story.

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