By: Abi Hillrich

Natural items are all the rage these days, whether it be organic foods, all-natural ingredients from restaurants, or beauty products. Though more expensive, it is a widespread opinion that natural items are better for you. But when it comes to what you’re putting on your skin, does it really matter all that much?

To begin, let’s differentiate between natural and organic. When the term natural is used on the label of a product, this means that the product contains an ingredient from plants, minerals, marine life, or animals. The label organic has many more categories: products with 70 percent natural ingredients and below cannot use the verified label, while anything above 95 percent organic is USDA approved. Organic ingredients are qualified as those grown without chemicals.

Organic and natural foods are not like organic and natural beauty products. Understandably, we often equate purchasing completely natural everything with a healthy and well-lived life. However, we must understand the distinction between what we put in our bodies and what we put on our bodies. For instance, while it is better for there to be no preservatives in our fruits and vegetables because they are kept refrigerated, the shampoo that is kept in a hot, damp shower should contain something to keep dangerous molds from growing. Organic and natural ingredients used in beauty products don’t matter nearly as much.

Even if there are chemicals in the face lotion one may choose to use, this does not in any way mean that the chemicals would get inside the body. There is no evidence of these ingredients somehow getting into a person’s bloodstream, and many of the chemicals included in the creation of beauty products keep damaging toxins off the skin and out of the body, which in some cases does more for the skin than natural products are able to.

However, natural beauty products do some things very well. Their emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing is very important in the damaging consumerist culture of today. This alone should be enough of a reason to support companies such as Herbivore and True Botanicals. Also, taking the marketing, packaging, and popularity of natural brands into account, it may be worth your while to try out some products in this vein.

Though natural beauty products are not necessarily safer for you than those that contain chemicals, they can be a fun way to experiment with skincare. On the other hand, if your skin doesn’t react well to this natural trend, do not be discouraged — you are not alone and you are not doing your skin any harm! Do not be afraid to purchase products that contain chemicals, but feel free to have a little fun and splurge on natural beauty brands as well.

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