Natural Beauty Products. What’s Legit and What’s Not?

The current bounty of conscientious beauty products is certainly progress, giving us the option of avoiding potentially harmful chemicals, helping the environment and encouraging cosmetics companies to abandon the cruel and obsolete practice of animal testing”but buyer beware! Not everything touted to be natural, green or animal friendly is as altruistic as it may seem at first glimpse. Here’s how to tell if your next beauty buy is really as wholesome as it appears.

Authentically Organic
Just because the label boasts the term organic doesn’t mean all the botanicals inside are free of hazardous chemicals. The USDA specifies that a product claiming to be organic must contain at least 95% organic botanicals, but get this: The USDA does not have any jurisdiction over cosmetics. Meaning unless the packaging has a USDA seal, you’re relying entirely on the word of the manufacturer. To make sure you’re shelling out for the real pesticide-free deal, only pick items with a government agency’s logo of approval.

All-Natural Absolution
Picking verifiably all-natural beauty products can be the most elusive quest of all”even a certified organic concoction can still harbor petrochemicals, parabens and a multitude of other potential toxins. Government regulations give cosmetics companies virtually free reign on labeling what goes into their lotions and potions. To ensure you’re not slapping free-radical inducing, carcinogenic or hormone interrupting chemicals onto your delicate skin you’re going to have to do some serious research. Get familiar with common cosmetics ingredients to bypass, like petroleum derivatives, DEA and Parabens. Luckily, there are plentiful online resources to assist in the search for pristine pretty makers, try sites like for comprehensive cosmetics information.

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics
When deciding between a brand that tests on animals and a cruelty-free label the choice couldn’t be more obvious “ testing chemicals for safety on our furry friends is not only outdated, less accurate but also considerably more expensive than computer simulated tests. So, don’t pay more to inflict pain, but also be careful “ some companies that purport to be cruelty free in fact contract an outside source to carry out animal testing on their behalf. The best bet is to look for the PETA Cruelty Free logo and when in doubt consult sites like Also keep in mind that just because the label bears a cruelty-free stamp doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s vegan “ so if you’re looking for an animal byproduct free beauty buy read the ingredients carefully!

Gorgeously Green
Keeping your eyes peeled for recycled packaging, formulations without petroleum derivatives and a short list of organic, sustainable ingredients is a good start to keeping your medicine cabinet eco-friendly. However, please resist the urge to snap up every cosmetic that says green or environmentally friendly. The hard truth is that if you really want to minimize your toiletries’ impact on mother earth, you need to cut back on how much you consume. Even the most rigorously eco-friendly product still has a carbon footprint, so the less you purchase the better. You don’t have to strip your beauty routine down to only castile soap and olive oil, but the more multitasking items you use (like a dual-purpose lip and cheek stain) the less the environment is impacted. Use only what you really need and most importantly, do your research, check out online reviews and try the product out thoroughly so that every beauty buy you make is one you’ll love until you hit the bottom of the tube!

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Tags: All-natural beauty, animal-friendly beauty, eco-friendly beauty, organic beauty

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