THE TRUTH ABOUT NATURAL AND ORGANIC SKIN CARE

DISCOVER WHAT THESE SKINCARE TERMS ACTUALLY MEAN—AND WHAT TO AVOID.

In the skincare world, the words “natural” and “clean” are becoming as widespread as the term “organic.” But every buyer should beware, because there are no universally accepted and agreed-upon definitions for any of these terms. The FDA, which oversees cosmetics and skincare products, does not regulate their usage. That means pretty much any brand can use the adjectives “natural”, “clean” or “organic”—and whether or not they actually are is anyone’s guess. If you think that’s pretty frustrating, we’re right there with you. 

The term “organic”, however, IS regulated by the USDA (Department of Agriculture)—that’s why you can easily search for that little green USDA ORGANIC label on meat or veggies at the grocery store. Some cosmetic companies with agricultural ingredients have gone to the trouble of getting some or all of their ingredients certified by the USDA, and in that case they will also have that USDA ORGANIC label. The label means that the ingredients are managed and grown using agricultural methods without any use of pesticides and toxins. Many products are 100% organic, but a product can still be considered organic as long as 95% of its ingredients are organically produced, excluding salt and water. The remaining 5% of the ingredients must be non-organically produced agricultural products with an organic form that is not commercially available.

So how can you sift through the misleading marketing jargon to buy the right skincare products? Maybe you don’t care whether or not a certain product is organic, as long as it works, or maybe there are certain ingredients you’d rather avoid, but you’re okay with other stuff. Maybe having the cleanest possible product, from ingredient list through to 100% recycled packaging, is vitally important to you. No matter where you fall on the “clean beauty” preference spectrum, our guide below should help you peruse labels with confidence and select what works best—for your skin and your values.

WHAT THEY SAY: “CLEAN”

What they mean: nothing, unless the product explicitly states that it’s “free of” most of the following (e.g., “sulfate-free” or “free of sulfates”). Any product claiming to be clean should NOT contain:

  • sulfates
  • SLS and SLES
  • parabens
  • formaldehydes and formaldehyde-releasing agents—chemicals that release formaldehyde when added to water: 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, quaternium-15.
  • phthalates
  • mineral oil
  • retinylpalmitate
  • oxybenzone
  • coal tar
  • hydroquinone
  • triclosan and triclocarban

WHAT THEY SAY: “NATURAL”

What they mean: nothing at all. Any product can claim to be natural! And also: even if the product does contain natural ingredients, there’s no guarantee that they will work for you. Some natural ingredients are good for your skin, while others should be avoided. We break down which natural ingredients work best for dry skin here, oily skin here, and mature skin here.

You can rest assured skin care products found on ardenorganics.com are of the finest and safest grade A ingredients. 

This article was originally published on provenskincare.com