Natural cosmetics have been a large part of the cosmetics market for a long time now.
So many people swear by using only naturally derived cosmetics because in their eyes, they are the best.
But are natural cosmetics worth all that hype? Or is it simply some fancy marketing?
You must admit, those all-natural cosmetics adverts are pretty enticing with slogans such as "be one with nature", and "beauty, the natural way".
The hype about natural cosmetics
Many beauty and cosmetics brands have been promoting natural cosmetics.
This usually means that these products are said to be made from naturally derived ingredients instead of synthetics.
The idea is that the closer your beauty routine is to nature, the more benefits you will get from the natural ingredients.
People seem to think 'nature knows best, and it must be the best option out there', similar to 'synthetic cosmetics are bad for me because they're man-made, that can't be good'.
There is definitely a strong appeal to natural cosmetics.
Are natural cosmetics better for you?
No, not necessarily.
Of course there are some amazing naturally derived ingredients which have great properties, but in reality - we have gotten so good at synthesising molecules with very similar properties, that sometimes they just seem unnecessary.
Why you shouldn't use natural cosmetics
Natural cosmetics come at a cost to our environment.
So yes, we love to see the label "made with real strawberries" - but have you ever wondered how much of that strawberry ends up in the product? It's usually in tiny amounts.
The ingredients list on cosmetic products is listed from highest to lowest percentage in the product (excluding ingredients lower than 1% which can be arranged randomly).
The chances are, you're most likely to just be paying for the claim. But if it really does contain real fruits, have you wondered how much land is required to produce that product?
Hypothetically, if 20 strawberries were used to make a lotion - then they would have to use up water, land and time, all of which are precious.
Have you ever wondered if that water, land and time could be used more efficiently? Perhaps to grow food, and to feed our population?
Natural ingredients are also much more likely to be irritants, as people develop allergies to natural products, not synthetics (most of the time). Cosmetic brands cannot produce products which contain too many natural ingredients, in order not to be labelled as a possible irritant.
There have been many cases of sensitisation of the skin after using 'all-natural cosmetics'.
What is green washing?
This is where a company tries to entice you to purchase products by marketing them as 'natural' or 'organic', without the proper claims.
This can be as simple as adding a few leaves onto the packaging, or making the text green.
Brands have felt the need to do this, even if there is nothing particularly natural about their products, so that the product stands a chance on the shelf.
Always look out for real certifications of natural or organic cosmetics, if you do decide you want to use them.
So, should I buy natural cosmetics?
Personally, I feel like 'natural cosmetics' are mostly highly marketed products forced down the consumer's throat.
In reality, all the 'natural beauty' products you need - you probably already have.
Your kitchen and garden is your best friend when it comes to natural beauty.
Why buy an aloe vera lotion, when you could buy an aloe vera plant and take cuttings of it. There you go, pure aloe without the worry of if it's really in the product in high enough levels.
You need a scrub?
Sugar, honey and a little lemon juice will exfoliate any dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling fresh and bright.
Dark circles under your eyes?
No problem! Don't throw away your tea bag away - put it into the fridge and use it later that night whilst your boyfriend is giving you a massage.
(PS, I cannot provide a boyfriend - but skincare advice, you've got it.)