All Natural Skincare, Is It a Scam?
So you’re scrolling through TikTok or whatever social media platform you love, and you see a really cool beauty product. The influencer swears by it because the product advertises itself as “all natural” skincare. Oh boy… Last summer, I worked at a company and learned all the dirty details about the clean beauty movement. Let me tell you about greenwashing in the skincare industry and why you should NEVER trust a product that completely depends on the “all natural” label.
The shocking truth about the “clean beauty”
Clean beauty is everywhere on almost every single product. Nearly everyone wants to say they are “all natural” skincare. Brands throw out the term non-toxic to persuade you that your current products are toxic. But do you know that all of these terms are largely unregulated?
When it comes to skincare, natural and clean shouldn’t be enough to sell you on a product. Poison ivy is natural. Poisonous mushrooms are natural. Soap that harshly dries out your skin is technically clean. I have definitely seen “clean beauty” products that have an irritating ingredient hidden in their formulas.
This misleading advertising is not limited to the skincare industry. It’s trendy to be sustainable. It’s trendy to be “healthy.” It all boils down to marketing and advertising. I want to encourage you to be skeptical! Don’t be afraid of doing a little sleuthing of your own. Anything that truly is good for the environment or healthy will have substantial evidence to back their claims up.
3 questions you should ask when choosing products
As we’ve talked about, there’s way more to skincare than being “natural.” Here are three questions you should always ask:
1. Is it safe for me?
Will the product irritate your skin? Has the product been tested for safety? Use Paula’s Choice’s ingredient index to get all the information you need about an ingredient.
2. What’s the science behind this product?
In a time where every brand is clamoring “all natural” skincare, knowing the science behind your products is more important than ever. If a brand isn’t transparent about its practices in 2021, that’s a huge red flag. Are these products scientifically proven to work? Why would a brand choose this set of ingredients over another combination?
I remember watching videos by Dr. Dray and Hyram, and they are sure to call out the products that are 99.9999999% water (and maybe a little bit of their advertised spotlight ingredient). Water is definitely an important ingredient in all products, but you shouldn’t be paying so much money for glorified water.
3. Do you need it?
You should never forget that the skincare industry is, well, an industry. There are some really great skincare products out there, don’t get me wrong. But brands are businesses that want to generate profit.
You really don’t need to buy every product a skincare influencer recommends. (Keep in mind influencers usually make a commission when you buy their recommended products). There’s no shame in trying new products to fit your individual needs, but you don’t have to have a complicated skincare ritual. TBH, I sometimes feel like society shames us if we don’t use a billion products.
Some of my favorite brands
Here are just a few of my favorite brands. I don’t use every single one of their products, but I do use a select few. Most of all, I like the science, consistency, and transparency behind these brands.
I mention this brand a lot, but I really love their cleansers! No frills, super affordable, and they emphasize science.
- Paula’s Choice
I wrote an article about them not long ago. Paula’s Choice has been debunking the skincare industry's lies for forever. They are also a great source of information.
- The Ordinary
The OG when it comes to making potent products at a low price. I like their serums.
- The Inkey List
Similar mission as The Ordinary, but has good products nonetheless.
Be cautious when you see an “all natural” skincare brand. I think this greenwashing movement encourages a fear of chemicals that isn’t necessarily logical. More important than your product having some sort of edible ingredient you know from the grocery store is the safety and efficacy of the product.
Written by Jessica Lu