Are Natural Cosmetics Better?

‘Chemicals’ is a fearsome word, especially when used with a beauty product. You may always find yourself looking for terms like non-toxic, organic, and cruelty-free ingredients. Still, with all the hype about natural products, do you face questions such as, are natural cosmetics better?

In most cases, you will believe they are way better than other available cosmetics. However, that is because you, as a customer, may not have complete knowledge about the product. Words like natural and organic are attractive, getting you to believe that the cosmetic is actually better.

Do you want to find out all about natural cosmetics and if they are really worth the hype? Read on to clear out all your doubts regarding natural cosmetics.

What are Natural Cosmetics?

You may have seen several products with tags like natural, non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free, etc. Still, do you really know what natural cosmetics are? Do you think these products are made solely from natural ingredients?

Actually, the term ‘natural’ has not been recognized by any formal institution like the Food and Drugs Association (FDA). Still, you may see multiple skincare and beauty brands categorizing their product as natural.

Natural cosmetics contain several naturally-extracted ingredients, but they do not make for the product’s 100% composition. That means natural cosmetics do contain chemicals and other artificial substances. Moreover, these items do not adhere to any set standards.

These products are made by extracting oils and minerals from plants, while their quality is retained throughout. However, the entire process may or may not be natural. For example, the plant may not have grown naturally, or it may have used chemical fertilizers for the growth.

So, does that mean natural cosmetics are not safe? Well, they may be better than many chemical-based products out there, but not the best. Still, to be sure, you must always check the list of ingredients used while shopping for natural cosmetics.

Difference Between Natural and Organic Cosmetics

You may often think that natural and organic mean the same thing. However, that is not entirely true. So, what are organic cosmetics? Only those that adhere to the USDA standards (United States Department of Agriculture) are termed organic.

USDA-certified cosmetics comprise of 95% organic ingredients. These items are completely free of chemicals, so much so that their plants are also 100% organic. How, you may ask? These plants are grown without the aid of any chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides, or other products.

As a result, the organic product you get has minimum artificial ingredients, i.e., only 5%. On the contrary, natural cosmetics may or may not meet this composition structure. The main differentiating factor of natural products is that they need not adhere to any standards.

Significant Labels on Beauty Products Packaging

When you purchase a cosmetics item, even if natural, it may have one or more of the following labels, to choose wisely, you must be aware of what each label really means.


Much to your surprise, makeup items like foundation, lipstick, lip balm, mascara, and many more may be using toxic products. These include lead, triclosan, mercury, dioxin, and other such chemical-based ingredients. So, how to ensure you are using non-toxic, natural beauty products?

Look for the EWG VERIFIED symbol. The Environmental Working group ensures beauty and skincare products do not utilize certain toxins harmful to the skin.


You may think that natural beauty products with this label mean that it was not tested on animals. Except, it is not so straightforward. It may be the final product is not but the ingredients were tested on animals. Alternatively, the company may have relied on another source to conduct the testing.

To be 100% sure that your product is cruelty-free, look for the Leaping Bunny Programme label. Several natural makeup brands are certified under this program.


Vegan products are quite self-explanatory. These items do not comprise any animal-related product such as milk, eggs, honey, beeswax, etc. That is because some of these items may require animal slaughter. Additionally, these items are also cruelty-free as they are not tested on animals.

That said, you must know that there is no legal authority that justifies these claims. Still, if you see The Vegan Society or Vegan Organization label, you can consider the item vegan and cruelty-free.


So far, you already know what organic products are, but you may see different types of organic labels. Here is what they mean.

Organic: If you see the ‘organic’ stamp, it is not entirely organic. It will most likely contain 95% of organic items, excluding water and salt.

100% Organic: If you want a completely pure cosmetic product, ‘100% organic’ is what you should be looking for. These products are organically produced and contain 0% of chemicals.

Organic Ingredients: Products with this label may only have a few USDA-certified ingredients and thus, organic. You must check the list of ingredients on the packaging for complete information.


Another term that you might have read on natural beauty products is ‘Clean.’ So, what is clean beauty? Multiple brands offer toxin-free products and claim them to be clean cosmetics. These can include lipstick, foundation, mascara, etc. However, they do not adhere to any set of standards or certification.

The only way you can know whether your natural makeup falls under the category of ‘clean’ is through its ingredients.

Read on to know more about which chemicals and ingredients you can consider safe.

Are All Chemicals Bad?

Until now, you are aware that even the environment-friendly products are not 100% chemical-free. They may contain minimal percentages of chemicals. Perhaps, they are grown with the help of chemical-based fertilizers.

 That brings the question, are all chemicals bad for your skin? The answer is no. In fact, some chemicals are essential for healthy skin. These include:

  • Salicylic Acid: It is a type of bactericide agent that helps treat acne.
  • Peptides: These chemicals are naturally found on your skin, as they act as building blocks for essential proteins such as collagen. Thus, peptides help moisturize your skin and improve its look.
  • Zinc Oxide: An active ingredient in sunscreens, this chemical blocks UV rays from damaging your skin. Additionally, it slows aging and prevents dry skin.
  • Retinol: This chemical reduces signs of aging, such as fine lines, spots, and wrinkles. Furthermore, it uplifts the look of your skin.
  • Glycolic Acid: It is an exfoliating agent that helps remove the dead cells on the outer layer of your skin.

Note: All chemicals may not suit you, especially if you have sensitive skin. They may cause dryness, itching, irritation, redness, etc. Excessive usage of any chemical is harmful. Also, using multiple good chemicals simultaneously may not be suitable for the skin.

Multiple other chemicals are actually good for the skin. Moreover, you may even find them naturally in fruits such as sugar cane, papaya, etc. However, you must only utilize a small percentage of chemicals on your skin.

That said, you must know that majority of chemicals used in cosmetic products are harmful. They get into your bloodline and travel through your body, causing various side effects. Worst case scenario, women may also be susceptible to breast cancer, skin cancer, etc., due to chemical-based items.

Say No to These Toxic Cosmetic Ingredients

While there are some good chemicals, most others are not. Moreover, it may not be the easiest task to spot these chemicals on your makeup ingredients list. Several brands cover it up by using fancy terms, just to confuse their consumers.

Here is a list of nasty chemicals commonly used in these items to help you choose the best.


Did you ever think that fragrances could be harmful as well? It is not just limited to your deodorants or perfumes, but also beautifies and skincare products. Believe it or not, fragrances contain chemicals that may cause hormonal issues, asthma problems, allergies, etc.

These commonly include phthalates for long-lasting aroma, formaldehyde, alcohol, etc. These chemicals transfer to your bloodstream, leading to severe health problems. That also implies to products that have the term ‘natural fragrances’ on their packaging.

Though the USDA and FDA have set specific laws, the fragrance is like a loophole. Manufacturers need not list the scent ingredients, which is how they can get away with these chemicals. So, how can you avoid these fragrances? You can opt to utilize products with natural oils that have mild but natural fragrances.


Dyes or artificial colors often used in cosmetic and skincare products are actually synthetic compounds. Did you know that a single color can have 25-50 chemicals combined?

These are primely made by using lead, petroleum, coal tar, and other heavy metals. The chemicals used in cosmetic pigments or dyes can create multiple skin issues. These include skin sensitivity, irritation, blocking of pores, allergies, etc.

Apart from that, a few chemicals used in artificial colors may also be carcinogenic, i.e., cancer-causing. You must avoid cosmetics with terms like pigments, colorants, dyes, etc., on the product packaging.

Some amazing natural alternatives to these are beetroot, turmeric, woad powder, etc. These ingredients can give beautiful shades to your cosmetics without the utilization of chemicals.


The most famous and one of the deadliest chemicals used in cosmetics is paraben. These are actually preservatives that can easily penetrate your skin. These chemicals can cause some extremely severe problems in:

  • Nervous system
  • Reproduction
  • Immune system
  • Breast cancer

You must avoid this carcinogen at all costs—additionally, lookout for a substitute of parabens—phenoxyethanol, which is almost equally harmful.


One common toxin that you will find in almost all lip balms and lipsticks is lead. Additionally, it can be found in mascara, eyeliner, and other such topical beautifiers. Lead can dissolve into your body and harm you even if used in small quantities.

That said, you must know that there are some great alternatives to these products. You can utilize 100% pure cosmetics like nail polish, lipstick, foundation, etc., that are lead-free and perfectly safe for use.

Other Chemicals to Look Out For

  • Preservatives—For example, Quaternium-15.
  • Triclosan—An FDA-banned chemical that may cause skin allergies, dermatitis, etc.
  • Formaldehyde—A preservative used in cosmetics that may cause allergic reactions, burns, rashes, etc.
  • Phthalates—A group of chemicals that can cause severe hormonal disbalances. It may interfere with reproduction, reduce fertility in men and women, etc.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate—Commonly found in face cream and foundation; irritates sensitive skin and causes acne.

There are a plethora of other chemicals used in cosmetics that may harm your skin. Make sure you thoroughly read the ingredient list and opt for natural alternatives whenever possible.

Natural Ingredients That Are Not Good for Skin

Did you know that even natural components can harm your skin? An extensive range of products in the market may not suit your skin, resulting in severe repercussions. That is why you must never fully trust the labels, instead go for the composition list.

Another thing that you must remember at all times is that you must not utilize just any natural product. Always test it over a small patch of your body before extensive application. Here is a list of a few natural items that can be bad for your skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar: You must have surely heard about the various benefits of apple cider vinegar, such as anti-inflammation, exfoliation, etc. Yes, this ingredient is good for balancing the pH level if your skin is alkaline. However, owing to its highly acidic nature, it can also cause burns on your skin.

If you want to apply apple cider vinegar, you must always dilute it before application.

Olive Oil: It has multiple positive effects like oxidation, slowing aging, etc. However, using olive oil on your skin can clog pores and become a breeding ground for bacteria. It may also cause acne or lead to skin irritation.

Baking Soda: Baking soda is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and treating acne. Still, it can disrupt the pH level of your skin by reducing the acidity of your skin. Washing your face with baking soda can disrupt the oil barrier and natural bacteria of your skin.

Lemon: It is a natural antioxidant and helps reduce aging. However, if you have sensitive skin, lemon juice can lead to irritation, dryness, rashes, etc. It decreases the oil content of your skin and disrupts the natural pH level.

Other natural components that can lead to severe skin reactions are:

  • Cinnamon
  • Tea tree oil
  • Citrus oils
  • Lanolin
  • Lavender

Why Are Natural Cosmetics Better

A few natural components are bad for the skin, but the good news is that majority of them are quite beneficial. Also, you need not always go for DIYs if you want to switch to natural. There are some amazing natural cosmetics on the market that your skin will love.

Here are a few reasons why you must add natural cosmetics to your collection.

Natural and Effective

Though natural cosmetics may not be 100% pure, the majority is, well, natural. It includes plant oils and minerals that are extracted naturally. These elements are full of nutrition, helping your skin heal better. So, you are using makeup and skin-care products simultaneously!

If you opt to use real vitamins, antioxidants, acids, etc., they will automatically work better. You need not worry about these items penetrating your skin as they will only make it healthy. Thus, you will look at your beautiful self without harming your skin.


Natural cosmetics have a considerable composition of organic items. These will include plant-based extracts that are grown without the utilization of chemicals. Moreover, most of these products will not harm your skin in the long run, such as clogging pores, causing dryness, etc.

Therefore, natural cosmetics can reduce a wide range of skin and environmental problems.

Free of Chemicals

As mentioned earlier, though some chemicals are good, most of them are not. They can cause severe damage to your skin and overall health. Using natural cosmetics allows you to use chemical-free makeup.

Yes, your product may not be 100% free of chemicals, but the less, the better, right? Using these cosmetics will undoubtedly reduce the chances of reactions like allergies, irritation, etc. Moreover, they will only work towards replenishing your skin.


One of the best things about natural cosmetics is that they protect your skin and the environment. These items are eco-friendly in multiple ways:

Production: Pesticides and chemical fertilizers do not just harm your skin but also the environment. Most natural cosmetics contain some or all components that are organically-produced.

Packaging: You nay use hundreds of beauty products every year, but what about their packaging? Natural cosmetics usually use recyclable packaging that can be used for other items. Make sure you check the recycle symbol on all your new cosmetic products.

Biodegradability: Do you know whether the cosmetics that you use affect the water bodies? Synthetic makeup does not degrade for years, polluting the land and marine life. Natural cosmetics can degrade rapidly, considerably reducing environmental impact.


Most natural cosmetics that you may get your hands on are also cruelty-free. Since they are mostly plant-based, they do not have any severe impact on the skin. This is why they need not be tested on animals.

Experts will usually test these products in laboratories to make them cruelty-free. That said, you must still look for cruelty-free labels on these products before you get a new one.

Choose the Natural Product for Your Skin Type

People have varying types of skin. That is why a product may suit you but not your friend. The good part about these products is they use many naturally-extracted oils, minerals, and other elements. Therefore, you get the advantage of choosing the ingredient that suits your skin type.

That is not all. You can replace all your cosmetics with natural ones. It is a relatively new concept; still, the market has a wide range of options for makeup lovers like you. You can get a natural foundation, face cream, eyeshades, lipsticks, lip balm, face powder, and so much more.

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Tips to Shop for Natural Cosmetic Products

So far, you have plenty of knowledge about what natural cosmetic items are all about. You are aware of the various labels that are not always legit. Here is a quick summary and tips for shopping all-natural, the right way!

Collect Information Before You Shop: Though you have covered this point greatly, knowledge is never enough. Make sure to collect information about the items that your favorite cosmetic and skin-care products are made of!

Thoroughly Read the Ingredient List: Once you have the information, cross-check every item you purchase. You must quickly go through the ingredient list, even if you are choosing 100% organic items.

Choose a Reputable Brand: Though you can go with your friend’s recommendation, trying new brands is always risky. The best option is finding a few reputable brands that make cosmetics suitable for your taste and skin type. Once you found them, try to stick to those companies.

Beware of a Hoax: You already have enough knowledge about how a brand can fake several labels. Do not flow with the attractive catchphrases–they can be a hoax! Do your homework, and then add the product to your list.

Summing Up

The world is full of cosmetic brands that claim to offer the best products for you. However, you got to be a smart consumer who knows what they buy. With the ongoing trend of switching to natural, you must surely go ahead, but not without thinking it through.

So, are natural cosmetics better? Yes, natural cosmetics are unarguably better than chemical-based ones. They use a majority of naturally-made components, which are obviously good for your skin. That said, you need to be extra careful in choosing the correct brand and product.

Another great news is that most of them will easily fit in your price range. So, you can easily add the new natural version of your favorite cosmetics to your makeup collection!

About Author

Hi there! I'm Samantha, founder of, a blog that combines natural beauty and organic living. You can be amazingly beautiful in an organic and sustainable way.

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