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Decoding the Clean Beauty Buzzwords:

Breaking Down 9 Labeling Terms To Help You Choose Safer Skincare Products

Why should you care about the ingredients in your skin and body care?

Are you still trying to figure out why cleaner skin care ingredients make a difference? Do you need a little more guidance about what’s safe and what’s not? And what about all those confusing marketing terms? Are you feeling unsure of what words and labels you can trust?  

Before we dive into a few of the most common marketing buzzwords, let’s take a look at why clean ingredients even matter.  

The Important Role of Our Skin

Our skin is our first layer of protection from the outside world. It literally works around the clock to keep the bad stuff out, and the good stuff in.  

So that means whatever we put on our skin must support, and not weaken, that first line of defense. This principle is especially true now during these stressful pandemic days, as we try our best to keep our bodies healthy and resilient.

As the first line of defense, our skin absorbs what is applied to it. What doesn’t go right into our bloodstream makes its way into the deeper layers of our skin that include fatty cells and tissues, where they can potentially hang out and accumulate for years. 

Our bodies are made up of the same atoms, molecules, elements, and chemical compounds as plants and other living organisms. That means when we eat plants, or apply plant-based products to our skin, our body knows instantly how to absorb, process, and utilize it.  

But if the substance we apply to our skin can’t be recognized, or immediately processed, that substance can end up lingering in our bodies, potentially disrupting the function and balance of our systems. 

This is when things can get concerning. In fact, there are numerous studies that link some of these lingering chemical compounds to an array of health symptoms and disorders.

Mindfulness is Key 

To support our body’s health and wellbeing, we need to pay more attention to what we put in and on it. By becoming more mindful and aware, we can begin to see changes, not only in our overall health and well-being, but also in the health, resiliency, and appearance of our skin.

9 Clean Beauty Buzz Words Decoded 

Here is a list of terms to help you navigate the aisles and websites that feature cleaner skin and body care, so you can make the safest choices for yourself and your family. 

Plant-based: This generally means that the ingredients come directly from plants and their parts, like almond oil come from the seeds (nuts), or shea butter comes from the shea nut, essential oils like lavender comes from the lavender flower, oat flour come from the oat grain.

Plant-derived: This means that the ingredient was probably created using a chemical process, and that process began with a component derived from a plant. Castille soap is a great example because on its own, Castile Soap, doesn’t exist in nature, and isn’t squeezed or pressed from a plant part.  Rather, a chemical agent is mixed with Olive Oil and causes a chemical reaction that results in the soap.

Nature identical:  This generally means a synthetic compound was engineered to be identical to a plant compound. It is completely synthetic.

Organic: If you see this term in any marketing, there must be evidence of the FDA USDA Organic Seal, or language on the label that identifies it as made with at least 70% certified organic ingredients.  If this is not clearly stated on the label or in the marketing, it is not Organic, as defined by the FDA and the USDA.

Natural: This term has no concrete meaning. It’s used purely for marketing to make a product appear more holistic or safe. The definition of “natural” is what you would find in the dictionary: “existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind.”  So if a label claims that their product is 100% “natural,” it most likely isn’t!

Sustainable: Generally this term is used to describe ingredients and packaging that are environmentally friendly and use materials that are produced from renewable or raw materials and ingredients.

Green / Eco: Like the word “Natural,” these terms usually have little meaning or grounding, but are often used as marketing terms. The idea is that the products adhere to a kind of environmentally conscious ethos. The word “Sustainable” has more weight, as it refers directly to how the raw materials are sourced and processed.

Non-toxic / Toxin-free: These terms are often confusing for the consumer, because any product we eat or apply to our skin can potentially be “toxic,” meaning it may trigger an adverse response like an allergy. Many of the ingredients found in our skincare products can be irritating to the skin or cause other adverse reactions when used on their own or not properly blended with other ingredients. When skincare companies use these terms on their labels, they are most likely trying to reassure their customers that they are not using any petrochemicals or synthetic components that could “off-gas” contaminants and residues.  

Chemical-free:  This is a totally misleading term, as even plant-based and plant-derived ingredients are made up of chemical compounds – as are all living organisms!

Take your clean beauty into your own hands. 

One of the best ways to feel 100% confident in the products you’re using is to make them yourself! Blending your own recipes in your own clean beauty kitchen will give you the peace of mind that every ingredient is safe and beneficial for you and the ones you love. 

I am a big proponent of making your own skincare products at home. In fact, I’ve made it my life’s mission to educate and empower others to take their beauty into their own hands. I wholeheartedly believe that the best way to get to know how these remarkable, plant-based ingredients work is to touch, smell, and blend them together yourself. This process also better equips you to read ingredient labels when you want to make confident, responsible buying choices. 

Become a Clean Beauty Connoisseur with my Plant-Powered Beauty Course! 

My Co-Instructor, Christina Daigneault, and I created a new course, Plant-Powered Beauty, to provide everything you need to take your clean beauty into your own hands. Through this self-paced, online program, you will: 

  • Become more aware of the ingredients you’re bringing into your home
  • Get inspired to make more conscious product choices for yourself, your loved ones, and the environment
  • Learn how to stock your clean beauty kitchen  
  • Get equipped to make 15 of your own plant-based skin and body care products  

To celebrate our new course, we’re offering a special discount. This week, you can get all 8 classes and 4 bonuses included with the course for just $249 (regularly $299). Or pick and choose individual classes that suit your needs for $40 each (regularly $45). The sale ends Friday (Nov. 20), so don’t wait! Learn more about Plant-Powered Beauty and and sign up today! 

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Finding beauty products that contain ingredients you feel good about can be overwhelming and expensive. Download this list of 8 Farmer's Market finds to help you take your wellness regiment into your own hands!