THE BLOG

Does 100% Natural Skincare Really Exist? Should You Care?

05/04/2015 12:45 pm ET | Updated May 01, 2016

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In his recent article, Why 'Natural' Doesn't Mean Anything Anymore, Michael Pollan asks an important question: Does it really matter if something that you do or buy is "natural"?

As a manufacturer of natural skincare products, that question got me thinking...and questioning why the beauty industry continues to dupe consumers with so many false "all natural" claims.

Yes, natural does matter because you're putting ingredients onto your largest organ--your skin. But the bigger problem for consumers is that most manufacturers are abusing and overusing the term.

Skincare brands and their marketing teams correctly assume that if consumers think natural is good, then all-natural and 100% natural must be even better. So they overpromise (100% natural, 100% of the time) and under deliver. Here's the scientific truth: water-based skincare products like cleansers, mists, serums, and shampoos are almost never 100% natural because they need preservatives (yes, synthetic preservatives) to last more than a few days on the shelf. Oil-based products can use natural preservatives like Vitamin E, but most are not 100% natural.

Few, if any, 100% natural skincare lines exist. And surprisingly, it shouldn't bother you. What should bother you is whether the ingredients you're putting on your skin are safe. I believe every brand has a responsibility to tell their consumers the truth about the safety of the ingredients they're using. If they don't, then don't use them. And remember, natural is not a synonym for safe. One of the most respected and clinically tested anti-aging ingredients, l-ascorbic acid, while perfectly safe, is most definitely synthetic.

So, I'm rethinking the halo around 100% natural products and looking instead for thoughtful brands that do not over promise or exaggerate but rather are passionate and transparent...100% of the time.