A good cleanser to get rid of excess oil, dirt and daily pollutants, paired with a moisturizer to maintain healthy skin and keep pores from becoming clogged, are essential. Look for a formula with hero ingredients like vitamin C, chestnut extract and caffeine.
Unless you have a degree in Latin or chemistry, reading skincare ingredient lists can feel like a foreign language. Here are some tips to help you figure out what’s in your products.
Organic or Clean
Between cosmetics, perfumes and feminine hygiene products, women in the US apply an average of 168 chemicals to their skin and bodies every day. Many of these ingredients are irritating and can even lead to long-term health issues. This is why it’s important to be aware of what you are putting on your skin and to choose a product that is safe and healthy.
Natural skincare products can be a little misleading as they often still contain synthetic ingredients and preservatives. However, there is a growing movement towards more organic and clean products. Organic skincare contains naturally sourced plant-based ingredients and is free of chemicals, pesticides and synthetics. It is highly regulated and the gold standard of beauty products.
Choosing organic and clean products is not only better for your skin, but it’s also better for the environment. Traditional chemical-based skincare products can leave a toxic footprint on the planet, especially when they seep into the ground and water. These products also release toxic fumes when they are manufactured. Many retailers are promoting this shift to clean products by creating curations of products that meet their green standards and donating 1% of profits to high impact charities. Sephora has a new curation called Clean at Sephora which focuses on environmentally friendly practices and sustainable sourcing. Other retailers like Lush have created their own curations of organic products.
The term natural is often used in skincare to refer to homemade concoctions that you might find on Etsy or in health food stores, or it can also be synonymous with super-high-end products that are difficult for most people to afford. But as demand for clean skincare products rises, more brands are launching results-driven formulations that contain a mix of organic ingredients and research-backed actives—all at a more accessible price point.
However, there’s no regulation around how the word natural is used in skincare, and many “natural” products actually contain synthetic ingredients. This is because the term doesn’t necessarily mean that the product has been inspected, tested, or certified by any agency.
Those products that are genuinely made with natural ingredients may still be full of other chemicals, which can cause irritation and clog pores. For this reason, it’s important to read ingredient lists carefully and do a patch test on your neck or jawline (for facial products) before you buy anything.
For truly clean and organic skincare, try brands like OSEA, which launched 25 years ago with a safe and effective skincare collection that’s healthy for our bodies and the earth. Their products are nourishing and one-of-a-kind, featuring hero ingredients like carrot seed oil that contains skin-healing vitamin A and collagen-boosting vitamin C and microalgae that traps moisture to prevent dryness. The brand is also Climate Neutral Certified and uses glass and recyclable packaging.
The iUNIK brand has nailed the perfect mix of effective and affordable vegan skincare. They use natural ingredients and focus on creating products that are targeted to help specific skin issues. They are also vegan and cruelty-free and you can see this clearly on the packaging of their products.
UK’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum targets excess sebum and helps prevent breakouts. It helps reduce inflammation and calms the appearance of pores to make them look smaller, leaving your skin looking smooth and clear.
Another great product is their Anti-Pollution Complex + Saffron Oil for Firming. This serum combines powerful plant extracts such as pomegranate and prickly pear to help your skin look younger and healthier by fighting against environmental pollution.
They have an upcoming release that we’re super excited about, called the Emerald Deep Moisture Glow Oil. This is a vegan oil that contains botanicals like Hemp Seed Oil to moisturize, ashwagandha to fend off pollution and stress, squalane from olives and meadowfoam seeds, and rose hips to boost your glow.
As we’ve mentioned before, many of the harsh chemicals that are used in traditional beauty products can irritate your skin. If you are allergic or have sensitive skin, vegan skincare is a better option for you because it doesn’t contain any animal-derived ingredients or byproducts. Plus, vegan products are always better for the environment because they aren’t polluting our water supply and contributing to global warming.
Choosing cruelty-free skincare brands is one of the most important things you can do for the environment, your skin, and the animals. Cruelty-free products do not test on animals and are free of ingredients that have been tested on animals such as squalene (an additive extracted from shark liver oil), stearic acid (derived from animal fat), tallow (a skincare softener, often used in body butter), or casein (or sodium caseinate). These ingredients can be replaced by plant-based alternatives, which do not cause any harm to the animals or to your skin.
Cruelty-free products are also free of harsh chemicals and other ingredients that might be harmful to the environment, such as parabens, phthalates, mineral oils, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfates, petrolatum, propylene glycol, synthetic dyes, and perfumes. The ingredients that are usually used in cruelty-free skincare products come from organic or natural sources, which means they are also gentle on your skin and the environment.
The choice to choose cruelty-free skincare can be an eye-opening experience as it forces you to think about where the ingredients in your products are sourced from, how they are made, and what they could potentially do to your skin. It can help you build a more beneficial skincare routine, prevent animal abuse, and look after your microbiome all at once! So why not give it a try today?