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All-Natural Makeup

If you have sensitive skin that’s reactive to traditional cosmetics and household products, you may try replacing your cosmetics, haircare, and skincare with all-natural cosmetics. On the surface, this seems like \a very simple and logical step toward relieving skin irritation and possibly chronic inflammation issues.

We believe there are misconceptions and confusion about the words “all-natural” and “natural” as the term currently applies to natural makeup and natural skin care. Understanding what these terms mean is important before going too deep down the rabbit hole.

The biggest misconception about all-natural makeup is that there is such a thing exists. It doesn’t. All-natural makeup is a complete myth perpetuated by bloggers and well-meaning but underinformed activists that don’t understand how seemingly all-natural makeup ingredients are processed before they are used in a formula.

There are three main reasons why all-natural cosmetics don’t currently exist:

  1. All natural ingredients used in cosmetics are purified and refined to some degree so they can be used in a cosmetic formula.
  2. All consumer products must be stable and adequately preserved. Even natural preservatives are not “all-natural.”
  3. There’s no enforceable definition for all-natural cosmetics or natural cosmetics.

In the USA, there’s currently no definition or regulation around the phrase “natural makeup” or “all-natural makeup,” which means, in the USA, anything can be put into a product and marketed as a “natural cosmetic.”

It’s essential to agree on definitions to meet expectations. In 2018 some of the largest organizations and natural beauty brands collaborated to establish a common definition of natural and organic ingredients. The group’s standard is ISO 16128, which outlines the technical definitions and criteria for natural and organic cosmetic ingredients and products.

As a customer, you are exceptionally savvy and have researched and developed your criteria for what ingredients are right for your body and your beauty.

Most companies that claim they offer “all-natural makeup” are offering formulas comprised of some all-natural cosmetics ingredients and other naturally derived ingredients that have been manipulated in a lab using synthetic chemicals. The lab interference in the constitution of the original natural ingredient means that it was “synthesized” or man-manipulated, making it less originally natural than its feed-stock origin ingredient.

So, what does that really mean in the context of claimed all-natural makeup with colors and pigments? All-natural cosmetic ingredients that come from the earth, whether agriculturally cultivated or mined, go through a man-manipulated process to refine or purify them to be used in cosmetics.

In every industry, we pay more for purity. The purer our gold and the more flawless our diamonds are, the more they cost. The exact same principle is true for cosmetic ingredients, though you can’t distinguish the purity level on the labels.

All-Natural Pigments and Minerals: Amazing color is the first thing required for a great natural makeup product. There are only a few stable natural color sources for natural makeup. Due to differences in purity levels, not all natural pigments are the same from one brand to another, even though they appear on the ingredient list.

Whites: The most common natural pigment sources are Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide, which not only offer the opacity and coverage required by many makeup products but also contribute to any white in a product and give the product its SPF rating.

Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Blacks & Browns: The reds, oranges, yellows, blacks, and browns you see in your all-natural makeup come from Iron oxides. As the name suggests, these pigments are essentially oxidized iron, otherwise known as rust. When the Iron oxides are extracted from the earth, they undergo a refinement and purification process to remove any other trace elements or metals from the Iron oxide ore. Synthetic Iron oxide also exists, and it’s indistinguishable on an ingredient list from the all-natural version.

Micas: Micas are light, soft, flaky minerals from the earth that are heat manipulated by man and blended with Iron oxides and Titanium dioxide to create distinct colors and shimmers. Whenever you see Mica on an ingredient list, you will almost always see Iron oxides and Titanium dioxide, also listed as the Mica is processed in the final stages with these ingredients for cosmetic effects.

Emollients and Binders: Emollients and binder ingredients hold the ingredients together. Often, even when everything else in a formula is very natural, the emollient or binder isn’t. It’s hard to pick this synthetic binder or emollient out. On an ingredient list because there are so many.

The new 16128 ISO natural and organic standard is simply a guide, not a law. The term all-natural makeup ad all-natural skincare is still up for individual interpretation in the USA. We hope this gives you a better idea of how we view the marketing terms “all-natural makeup” and “all-natural cosmetics.”  All cosmetic ingredients are man-manipulated to some extent, which means that even the most natural cosmetic ingredients have undergone man-manipulation, synthetic treatments, and refinement, taking them one step away from mother nature.

If you’re looking for cosmetic product recommendations that are more natural, I suggest you start with my blog The 20 Best Natural and Clean Foundations and The 8 Best Natural and Clean Mascaras to Try.