When I speak with people about my cosmetic line for the first time I am quick to point out exactly what makes Afterglow Cosmetics so unique. I generally talk about how we specifically formulate all our products to be as natural as possible, with an emphasis on the inclusion of certified organic botanicals. You’d think this conversation would be an innocuous, lighthearted chat but it can quickly turn controversial.
If my new friend is looking for a debate they usually respond with a one-two punch to challenge me by saying, ‘Well, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s better. There are lots of things that are ‘natural’ and are really bad for you like cyanide, arsenic, deadly mushrooms, uranium, poison ivy. . .’ I enthusiastically respond in agreement and agree natural is definitely not inherently safer.
Yes, the word ‘natural’ has become quite an explosive conversation starter in the US, thanks to a lack of a definition for the label ‘natural.’ This lack of definition has created a vacuum for the term to be abused in the marketing of less-than-natural products. While I can understand the backlash, I still don’t think it warrants dismissing a focus on using natural ingredients as misguided or irrelevant to our long term health.
I continue to take the position that “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” We know natural ingredients and their effect on and in the body. I started the Afterglow line because I wanted my makeup to be better for me and to avoid daily exposure to synthetic chemicals found in other products. There were other ‘natural’ makeup lines available but they included natural ingredients I wouldn’t want near, on or in my body. These ingredients include mineral oil, talc, nano sized particles, bismuth oxychloride and themerisol (mercury).
There are over 10,000 commonly used cosmetic ingredients, many of which are new, highly engineered and synthetic. We don’t know how our complex bodies are interacting with these new synthetics in the cellular level over years of exposure. We absorb these cosmetic ingredients though our skin, our eyes and our mouths (yes you’re eating that lip gloss). Not only have the majority of these new ingredients never been tested for long term safety, they will forever be seen by the body as foreign substances. The body understands how to process and assimilate natural ingredients in Afterglow’s products because it already comes into contact with many of them in food.
So is natural “inherently safer”? No.
Is choosing to remove yourself from an unknown synthetic chemical equation whenever possible a way to protect your body from potential negative consequences? I think so.
Ah, maybe I’m not the risk taker I have always fancied myself to be but in this case, I’d rather avoid the synthetic devil I don’t know.