What Shade of Natural Are You?

When I decided to make the switch to all natural products back in 2009, I wanted to go 100% natural. It didn't take long for me to come to the realization that my choice of ingredients was limited to water, hydrosols, herbs, plant oils and butters, and essential oils. According to my definition of "natural" at that time, I didn't consider any preservatives to be natural enough. Since water and hydrosols needed to be preserved, I was left with even fewer options. I had to understand what "natural" meant in the cosmetic world. What I realized is that "natural" and "safe" are two very different things.
Natural can take different shades. It can go from:

-"raw materials"(plant oils and butters, hydrosols...)
-naturally sourced(ethanol)
-naturally derived(glycerin and caprylic acid)
-nature identical(ascorbic acid, micas, zinc oxide...)
-obtained from natural resource but replicates synthetic molecules("natural glycols" from sugar cane and maize)
-completely synthetic(certain preservative such as MCI)

To make it even more confusing, a legal definition for advertising terms like "natural" or "organic" when applied to personal care products doesn't exist in North America. As a result, many companies use these labels as a marketing tool despite the questionable ingredients.

With so many products out there, it can be daunting to choose a safe and natural skin care line that fits your needs. Some helpful questions to ask when choosing a product: are the ingredients safe? Is the product free of any harsh chemicals.

In the end, the shade of natural you are boils down to a matter of opinion. Reading labels and educating yourself as much as possible about skin care product ingredients is the best way at figuring out what shade of natural matches your personal belief system.

Below are some helpful tips to get your started on your journey:
-use EWG skin deep to educate yourself about ingredients.
-Become familiar with David Suzuki's list of "Dirty Dozen". Unfortunately, the reality is that there are thousands of ingredients in cosmetic products that are questionable.
-get to know the company you want to use. Find out if they are committed to producing safe and healthy products.

The easiest way of all is to find a friend, or someone like me who is already committed to making, using, and selling natural skin care products.