When it comes to cosmetics there are very few women who can say that they do not use at least one product in order to help enhance their natural beauty. However, the products that they do use are usually not very natural themselves. The majority of cosmetics sold today are largely made of petroleum derivatives and synthetics.
Many women do not even realize that there are more natural cosmetic alternatives available. Other women who are interested in natural cosmetics buy into marketing hype about a product being “natural", or “chemical free" and never look beyond the advertisement to read the actual ingredient label. Unfortunately, there is no regulation in the US around the phrase “natural cosmetics". The words “natural cosmetics" or “botanical cosmetics" paint a picture of a certain kind of product free of specific dyes (like FD&C and Lake), specific preservatives (like paraben preservatives) as well as other fillers. In the majority of cases, the reality of these products couldn't be farther from the truth. One needs only to look beyond the marketing to the actual ingredient label to find the whole story.
Many women continue to use chemical and synthetic based cosmetics which could potentially be damaging their skin and bodies. So, just what are natural cosmetics and why should you give yourself a natural makeover?
Since no formal definition of the term “natural cosmetics" exists, you may generally consider a natural cosmetic as one in which the great majority, if not all the ingredients, are of natural and not synthetic origin. The next time that you put your make-up on or take part in your daily skin care routine, look at the labels on your products. Now most of the time you will not be able to pronounce, much less understand the majority of the ingredients listed. Most ingredients in the average skin care or color cosmetic are full of unpronounceable synthetic chemicals. These chemicals can dry out or potentially damage our skin. When absorbed into the skin over time many of the chemicals used in common skin care and cosmetics are thought to have long-term effects on our health.
The non-profit organization, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reports that of the approximately 10,500 ingredients used in cosmetics, only 11% of them have ever been tested for safety. In addition, the European Union has already banned the use and sale of 1,100 of these ingredients while the US has only banned NINE! On top of that, many chemicals used in cosmetics are thought to be biocumulative which means that they are absorbed and stored in our body over time. With so many chemicals, and so little regulation and testing in the US about their effects on the body, why risk it? Give yourself and your bathroom a natural make-over!
Natural Product Selection
1. Look beyond the marketing at the actual ingredient labels. As you use more natural products you will find that the ingredient labels are shorter and easier to understand.
2. Search online for 'safe cosmetics' to discover what your current products’ safety ratings are and look for The Campaign for safe Cosmetics’ list of cosmetic companies that pledge to use safer ingredient alternatives.
3. Inform yourself about key ingredients to avoid. You can find a list of ingredients to avoid on the by doing a simple internet search for “cosmetic ingredients to avoid".
4. Use the online resources to find safer alternatives. Please note that not all the safer alternatives are completely natural, but it's a good to check your products with these online safety databases.
Natural Product Application
There is no great mystery to applying natural cosmetics. They apply in the same manner as traditional cosmetics. If you move to a natural liquid or cream foundation you should continue to use the same application technique as before. When applying a liquid foundation always use a foundation sponge or brush. This will help you to place the foundation onto the face easily without wiping it off again at the same time. You should always use brushes to put the make up onto your face as with your fingers it can pass on bacteria and germs.
Many natural cosmetics are sold as loose mineral cosmetic powders. This form of natural cosmetic is the most pure form of cosmetic available on the market today because, in general, the formula contains just the essentials to create an effective product with a wide range of colors. To apply mineral foundation remember to use a dense bristle brush such as a Kabuki brush. Apply in a swirling or buffing motion and remember a little goes a very long way! All other natural mineral cosmetics such as blush, bronzer and eye colors should be applied with your standard cosmetic brushes. There are many variations of mineral cosmetics. Some are not so natural. Again, don't fall for the marketing hype! As with all products labeled “natural" make sure to check the ingredient labels!
Finally, remember to clean your brushes. There can be millions of germs on a make-up brush and that can clog up the pores and cause all kinds of infections. Always clean your make up brushes and equipment regularly and take your time when applying natural cosmetics to ensure that you will end up with the best results.
Overall natural cosmetics are certainly worth switching to for the potential long term health of your skin and body. Just remember not to fall for marketing hype, read the ingredient labels and follow basic application tips and you should end up with excellent results.
Kristin Adams is Founder and President of Afterglow Cosmetics , a line of natural make-up including mineral cosmetics infused with certified organic ingredients. Discover your natural beauty at http://www.afterglowcosmetics.com