A recent trip to Sephora to replace my favorite (and highly toxic) lip gloss sparked a question: What is “natural” beauty? I would define it as something unchanged by human hands, as in a sunset, a wild flower, or a good-looking person with no make up. Sephora defines it as make up containing “natural” ingredients.
But here’s where we start getting into trouble. There is no official definition of “natural” when it comes to beauty products. Unlike Certified Organic, there’s no USDA when it comes to cosmetics. The government regulates what passes through our lips, but not what we put on them. This leaves the door open to companies like Sephora to create their own definition of what natural products are.
According to their website, their natural products are “formulated with high concentrations of plant-based and naturally-derived ingredients, and fewer to no parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, petrochemicals, and synthetic fragrances or dyes.” And the products in their organic section contain over 70% organic ingredients.
However, many of their “natural brands” such as Caudalie, Decleor, Korres Natural Products, and more, show up on Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database, as moderate or high hazard. (Then again, I’ve found that any beauty product I’ve ever purchased anywhere show’s up on the Cosmetic Safety Database as “will probably kill you while you sleep”).
But therein lies the question, would you rather be toxically beautiful or naturally ugly? If you live in San Francisco like I do, you know that many women chose the latter.