The Truth Behind Beauty Product Labels: What Eco-Aesthetician Actually Wants You to Know
With so many beauty products on the market, choosing quality skincare is not an easy feat. But who could be your trusted go-to when it comes to picking the right cream, cleanser, serum or mask?
Rumore sat down with Anastasia Vashchuk, holistic aesthetician and author of a popular natural beauty blog @nastasia.natura to get her advice on the best way to get to know your skincare products, reading beauty labels and choosing the best skincare for your routine.
Anastasia, could you please tell us about yourself?
Hi, beauty friends! I’ve started my career in medicine more than 13 years ago, working across physiotherapy, rehabilitation and cosmetic dermatology. I fell in love with aesthetics and started my own practice back in Belarus, a small country in Europe that I’m originally from.
How did you get into eco-beauty and natural skincare?
I haven’t been too particular about natural and eco-friendly beauty products until I moved to the US six years ago. Back then, I went through the stresses of being a new immigrant and giving birth to my son, so it turned out my thyroid wasn’t happy about it. I took some time to focus on my health and listen to my body. Thanks to my medical education and experience, I knew that the best I could do for myself would be to replace all of my existing skincare with safe, natural products.
I started to actively seek products that were eco-friendly, that had organic ingredients, whether its skincare or household products, so that I could surround myself with the healthiest and safest options. For example, I started using essential oils instead of drugs. I have completely given up regular beauty products in favor of natural options.
I know many people don’t bother reading the labels, but I always encourage my clients and followers to do that. I started educating people around me on the importance of reading labels and began to form a community of likeminded women and men, who value not only the benefits of beauty products but also what these products are made of. That’s why I started my blog on Instagram @nastasia.natura – it is a platform where I share my knowledge and passion for natural, eco-friendly and sustainable cosmetics.
Reading labels on beauty products may seem overwhelming to many. Do you have any tips for your readers to help them navigate labels with ease?
While it may seem confusing at first, it’s actually not that hard. So my advice is to take it easy! Here are a few simple steps to get you started on reading cosmetic labels:
- If looking for organic products, make sure the label has original organic certification.
- These are some of the organic certification seals to look for: USDA (national organic certification of US Department of Agriculture), Cosmos Natural and Cosmos Organic (EcoCert organic certification in Europe), BDIH (certified natural cosmetics in Germany), ICEA (organic program in Italy) and Soil Association (UK organic program) to name a few.
- Get familiar with EWG.org – a great resource to help you check for safety of ingredients and product labels
- Start understanding the ingredient list, also called INCI list
- The INCI list might seem confusing and frightening at first. But don’t fret! Take some time to comb through it and get to know it.
- Remember to pay attention to the order of the ingredients on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order from greatest amount to least amount present in the product (except ingredients present at a concentration of less than 1%; those can be listed in any order).
With so many beauty products on the market, what is it about clean and natural beauty that makes it stand out?
Truly organic and natural skin care products are microbiome friendly and do not include synthetics ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic dyes, propylene glycol, triclosan and others. While they may be capable of performing a certain function, using them can have harmful effects on skin and overall body health.
Since these ingredients are synthetically engineered in labs, they are not working in tandem with your body, and can cause many unexpected reactions, from swelling to redness to itchiness or even an allergic reaction.
Natural and organic skincare products are working together with your body, are safe and have stood the test of time.
What other natural or eco-beauty advice can you share with our readers?
As we talked about earlier, it’s easy to get overwhelmed or confused by an INCI list at first. I’ve compiled a few resources that I always recommend my clients and my blog followers, as they can be your trusted source when it comes to understanding what the ingredients are and what they can do for your skin.
EWG's Skin Deep: The best thing about this site is that you can research by individual ingredients or the entire products, as long as they are already in the database. It will flag any questionable ingredients and possible negative impact such as toxicity, irritation, or contamination possibility.
Cosmetics Info: This is also a great place to search for ingredients to see what they are and what they do in a product.
Paula’s Choice: This is a nice and simple dictionary of cosmetic ingredients and their function in a product.
The Chemical Maze App: Easy-to-use app that included food additives and cosmetic ingredients.
A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, 7th Edition: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals, Ruth Winter
This is great book with information about cosmetic ingredients, if you prefer a hard copy rather than online resources.
Toxic Beauty: The hidden chemicals in cosmetics and how they can harm us, Dawn Mellowship
This book focuses more on harmful ingredients in skincare.