Zainab Zaman

The natural beauty trend is part of a huge shift towards women’s awareness about health, wellness, and what is best for their bodies. There is no lack of information or choices for women when seeking a new product, but wading through the hype can be difficult.

Most women, whether 15 or 50, probably have a bag or drawer of discarded cosmetics abandoned along the way as the quest for perfect skin, healthy nails, or luxurious hair continues. 

The beauty industry is huge. In Canada, the cosmetics market is expected to exceed $21-billion Canadian by 2021. With the competition so fierce and the growing number of beauty bloggers, influencers, and entrepreneurs it’s difficult to choose who to believe.

Several companies are promoting greener, more natural and chemical free products.

“We have noticed that our customers have a huge desire to learn about what goes into their product,” said Sina Kamran, manager and associate of Lush products at Square One mall. “Our goal at Lush is to help describe the ingredients and provide an easy and effective way for consumers to get their information.”

Lush products are made with synthetic and natural ingredients.

However, not all skin care products are made the same. 

The term organic or natural can be confusing. The CanadianFood Inspection Agency (CFIA) has rules on what kinds of products are organic. The CFIA stated that natural health products cannot be qualified as organic. Basically, feed, seed, and agricultural products are the only familiar ingredients that can be certified organic in Canada.

When it comes to non-food products, there are no rules for labeling and marketing organic beauty products in Canada.

Basically, any company can name their products as natural and describe the word in the way they want.  Companies are not hesitant to just stick the natural label on their product in order to sell out.

Jennifer Freitas, founder of the Truth & Beauty company says, “Companies like Keihls and Lush are not natural products I would not use, their products, they include a lot of minerals that oxidizes and scents that use preservatives that are not safe and natural.”

Anna Lee Boschetto, editor-in-chief of Salon magazine reminds consumers to read the labels and make sure of the ingredients in any product.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are buying a natural or non-organic beauty product or a combination of both, consumers have still to be aware of the ingredients,” Boschetto said.

Consulting a skin specialist or dermatologist is best, since a product might cause allergies or sensitivity with the skin. “Understanding what is in your product is very important which is why Lush makes sure consumers are aware of what they are applying on their skin,” said Kamran.

Boschetto said consulting with a skin specialist or dermatologist is often a good idea. 

“Many women think that if I’m choosing natural and organic then its automatically going to be better for our skin, however that isn’t necessarily the case,” she said.

Lush does try to use more natural ingredients, however, there are some products that you can’t recreate naturally, for example lathering agents are not something that occur in a natural environment,” said Kamran.

“We do believe in using safe synthetics, but that being said, we do try to find innovative ways to introduce natural replacement for synthetics, for example we have a self-preserving line where all the products are paraben free and the use of natural ingredients as the actual preservative itself that is made with natural ingredients.”

 “There are loopholes around cosmetics that claim they’re green but really aren’t, I would say 87 percent of our products are vegan. There is a large portion of our products that have some synthetic content, for example sulfate or carbon content,” said Kamran.

The brand The Truth Beauty offers a selection of natural and organic skincare, hair care and cosmetic brands. The company thrives on explaining to consumers the harmful chemicals that affect our bodies and environment. 

Freitas said,“evaluating the chemicals in my house and my diet is what helped me to switch my products to natural.”

She started the company after an extended research on chemicals, additives and the process of consumable elements. After her research, she decided to alter her personal care and food habits in order to ensure the safety and quality of ingredients for herself and her family.

“When we are looking for ingredients, we make sure that they are free from the typical nasties,” said Freitas.

“These would be synthetic ingredients that would be traditionally used in personal care products, for example sodium sulfate, …. And of course, parabens which we know is hugely problematic,” says Freitas.

The natural beauty industry will always position themselves as a greener and cleaner substitute, however today with online reviews and social media, we are aware of the ingredients that are promoted worldwide as natural.

“A lot of the ingredients used in conventional skin care and cosmetics those ingredients can be bioaccumulate, meaning that they don’t actually leave the environment, which affects our waterways, plants and animals,” said Freitas.

Getting obsessed with the natural beauty world is very easy, because natural products show fast results, but many of us forget that different skin types and products can also react differently

“In the Canadian market there is a lot of great companies that are producing great all natural and alternative skin care products, it’s definitely an exciting time in the beauty market,” said Broschetto.

Freitas said her clients come in with acne or eczema all the time, “Everyone wants immediate results of course, but natural beauty doesn’t work that way.”

Different ingredients are best suited for different people, “For example people with acne skin should lean towards natural oils including dry oils like argan or jojoba oil,” said Freitas.

Many products today have a more organic alternative, from using coconut oil as makeup remover [to] applying honey as a natural homemade facemask.

Some clients lean towards non-organic products because they think its harmful and irritating on their skin, when the trick is to find the right ingredient for your skin. The products that makes your skin glow flawlessly.

Freitas suggests her clients use tree tea oil. “It is not harmful, however applying directly on the skin can be harmful,” she said.

“Saying that something is natural that doesn’t mean anything, it’s a play on words and I don’t think that the client or consumer should go looking for something that said it’s just natural, the consumer should familiarize themselves with what chemicals are most problematic and look to avoid those,” said Freitas.

Beauty brands need to ask themselves whether they are creating gimmicks or delivering real natural products to us, “We shouldn’t be looking for buzz words like vegan or cruelty free because those things don’t mean anything,” said Freitas.

Many have different opinions on natural beauty products and the benefits we see on our skin and the planet, upfront it may seem more expensive because of the process and ingredients used. “Natural products are made without the typical preservatives and fillers and emulsifiers, you are getting a lot more of a concentrated product by choosing natural,” said Freitas.

“When it comes to hair care and skin care, a group of clients do have a preference towards more natural products, but ultimately all consumers are looking for a product that works well even though they might not be natural, its going back to performance,”said Boschetto.

It’s important to be aware that natural and organic brands are still retailers and are doing the same as non-organic brands, their aim is to sell as many products just like any other beauty retailer. Regardless of having natural as their top priority, promoting and selling natural products has always been a benefit in the beauty industry.


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