As consumers become more and more conscious about what they are putting on their bodies they are beginning to ask really intelligent questions about not just what is in their products but where the ingredients come from and how the ingredients are sourced.
Not all ingredients are equal!
Just because a product has ingredients that are great for your skin it does not mean that all forms of that ingredient are the same.
Today we’re going to breakdown some terms that you may have seen on labels or in advertising, what they mean and why you would want to choose those products.
We are not going to cover terms like organic, natural, cruelty free, we already did that HERE.
We’re just focusing on terms that give us clues as to how ingredient(s) are sourced.
Wild harvested means that the ingredient was grown in its natural habitat. It was not grown on a commercial farm.
When an ingredient is grown in its natural habitat it is much more likely to have and retain what makes it effective for your skin in the first place.
Besides creating a more effective ingredient it’s also better for our ecosystem in general. When an ingredient is allowed to grow in its natural environment less resources, water, energy, etc., are needed to grow it, versus growing it on a commercial farm or in an area it is not native to. We love wild harvested ingredients and find that products with wild harvested ingredients tend to be very effective.
What makes a product sustainable? This term usually applies to the product as a whole, not just the ingredients. A combination of things determines the sustainability of the product including
- Material Sourcing – Are the materials sourced ethically?
- Production – How much water and energy is needed to produce the item? How much waste is produced in the manufacturing of the item?
- Packaging – Is the packaging recyclable, compostable or biodegradable?
- Afterlife – Is the final product biodegradable?
The term active ingredients can be really confusing, even those in the beauty industry. This term is usually applied to an ingredient that is governed by the FDA, like Retinol, Benzoyl Peroxide, chemical sunscreens or Hydroquinone. Active ingredients that are regulated by the FDA are listed on a label with the percentage indicating how much that ingredient comprises the formula.
In green beauty most of these ingredients that the FDA would be regulating are not used, because they are dirty.
In green beauty you’ll often see the term “active ingredients” referring to the ingredient(s) that are going to elicit the desired effect on your skin. If you buy a cream that’s for skin brightening the active ingredient might be the vitamin C in it, since it’s brightening your skin.
Does that mean all the other ingredients are inactive? No. Each ingredient serves a purpose and they all will elicit some sort of change in your skin. See why I said confusing! The lax regulations and standards of the FDA regarding cosmetics, ingredients and labels is why this is so confusing. Every manufacturer can pretty much do what they want.
If your unsure or want clarification about a product or ingredient, ask! Good retailers and manufacturer should be able to help you. A company that values transparency is probably using good practices, has a high commitment to quality and will be happy to answer your questions!
I always avoid manufacturers that will not answer my questions or dance around them, that is a red flag!
We’d love to hear from you! What do you look for in products? Are you concerned with ingredient sourcing? Tell us what you think!