It’s not as straightforward as it should be –
but here’s why it’s worth the effort
Your skin absorbs about 60% of anything you put on it, and estimates
suggest that some of the chemicals found in everyday toiletries can reach
your organs in less than half a minute. When you consider the sheer
volume of stuff we use to get clean, smell nice and live in hope of
rediscovering at Youthful Glow, you won’t be surprised that studies have
found the average British woman absorbs
around 2kg of cosmetic ingredients every year.
What’s in beauty products?
Most moisturisers on the market – including those you’d think are
‘natural’ – contain by-products from the crude oil industry. Mineral oil
and petroleum – which also go by the names petrolatum, para n oil and
petroleum jelly – create a barrier because they can’t be absorbed by the
skin, but this also means your skin can’t breathe or heal.
And then there are nitrosamines. In 1998, the Department for Trade and
Industry said ‘it has been demonstrated that nitrosamines are
carcinogenic in more animal species than any other category of chemical carcinogen.’ Yet they are
commonly used in cosmetics – and not listed on product labels because they are classed as impurities.
However, DEA, TEA and MEA – the chemicals in which the impurities can occur – will appear on the
Are ‘natural’ products different?
When you make a conscious decision to avoid these harmful ingredients by choosing a product clearly
labelled ‘natural’, you could still be exposed to them.
This is because there’s currently no harmonised standard for – or official regulatory definition of –
‘natural and organic cosmetic products’; while all cosmetics on the European market must comply
with the EU Cosmetic Regulation, ‘natural and organic’ remains an officially undefined sector of the
otherwise tightly regulated European industry. is means brands can use the terms ‘natural’ and
‘organic’ to cash in on growing consumer interest in the sector, without being held to account over
how the terms are used, and whether they accurately reflect the products beneath the label.
Choose CERTIFIED products like Weleda
In a bid to clean up ‘natural’ beauty’s dirty
secret, some pioneers have created their own
standard to help shoppers navigate the aisles.
Products carrying the NATRUE logo, for
example, have met the requirements of a
standard that sets three certification levels:
‘Natural Cosmetics’, ‘Natural Cosmetics with
Organic Components’ (at least 70% organic)
and ‘Organic Cosmetics’ (95% or more
organic). The certification process is carried
out by third party and independent
organisations that verify product compliance
to the standard.
You can rest assured, all Weleda products carry the NATRUE label.