When you shop for anything — from clothes to food to home decor — you probably have a favorite brand. Chances are, it’s no different with beauty products and makeup. Once you find a product you love, it’s easy to stick with it for the long haul.
But have you ever taken a macro look at your makeup bag and considered what your favorite product is made of? In other words, is it synthetic or organic?
By definition, synthetic means “made of artificial material [or] not natural items.” Simply put, it’s not of natural origin.
The term “organic,” as beauty website Byrdie breaks it down, “means that ingredients are organically farmed [and] is regulated by the FDA, but here’s the hitch: A product only has to contain a certain percentage of organic matter to be declared ‘organic’ on its label.” If the product has a USDA Organic seal, however, that means 95 percent of its ingredients are organic (excluding salt and water).
Byrdie goes further to say that organic products and natural products aren’t synonymous. “Any company can stamp the word [natural] on a label, even if the product in question is chock-full of synthetic chemicals,” the website notes.
The best option for determining the make-up of a beauty product is to look at the list of ingredients on its label.
Patricia Fardon, a Chicago-based makeup artist on the Stylisted network, is a strong advocate of switching to organic beauty products. “They’re better for your skin and overall health and are typically vegan and cruelty-free,” she said.
They also hold additional, unexpected benefits, Fardon mentioned. Some organic beauty product users find that because they aren’t clogging their pores with synthetic substances, their skin clears up a bit.
Plus, swapping out synthetic products for organic ones could help change the industry. “High demand for better products forces the supply to change,” Fardon pointed out.
Synthetic products, on the other hand, are “highly toxic,” containing harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, lead and formaldehyde. And they aren’t very regulated — at least in the United States, according to Fardon.
Some argue that organic products don’t last as long as their synthetic counterparts. But Fardon says that’s not the case. “It’s absolutely not true that organic products are not long-lasting,” she noted. “It all depends on what products you are using.” Products with concentrated pigmentation will actually outlast many mainstream products.
So is it worth it to switch and revamp your makeup bag? It’s up to you to decide. But if you are in the market for organic beauty products, Fardon recommends Cosmic Tree Essentials. “[Their products] are all vegan and cruelty-free, and they use the highest grade essential oils, cosmetic-grade materials and chocolate pigments to make their products,” she said. Fardon also likes 100% Pure, which has a “full line of natural and cruelty-free/vegan skin care and makeup” products.