This happens a lot with mainstream beauty press, especially for those of you who have seen my posts on ITG where the writers claim a product is “all plant actives” or “organic and pure” when it isn’t. I just read this write up from Beautyhigh of Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir: here, and the reporters fast and loose use the word “organic” really struck a nerve. She begins by saying “we’re all about keeping it as natural as possible” (if that were the case, they certainly don’t feature a lot of truly clean lines on there: Kiehls, Loreal, Bobbi Brown, Clarins, Caudalie are regulars), before saying that Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir is an ‘organic’ product. In no part of Caudalies description or ingredients does it list any of its ingredients as organic, and the top ingredients are actually: Water, Alcohol, Parfum. And the clincher, she lists in “what makes it different”: “Because of its organic ingredients, it can be used on all skin types.” – No that just isn’t right! Even if it was all organic that doesn’t mean anyone can use it! Being natural and organic doesn’t mean something isn’t going to set off skin sensitivities or that its right for oily or dry skin. I don’t go around looking to nitpick or start fights, but as a beauty writer for a relatively large site, I’d expect more knowledge about the actual industry and products.
This brings me to the next thing, and a lot of my co-workers are guilty of this as well. When a product is “free” of something (parabens, silicones, etc.), the sales associate automatically uses that to justify something. Yesterday I was helping out at a fashion show backstage and the make-up artist was telling a blemish prone model in her teens that the NARS foundation she was using would be okay for her skin type because it “doesn’t contain parabens or silicones” (by the way, she was talking about the Matte foundation which does contain both). Although silicones can indeed aggravate blemishes and parabens are not doing skin any favors, neither of those are reasons why something formulated without those chemicals might be good for acne prone skin – how about whether it manages sebum production? if it is heavy on the pores? or if it has ingredients to calm inflammation? etc.
The assumption that anything free of chemicals will be better for you.
I haven’t totally cleaned my regimen but for skin, I’m mostly there. However I do notice that there are some brands that go into detail about how their products are 100% free of chemicals and toxic ingredients but then I look at their ingredients list and it has things that are aggravating. In one instance (I’m not going to name call the specific brand here), a founder admitted to a follower that their facial oil which contained a type of pine oil wasn’t really suitable for pregnant women, when the follower asked about it. Whats the point of going on about not using “bad” ingredients if the natural things you put in there have adverse side-effects as well?
So now I do a cost-benefit analysis: does this cream have a paraben? yes? but does that natural product have citrus and pine extracts? yes? ok which has less… and sometimes the “less clean” brand comes out on top.