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Decoding Natural Skin Care Product Labels & Terminology

Decoding Natural Skin Care Product Labels & Terminology

Understanding Skin Care Product & Packaging Terminology

One look at the shelves of any beauty products aisle and you’ll be inundated with all kinds of terms and phrases such as “organic”, “all natural”, and so many others. However, what do these words really mean when it comes to the ingredients used to create them? Sometimes the answer isn’t always clear, so this guide to skin care product terminology should help.

If the name of a product told you everything about it, shopping for skin care and anti-aging products would be a heck of a lot simpler, wouldn’t it? Sadly, that’s not how it works. The reality is that the things you really need to know about how skin care products are made and what they’re made with is a little more complicated. Choosing the best skin care products for you means you’ve got to dig deeper and decode the labels the right way.

With so many choices available, with so many different formulas, and so many different brand philosophies, it’s very important to understand exactly what it is that you’re buying so that you can make sure it will give you the results you want and won’t disturb or irritate your skin type. Furthermore, as we all do our best to make socially-, ecologically-, and ethically responsible choices in the brands we support, knowing exactly how the company chooses to manufacture their products is equally important.

To aid in your search for the best skin care products from the most responsible brands, here are some of the most commonly used words and phrases that you’ll see on labels and packaging up and down store aisles and all over the internet, and what they really mean to you as the consumer.



You’ll see the word “natural” used in several different ways on skin care products, depending on how the ingredients used are obtained and how they are processed as part of manufacturing. The word itself “natural” refers to ingredients that are obtained directly from a source found in nature and extends to those ingredients that come from either plants or animals. However, there are often qualifying words added to the word “natural” to specify the extent to which these natural ingredients are altered as part of the manufacturing process.

The phrase “naturally-occurring” refers to an ingredient that is obtained from a source found in nature and is used in its natural state without any processing prior to being added to the skin care product formula. Some examples of naturally occurring ingredients that fit this description are honey and aloe.

“Naturally-derived” refers to ingredients that started out as “naturally-occurring” but have gone through some type of processing step to refine or alter the properties of the substance to achieve a particular objective as part of the skin care product formula. Several types of unrefined oils fall into this category such as coconut oil or olive oil, which are known as “physically processed and naturally derived ingredients”. In cases where a chemical agent is used as part of the process of altering the ingredient, the phrasing is changed to “chemically processed”. An example of this would be the manufacture of soap from natural ingredients where a hydroxide chemical is needed as part of the formula in order to create the final result.



The phrase “organic” has become nearly on-par with “natural” in terms of its widespread usage in the skin care products industry. While “natural” is intended to indicate how an ingredient is obtained, the term “organic” refers to how those ingredients are cultivated. In order to be called “organic”, the natural ingredient must come from a source that has not been treated or otherwise affected by any synthetic substances, such as synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. All fertilizers or pesticides used in the cultivation of organic ingredients must also be organic and naturally derived.

It’s also essential to note that, unlike the term “natural”, use of the word “organic” on product labels is actually regulated and subject to certification criteria under federal law and protected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). This agency approves products manufactured and sold within Canada, as well as those imported from other countries with equivalent certification organizations as recognized and approved by the CFIA. One such example is, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which categorizes organic products according to a four-tier system.

In order to label a product as “100% organic”, it must ONLY contain organic ingredients. Products simply labeled as “organic” must comply with a minimum 95% organic composition of all ingredients used in its creation. Below 95% and above 70% organic composition products are only permitted to be labeled as “Made with Organic Ingredients”. Any product under the 70% organic ingredient threshold is not permitted to use the term on packaging or labeling, however individual ingredients used in the product that are certified organic can be called out one by one in the ingredient list.


Clean or Non-Toxic

In most cases of product packaging, the terms “clean” and “non-toxic” are used more or less interchangeably, although “clean” tends to be more common in the skin care and beauty markets. The term “clean” generally refers to the absence of any ingredient that has been shown to have or is linked to any type of potentially harmful health effects.

While this may seem to be a powerful statement on the surface, the lack of regulation on this particular term means that virtually any list of ingredients can be claimed as “clean” if the manufacturer is willing to stand by their choices in manufacturing processes and ingredient sources. As you can imagine, the word “clean” actually carries very little weight because of this, and should be considered accordingly.



The term “vegan” can be viewed as a bit of a blend of “natural” and “organic”, in that it refers to a combination of where ingredients are obtained, and how those ingredients are cultivated prior to harvesting. Specifically, any product bearing the word “vegan” should not contain any ingredients sourced from animals or from animal by-products, and the ingredients that are contained in it should not have been cultivated using any animal by-products of any kind at any time. Although not as heavily regulated as the term “organic”, vegan products can also be certified as proof of their claims under the guidelines set forth by the Vegan Action organization.



One of the most prominent issues facing the cosmetics and skin care industry is the practice of animal testing, with an increasing number of brands committing to stopping animal testing of their products in all forms. Products labeled as “cruelty-free” are indicating that animals were not used in the development or testing at any stage, and that the individual ingredients used in production also conform to those criteria. Although not currently as widely adopted as the Vegan Action standard, the Leaping Bunny Program offers a strict certification for all products bearing their cruelty-free logo. This program is rapidly gaining ground in the marketplace, with major brands around the world coming on board to align their processes against animal testing.



For a long time, skin care and beauty products were formulated for longer shelf life using a wide range of different preservatives. One such set of preservatives are known as “parabens”, which can be found in certain types of soap, lotion, moisturizer, and hair care products. Studies have linked these chemical additives to harmful long-term effects on the body by potentially interfering and disrupting the natural balance of hormones. Because of this correlation, many brands have chosen to avoid the use of parabens as a preservative in their health and beauty products. Products labeled as “paraben-free” or “free of parabens” do not contain any of these types of preservatives in their list of ingredients.


Alternative Skin Care Products

While this may seem like a lot of different things to watch out for when you’re shopping for skin care products, you should know that some skin care products have no need to carry labels like these, as they do not contain any of the ingredients that necessitate them. There are multiple types of anti-aging skin care devices and at-home microdermabrasion technologies that offer significant advantages and benefits over skin care creams, lotions, cleansers, and exfoliants.


Anti-Aging & Skin Tightening Devices

Instead of using anti-aging creams and topical wrinkle-reducing products that need to be applied day after day, why not use a skin tightening device that provides better results and longer lasting effects? The Silk’n Titan AllWays Wrinkle Reduction & Skin Tightening device uses a unique combination of three distinct enhancing energies to firm up the skin, strengthen collagen and elastin fibers, and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

By bringing together bipolar radiofrequency energy, LED light energy, and infrared heat energy, the Titan AllWays provides a completely chemical-free method of stimulating the natural restoration functions of the skin, turning back the clock on the visible signs of aging. In as little as one treatment, you’ll notice a visible improvement in the look of your skin, as well as increased elasticity and resiliency that gets even better with each successive treatment.


Microdermabrasion & Exfoliating Devices

Abrasive skin scrubs and exfoliating cleansers can be hard on the skin, and they definitely get expensive as you need to keep buying them every time they run out. Fortunately, there’s a better alternative that you can use to get amazing at-home exfoliation and skin rejuvenation. With the  Silk’n ReVit Prestige Microdermabrasion device, you can get clinical-quality microderm treatments right in the comfort of your own home, any time you want.

The ReVit Prestige comes with multiple interchangeable microdermabrasion tips so you can completely customize your treatment, from a relaxing all-over body session to a precise facial microderm treatment. It also features automatic functions that will guide you through a pre-programmed treatment session, helping you optimize your results. Your skin will be left feeling smooth, soft, and vibrant with no need for chemical scrubbers or exfoliants, and the visible signs of aging will become less noticeable with each treatment. When it comes to at-home exfoliation, there’s nothing quite like the Silk’n ReVit Prestige Microdermabrasion device.


Shop Smarter for Natural Skin Care & Minimize Chemicals In Your Routine

We hope that this guide has provided you with the information you need to more effectively scrutinize and evaluate the skin care products you choose to spend your hard-earned money on. After all, when it comes to the health of your skin, you want to make sure that you’re making the best choice for the results you want, and that you’re proud of the brands you support.

Minimizing the amount of chemicals you apply to your skin is important, and so using a combination of natural skin care products and alternative skin treatment technologies like the Silk’n Titan AllWays or the Silk’n ReVit Prestige will help keep your skin as naturally healthy, strong, and resilient as it can be.

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