Start A Natural Skin Care Routine

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The natural skin care industry is one of the fastest-growing markets in beauty.

There are plenty of reasons to use natural skin care instead of traditional products, like avoiding potentially harmful synthetic chemicals. Plus, it’s an eco-friendly option.

What is natural skin care?

The term “natural skin care” can mean different things. The “natural” label isn’t regulated across the industry. This means each company can choose what “natural” means for themselves.

“There’s a lot of debate in the industry on what’s considered ‘natural’ and what’s not,” says licensed esthetician and beauty blog author Dana Murray.

“Often, natural ingredients can be inconsistent in makeup, so it’s hard to measure effectiveness and potency. [As well, some] natural ingredients, like essential oils, can cause irritation to the skin,” she says.

Benefits of natural skin care

According to a 2015 study, botanical products can be a rich source of:

  • vitamins
  • antioxidants
  • essential oils
  • hydrocolloids
  • proteins
  • terpenoids
  • bioactive compounds

According to the study, plant extracts can be a safe and cost-effective alternative to synthetics.

For oily skin

A natural skin care routine for oily skin may help reduce oiliness without the use of expensive skin care regimens or prescription drugs.

There are several methods of using natural skin care and home remedies for oily skin.

For dry skin

There isn’t much that’s more frustrating than itchy skin. A natural skincare routine for dry skin may help reduce the effects of heat, hot showers, arid climates, and harsh soaps — all things that can trigger dry skin.

For combination skin

Caring for combination skin isn’t always the easiest, but it’s still possible to find a natural skincare routine that simultaneously combats dry patches and shine.

Products that include harsh ingredients, such as fragrance, can irritate both oily and dry skin. Using natural skin care products may be a step in the right direction.

For acne-prone skin

A natural skin care routine for acne has many benefits, like saving money by avoiding expensive acne solutions. It can also help prevent undesirable side effects, such as dryness, redness, and irritation.

There are lots of natural solutions and home remedies for acne to meet your needs.

For sensitive skin

A natural skincare routine for sensitive skin may help rebuild a healthy skin barrier by avoiding products with irritating ingredients.

A 2018 study examined the risk of skin sensitivity associated with products containing fragrances. Products that are more likely to be worn for a long period, like moisturizers, are more likely to cause skin issues.

For Black skin

Black skin contains more melanin than lighter skin. A few conditions that people with Black skin may experience more often include:

  • acne
  • hyperpigmentation
  • contact dermatitis
  • eczema
  • seborrheic dermatitis

The natural skin routines linked above can assist with a number of these skin conditions.

What is the product derived from?

This is the first question to ask yourself.

In other words, what’s in it, and where does it come from? Is it a natural source, like plants, animals, minerals, and marine sources? Or is it derived from petrochemicals?

  • Naturally-occurring. This means that ingredients are used in their natural, unprocessed state. Examples of naturally-occurring ingredients include raw honey and crushed flowers.
  • Nature-identical. This means that ingredients are produced in a lab and are chemically identical to those that occur in nature. An example is sorbic acid. Originally derived from rowan berries, sorbic acid is now commonly included as a nature-identical ingredient.
  • Synthetic. This term sits on the far end of the spectrum and includes ingredients that were created and processed in a lab. An example of this is parabens, which are common beauty preservatives.
How is it processed?

Just because ingredients are derived naturally, it doesn’t mean they’re processed naturally.

Ingredients can be processed physically or chemically.

  • Processed physically means the molecular composition or structure stays the same.
  • Processed chemically means the molecular composition or structure changes.

Examples of naturally derived but physically processed ingredients include raw, unrefined oils and butters. These are processed through means like cold-pressing or filtration.

An example of a naturally derived but chemically processed ingredient would be castor wax. It’s a vegetable wax derived from the castor bean produced by adding hydrogen to pure castor oil, a process called hydrogenation.

Know your labels

There are various certifications and marketing words under the umbrella of “natural” products. Some are regulated and some aren’t.


Companies can have their products certified organic. They can also label their products as organic to indicate that all the ingredients are derived from organic sources. This means the product itself may not be certified, but all the ingredients are certified organic.


This unregulated term refers to environmental impact and sustainability. Green products are usually produced with intention of limiting environmental impact.

For example, a green product may contain raw materials that are harvested in a way to support the environment rather than harming it.


This unregulated term describes products that typically focus on being non-toxic.


These products are created without animal by-products.


It’s important to note that, while vegan products are almost always cruelty-free, cruelty-free products are not always vegan. An example would be an organic lip balm that contains beeswax.

Brands can claim these terms without being certified. But, if you want to ensure it, there are several organizations that certify vegan and cruelty-free products.


This regulated descriptor focuses on sourcing, ensuring that ingredients are sourced ethically in terms of the planet, people, or environment.

Bonus: Homemade natural skin care
Clarifying oatmeal mask

This mask regulates the skin’s pH with apple cider vinegar while removing excess oil and buildup with ground oats.

  • 3 tbsp. ground oats
  • 1/4 tsp. apple cider
  • 1/4 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
  1. Combine the ground oats and apple cider into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the lemon juice and brown sugar, stirring until even.
  3. Apply to freshly cleansed skin for 5–10 minutes.
  4. Rub in circular motions.
  5. Rinse off with warm water.
Tea leaves face toner

This toner isn’t only natural, but it also helps fight acne.

  • 1 tsp. peppermint tea leaves
  • 4 tsp. white tea leaves
  • 1/2 cup boiled distilled water
  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • Combine all ingredients in a French press.
  • Let mixture steep for 10 minutes.
  • Pour into a glass container to cool.
  • Combine mixture with aloe vera until it fills a 4-oz. spray bottle.
  • Spritz on face after cleansing, and store in the refrigerator.
Sugar face scrub

This homemade exfoliant nourishes skin while also sloughing off dead cells.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. oil of your choice
  • Combine honey and brown sugar in a small bowl, and stir until it forms a thick paste.
  • Add the oil and mix well.
  • Spread the paste over clean skin.
  • Leave on for 5–10 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.

If you’re looking to go au naturel with your skincare routine, know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Brands can call their cosmetics whatever they want under the “natural” umbrella, so be sure to do your research. Remember to read the labels, and always do a patch test before fully diving into a new product.

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