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The Skin-Care Glossary You Need To Know

by Gulsah Onel

In the beauty industry, natural cosmetics have been at the forefront in recent years. We've frequently begun to encounter new terms surrounding our beauty products, including clean beauty and waterless beauty, but these definitions are often confused with each other or manufacturers use these popular terms with little regard to what they actually mean. Have you ever wondered why products are labeled this way? 

The best way to know exactly what's in the skincare products you use is to check the ingredients list. Nowadays, you can easily find out an ingredients list for any product on the market and do your research to find out what a particular ingredient does to your skin. First, let's decipher the subtle differences between these definitions…

What is clean beauty?

Clean beauty refers to cosmetic products without synthetic chemicals and ingredients that could harm or irritate your skin. It involves ingredients like herbs, botanical extracts and minerals found in nature. They do not contain synthetic chemicals, artificial colors, silicones, parabens and other petroleum products. Watch out for the labels! 

What is organic beauty?

Although the words natural and organic are often used synonymously, there are important differences between them. They are of plant origin, but “organic” ingredients are products that are controlled at every stage of production, grown without the use of harmful chemicals, synthetics or GMOs in agricultural processes.

What is waterless beauty?

Waterless, water-free or anhydrous beauty refers to skincare and cosmetic products that are formulated without water. Instead, they use various butters, oils or waxes and oil-soluble actives as ingredients.

Water-free beauty products are typically more concentrated than their water-based versions as they tend to contain higher levels of active ingredients since they aren’t diluted with water.

What is greenwashing?

Due to increasing customer awareness of ingredients or processes that could negatively impact the environment, companies often use inaccurate claims within their marketing to appeal to an eco-minded audience. Greenwashing is a term used to describe a false, misleading or untrue action or claims made by an organization to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products have a positive impact on the environment.

What is vegan beauty?

Vegan products do not contain any animal ingredients or any by-products derived from animals (such as beeswax, collagen, retinol, glycerin). It is worth noting that a product labeled vegan does not mean that all natural or organic ingredients are used; a vegan product may contain many synthetics.

Animal-derived cosmetic ingredients aren't just bad for animals, they also affect the environment through animal livestock and harm biodiversity.

PETA has an extensive list of animal ingredients for those who want to review it. When choosing the products you use, remember that you make a choice that affects the environment and living things! Choose products that protect nature and do not contain synthetics as much as possible.

What does cruelty-free mean?

Cruelty-free is a label which shows the product is untested on animals. In order for a product to be cruelty-free, both the final product and any of its ingredients must not have been tested on animals. Not all vegan products are cruelty-free. A product can be vegan and still be tested on animals.