The Difference Between Natural, Organic, and Synthetic-Free Beauty Products

Victoria Hoff

RMS Beauty

Long gone are the days when choosing earth-friendly beauty products meant sacrificing effectiveness—or curb appeal, for that matter. Now, plant-based products don’t just compete with the rest of the market—they’re coveted and often even more effective, thanks to superfood ingredients that do wonders for our complexions, as well as fewer chemicals, which can be drying and cause wear on skin. Case in point: Chic, eco-friendly brands like Sunday Riley, May Lindstrom, and Ilia haven’t earned their cult followings for nothing.

But now that going green is hotter than ever, it’s important to be wary of products that appear to be good for the planet but actually aren’t. Any company can stamp the word 'natural' on a label, even if the product in question is chock-full of synthetic chemicals—not to mention that ingredients like petroleum, while potentially harmful, are technically natural. Feeling outraged or overwhelmed? Not to worry! With a little bit of know-how, it’s not at all difficult to discern the difference between a truly natural product from one that just claims to be.

Keep scrolling to find out what terms like “organic” and “chemical-free” really mean—as well as the 100% natural beauty products we recommend.

For the best plant-based and organic beauty products we’re loving right now, check out Byrdie’s Eco Beauty Awards.

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