Panic Over Chemicals and Putting Natural on a Pedestal

For a long time there has been panic over chemicals in beauty products.

And for an equal period of time, that panic over chemicals has been annoying AF.

There seems to be a lot of shade being thrown at non-‘natural’ beauty products. Lots of, “I don’t want chemicals in my makeup,” or, “My shampoo is natural and chemical-free,” or, “OMG, my holy grail face wash has chemicals in it, so I have to switch.

No Such Thing

…as a chemical-free product. Period. End of story. Literally everything, including whatever crunchy goop you’re slathering on your face, is composed of chemicals. Everything. The banana-kale smoothie you somehow gulped down at breakfast, your favorite computer, you, me – made of chemicals.

I hope I didn’t blow your mind with that, but if I did…good! Every realization like this helps reduce the blind panic over chemicals.

Ending the Panic over Chemicals

First, consider these five words:

Chemicals are not inherently bad.

…and then these ones:

Just because something is natural does not make it effective let alone good or safe for use in or on our bodies.

Both are truths, and it’s really all you need.

Elementary, my dear Watson

Even if you did not have to take Chemistry in school, you should have at least a general idea of what this is:

Periodic Table
Yeah. Everything on this table is a chemical element.


Let’s stop putting, “natural,” on a pedestal. Know what’s natural and definitely toxic? Cyanide, and a compound that results in its production exists in both organically and conventionally grown:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Plums
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • and more

There definitely are chemical compounds that are harmful, toxic, or that may otherwise be considered, “bad.” Certainly! There are tons of things we should not be either ingesting or using topically (or both). But it isn’t enough to just issue a rallying cry that you’re, “avoiding chemicals,” because that’s not a thing. Likewise, it is not enough that a product is organic or natural.

  • For example, some people choose to avoid parabens largely due to a study in the 90s that suggested there was a correlation between their use and breast cancer (more on that here). Avoiding parabens certainly does you no harm, but the studies conducted do not sufficiently demonstrate that link.
  • On the other hand, some choose to replace a ton of personal care items with coconut oil. Some use it for OCM or a moisturizer though it is not non-comedogenic. Replacing your toothpaste with coconut oil could result in significant dental health concerns (like Ke$ha brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack) when not coupled with an otherwise-aggressive oral care routine under the supervision of a medical professional.

The Bottom Line

I’m not a hater of natural things. My favorite moisturizer is argan oil (natural, yes, but also not non-chemical). I’m fond of products with simple formulations. I love baking soda to clean my sink and stove (but definitely NOT to scrub my face), and lemons to polish chrome fixtures. Essential oils are amazing for aromatherapy – I particularly love lavender to help me wind down for bed. Some can be used to treat skin problems (like Tea Tree oil)…but they aren’t a substitute for medical attention.

I take issue with people blindly crusading against things without any substantive evidence to support their arguments. It’s one thing to simply choose not to use something. It is entirely another to feed the masses inaccurate and unfounded ideas of danger based on nothing but anecdotes.

For the love of makeup, do your research. Be informed and make your own decisions. Don’t make a decision based on a headline or by blindly following the biased, ill-informed opinions of someone who is not qualified to dispense what really is to medical and/or scientific advice. Use common sense and good judgment to make healthy choices.

1 thought on “Panic Over Chemicals and Putting Natural on a Pedestal”

  1. I adore you. Safety or danger is determined by the dose, the exposure, and the mechanism. Water and oxygen and anything can be toxic when used in the wrong way. Cyanide and heavy metals can be perfectly safe when used the right way. Ignorance breeds fear, and fear spreads misconceptions to others. There should be no pride in mistrusting science and accepting marketing as truth.

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