Understand the term - Chemical Free

Hi there! Isn’t it every day we get such emails on our Gmail or a notification on some or the other social media platforms :

“Best vegan make-up  and that too, chemical free”

“Organic and chemical free beauty brand in India”

“Natural and chemical free Foundation ”

“Organic Lipsticks that are chemical free”

Quick advice, if you receive such emails, newsletters or notifications with brands pronouncing themselves as chemical free, lose them please. Let us make it very clear that there is no such cosmetic brand which is “chemical free”. It's a misnomer, it's misleading, it's IMPOSSIBLE.

What exactly is a chemical? We were all taught in school that a chemical by definition is any substance consisting of matter; this includes solids, liquids, and gas. Meaning everything is chemical because everything is matter! The salt you put in your food is a chemical (NaCl), the water you drink everyday is a chemical (H2O) so on and so forth. Just because we don’t use scientific nomenclature for everyday terms doesn’t make them less chemical. You breathe, drink, eat and use chemicals everyday and that’s just how it is. You and I are made up of chemicals naturally so how is it even possible for a beauty and skincare brand to be ‘chemical free’?

So what does this mean in the cosmetic and skincare industry? When brands use the term chemical free, they mislead people to believe that the product is only made of natural ingredients and hence, not harmful which is a false understanding of the concept. It's the responsibility of the skincare industry to be more proactive and informative about the terms they use and what they mean. Using completely different terms interchangeably is very misleading and defeats the purpose of educating people about what is good for their skin and what is not.

As we’ve duly noted before, chemical DOES NOT mean toxic. If we believe the marketing claims of these beauty brands we would think that chemical is the opposite of natural. No! The literal dictionary opposite of natural would be synthetic.

Speaking of synthetic, it's quintessential to understand that not all synthetic ingredients used are harmful. Glycolic acid is a molecule naturally occuring in sugarcane and other fruits. It's an excellent exfoliant and is used for anti-aging treatments. It also keeps the skin hydrated and assists with boosting collagen. It cannot be used in cosmetics in its natural form but it can be used synthetically which again, does not make it bad in any way.

As a user, we should be more aware and knowing of what ingredients suit our skin and what don’t. What ingredients are toxic to the skin and the earth so we can find more organic ways to lead into a clean and earth-friendly routine. Organic skincare is great for the environment as well as the skin but one must research if the product checks all boxes to be in the organic category. So the next time you shop, instead of just looking at the brand name, do read the label on the back and see if you can familiarize yourself with some of those names back there!