This is something I'm asked about quite often, and in order to answer this we first have to look at what "Natural Skincare" really is. By definition natural skincare should contain only ingredients of wholly botanical origins, with no synthetic additions. Organic skincare to take it further, is skincare comprised of plant derived ingredients farmed without use of pesticides or synthetic chemicals.
There are however very little regulations as to what you can call natural and get away with. To be honest, most natural products I've come across are far from natural, and most do contain some man made chemicals although they claim not to. So don't be fooled by the labeling and marketing. Also, and most importantly, does natural skincare ensure higher efficacy, safety and better results? No, not really.
There are many naturally derived ingredients that are great, and there are also many synthetically formulated ingredients that are amazing, so why limit yourself to using only one or the other? The fact is, most skin irritants are of natural origin, and sensitive skin types, atopic skin types, and inflamed skin types should steer clear of natural skincare due to the fact that these often contain irritating extracts that may cause a reaction. Most cosmetic skin allergies are also a cause of natural skincare products, so safety wise - natural is not always the way to go.
Side-note: First and only skin allergy I've ever had was to a natural makeup remover containing Calendula extract, and a number of other extracts. It's impossible to say exactly which one was the cause of my bumpy, irritated and inflamed face.
Also, does pesticides penetrate skin? No. I advocate organic food consumption because I think it makes sense not to eat foods treated with poison, and if you want to buy skincare based on how ingredients are grown, go ahead, but know that the pesticides used to grow a plant are completely washed away during the processing of the plant into small plant derived molecules used in skincare.
Another thing to remember is that this natural and organic skincare trend, is just that, a trend that someone is milking because consumers are scared they are doing themselves a disservice buying something non-natural, think about it. It is also a trend I believe will step aside to newer trends on the rise. Check out my predictions for 2016.
I think there are great skincare products that go under the banner of "natural skincare" Weleda and Dr. Hauschka are two such brands, I also like dermalogica which is no natural brand per se, but frequently uses botanical ingredients in their formulation. SkinCeuticals is the most effective skincare line I've used so far, and this is a fully cosmeceutical brand, that is backed by science and uses some botanically derived molecules, but it is far from natural in the true sense of the word.
How do you feel about the natural skincare craze? Are you on board, or off board?