Many people have taken steps to clean up their diets, eliminating processed foods and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. The next natural progression to that is looking at chemicals outside the kitchen, including beauty products. Have no fear, the natural beauty market has greatly evolved and now products rival, and often beat, conventional offerings. Here, we talk with Aleigh Acerni, natural beauty expert and author of the blog Indigo+Canary, about natural versus conventional and her favorite natural beauty products—she’s tried ’em all.

How do you find natural products work compared to conventional?

In my experience, natural products are just as effective as conventional ones. There are a few exceptions, however. There is no such thing as a natural antiperspirant, for example—but there are plenty of natural deodorants out there that work extremely well. If you have a tendency to sweat a lot, they may not make you happy, since they are designed to keep you smelling fresh, not to keep you from sweating. (Sweating is a good thing!) But when it comes to acne treatments, anti-aging, facial masks, makeup, hair products, etc., I have found that I actually prefer using the natural products. As a whole, they tend to be made with higher-quality ingredients, come in recyclable (and sometimes recycled) packaging, and are better for both you and the environment. Just like with conventional products, it can sometimes take a little experimentation to find your personal favorites, but the natural products are just as fun to play with.

What’s your take on organic versus natural?

This is something I point out frequently—there’s a definite difference between organic and natural. There are many natural products out there that aren’t made solely with organic ingredients (and even many organic products that can’t claim to be 100 percent certified organic) that I think are just as safe and beneficial as the officially certified products. I care a lot more about the specific ingredients in the products I use and the fact that they are not synthetic or chemical-laden than I do about an organic seal on a label—which is why I always, always, always read ingredients lists! (And I look up ingredients I don’t recognize on EWG’s Skin Deep Database.) I typically use the term natural when I talk about the products I use, because I don’t use exclusively organic products. Some people refer to them as “clean” products.

Like what you're reading? Sign up to get more from Natural Vitality Living.