What does it all mean?  Natural, Wildcraft, Holistic, Eco-Cert and Synthetic skin care products.

What does it all mean? Natural, Wildcraft, Holistic, Eco-Cert and Synthetic skin care products.

Have you seen that on skin care products, wondering what all that mean and which is better for the skin?  If you answered yes, please read on!

It’s good, right?  Not so!  Did you know USDA and FDA actually do not have any standards or requirements for “natural” labeling?  Shocker huh?  Example, vitamin C maybe derived from citrus or produced in a lab.  Obviously the lab wouldn’t be natural to a holistic minded consumer, there are no laws that requires manufacturers to differentiate between natural sources vs. bio-identical laboratory synthesis of natural ingredients.  Unfortunately, deceptive practices occur because less than one percent of natural ingredients actually are.

The definition of natural ingredient may have been derived from a whole ingredient at one time, truthfully, the ingredient was overly processed that the end result structure bears no resemblance to it’s original plant.  Case in point, the ingredient sodium laureate sulfate is a known skin irritant, linked to contamination and organ toxicity according to Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.  However, since it’s original form was coconut oil, it’s allowed to be considered natural.

Holistic is the philosophy and practice of healing the physical body, mind and the spirit at it’s highest level of wellness.  How does holistic relate to skin care?  The skin, largest organ, is an actual live and breathing organ, the skin performs many functions, either work side by side or depend on the functions of the vital organs.  While many working in the skin care industry considers holistic is simply using natural and/or organic ingredients.  The use of holistic skin care goes deeper than just dealing with the skin.

The Eastern holistic practice such as Ayurveda and TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) is: the skin is a reflection or indication of internal health.  Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin, rosacea, etc…begins internally.  Treating just the skin is short-term without addressing the root cause, with that we may never come to a resolution.  The meaning of holistic with skin care maybe using ingredients such as herbs, plants, phytonutrients and essential oils.  Preserved by using ingredients with fewer toxic reactions.  This may seem straightforward, rather the FDA and USDA have little to no regulations regarding ingredients in skin care products.


clarify-rebalance-frontend_thumbEco-cert was introduced in 2003, the first certification body to develop standards for “natural and organic cosmetics”. The specification was drawn up with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, consumers and development organizations.

Eco-cert supports and guides over 1,000 companies in more than 80 countries with their certifications, by gaining trusts of consumers, becoming the leader in Organic Cosmetic over 70{d0e9dd2b7f7f77c6b9439fde6e913c4a7d9a2a38e49608c4a07ac89b301b8ed5} of the market.

Eco-cert standards uses ingredients derived from renewable resources, manufactured with environmentally friendly processes. Eco-cert checks for parabens, phenoxyethanol, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and color, animal ingredients and whether the packaging is biodegradable to recyclable.

Minimum of 95{d0e9dd2b7f7f77c6b9439fde6e913c4a7d9a2a38e49608c4a07ac89b301b8ed5} of ingredients come from natural origin and must come from organic farming.

On site audit is performed once a year by an Eco-cert auditor.pexels-photo-27982-medium

Harvesting plants from their natural environment.  It applies to uncultivated plants wherever they are found, yet not limited to the wilderness.  Generally only the branches, flowers, seeds, and leaves are removed with respect to the remaining plant and the living plant is left with minimal harm.  If the plant is completely removed than the seeds of the plant takes it’s place where the plant was removed.

Skin care products absorbs into our blood stream within 26 seconds! Be your own CSI of skin care ingredients, before applying anything on your body know where it came from. Synthetic skin care products may have most of these ingredients which contains petrochemicals, parabens, sulfates, chemical preservatives, extremely harsh detergents, synthetic additives, alcohols, artificial coloring and fragrance, highly toxic and maybe tested on animals. In some cases they are known to contain carcinogenic material.  Over a extended period of usage may cause or increase skin sensitivity.

Be aware products that only lists only their Key Ingredients.  FDA and USDA allows skin care companies to label their products “Natural” if they have a few plant based ingredients, herbs or essential oils but the remaining ingredients are highly toxic.

Here is a link to Dirty Dozen ingredients in cosmetic chemicals to avoid and it’s harmful side effects…www.davidsuzuki.org

EWG.org Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group) was launched in 2004, that compares over 61,000 skin care products in it’s database, tests and rates them for potential health hazards.

EWG Skin Deep have an app to download as you are out shopping for skin care products.

Here are few tips I share with my clients…

  • Don’t purchase the biggest size jar, bottle or spray even though it’s at a cost savings, because in order for the item to retain it’s integrity it has high levels of artificial preservatives for shelf life.
  • Jar items…always use a clean skin care product spatula to scoop from, never dip your fingers into a jar. Oils and dirt from our fingers/fingernails increases the deterioration of the product causing the cream to separate or go rancid.
  • Spent $75 on a 1oz facial cream and how to prevent it from spoiling? Scoop enough in a separate clean glass container for the bathroom, keep the bigger jar in the frig.
  • Does the product have a pretty color such as pink, red, blue, etc…? If so, the coloring is artificial, most likely from a toxic source. Our eyes are more attracted to a pretty colored item vs. clear or white item and skin care companies are very aware of that.
  • Is the item perfum scented? The reason a skin care item is artificially scent is to disguise or distract from when an item has gone rancid.

I, understand all this is overwhelming, do not stress going through all your products, do the toss and replace!  It’s expensive!  Finish up what you have, than your next purchase, check in with me or use the EWG.org Skin Deep site or the EWG app.

Skin care is so my passion and I love the education piece of esthetics.

Hope this has been helpful to all!

Debbie Kho
SkinSense Spa, LLC
Owner/Licensed Esthetician




The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy defines it as “combination of art and science utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit.”

Aromatherapy is extracted oils from flowers, seeds, barks, roots and herbs. While there is not enough evidence to support its effectiveness in preventing illness, but there are clinical studies found to be an effective complimentary therapy to: anxiety reduction, lessens depression and headaches, while others increase energy and healing, boast immunity, improve digestion, aides to more restful sleep pattern and even increase circulation.

How aromatherapy is used

Facials – ashwagandha is spicy and woodsy scent, often used to rejuvenate skin and diminish dark circles under the eye. “A staple of Ayurvedic medicine, this oil is prized as an adaptogen and is traditionally used to help increase the body’s resistance to stress,” says Barbara Close, founder and CEO of Naturopathica. Clary sage, neem, thyme, cucumber, juniper and rosemary is ideal for combination, oily and blemished skin. They help to purify skin, reduces oil production and tightens enlarged pores and rebalances the skin. Rose oil softens, hydrates and soothe the skin, while frankincense provides relief to stressed skin. Lavender, petitgrain, ylang ylang, bergamot is highly popular for spa professionals as it is used to calm and relax the mind and body. Grapefruit, lemon, vitamin c and licorice root are natural skin brighteners. These are just a fraction of essential oil blended into skin care products.

Massage – basil helps to soothe and calm, hyssop is healing and soothing, immortelle repairs scar tissue. Kanuka is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, relieve muscle pain and swelling, making it an excellent ingredient in massage oil for sports massage.

Inhalation – eucalyptus oil is widely popular to clear upper respiratory congestion. Grapefruit, bergamot, ylang ylang, lemon, peppermint is often used as an uplift that energizes the mind and body. Melaleuca and rosemary is healing and stimulating, clear foggy thoughts, aid in concentration. Vetiver is earthy and the smoky scent helps with grounding and promote relaxation. There are multiple methods to inhale these wonderful essential oils, using in a diffuser or burner allowing the scent to fill the entire room is widely popular, adding it to steamer during a facial treatment or adding couple drops to a cotton ball, hold it few inches away from your nose and breathe deeply.

Soaking – adding couple drops to a nice warm bath soak is an effective use of essential oils, not only will the warm vapors absorb into your skin to relax you, the oils will make your skin silky smooth.

Few cautions while using essential oils

Proper care should always be taken. Essential oils are highly concentrated so when apply directly to skin may cause burning, stinging or allergic reactions, while others may react with certain medications, or shouldn’t used with certain health conditions. Due to high concentrated levels of essential oils, they MUST be diluted with carrier oils such as: almond, jojoba, flaxseed, safflower, apricot, borage, cranberry, evening primrose, hazelnut, hempseed, coconut, avocado, vegetable, grapeseed or olive oil. Avoid mineral oil and petroleum jelly, as they are byproducts of petroleum, therefore, is not natural rather more harmful. Mineral oil is used in baby oil and lotions because it is inexpensive to product, however will clog pores, prevent skin’s ability to breathe naturally, prevent essential oil absorption and toxins from excreting the body through sweating.

Have fun with essential oils

The rule of thumb for mixing: 1 drop of essential oil to 1 teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil. Always store your mixture in a sterilized glass bottle. Mix your oils with fine sea salt for body scrub, or couple drops in distilled water to use as toner or room freshener, add your scented water mixture to old flannel sheet as a fabric softener in your dryer, or add a few drops to unscented lotion! Unlimited of uses with aromatherapy!

Here are a few of my favorite mixed scents:
Woody/earthy – cedar wood, patchouli and sandalwood
Floral – lavender, geranium and jasmine
Citrus – ylang ylang, grapefruit and bergamot
What are your favorite scents?  Be creative!
As always, if you like it, share it!

Debbie Kho
Your Skin Concierge