natural is subject to interpretation. How one brand defines natural can be something completely different for another brand. Unlike the term organic, natural is not regulated in any way. Product marketing campaigns have gotten pretty clever in how they use the word natural on product labels, ingredients listings and in the product names themselves. As you can imagine, this could be quite confusing for consumers.
What does it mean when something is labeled natural anyway? Unfortunately because there isn't any sort of regulation around the use of the term, it doesn't really mean anything. This is mainly due to the fact that the skin care and beauty industry as a whole hasn't clearly defined what natural means. Natural means something different to everybody.
Even though there isn't any sort of regulation for the use of the word natural, consumers are finding it extremely helpful when big corporations clearly define what a natural product means to them and categorizes their products as such. Naturally Sephora is a special category of products that consist of Sephora-approved natural products available both online at Sephora.com and in Sephora retail store locations.
How does Sephora define natural? Natural products are defined by certain ingredients the products are formulated with or without. Sephora-approved natural products are formulated with high concentrations of antioxidants, botanicals, essential oils, fruit extracts, marine bioactives, minerals and vitamins. Sephora-approved natural products are also formulated to exclude six out of the following eight ingredients: GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes and triclosan. The reason why Sephora claims that only six out of these eight ingredients are excluded in order to be considered natural is because there isn't an equally, effective, natural alternative ingredient available for replacement.
Keep in mind that the term natural is not regulated in any sort of way. Every single brand and corporation has its own definition of what they consider to be natural product. Naturally Sephora labeled products are a great starting point for consumer research, but they are certainly not the only definition of what natural products should be. The Sephora green label is just one company's interpretation.
Without any sort of regulation on the term, it's ultimately up to you, the consumer, to define what being natural means to you. Also, it's important to remember that just because something is labeled as natural or organic, doesn't necessarily mean it's any better for your skin or any more effective at addressing your specific skin conditions. To make an educated decision on which products are best for you, always do your homework. Research. Consult with your Dermatologist and Esthetician. Know your ingredients. Ask questions. Read product labels.