In recent years, there's been a surge in the number of brands offering clean beauty products. More than just a trend, as consumers become more educated about what's actually in the products they're putting on their face and in their hair, the demand for natural beauty products grows. If you're new to the natural game, finding a clean lip balm is a good place to start — after all, if you're applying something on your lips you're likely ingesting at least some of it. But how do you find the best natural lip balm for dry lips?
Unfortunately, it's not as simple as it should be, since there's no real legal definition of "natural" in the U.S. when it comes to cosmetics. And with the exception of products that contain color additives, the FDA doesn't need to give approval to cosmetics before they hit the shelves (cosmetics are FDA-regulated, though).
To find better choices, there are a few types of ingredients you'll definitely want to avoid. Any ingredient with the word "paraben" in it is questionable, as well as phthalates. While parabens help preserve cosmetics and phthalates are solvents, they both reportedly interfere with the body's hormones. (They've also both been banned in Europe, where stricter cosmetic regulations are upheld.) Another major ingredient to avoid is artificial fragrance (often listed as "parfum"), as artificial fragrances are typically made of skin irritants and other potentially toxic ingredients.
In general, the shorter the ingredients list, the cleaner the product is. Looking for plant names and names you recognize at the top of the list is also a sign the product in question contains natural ingredients. An even safer bet is to choose a lip balm that's been certified organic by the USDA, which regulates agricultural production — so basically, if a beauty product has been granted this certification, it's been vetted as strictly as food products have.