How to (& why) shop for science-backed herbal products

Posted by team anato on

Dear CommuniTree,

In light of our founder's recent publication in the Yale Journal of Sustainable Forestry, we're talking SCIENCE today.

As much as we are rooted in a holistic approach to skincare, and we utilize plants that have been used ancestrally, delivering you science-backed information & products is extremely important to us. We stand by this due to the unregulated nature of the cosmetics industry in the USA, and due to the fact that there's a whole load of skincare codswallop one can find floating on the internet (e.g. putting lemon on your face or exfoliating/scrubbing with sugar). 

Agroforestry Research

How to shop for science-based skincare:

↟ A cosmetic label should include an 'INCI' list of ingredients. This stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. According to this global standard, latin names (not just common names) of plants as well as 'part used' should be visible on the label— this is key to identifying possible allergens. Common names of plants can be misleading, and the INCI identifier is important for our 'pro tip' below. 

↟ If you have a concern about a specific ingredient (extraction method, pesticide residue...), ask the skincare company to provide you with the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of the raw ingredient in question. Just remember that 'organic' doesn't say it all when it comes to quality.

↟ If a skincare company makes an overt claim (without the use of the words 'may help X,Y,Z'), ask for the research supporting that claim.

Pro Tip

Science backed skincareIf you care to dig into the science behind a plant's phytochemicals and actions: make sure to check the latin name of the plant touted for its beneficial action. Why ? Skincare companies will often reference a paper that talks about rose for instance, but they're using a different species in the product than the species studied in the paper!

E.g. Rosa gallica is used in the product, but the scientific research that the company is referencing is based on Rosa damascena. We see this type of erroneous referencing happen a lot in the skincare industry. 

Reminder on latin binomials: 'Rosa' refers to the Genus whereas 'gallica' or 'damascena' refers to the species. Both have the common name 'rose' but they are two distinct species.  

Bonus Tip

For skincare, pH is extremely important. Ask the company to provide the product's pH if it is not already clearly stated. Learn more about the importance of pH for the skin microbiome in this blog post

What's to come in 2023

Interested in learning more?  
Read about the  'SKIN MICROBIOME,

Browse science backed skincare

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment