Botnia Decodes Buzzwords in the Skincare Industry

It can be hard to know whose beauty claims are for real and whose should totally be canceled. When it comes to skincare marketing, it can easily feel like you’re being tricked into buying products . . . and that’s not far from the truth! With online reviews, influencer posts, and user testimonials, how do we decipher the honest ones from the ones that are totally fake?

Most skincare and cosmetics companies formulate from a perspective of marketing terms– things they know will get you to buy their product–instead of asking the question “What’s healthiest for the skin for someone who might be experiencing X symptom?”

Buzzwords in the industry//

Here are a few industry terms we’re decoding, alongside suggestions for what you’ll want to look for instead.

Anti-aging = skincare products that minimize the effects of aging

In our society, it’s basically a sin to see the signs of aging. When we’re young, products are marketed to us claiming to help us stay young forever. And at the first sign of a wrinkle, we must do everything we can to prevent more. To completely prevent aging is impossible, even with the best plastic surgeons in the world! Products marketed with anti-aging in mind are playing with the mindset that we must look young forever. The problem is that no matter how hard we fight, we will age, and it’s honestly a beautiful thing! 

Look for: Ingredients that help keep the health of your skin functioning properly. Feed your skin a balanced nutrition topically using organically grown high-quality ingredients that build up your skin and help it heal. Learn to know what the skin actually needs, instead of using gimmicky ingredients that may or may not be good for the skin in the long run. 

Clean beauty = good for you, good for the earth

Any terms used to claim products are of a natural or organic nature could be potential greenwashing. How the FDA regulates skincare isn’t based on how clean a product actually is by lab testing or proven results. The language requirements for labels are so nuanced, making words like “revitalizing” acceptable but not “rejuvenating” when it comes to claiming a product restores a youthful appearance in the skin as a result. Many conventional brands are rebranding their logos and bottles to look more eco-friendly but may not reformulate their ingredients to actually be clean. Buyer beware!  

Look for: Sourcing of ingredients and types of ingredients used. It’s why Botnia grows its own plants! When we can control the source, we know we’re using the best quality possible. Use EWG to determine how clean skincare and beauty ingredients really are. 

Non-comedogenic = won’t clog pores

We’ve been incorrectly taught in our industry to hate ingredients that are supposedly comedogenic or clog pores, especially if you’re someone who suffers from acne. Nourishing ingredients like shea butter have been cast aside as harmful ingredients that may cause more acne. But the truth is, depending on the percentage of shea butter used in a product, like our Essential Enzymes, it can be incredibly healing for the skin! 

Look for: Ingredient transparency. Reach out to a company to ask why they use a specific ingredient in their formulation. It might be to your skin’s benefit!

Oil-free = free of oils, good for oily or acne-prone skin

We’re taught that if we have oily skin, we should avoid using oils AT ALL COSTS. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Beneficial oils like jojoba are great for oily skin, especially when it comes to oil cleansing

Look for: The quality of the oil matters most. 

Vegan = animal free

Just because something is labeled as vegan–meaning it doesn’t contain animal-derived products or by-products–doesn’t necessarily mean that the ingredients are safer for you or eco-friendly. We like to subconsciously think that if a product is vegan, it’s automatically good for you. But chemically processed and synthetically made ingredients can be just as harmful as harsh chemicals, so make sure to do your research. Don’t forget to research testing practices too: just because it says vegan, doesn’t mean a product isn’t tested on animals.

Look for: If you see a strange-looking chemical you’re unfamiliar with, check in with EWG to see if it’s clean. 

Fast-acting or instant = effective

We like to think if something is done quickly that it’s better for us, to see instant results . . . but at what cost? Products like retinoids help treat acne, but they also cause some serious side effects. Our bodies take an average of 21 to 28 days to heal a small wound. When you’re speeding up the natural process of the body, you could be potentially changing your DNA to do so! 

Look for: Products that work with the natural rhythms of your body. When we think holistically about our body and work with it, not against it, we can actually feel good knowing the long-term health of our bodies is kept in mind. 

New or New and improved = better than what’s already on the market

New products are a quick cash grab for big companies, especially if they see a dip in sales. When you see a product that’s been improved, it’s a cause for concern. Companies sometimes have to improve a product if an ingredient is found to be unsafe. Be wary of new products coming into the market and check to see if you really need to add them to your routine. While we like shiny new things, sometimes less is truly more when it comes to adding products to your skincare routine.  

Look for: Tried and true products with great reviews. Sometimes, a product just works! If something works, why change it? You’ll never see new products from Botnia for newness’ sake. If you see a new product from Botnia, it’s because we’ve researched and tested on ourselves and our clients a formula that we found was missing from our line.   


These are only a few of the beauty industry’s marketing buzzwords that get you to overspend on skincare products. Our philosophy to keep skincare simple is our true vision. Our products are made to keep the health of our skin intact for the long haul. All you really need for a good skincare routine is a cleanser, toner or hydrosol and a moisturizer. Simple as that!

If you’re new to organic and clean beauty, our holistic estheticians can help guide you to creating your own unique routine. Find a Botnia Spa Partner near you, or DM or email us botniaskincare@gmail.com, and one of our master estheticians will get you into the right skincare for you! 

Xo,
Botnia

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