Let’s clear the air: just because a company calls a product “natural” doesn’t make it good. It could be jam-packed with oils and fruits and pretty-sounding flowers, but if the ingredients don’t work, then what’s the point?

With beauty products, effectiveness is pretty much number one on the “Reasons to buy a thing” list. Unfortunately, the beauty industry doesn’t really facilitate a try-before-you-buy policy. Meaning, you really don’t know what you’re getting until you take it home, unwrap the package, and put that product on your face. Other than that, you’ve just got the online product reviews.

So, we’ve tried to make it a little easier for you to navigate the beauty aisle. Here are 5 tried-and-true natural ingredients that are proven to get results. If you see these ingredients listed in that jar of face cream, you’ll know instantly what it can — and will — do for you.

1. Hyaluronic acid
Key benefit: hydrating
This stuff is truly magical. It occurs naturally in the human body — it’s found in your body’s connective tissues and is what lubricates your joints. But what’s so amazing about it? It’s moisturizing properties: hyaluronic acid can retain almost 1000 times its weight in water. As you probably know, old skin is unable to retain water as easily as young skin, so hyaluronic acid is basically the fountain of youth.

2. Squalane
Key benefit: moisturizing
This poly-unsaturated hydrocarbon liquid is also found naturally in living things, and is a part of your skin’s natural sebum. Meaning, it’s one of the lipids produced by your body to naturally protect skin. It can be harvested from plants such as olives, wheat germ, and rice bran. It’s an emollient, so it functions to lock in moisture, erase fine lines, and heal dryness.

3. Green tea
Key benefit: healing
The mother of all antioxidant-hoarding plants. If you see green tea on an ingredient label, you know you are going to get some powerful wrinkle-fighting stuff. Why? Green tea protects from sun damage, as well as stops the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin dead in their tracks.

4. Vitamin C
Key benefit: brightening
Another antioxidant, Vitamin C is a go-to source for brightening and tightening your skin. reducing damage done by free radicals. Those pesky free radicals can cause uneven skin tone and fine lines. Yup, Vitamin C does a whole lot more than stave off colds.

5. Vitamin A
Key benefit: anti-aging
Vitamin A is basically retinol, just in natural form. Retinols are highly effective at reversing the signs of aging, which is why so many products on the market have a retinol or retinoid component. While prescription retinoids can be harsh on the skin, a natural formula can be effective, too — and a lot gentler on the skin. Vitamin A can reverse wrinkles, fade dark spots, and smoothe the skin.

Armed with this list, you’ll be able to pick out high-performing natural beauty products with ease that actually do what you want them to do. How amazing is that?!

Christina Pellegrini is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. Her favorite things include Drake, athleisure, Beyoncé, lipstick, and succulents (in no particular order). According to Buzzfeed, her period is very metal. You can follow her on Twitter @theempireedit or read more of her writing on her website.

www.xtinawrites.com/