It’s cool for brands to say that their products are natural – but what does this really mean? With all the talk of green-washing, it’s hard to know which brands to trust, and it’s a mystery as to what’s really inside all these products that claim to be healthy and natural. And what, after all, is the difference between natural and organic?
With our intel, you can arm yourself with the knowledge to identify which products are safe and healthy to use, and to buy right.
Natural VS. Organic Overview
Natural: what does it mean?
The most common natural ingredient in skincare products is water (aqua). Anything that’s a plant, mineral or animal by-product is also classified as natural. In the cosmetic industry, ‘natural’ is a term that’s used rather laxly, because it also includes natural ingredients that have been synthesised. Something like petroleum would even be regarded as ‘natural’. Also, many brands abuse the term ‘natural’, using it as a marketing ploy. Even if a product only contains one natural ingredient but the rest are chemicals, that product can still be called ‘natural’.
Knowing all this generally leads people to question the credibility of the big brands. But don’t give up: there are plenty of companies that do have a conscience and that are really delivering truly natural products. Be a smart consumer and read the label of every product before you buy it.
If you’re not sure if an ingredient is safe or not, refer to our list of the common yet nasty chemicals found in cosmetics and beauty products. Here, we tell you what each chemical’s purpose is, and what it can do to your health. Read our list now.
[clickable link to https://www.beyorgbeauty.com/en_us/hidden-dangers-of-cosmetics/]
Organic: what does it mean?
The definition of ‘organic’ is more precise than ‘natural’. In this context, it’s about products made with ingredients grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals. Organic products also have to meet higher standards than those that simply want to be classed as natural. This ensures that organic products maintain a certain level of quality.
Look out for organic certifications when you’re shopping for your beauty buys: these stamps of approval will be present on the products that are truly organic. Look out also for labels stating the purity of the ingredients that product contains, and how strictly they are treated – from raw material to finished product.
The general standard – an EU initiative – defines ‘organic’ products as those that:
Promote the use of ingredients harvested from organic agriculture
Use natural resources responsibly
Use processing and manufacturing practices that are clean, and that are conscious of human health and the health of the planet
Integrate and develop the concept of green chemistry – also known as sustainable chemistry, this hones in on products and processes designed to reduce or even eliminate the use of or production of nasty chemicals and hazardous materials.
Under this certification, products and ingredients cannot be classified as organic if they contain nanomaterials (paints, insulation, filters and lubricant additives often contain nanomaterials) or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Nor will they be classified as organic if they have undergone irradiation or animal testing. Using the term ‘organic’ on a product’s label means it has gone through as little synthetic processing as possible.
At this stage, there’s no single uniform international standard anywhere in the world. Many European countries have developed their own organic labels and tendering rules, and are certified by accredited, neutral institutions. The largest globally recognised, independent, third-party organic verification organisations are based in Germany, France and Australia. These organisations have provided the cosmetics and beauty industry with some of the most stringent guarantees.
At Beyorg, you’ll find that many of our products are labelled with the following certifications: