You’ve probably seen labels on products touting that they are organic or natural, but do those two things mean the same? One might think that natural ingredients are the same as organic, but the truth will shock you!
When you are changing and going green with your beauty routine it isn’t always easy to research and buy the right products. There are a lot of different terminologies used in skincare that will leave you confused, from ingredients to the labeling, to the industry terminology, it’s often hard to understand what your personal care products have and whether they’re actually as 100 & natural, sustainable or green as they claim it to be.
When you research different products there are common words used a marketing ploy to describe products that contain ingredients sourced from nature, but they can still be a little misleading. Here’s a little know-how to help you spot the difference between organic, certified organic, and natural skin care products.
There are significant differences between the words “natural”, “organic” and “certified organic” that not many really know about. When something is labeled as “natural,” it is produced by nature, but that doesn’t mean it is also “organic.” You see natural products don’t really have to contain 100% naturally- derived ingredients to be labeled natural.
These products might contain ingredients that aren’t 100% organic. There is no real regulation on using the word “natural” on your products as there when labeling something “organic.” So many products that might have “natural” on the label might not be 100% true since they might contain harmful chemicals, additives, fragrances and other toxic ingredients that are harmful to your skin and body.
A ‘natural’ ingredient is considered to be anything that’s a plant, mineral or animal by-product. Natural products – or those claiming to be natural – aren’t regulated by any governing body, brands can use the word natural on their packaging purely as a marketing ploy. This means a product that contains a handful of natural skin care ingredients can claim it’s natural, despite the addition of synthetic ingredients.
When a product is labeled “organic” it has to have ingredients that are grown without the use of chemicals, pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Many products must undergo certain organic certifications to be credible and these products must be between 95 % to 100 % ingredients that are free of chemicals. If you see labels that read, certified organic” this means that at least 95% of its ingredients are organic. But if the label has “made with organic ingredients,” then know that at least 70% of those ingredients are indeed organic.
The term ‘organic’ refers to how an ingredient was farmed – it must be prepared and grown without pesticides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics. The use of the word organic on beauty products is highly regulated, however, it’s worth noting that just because a product uses the term organic on its packaging, and it doesn’t mean it’s 100 % organic.
So don’t be fooled by the labels on products since they can be very deceiving. Make sure that you always check the actual ingredients on the product and if you don’t understand them, do a bit of research on it online to see if it is truly natural. And when in doubt, skip any natural products and just do all organic ones so that you can rest assured that it’s truly made without any chemicals or toxins.
For a product to claim its ‘certified organic’, it must meet a number of strict specifications that go beyond the ‘organic’ requirements. The ingredients must still be grown and prepared under the same rigid conditions, but the concentration percentage of organic ingredients must be higher. If you see labels that read, “certified organic” this means that at least 95% of its ingredients are organic. If you ever find yourself in doubt, just look for the logo and if it’s there, you know you’re good to go.
Unwittingly, consumers are paying high prices for “organic” products under the misconception that they are materially different to the non-organic products on the shelf. Beauty personal care manufacturers have set out to develop their own standards for organic processing.
As a consumer it also becomes your responsibility to check if the brand claims are true and if they say they are “natural”, “organic” or certified organic, they are truly certified and use the cosmetic database that helps with extensive information to know the truth about skincare and different descriptions and their meaning in ingredients, preservatives and labeling of products. For now, organic personal care products using chemical ingredients and, at the very least, misleadingly labeling will continue to crowd the shelves of health shops, spas and beauty salons.