The Difference Between "Natural" and Certified Organic Skin Care Products?

The Difference Between "Natural" and Certified Organic Skin Care Products?

Consumers are having the wool pulled over their eyes by the major cosmetic brands who are jumping on the trend for organic personal care products. Rather than actually making their products organic, they adjust their marketing to describe their products as "natural" or "natural inspired". 

These types of "natural" products tend to have 1 or 2 natural ingredients (which can be sourced from non-organic or GM sources), with the rest of the product containing large amounts of synthetic chemicals.

There is currently no legal definition of "organic" for personal care products, so companies can get away with a multitude of sins, including all sorts of chemicals in even "organic" labeled cosmetics. 

They can contain chemicals such as foaming agents (e.g. Sodium Laurel Sulphate) or humectants such as Propylene Glycol. Synthetic preservatives such as Parabens and Phenoxyethanol are also common in "organic" products.

The only way to ensure that an organic skin care product is truly organic is to purchase products that bear the logo of a certification authority such as the USDA (USA) or Soil Association (UK). Products that are organically certified contain natural ingredients that have been grown and processed without the involvement of any types of pesticides, herbicides or insecticides.

The UK's Soil Association has been certifying products for over 50 years. In addition to ensuring ingredients are sourced from organic sources, it stipulates stiff rules for the inclusion of synthetic chemicals in organically labeled personal care products.

The Soil Association also prevents brands from mislabeling or hiding chemicals in their ingredient lists. Some "organic" brands may appear at first glance to have no synthetic chemicals in their ingredient lists.
However, closer inspection shows some are hiding chemicals. For instance, if you see Aloe Vera gel on the ingredient list, this will typically contain Aloe Vera and a preservative, such as a Paraben or Phenoxyethanol which acts to preserve the entire product, but is not listed separately on the label.

Other companies use Parabens derived from Japanese Honeysuckle or simply put "Aroma" or "Parfum" on their labels in order to hide up to 100 synthetic chemicals and artificial fragrance additives.

Companies that are certified by the Soil Association are required to list every single ingredient in a consistent manner. Certification helps consumers to trust that a product contains organic ingredients and that ALL these ingredients are on the label.

By Emma S Davy