What do the terms natural and organic mean? What are the benefits of natural and organic skin care?
When looking at the terms, in the USA, certified organic (as regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA) refers only to food products. There is also no actual definition of natural according to the FDA. Terms like “all natural” “no artificial ingredients”,” and “pesticide-free” are not regulated so the meanings vary widely from company to company. There are no regulations in the cosmetics industries for the term “organic” or “natural”. When you see a cosmetic or personal care product that that bears the USDA organic seal, it is a cosmetic product composed of at least 95% organically produced food ingredients. The product must contain at least 95% organically produced material, excluding water and salt.
For cosmetic actives and ingredients, like vitamins, peptides and minerals-there is no organic certification available so these ingredients cannot be termed organic. This is often where the need for the term natural comes in-for example, we use a plant derived source of Vitamin E that comes from non-GMO soybeans and is a beautiful and varied mix of natural tocopherols (which is optimal). We cannot call this organic but it is the highest, most natural source of Vitamin E-not synthetic or petroluem derived-so we call it natural.
The uncertainty surrounding these terms lead us to write this post to help you learn how to read a cosmetics ingredients label-which is your best bet in looking out for yourself. We also link every single ingredient we that use in our products to the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Safety Database for more complete information about each ingredient. We recommend that you always read labels to decide what is best for you and your family.
The cosmetic safety database scores ingredients on a scale from 0-10. 0-2 represents a low hazard, 3-6 is a moderate hazard and 7-10 is a high hazard. We recommend checking ingredients individually for the best overall picture of your product. One caveat: the cosmetic safety database scores all fragrances with an 8 (due to the unknown factor of what goes into fragrance), which can erroneously rate safe products with a higher hazard score even if their fragrances are 100% plant derived!
1. Generally, “certified organic” applies to food that has been grown in safe and healthy soil using natural fertilizers free of synthetic pesticides or additives. Organic farmers use only natural fertilizers and use only natural methods to control insects. This means that organically-grown foods do not contain pesticide residues and other chemicals that may be harmful to human health.
2. There is no actual definition of natural according to the FDA. Our definition of natural is that which is currently existing in or formed by nature, without the use of synthetic chemicals, and manufactured in such a way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients. Dairy, honey, meats, vegetables and fruit are all natural but not necessarily organic. In beauty products, natural products are made with ingredients are naturally-derived ingredients (such as sugar, herbs, roots, essential oils, beeswax, honey, milk, yogurt, plants and flowers).
3. We favor a mix of natural and organic products for skin care so that naturally derived ingredients like vitamins, minerals, peptides and essential fatty acids that greatly benefit the skin can be used in conjunction with certified organic ingredients. Cosmetics made with pure plant material are nurturing, rejuvenating and healing qualities to the skin.
Read here to learn how plant oils really make a difference to skin health-especially inflamed, problematic and acne ridden skin.