The term organic has become a catchphrase and buzz word for skincare companies. It is the latest marketing ploy, say a product is organic and watch it fly right off the shelves and into shopping baskets. Even better say it is chemical-free (Nothing is chemical-free ) and watch the feeding frenzy, but what does this actually mean?
Let’s find out
Because of the interest in saving the environment, this has led to organic and natural are the new buzz words so what do they mean?
Natural Skin Care
A ‘natural’ ingredient is any plant, mineral or animal by-product. A product is natural if it occurs in nature not produced in a lab. There are 3 main categories when it comes to natural products.
- Plant by-products – which include, herbs, bark, oils. So ayurvedic herbs, plant oils like coconut, avocado etc
- Minerals – these are mainly clays like bentonite, kaolin, Moroccan clay
- Animal bi-products- Honey & Bee wax are the most common, however in Korean skincare Snail Mucin.
Now although this seems like a great thing for the environment and people natural skincare products are completely unregulated. This means you are at the mercy of the company to maintain an effective dose of the ingredients.
Let me give you a real-life example a brand knows that Argan oil is extremely popular and can charge a premium if it is included. So they include the smallest amount of Argan oil in the product and brand it as ‘’ARGAN OIL’.
Because the natural skincare industry is not regulated this marketing ploy called ‘greenwashing ‘’ is used by a number of brands.
So check the ingredient list of the top ingredients (they are listed in order of percentage from highest to lowest). If the top 3 products are not natural you can safely assume it is not a natural product.
The second problem is over farming and sustainability. Like we have seen with the so-called superfoods, demand pushes production to unstainable levels. This leads to land degradation which is not good for the environment or us in the long term.
Organic Skin Care
Organic products are a subset of natural products which means all organic products are natural. However organic products are grown under specific conditions no pesticides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics and are sustainably farmed.
The use of the label ‘’organic ‘’ in skincare, unlike natural, is highly regulated. This means they contain at least 70% organically produced ingredients. However, there is no single that accredits organic skincare. This means each country is responsible for determining what is termed organic for them.
USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives
This is the highest grade for a natural product; it means that 95-97% of the ingredients are organic so is more stringent. You will notice that is much more common for single-ingredient products to be certified organic.
Sorry to break it to you, there is no such thing as ”chemical-free ”. Every single ingredient used in skincare is a chemical. I am also suspicious of any brand that uses ‘’chemical-free ‘’ as part of its marketing because either
- They don’t know that every ingredient is a chemical, then why on earth would I want to use their products
- They think their customers are not wise enough to know what is real and what isn’t
Either way I am not buying from them.
What does this mean? if you are keen to ditch synthetics organic is the way to go because you are sure of product quality. For oils and herbs, you can go the natural route because what you see is what you get. I like to straddle both, I love synthetic & natural/organic products all have their place in a skincare routine.
If you would like to learn more about the best clay (minerals ) for your skin BENTONITE OR RHASSOUL?WHICH IS BEST FOR YOUR SKIN, 5 OILS TO AVOID IF YOU HAVE ACNE-PRONE SKIN, 5 BEST OILS FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN.
What do you think still going natural with your skincare? Let me know in the comments.