“Organic” and “natural” have become terms that we find on everything ranging from moisturizers to lipsticks. The marketing industry is feeding us, the consumers, what we ask for. This is deep rooted in the fact that natural and organic ingredients sound extremely appealing, but the reality is that these terms are practically meaningless on a cosmetic label. The terms organic and natural are almost solely responsible for the misconception that all synthetic ingredients are bad and that all organic or natural ingredients are good. There are no industry standards or regulations for these terms. No safety tests have been done on most of them and there are plenty of natural and organic ingredients that are not good for your skin.
Did you know that asbestos is natural? So is petroleum. In short, any plant, mineral, or animal by-product is considered “natural.” The product should have had minimal or no processing.
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- A cosmetic company using only one natural ingredient in a product could still brand it as natural.
- The product might contain water or a drop of aloe, and a company can put “natural” on the label.
- Non-synthetic can also refer to natural since it is a substance extracted from mineral, plant or animal product (such as honey or beeswax) that does not undergo a synthetic process.
- Companies want you to think products are safer because they contain natural ingredients, but there are many natural ingredients that show up in skin care products that are bad for your skin, such as almond extract, allspice, angelica, arnica, balm mint oil, balsam, basil, bergamot, cinnamon, citrus, clove, clover blossom, coriander oil, cypress, cottonseed oil, fennel, fir needle, geranium oil, grapefruit, horsetail, lavender oil, lemon, lemon balm, lemongrass, lime, marjoram, oak bark, papaya, peppermint, rose, rosemary, sage, thyme, witch hazel, wintergreen, ylang ylang.
- Natural ingredients may be harder to preserve against microbial contamination and growth than synthetic raw materials which would need tonnes of preservatives added to them.
“Organic” refers to how an ingredient was cultivated – derived from non-genetically modified plants, grown in an ecological way, with respect for the environment without the use of artificial pesticides, fertilisers or any other toxic synthetic matter.
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As with natural products, the term organic may be used for a product even if it contains just 1 per cent organic ingredients. An organic ingredient has an eco-benefit over a natural ingredient though, it might not make your dark eye circles disappear faster, but it is produced without chemicals or pesticides, which is good for the environment during the processing stage.
There is no substantiated, published research anywhere proving that natural, organic ingredients are superior to non-organic or synthetic ingredients in the cosmetic industry.
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Bottom-line? We can of course look for specific mentions like paraben free, aluminum free etc. Again, we don’t know for sure how free they are of all that. Unless we know for sure how a “natural/organic” company processes the ingredients, what it puts into each product or we make everything from scratch at home, we should stop running behind these, falling for their marketing games and screaming when we see too many chemicals in our products.
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