Over recent years, the term natural cosmetics have become increasingly popular. Many consumers are looking for safer and more natural remedies that won't damage their skin. People are beginning to understand that harsh chemicals and preservatives can have long term damaging effects on your skin. First off, there isn't any legal definition or strict requirement to label any skincare product as organic, vegan, or natural. However, all manufacturers must adhere to the global standard of the INCI, also known as the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. There is a wide selection to choose from when looking for a natural alternative. We have compiled the differences in healthier alternatives for cosmetic products.
Defining the Differences Between Vegan, Natural, Organic, and Clean Skincare
Vegan: The term vegan means that the product does not contain any ingredients that originate from an animal. The ingredients don't have to be natural or organic. Many vegan products contain artificial substances that can be found in most traditional cosmetic products.
To verify whether it’s a vegan skincare product, you can look for a Vegan Society Logo. This logo is a certification that ensures the product doesn't have any animal by-products or animal extracts in their ingredients or during their manufacturing process. Additionally, the product has never been tested on any animals.
Another method for finding vegan and cruelty-free skincare products is to look for a Leaping Bunny logo. This logo is internationally recognized and ensures that no animal testing was executed when creating the product.
Plant-based: Essentially, plant-based products are made from botanical ingredients. For instance, many of the ingredients are from raw plant materials developed into oils, extracts, any other highly processed substances. When buying a plant-based skincare product, it's essential to understand the philosophy behind their brand. This means knowing where and how they source their ingredients and their mission to produce these products. Their mission and philosophy builds trust within their customers to choose their product over other brands.
Natural: Manufacturers are obligated to include some amount of raw materials of natural origin. However, these natural-based products may still contain chemical derivatives of natural raw materials. Natural skincare products do not exclude animal by-products. Additionally, many natural skincare brands tend to use lanolin and beeswax. Many raw materials may still contain harmful substances during the production process.
Nowadays, natural has been an overused and overhyped term that marketers use to sell their products. A product may still be considered natural with just 1 percent of naturally-sourced, plant-based ingredients. For example, a natural eye cream product may contain just one form of plant extract, such as indigo extract, and the rest may be filled with synthetics. Check the ingredients to ensure what is natural and what isn't.
Usually, the botanical ingredients will be displayed at the top while the synthetic ingredients will be on the bottom. Don't be alarmed if a product isn't 100 percent natural. Since a 100 percent natural product has a short shelf life, most products do need some amount of preservatives to allow it to last longer. You may check for the Soil Association's Cosmos Natural logo on your product. This guarantees that your product doesn't contain parabens, synthetic colors, fragrances, dyes, GM ingredients, phthalates, or other controversial ingredients.
Organic: Organic skincare means that the products use organically farmed ingredients. The ingredients cannot contain GM organisms, synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and other ingredients, not part of the organic evolution. Ecocert is one of the largest organic certifications in the world. Ecocert requires that organic skincare brands must have 95 percent of their raw materials acquired from plants. But the product itself only needs 10 percent of its ingredients to be organically grown. Another trusted organic certification is the Austio Bio Guarantee, which requires 95 percent of the ingredients in the product to be organic. You may also check for the Soil Organic Logo to ensure that the product is manufactured and sourced organically and sustainably. This means the product is free from harsh chemicals, parabens, nano-particles, artificial fragrances, and synthetic dyes. It's important to know that not all organic products are always vegan.
Clean or pure: Pure products mean the ingredients are plant-based raw materials that originate from 100 percent controlled organic agriculture. The ingredients contained are cruelty-free and vegan. On the other hand, Clean products are devoid of harmful chemicals like silicones, sulfates, parabens, petroleum derivatives, phthalates, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and artificial coloring. Clean products do weigh more than natural products. You can check for clean skincare brands by looking at the labels. Examples of clean ingredients are essential oils, zinc oxide, beeswax, plant extracts, coconut surfactants, and radish root ferment.