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Natural and Organic. What is the differnce?
So what is the difference between Natural and Organic?
These two terms have been loosely used and overused for a while now. Natural ingredient is an ingredient that was manufactured from a tree or bush or from something that was previously growing from the earth (a plant material).
Generally, when people see a product that is labeled ‘natural’, first thing that comes to mind is that the formula is made of nature derived ingredients entirely. A product that contains oils, butters and plant extracts. And no artificial chemicals were added.
Sadly, in today’s landscape of beauty product marketing, a lot of brands (especially larger ones) market their products as ‘natural' even if they contain only a few natural ingredients. Or even just a trace. Often, you can see a product that says on the front label – “Made with Jojoba oil” or “Made with natural ingredients’, but that in no way means that all of the ingredients are that - natural. There could be just 1% of Jojoba oil in that product that is natural, and nothing else. Or it could be 5% of natural ingredients total, and 95% of lab made material. And there would be no violation of ethics. FDA does not regulate cosmetic ingredients and manufacturers can and will exaggerate the truth to make their products look more appealing to the consumer.
The good news is that small natural companies today tend to have more integrity and pride in their work. More and more small brands gear their products towards real Plant-Powered Beauty and base their message on full transparency. Natural, to us means that our ingredients really do come from nature.
Be ‘label smart’, pay attention to what is listed in the full ingredient list, usually in the back of the packaging, not just on the front label.
Now, what is Organic?
Organic ingredients are also a plant material, but produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents including GMO. It’s a step up from the ‘natural’. FDA has a close eye on organic farming and in order to market a raw material as ‘organic’ a farmer has to produce a proof. Not only he has to ensure that his ingredients are, but also his facility in which the raw material is manufactured has to be free from toxins.
In the world of beauty all ingredients ideally have to be Organic, but it’s not always possible. Only the ingredients that grow can be Organic. Sophisticated beauty products most often than not contain nature derived or nature identical ingredients that add the scent, color or sensory effect. Emulsifiers, that allow to mix water with oil are most certainly cannot be organic. But they can be naturally derived and allow to create gorgeous textures. So be label smart, choose Organic where possible. And where not, know your ingredients and where they come from.