One of the best ways to “go green” is to ensure that your skin care products are formulated with natural or organic ingredients. Many beauty brands work hard to use sustainably grown ingredients that improve the health of your skin while maintaining the health of the earth. However, the line between natural and organic skin care can be a bit fuzzy, leaving consumers wondering what type of product they’ve purchased.
So, what is the difference between natural and organic? Simply put, natural refers to anything that grows naturally, or is not man-made in a laboratory. Organic, however, is a label reserved for ingredients grown without the use of pesticides or other potentially harmful chemicals.
In the United States, regulation of natural and organic labels falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, alternatively known as the FDA. However, the FDA does not have official definitions for either term. In fact, no government agency is in charge of regulating the use of the term natural, allowing skin care and food companies alike to use the term as they see fit. The term organic is regulated by a program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) known as the National Organic Program (NOP). The USDA provides the same guidelines for all organic products, whether it’s a cosmetic, food, or home product.
According to the definitions and guidelines set forth by the USDA, a certified organic product must be comprised of at least 95% organic ingredients. In order to receive a “made with organic ingredients” label, the product must be made with at least 70% organic ingredients.
Outside of the USDA, there are a handful of organizations created to regulate the safety of organic beauty products, including ECOCERT. ECOCERT spans over 80 countries, and is one of the most trusted organizations when it comes to certified organic skin care products.
As mentioned above, the term natural is not regulated; therefore, a natural beauty product may contain as little as 1% naturally grown ingredients, and may or may not contain organically grown ingredients. Generally, a cosmetic product being sold as natural skin care is free of common chemicals such as fragrances, colorants, preservatives, and other synthetic additives. To be certain of a product’s degree of naturalness, it’s best to check the label, especially if you’re allergic to commonly used synthetic ingredients.
To get more information on cosmetics that pass the test, feel free to visit DermStore’s natural and organic section where we’ve done most of the classifying work for you. Just look for the stickers on the products.