When it comes to eco-friendly beauty products, natural and organic cosmetics may sound similar, but buyer beware. The difference between natural and organic ultimately comes down to how the terms are defined and regulated. “Organic” is defined, and organic certifications exist around the world including USDA certified organic and ecocert certification. As for the definition of natural, well, there really isn’t one. Marketers can label a product as “natural” but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Make sure you get the facts and learn how to look beyond potentially misleading beauty product labeling.
DEFINITION OF ORGANIC: According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program, organic is “a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. These methods integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”
When you are shopping for eco-friendly cosmetics, natural vs. organic is ultimately up to you, but don’t assume the word “natural” means it’s better for you or for the planet. Read the label to find out what the product is really made of, look out for synthetic ingredients in cosmetics, and avoid products that contain harmful chemicals. Consider the packaging and what kind of environmental impact it may have. Can you recycle or repurpose the packaging when you are done using it?
When shopping for organic beauty products, make sure they are certified organic products. The “USDA Organic” seal indicates that a product contains at least 95% organic ingredients. There is also a seal that USDA-accredited certifying agents grant to products with at least 70% organic ingredients that says “Made with Certified Organic Ingredients.” Products that contain less than 70% may list the certified organic ingredients on the information panel of the product package and often state, “Contains Certified Organic Ingredients.” Many organic cosmetic brands offer an assortment of the different levels of organic certification, and individual products are labeled according to their percentage of certified organic ingredients. Different countries and continents have their own organic certification programs and seals, and there is also Natrue, an international non-profit association with its own certification and label.
Here are some great organic cosmetic brands:
- COOLA Organic Suncare Collection – Amazing organic mineral sunscreens. Love the SPF 30 Organic Moisturizing Sunscreen for Face with the Cucumber scent. It smells incredibly fresh, and leaves a matte finish on your face so you won’t look shiny.
- Pangea Organics – A great range of organic products for facial skin care and body care. Favorites include the the Nigerian Ginger, Sweet Lavender and Thyme Facial Cream, and the Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom Body Wash.
- Juice Beauty – They have a collection of USDA certified organic products (95%+), as well as products that contain 70% or more of organic ingredients.
- Eminence – They also have a USDA certified collection, and boast certifications from Demeter International (an ecological association that promotes the Biodynamic® agriculture method), and Biokontroll, an organic certification system in Hungary.
- NVEY ECO – A makeup brand that is Natrue Certified, offering a full range of foundations, blushes, eye shadows and lipsticks.
Do you buy organic cosmetics? Why or why not?