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The difference between organic, natural and non-toxic beauty products
Once you’ve made the decision to switch to a natural beauty routine, you’ll be faced with buzzwords and labels such as organic, natural and non-toxic. But what do they really mean? We spoke to product education manager for Nude by Nature, Emma Jose, to help us understand all of those green beauty labels.
What does it mean when a product is ‘natural’?
“A common definition would be that a natural product is made only with ingredients derived from nature and formulated without any synthetic (artificial) ingredients,” says Emma. It might surprise you that the term natural is actually unregulated.
What’s the difference between an ‘organic’ and a ‘certified organic’ product?
According to Emma, the word organic is not regulated in Australia. This means that beauty products can claim to be organic without any official accreditation or claim to be made with certified organic ingredients when only one of their ingredients is certified, even if these rest of their ingredients are synthetic. “Organic brands should be accredited and carry a logo of a recognised organisation such as Australian Certified Organic (ACO),” she says.
Some labels claim that their product is ‘chemical-free,’ what does this mean?
“The term ‘chemical free’ is often used by cosmetic and skincare brands to highlight that a product is free of synthetic (artificial) chemicals,” explains Emma.
What does ‘plant-based’ mean?
The term plant-based refers to products that are formulated with botanical ingredients that originate from plants like roots, flowers, fruits, leaves or seeds. But just because a product is labelled plant-based, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s natural. “While these products may contain a percentage of ingredients that are of plant origin, it’s possible the remaining ingredients are of synthetic origin,” says Emma. When in doubt, It’s always best to check the label.
How do we know if a product is really cruelty-free?
A cruelty-free brand should be accredited by an internationally-recognised cruelty-free program or organisation such as PETA, Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty Free. “Formally accredited brands must adhere to specific development and distribution criteria, and must also pass strict review and approval processes to prove their cruelty-free commitment and become acknowledged as genuine cruelty-free advocates,” says Emma.
Can we trust ‘vegan’ product labels?
Unless the label is certified vegan, you’re putting your trust in the brand to correctly declare if the product is vegan or not. If the product is vegan, it must be free from any animal products, animal by-products or animal derivatives. But according to Emma, the biggest misconception is that vegan products are always natural. “Not all vegan products are natural or plant-based, these product attributes are vastly different from one another,” she says.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you use any organic, natural or chemical-free beauty products?