We routinely receive questions about ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ products. There is a huge market demand for botanicals – or ingredients that are specifically derived from plants – in skincare right now – to the tune of tens of billions of dollars being invested by Pharmaceutical companies and of course smaller companies as well, to create new products. The push for more ‘natural’ skincare includes the use of botanic oils, supplements and other ingredients that promise to clear your acne, reduce your redness, smooth fine lines and turn back the clock on aging.
This topic is nothing new as there is evidence that even as far back as ancient Egypt, women and men were using botanical ingredients to beautify.
But does “natural” really equal “better” or “better for you”? There is a lot of confusion about what labels really mean and what ingredients should and should not be used on the skin.
So, what DO the labels mean?
– Natural is a very broad reaching label that is not regulated. It can be used on basically any product that includes a botanical (plant derived) ingredient! What is does NOT mean is that the product is free of other ingredients – so be sure if you have sensitivities or you personally want to avoid certain ingredients to take a look at the full list on the back of the bottle or tube.
– Plant-Based/Vegan is a label for products that have zero ingredients derived from animals and the product is not tested on animals
– Green: This terminology, in the scope of skincare, designates that the product was created in compliance with “environmental standards for sustainability”. This label does not speak to the ingredients of a particular product.
– Botanical: The product includes botanical/plant-derived ingredients but does not mean that ALL ingredients are plant-derived.
– Organic: This is a HOT button word! The organic label changes definition based on the certifying organization – so one product deemed organic by organization A might not meet the standards of organization B. It’s confusing! Bottom line – organic does not necessarily mean better for you or safer, as even products or ingredients that are labelled ‘organic’ may be allergenic or toxic.
Our takeaway? If you love a product – USE IT! If you want to avoid a certain ingredient or brand for any given reason – DO IT! Skincare is a personal choice and YOU are in the drivers seat.