The Guide to Natural, Organic & Synthetic Cosmetics
Today, just like foods, many cosmetic products come with all sorts of labels attached to them. Words like organic, natural and bio promise something genuine, toxin-free and straight from the heart of Mother Nature. Here we offer some insight into what exactly makes a product natural or organic and whether going green with cosmetics can make a difference:
Organic cosmetics are made from ingredients produced without the use of anything synthetic, while natural cosmetic products are made from ingredients produced naturally by plants and animals. You can easily recognise organic products in stores. Many countries mark them with a special seal or stamp and sometimes even the percentage of organically produced ingredients is clearly stated. Natural products, however, are less clearly defined and there are no formal labels for them on the market.
You can easily find 100% organic cosmetic products but finding 100% natural products is less likely because even the use of natural products involves some synthetics. When oils are extracted from flower petals, for example, an entirely new substance might appear during the process that did not exist initially. What is more, even cosmetic products made from natural extracts of medicinal plants or herbs contain preservatives and synthetic ingredients.
There is a certain misconception that synthetic is bad and natural is good. Indeed, certain preservatives and detergents, such as Parabens, oestrogens and sulphates, are often blamed for increasing risks of allergies and other ailments. This, however, does not make all synthetic ingredients unhealthy or harmful. Ultimately choosing the right cosmetic treat is not just about whether it is synthetic, organic or natural. The choice depends on what the overall effect of all of its ingredients might be. As there is no simple answer, seeking expert opinions is the only way to make an informed decision.