Shopping is fun but can also be overwhelming at times. Be it food or cosmetic products, more brands are hopping onto the “healthy” and “Organic skincare” bandwagon and claiming their products to be “natural”, “botanical” and even “herbal”. While these labels may sound great, consequentially making you feel better about using them, they may not necessarily be true.
Spoiler alert: Without strict rules on the wording of labels, companies can AND will write that the product is natural, botanical and organic, when only a few or worse, one, ingredient fits the criteria.
Fret not, we’re here to break it all down for you; on how to spot what exactly is natural, organic, botanical and herbal. By the end of this post, you’ll be able to swiftly tell the difference yourself.
Natural! What a powerful word! Almost instantaneously, picturesque imagery of blue skies, melodious chirping birds, vast expanse of greenery come to your mind. When it comes to health and beauty products, this word is almost always loosely used.
If you have noticed, there has been an increase in “natural” beauty products on the shelf recently. But what really qualifies a product to be “natural”? Can processed ingredients still be considered natural?
According to a survey by the Consumer Report National Research Centre, many consumers have been tricked by this seemingly misleading term. They believe “natural” means that the product does not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients, pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms. However, the truth is that the word “natural” is not regulated on labels of most goods, which allowed numerous companies to misuse it over and over again.
In other words, the label “natural”, in whatever form, does not have any specific meaning as of now, and thus, is also not proven to be related to health or wellness.
Ah, now to the tricky organic skincare products. It can get rather confusing to really suss out what “organic” really means for personal care products but we’re here to help. The label “ certified organic” is extremely regulated, which is good news! This means that you can definitely rely on that for quality products.
- USDA: Met the requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture which are: 95% organic ingredients (excluding water and salt) and 5% can be non-organic.
- NSF ” Contains Organic Ingredients”: for products of at least 70% organic ingredients. The 30% remaining can be comprised of anything. even those toxic chemicals you are trying to avoid.
- Ecocert: The product contains at least 95% plant based ingredients and at least 10% of all the ingredients that are organic.
- Ecocert Natural: At least 50% of the plant based ingredients and 5% of all ingredients are organic.
- Agriculture Biologique (BIO): “Bio” in French means Organic. This logo means that at least 95% are natural and organic farming represents 10% of total product and 95% of the plant ingredients.
- Ecologique (ECO): “Eco” in French means natural. This logo means that 95% of the ingredients are natural and 50% of the plant based ingredients and 5% of all ingredients are organic.
Here’s the catch: ‘Organic” can still be misused. We’ve seen all sorts of beauty products that claim to be organic even though not all ingredients are entirely organic. “Made with organic ingredients” is very different than 100% and certified organic. It only means that at least 70 percent of it must actually be organic—which is great, until you realize that the other 30 percent can be comprised of anything. Yes! Even the nasty stuff you tried to avoid by purchasing organic products in the first place. This calls for a change!
To clearly identify the product before indulging in a purchase, simply lookout for “certified organic” stamps like: USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture), ECOCERT and Agriculture Biologique.
These certificates ensure that the products have been confirmed by the USDA or relevant authorities, to be grown and processed without the addition of synthetic ingredients or pesticides. In layman’s term, these products are health and environmentally friendly and you should definitely support them.
It’s a no brainer, botanicals refers to plant derivatives. This means that the ingredients in a ‘botanical’ skin care product are sourced from plants, usually from an optimum environment where the plants are able to thrive freely and without external chemicals or artificial additives. Do not mix that up with “botanical source” because the latter term is pretty vague, and points at the fact that an ingredient MAY have come from a plant.
In recent times, popularity in botanical ingredients grew and more companies are recklessly labelling their products as “botanical”. Due to the limited regulations, this may not necessarily reflect the true botanical origins of the product.
While herbal ingredients can be derived from a plant, making it a botanical in origin, a herbal ingredient also suggests that it is therapeutic and it contains healing properties that are used for herbal medicine purposes.
Companies are scurrying to label their products with “herbal” properties, yet there is a chance that they might have never passed FDA’s approval before the products hit the market. Meaning to say, these products might not even have any substantial medical benefits as most are unregulated.
Now that you know the difference, do remember to learn how to read the labels here the next time you are at a cosmetic store. At Ayelli, we are proud to produce only 100% certified organic skincare and hair care. Our organic certifications are important for us as they are our guarantee to the world that our Argan oil is produced using strict and safe production methods. Making it a health-conscious product that cares for the environment and farmers alike.
Have you ever fallen for window dressing and fancy marketing words? What labels are important to you? Comment below and share this article as a subscriber and you will receive our ultra-hydrating Argan cleansing bar worth $19 for FREE* Sharing is caring! Let’s chat!
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