In the latest issue of InStyle magazine they included some coverage of natural cosmetics. I always love to see stuff like this in mainstream media. Even if they don’t get it exactly right, at least it brings more attention to natural products.
Ok, so the article Do They Really Work? included some truly safe products, along with definitions of cosmetic terms; natural, naturally derived, and organic. The article did state that the definitions were created by InStyle Magazine (along with the help of a cosmetic chemist) to help consumers “navigate the products on these pages and in stores”.
Do we need these terms defined? Yes, I wholeheartedly believe we do. But because there is not yet a true legal definition of these terms it is hard to follow something you read in a magazine. Sure, if a product carries the NaTrue or ECOCERT certification logo you can be assured that the product meets natural requirements…their natural requirements. These would be clearly defined on their websites.
But just the terms “natural” or “naturally derived” on a product label with no natural cosmetic certification? These terms are so vague and loosely thrown around that there are no, as yet, clearly defined universal definitions.
In order to clear this up, here is how I view the terms “natural” and “naturally derived”. These are my own definitions, and are very vague, not unlike how the terms are most often used.
Natural – Ingredients derived from the earth (fruit, vegetable, herb, mineral, animal). Products labeled natural contain some amount of natural ingredients, or ingredients that started out as natural. This amount can make a large portion of the product or a miniscule amount. Also, these products may still contain toxic ingredients and natural does NOT mean organic.
Naturally derived –Ingredients (fruit, vegetable, herb, mineral, animal) taken from the earth, which are then processed with either chemical or natural means. The end result may be natural, or not so much.
The problem lies in the assumption that natural = nontoxic. It doesn’t. Natural, to most of the world, means good, wholesome, pure. Natural cosmetics – sounds good for you, right? Not always, and definitely not often enough to be reliable.
I do not put a lot of stock in either term. As always my best advice, and the practice I follow…Read.Your.Labels.
Flip the products over, read the ingredient listing, check my Ingredients to Avoid list. If it looks clean, buy it. If not, don’t. If you are shopping online and cannot find a full ingredient listing anywhere, do not buy the product. If you have questions, get in touch.
Image by Morgan Sessions at Unsplash.com