Naturally formulated skincare was once perceived as the domain of so-called ‘hippies’ or those standing on a soapbox, but these days it’s a definitive choice for conscious consumers.
Natural-based beauty brands are one of the fastest growing categories in the skincare market for good reason. Today’s world is awash with great information and rather than slather ourselves in chemicals we know nothing about, and using ingredients tested on animals who don’t have a say, we’re all about using the bounty of Mother Nature’s garden and making informed choices for beautiful skin.
However, when choosing natural skincare there’s a few things you should know:
BEWARE OF GREENWASHING
It’s not as simple as reading the marketing speak. There are many ethical companies out there, but a handful aren’t being entirely honest. For example, say a label proclaims it contains organic olive oil, while that may be technically true, it might only be a miniscule one per cent of the formulation and come way down the bottom of the ingredient list. The company isn’t breaking any laws (yet) by doing this, but it’s a frowned upon practise known as greenwashing.
HOW DO I KNOW IT’S REALLY NATURAL THEN?
One way is to look at a company’s philosophy; it’s a good indicator of how they operate. If you don’t feel clearly informed Trilogy have always recommended calling and asking for the lowdown. A couple of years ago Comvita hosted a global expert in the science of naturals, Judi Berrling of Organic Monitor. She feels the only way to be sure you are getting an authentic product is to look for certification. “It gives you some degree of certainty,” she says.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL, ORGANIC AND CERTIFIED ORGANIC?
- Made from plant extracts and natural ingredients
- Contains low/minimal amounts of synthetic chemicals
- Must contain significant level of certified ingredients
- And/or meet private standards
- Stringent assessments and audits ensure products contain natural ingredients, 75 to 95 per cent of which must be certified organic.
- Ecocert: the largest organic certifier. It has, arguably, the strictest criteria.
- NPA: US-based Natural Products Association assesses ingredients are natural, safe to use and environmentally responsible and sustainable.
- Assure Quality: owned by the New Zealand government this body provides safety and biosecurity services to the food and primary production sectors.
- Biogro: developed for the New Zealand market, Biogro is accredited by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
- The Soil Association: certifies around 1,500 products, which must contain 70 to 100 percent organic ingredients.
- Cosmos: an umbrella body for Bioforum, Ecocert, Cosmebio, BDIH, ICEA and Soil Association. They’re attempting to harmonise global standards.
- NaTrue: True Friends of Natural and Organic Cosmetics. It’s aim? To set high standards of quality, integrity and transparency worldwide.
Words: Jenna Moore