In the clean beauty revolution of recent years, consumers have become increasingly aware of what they’re putting on their skin. More of us favour skincare labelled with buzzwords like “natural” and “organic” – but are these products truly free from synthetic ingredients? And what makes a product organic? Here’s our take on the topic.
Organic vs Natural
According to UK-based organic certification body Soil Association, organic cosmetic products use organically farmed ingredients grown without genetically modified organisms, herbicides or synthetic fertilisers. In essence, the product should contain only naturally occurring or plant-derived ingredients, and be free from toxic elements like phthalates and formaldehyde.
Just because a product has the word “organic” on its packaging does not mean that it contains only organic ingredients. To be sure, look for a seal of approval from a big certifying body like USDA Organic or Ecocert. By default, organic products are considered to be “natural”, too.
As for the term natural, it’s often interpreted differently across brands and consumers. Some would classify all plant, mineral and animal-based ingredients as natural. To others, a natural product should contain only ingredients derived from natural botanicals that have undergone little or no processing.
So, which is better?
Unlike vague terms such as “natural” and “clean”, products described as organic are strictly regulated. They require official certification, which can be difficult and expensive to obtain – especially for small, independent brands.
Australian bath and bodycare brand iKou, which is stocked by local beauty salon SkinFitness, uses ingredients that are certified-organic, but the formulas aren’t. One of the main reasons for this is cost; the high cost of registering the finished products often results in higher retail prices for the consumers. The brand is known for its luxurious spa formulas, based on Australian fruit and flower extracts that are Ecocert-approved and wild-harvested in pristine locations with ecoethical practices.
Another brand on our radar is Unna Nordic, a premium skincare line that uses botanicals handpicked in the lush forests of Finland. While the collection is not certified-organic, it’s approved by FI-Natura, a Finnish non-profit organisation that recognises Finnish natural cosmetics that contain at least 95 percent naturally derived ingredients. Here, the range is available online only at The Nordic Glow.
“Finland is officially the cleanest country in the world, so you can imagine how pure those ingredients are,” says Viivi Avellan, co-founder of the online beauty store.
“Some of the brands we stock are not fully organic, as the botanicals used have not been grown on gated farms. But Finland’s natural areas are clean anyway, and botanicals grown in the wild are often cleaner and more powerful than those grown on farms.”
This vegan and cruelty – free scrub contains deep cleansing ingredients and nourishing plant oils from Nordic forests.
Great products to try
The Nordic Glow thenordicglow.com
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