Natural and Organic Mess 

Last month, Soil Association organised Organic September. After much talk in between ourselves, we realised that the “organic and natural world” was all a bit confusing, even for us –health and beauty specialists.  So we wondered what it must be like for you. How can you understand anything in this jungle of logos and war of marketing? Who should we trust?

I started doing some research, but the more I got into it, the more confused I was… Clearly, it’s not clear! But one thing is sure: there is currently no legislation for natural and organic cosmetics, meaning that any company can describe its products as they like regardless of how the product was made or how much natural and organic material it contains.  But there are private standards, often established  by non for profit organisations with their own set of rules.

Because this is all very complicated and it shouldn’t, we’ve decided to break it all down for you.


Chapter 1: Natural or organic?

First thing first, let’s be clear on terms. I don’t know about you, but I often get confused between the words ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. Shouldn’t something natural be organic and vice versa? The beauty market is very good at confusing us; we often see the words: natural, clean, pure, organic…  But what is the difference?

Natural: means ingredients derived directly from plants or minerals. They should have had minimal or no processing. Essential oils are often classified as natural.

Organic: refers to ingredients derived from non-genetically modified plants, grown in an ecological way, with respect for the environment without the use of artificial pesticides, fertilisers or any other toxic synthetic matter. The ingredient should have been extracted and processed naturally.

So… if a product only says ‘natural’ it doesn’t mean the plants it uses are pesticides or fertilisers free…