Natural Organic Beauty Products, Demystified

{by} Sasha | Crows' Feet, Cupcakes, and Cellulite

girl in green field

These days we are surrounded by a growing beauty product trend; cosmetic, hair, and skin goods labeled "green," "organic," and "natural" (it sounds like the description of the spinach salad I had for lunch). From deodorant to shampoo to lipstick, you won't be hard-pressed to find a natural, green, or organic version. Since I'm flirting with the idea of going totally green and organic when it comes to my food and recyclables, I decided to get to the bottom of the green beauty buzz and break it down, layman's style.

Green…Natural…Organic…What's The Beauty 411?

To name a few of many, companies like Weleda, Jane Iredale, and Physician's Formula all offer natural or organic beauty products. What's more, natural and organic beauty sales have skyrocketed in the past few years and, per research company Kline & Co., are expected to hit $6.7 billion by 2015. But before you ditch your current products for natural, green, or organic versions, here's a quick and simple explanation of these potentially confusing buzzwords.

First, let's define what green, natural, and organic mean when it comes to our beauty products:

Natural, according to the Oxford dictionary, literally means "caused by nature; not artificial." So what does that mean when it comes to your natural hair and skin products? Some or all of the ingredients come from nature (think minerals, fruits, sugars, and vitamins).

Organic means no pesticides, artificial fertilizers, or synthetic chemicals were used in the product production. In short, the ingredients were grown in an antibiotic, pesticide, and synthetic free environment.

Green is a popular word for saving Mother Earth; doing your part to help save the world and environment. If a beauty product is labeled green, that means they've likely used recycled products for the packaging. Natural or organic beauty products don't necessarily mean they're green. If this is important to you, be sure to read the packaging closely. If they've used recycled or sustainable packaging, it will likely say so.

What's The Difference Between Natural And Organic?

These buzz words can be downright confusing. In short, natural is a vague term that means some or all of the ingredients in the product are unprocessed or natural. Think minerals, fruits, etc. But note: just because they're natural doesn't necessarily mean the natural ingredients came from an organic source. Now, moving on to organic. According to the Organic Trade Association of Canada, organic applies to the conditions in which the ingredients were grown. For example, if an all-organic facial moisturizer contains Vitamin C, this means the fruit from which the Vitamin C was derived was grown in a pesticide-free, antibiotic-free environment and processed without artificial preservatives or ingredients.

So How Do I Know What I'm Buying Is Truly Natural/Organic?

This can be tricky. A company can claim "natural" or "organic" even if it has less than one percent natural ingredients. But there's a super simple way to determine if the product you're buying is all natural: look at the label. If it reads like a War and Peace novel and has a plethora of ingredients you can't pronounce, chances are it's not all natural. Also, look for the USDA Organic label on the package. This label means ninety-five percent of the product's ingredients are certified organic. The other five percent must be allowable additives like Vitamin C and glycerin.

Is Natural/Organic/Green Really Better?

The decision is all yours. As a society, it seems we're becoming more and more aware of "real" versus "fake" when it comes to our food choices. Likewise, I think we've started holding some of our beauty products to the same standard. It's nice to know the moisturizer I'm putting on my face doesn't contain harsh chemicals or unpronounceable ingredients. So, when it comes to natural and organic beauty products, ultimately, it comes down to you, your skin, and your budget. And if you're all about preserving our environment, then choosing green beauty merchandise is a smart start, too.

As for me, when given the choice I think I'll opt for natural over synthetic. Mother Nature seems like a smart gal…surely she knows best…

For more articles like this one go to beauty blog www.crowsfeetcupcakesandcellulite.com