There is much confusion over the difference between the terms organic and natural. Today we will clarify what these two terms mean in the cosmetics and skincare industry, and how to identify truly organic products while shopping.

The term ‘natural’ does not mean organic. In most countries, including the UK and US, marketing cosmetics and skin care products as natural or having natural ingredients is somewhat unregulated. While consumers are provided marginal protection under certain laws that state companies may not advertise products as being something they are not, the term is rampantly misused.

Products merely containing one or two natural ingredients are often marketed as being natural. Even products labelled “all natural” contain petroleum-based ingredients, chemicals and pesticides. Organic ingredients are completely free of pesticides. Organic products, on the other hand may or may not contain synthetic chemicals as well as organic ingredients.

As a side note, the ‘natural’ Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum) ingredient in many cosmetics is derived from crude oil. It has a tendency to smother skin, prevents it from breathing as well as blocking pores. Used because it is so ubiquitous and cheap. In my experience, it may provide temporary relieve for dry skin, psoriasis or eczema but ultimately, symptoms remain or worsen with regular use.

In the UK and many other countries, use of the term ‘organic’ is not very well regulated in cosmetics and skin care products. Moreover, most that do provide regulation in this area still allow products to contain a certain percentage of non-organic ingredients, such as petroleum by-products and pesticide residues, while still holding the claim that it is “organic”.

The only way to ensure that your products are completely organic and free of toxins, chemicals and other impurities is to familiarize yourself with ingredients and product labels. Organic ingredients are always described as organic in the ingredients list. If you see an ingredient that you’re not familiar with, look it up online to see if it’s truly safe. A few examples of synthetic additives are benzyl alcohol, dehydroacetic acid and phenoxyethanol (and not particularly nice)!

Some organic skin care companies claim that it is impossible to create 100% organic creams, shampoos and other products because they lack the necessary functional ingredients, like emulsifiers, foaming agents and surfactants. This is false. It is entirely possible to create 100% organic beard, hair and skin care products, without the use of synthetic emulsifiers, preservatives or other chemicals. We know this because we make them ourselves! See our full line of products for additional information.