Thursday, June 3, 2010

Natural vs organic skincare

The proper summer weather with lots of sunshine and warm, lazy days always encourages me to turn to a healthier lifestyle: drinking more water, eating veggies and fruit, long walks and, of course, cleaner cosmetics. I've always been reading ingredients lists obssesively and for some time now I have gradually been trying to eliminate as many chemicals from my skincare as I can - and my skin has been thankful for that!

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In my research regarding healthier skincare options, I've come across an interesting distinction between natural and organic products. Isn't this just marketing, you may ask? It turns out the difference is actually crucial.

Any company can label any of their products as natural, and I've found examples of 'natural' Cheetos crisps or Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Between 2007 and 2008, the U.S. natural food market grew by 10 percent to $12.9 billion. Many consumers believe that 'natural' products are greener than 'organic', an adjective which to them sounds like a fancy way of saying 'expensive', according to an article published in the Chicago Tribune.

Certified organic, on the other hand, means that a product contains no silicone derivatives, artificial aromas, preservatives or fillers. These products have to meet strict requirements of a certifying body and are toxin-free and safe for your body. If you choose to buy organic cosmetics, always check the packaging for Organic Certification and read the ingredients list. If you can't recognize the words, it probably means the product contains synthetic chemicals. Also, if one of the first ingredients on the list is water, it may be that you're buying mainly water with a few drops of organic essential oils.

I'm not going to lie to you, 'all natural' product claims have got me in the past as well. There are many cosmetic companies on the market that we associate with natural or organic products while in fact, they still use synthetic ingredients. Think The Body Shop, Liz Earle or Lush. Don't get me wrong, buying organic or non-organic products is purely up to a consumer, not all skincare companies have to go organic at once; but I wish their marketing was more transparent.

Speaking of healthier cosmetics, in my quest for finding the perfect tinted moisturizer, I've come across 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20. While the company makes no claims of being organic (no certification? but I appreciate the honesty), the ingredients list reveals some delicious pigments, extracts and oils; and no water, which also means no preservatives! I've decided that instead of getting something cheaper but definitely less healthy, I'm going to save up and get this little beauty together with one of their gorgeous Lip & Cheek Tints. Rarely does a product make me so excited!

What's your take on natural and organic skincare? Have you ever felt tricked by some dishonest marketing?


  1. I think there's a wide gray area when it comes to natural/organic makeup and skincare. I haven't been really into it so far because it's not very widely available here, and I have had allergic reactions to the ones I've tried. Could my skin be addicted to parabens? hmmm...

  2. @Musing on Beauty: That's very true, I believe most skincare products can be put on a 'natural spectrum', with some having just a couple of natural extracts on one end and others being certified organic on the other. I'm sad to hear green products didn't work out for you! xxx

  3. 'Nude' skincare is a fantastic company. They try and be as natural as possible and steer clear of chemicals and parabens. I've been using their cleansing oil for about a year now and it's really changed my skin - if you can get hold of it I would highly recommend!


  4. @The Beauty Bite: I've heard great reviews of this brand, I'll have to try it one day! Thanks for the recommendation :) xxx

  5. I feel your pain Rocaille, i've agonised over ingredients and natural claims for about 3 years. its a really hard thing to decipher and ultimatley, cheaper prices and marketing strategies make us fail a lot and buy into bigger companies. I really think companies should be more responsible with their marketing.
    It just scares me that supposedly 80% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream

  6. p.s are you enjoying eva luna? isabel allende is one of my most favourite authors, i adore that novel.

    p.p.s topshop makeup, can you get it delivered to poland? they have a yellow polish with a fairly good texture for £5!

  7. @A Certain Vintage: That's very true about buying into bigger, well-established companies instead of the ones that really care!

    Oh, I finished Eva Luna last week, it was an amazing read. I'm finishing short stories by Nancy Lee, but they're quite depressing, to be honest.

    We actually do have a Topshop store here in Warsaw, I might have a peek at their makeup :) Thanks for letting me know, hun! xxx

  8. I'm slowly learning the differences too!
    I don't have very many organic products yet but I TRY to buy ones that are more organic :)

  9. I have to say the same about myself, I wish more companies had a green line of products! xxx