Why are people so concerned with using natural products, what is all the fuss about?
There are a number of reasons why more people are starting to use natural body care products more:
- Skin is the human body’s largest organ. It can absorb anything from 0-100% (1) of what we put on it, whether it’s natural or not
- Research into the cumilitive effects of many of these ingredients is yet to be done
- Many chemical and synthetic ingredients are bioaccumilative, meaning the body is unable to break them down
- Why use synthetic ingredients when you don’t have to?
How do I know if a product is really natural?
A natural product can be made up of both natural and un-natural ingredients. There are currently no regulations which state the percentage of natural ingredients a product must contain in order to be able to use the word natural on the label. Even products that claim they are natural, sometimes only contain a tiny percentage of one natural ingredient. The best thing to do is look at the ingredients label, learn what the ingredients actually are and how your body uses them.
The anderra glossary is a guide to natural and synthetic ingredients commonly used in a wide range of cosmetic and body care products.
What is the difference between natural and organic?
Natural and organic do not mean the same:
Natural: If an ingredient is natural, it has not been significantly altered, nothing has been added and nothing has been removed (the exception is water). Natural does not mean organic. Ingredients can still be of GMO origin and grown with chemical pesticides.
The use of the word natural can be very loose as products that contain a very tiny percentage of one natural ingredient can still be labeled as natural.
Organic: Ingredients must be GMO free, grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, chemical pesticides and free from animal cruelty. Products and ingredients are certified by third party organisations to ensure guidelines are strictly adhered to.
For more information about natural and organic classifications, please visit our understanding labels page »
Why do natural products cost more?
Not all natural products cost an arm and a leg, there are many few brands that offer very affordable products.
However, there are some factors that create price differences between natural and non natural products
- Natural ingredients have to be nurtured rather than just created in a lab or factory. The seeds have to be planted, the plants then have to be maintained and harvested; all of which takes time, people and therefore money.
- Weather can fluctuate and therefore might yield a great crop one year and a much smaller crop another – which can cause price fluctuations.
- They can’t be mass produced as easily.
How do I know if something contains synthetic fragrance?
The easiest way to tell is to look at the label. Natural products are ‘fragranced’ with essential oils and plant and flower extracts – sometimes labeled as their Latin name.
Sniffing the product can sometimes tell you if it contains synthetic fragrance. A great way of learning whether things smell ‘right’ is to go to a heath food shop and sniff their essential oils. Good quality essential oils are one of the purest forms of fragrance because they are extracted directly from the plant and nothing is added.
(1) Response from Sense about Science