Natural vs. conventional cosmetics
Natural cosmetics became very popular in the last few years. Similar to everything that is organic, eco and vegan. You have probably noticed that the number of organic and natural products' providers is increasing on monthly basis, but how do we really know something is natural?
How is natural cosmetics different from conventional ones?
Natural cosmetics are supposed to contain (only) ingredients of natural origin, without the addition of synthetic compounds. The main stars of natural cosmetics are plant extracts, hydrolates and oils. On the other hand, we have conventional cosmetics where many more compounds are available, as we can always synthesize new and more effective ones.
Benefits and disadvantages of natural cosmetics?
1. Natural cosmetics are supposed to have better effect on the skin on a long term as they don’t contain potentially controversial chemicals that can also leave negative effects on the skin.
2. There is no need to add perfumes to natural products, as the scent is provided by the essential oils that are part of the compound incorporated into the product.
3. It has fewer negative effects on the body.
4. It represents significantly lower burden on the environment.
1. Shorter shelf life as manufacturers in natural cosmetics are limited by the choice of preservatives and oils that are part of natural cosmetics.
2. Some essential oils can irritate the skin.
Benefits and disadvantages of conventional cosmetics?
1. Larger selection of products and compounds available. New compounds can be obtained by synthesis in the laboratory.
2. High-performance synthetic compounds.
3. Fewer allergic reactions for people with sensitive skin.
4. More stable formulations like synthetic oils, silicones, emulsifiers and stabilizers increase the stability of the cosmetic formulation and consequently have a longer shelf life.
1. Irritants which include dyes, perfumes and other chemicals that can be potentially controversial.
2. Mostly negative impact on the environment.
3. Unknown effects of long-term exposure to some newer compounds that are very popular in cosmetic products (newer preservatives (phenoxyethanol, chlorhexidine, triclosan), self-tanning ingredients, depilatory compounds.
Can certificate guarantee that the cosmetics are natural?
No. European cosmetic legislation does not define a uniform definition for natural cosmetics. The certificate of the authorized body only indicates the extent to which the product is natural. The most famous is certainly EcoCert.
No certificate can guarantee that the cosmetics is 100% natural. You can receive the Ecocert certificate for natural cosmetics if at least 50% of the ingredients in your product are organically grown, and natural and organic must ensure that at least 50% of the ingredients are obtained from organic production.
The brand claims to be natural, but does not have a certificate. How should I understand this?
Having a certificate itself does sounds great and fancy. To obtain a certificate like Ecocert, it is necessary to handle with a lot of bureaucratic matters and, in the end, pay quite a bit of money. Most smaller companies therefore do not opt for the certificate because they stand behind their products. Rather than checking if the product has a natural cosmetics' certificate, check the ingredients of the product you are buying.