Organic, natural, vegan, cruelty-free, clean… the list goes on and on when it comes to beauty brands and how they label themselves in this new changing market.
But, do you know the difference between each and what it takes for a product to be labelled as such? Read on for our definitive guide on ‘natural’ labelling and what each really means.
Okay, first off know this. There is no legal requirement for a brand to label a product as natural or organic etc. The only legal requirement is that the ingredients must be listed according the global standard of the International Nomendature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI). What the hell’s that I hear you say. Well it means that ingredients are listed from the highest percentage to the lowest percentage, while ingredients that are 1% can be listed in any order.
A product can be described as natural even if it has only 1% naturally sourced plant-based or mineral ingredients. Now this is where the knowledge of the INCI comes in. To know exactly what is in the product and just how natural it is, the botanical ingredients should be listed at the top and the synthetic ingredients listed towards the bottom. Check the names of ingredients too if you are unsure, as brands can list these ingredients under scientific of Latin names!
Most beauty products will have a level of synthetic ingredients to them, as purely natural products often have a shorter shelf life.
This is a sneaky one, as products only need a small minuscule percentage of organic ingredients to actually label themselves as organic. We know right!
A handy way to know if a product is really organic is to look out for the Soil Association Organic logo. This certifies that the products are sourced and manufactured using sustainable, organically farmed ingredients, are not tested on animals, and are free from harsh chemicals, nano-particles, parabens, synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances.
Again, here is another label that needs no legal regulations in order to call itself vegan. Look for the Vegan Society logo to certify that the product contains no animal extracts or animal by-products in the ingredients or manufacturing process. The Cruelty Free International logo also symbolises that the product has not been tested on animals in any way shape or form.
It is also worth noting here that just because the product says it is vegan, it doesn’t mean that it is natural. It can mean that animal-derived products have simply been replaced with synthetic ones.
Within the EU products must list any potential allergens that can cause sensitivity. So clean products are often free from sulphates, silicones, phthalates, parabens, pesticides, petroleum derivatives, artificial colouring and synthetic fragrances.
The Fair Trade logo is one that is widely recognised and symbolises that ingredients such as coconut, argan, brazil nut oils and shea butter are bought at a fair price. This ensures sustainable wages for the local farmers who crow the crops. These products also provide support for community projects.
If all else fails and you are still confused at what’s what, may we recommend the Think Dirty app, which you can find out about right here.