Chemicals on the skin? Synthetic ingredients in the hair? No, thanks! More and more consumers are opting for controlled and certified natural cosmetics.
Of course, anyone who eats organic bread in the morning and buys their fair trade clothes doesn’t want to shower with chemicals at night.
But what are the advantages of natural cosmetics? What distinguishes natural cosmetics?
The times when mixing in a mortar and in the cream jug itself was considered a guarantee of pure cosmetics are long over. About a hundred years ago, industry pioneers brought the first natural cosmetic products to market. Many manufacturers have followed this line and are constantly introducing innovations in today’s market.
Conventional suppliers also “cheat” consumers in supermarkets by looking like a green package, decorated with flowers and leaves. All natural? Or is it more appearance than reality? If you haven’t studied biochemistry, it is difficult to evaluate the ingredients on cosmetic packaging.
The associations of manufacturers of natural cosmetics with controlled stamps, which distinguish genuine natural cosmetics from copycats, offer guidance in the vast jungle of offerings. Labels, for example from BDIH, Natrue, Ecocert, Cosmebio, ICEA or Demeter, follow strict guidelines and quality principles: they all represent a selection of high quality raw materials, avoiding irritating or even harmful ingredients, careful processing methods , packaging respectful with the environment and the protection of animals.
1 Raw materials
Nature: more than a buzzword
Natural cosmetics are based on nature. Even conventional cosmetics use natural ingredients. However, these are often so changed by chemical processes that only the natural part of the name remains.
This is not the case with certified natural cosmetics. Raw materials that are as natural as possible are left in the crucible and cream jar without the addition of chemical additives. The variety is great: in addition to the minerals and traditional medicinal plants, such as calendula, chamomile and sage, natural cosmetics are discovering new ingredients, such as the noon flower from South Africa or the acai fruit from Brazil.
In such a delicate process, natural substances are obtained in the best possible way, they end up like oil, fat, wax or extract. Where possible, manufacturers rely on organic farming and certified wild crops.
It is important for you to look at the INCI: The proportion of organic products in the product ranges between 10 and more than 95% of the raw materials from organic farming.
By this I mean that a product that is sold as organic may contain only 10% of them in its formulation, so be careful 😉
2 Products with Mineral Oils
Paraffins and silicones are taboo
Did you know that waste from the mineral oil industry is reused for low-end cosmetics ?
It’s hard to believe, but many conventionally manufactured cosmetic products do.
- Synthetic glycerin is extracted from propane gas in petroleum processing and used in hand and face creams.
- Paraffins are left behind during oil distillation. They form a waterproof film on the skin and are often used in lipsticks, but they are also used in creams because they make the skin look firmer.
- It is also used in silicones, for example as plasticizers in shampoos.
- Synthetic materials are made of silicon, oxygen, and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
- The cheap fillers permanently damage skin and hair that are based on cells and accumulate moisture there. This makes the skin and hair brittle.
Natural cosmetics have other basic ingredients: Vegetable oils and waxes provide care and flexibility.
Only this is used in natural cosmetics. Glycerin extract penetrates the skin and helps retain moisture.
I have an article about The truth behind Mineral Oil in Cosmetics , which I recommend you read.
Attention to Allergies
According to the Dermatological Hospital Information Network each year, up to 80,000 people contract a contact allergy to cosmetics.
Dermatologists are always baffled by new ingredients – the search for the allergen activator becomes a detective task.
A particularly high risk as allergy triggers are synthetic preservatives , for example isothiazolinone. They have an antibacterial effect, but can already harm at low concentrations.
Parabens, which have already been banned in cosmetics for young children in many countries of the world, although they have little risk of allergies, but are due to their hormonal effect that they cause.
Just as controversial: the emulsifier polyethylene glycol (PEG), which makes the skin more permeable to active substances and therefore pollutants.
In natural cosmetics, all these substances are prohibited. Herbal and natural preservatives like benzoic acid, salicylic acid or sorbic acid if used. Tolerability tests certify that these substances have a very low allergy potential.
Bioalcohol, medicinal plant extracts and essential oils have an antibacterial effect and make natural cosmetics more durable.
4 Fragrance and Color for the skin
Whether it’s the citrus scent or the sea breeze, synthetic fragrances are irritating . According to studies, around 2% of the population suffers from fragrance allergies. Once the allergy starts, it can be very restrictive on the lives of those affected, because fragrances are ubiquitous in most products.
In certified natural cosmetics, only fragrances and colorants that have these natural properties are allowed. Plant extracts and mineral pigments such as beets, ultramarine blue or iron oxides add color to lipsticks and makeup. Essential oils, floral waters or herbal extracts are used for a pleasant aroma. Although these can also cause allergic reactions in noses and sensitive skin.
But natural cosmetics use essential oils only in very small concentrations between 0.5 and 1 percent. In these mini amounts, natural fragrances are usually well tolerated. Contact allergies were more frequent in isolated fragrances, less in blends as in essential oils.
However, the same applies in this case: if you are sensitive, you should do the test carefully.
5 Animal ethics and the environment
Just for the Animal
Since March 2014, no product that has been tested on animals can be sold in the European Union .
But there are loopholes, the ban only applies to substances that have been developed exclusively for cosmetics. Ingredients that are also used in other products, such as medicines, can continue to be tested on animals.
The buyer still cannot be very sure about conventional cosmetics. On the other hand, in the case of certified natural cosmetics, consumers can rely on binding ethical standards.
Manufacturers do not use ingredients tested on animals after January 1, 1998 . A carefully selected and transparent supplier network guarantees a high level of quality for animal raw materials such as milk and honey.
Unlike conventional cosmetics, the use of raw materials from dead animals (animal fats, mink oil, groundhog fat, collagen or fresh cells) is not allowed. In recent years, more and more natural cosmetic manufacturers have started producing vegan products through their product lines.
The vegan flower logo certifies products that have not been tested on animals and do not contain animal substances.
After all this that I have just explained to you, I think you should have no doubts when buying natural cosmetics online , so have your head and look beyond the present towards the future, yours and the following generations
6 Ingredient production
Clear rules agreed: Social and Fair Trade
Of course, the raw materials used must come, as far as possible, from organic farming and certified wild crops. But a production committed to the environment is also essential.
While conventional cosmetic manufacturers allow raw materials and products to be radioactively irradiated to kill germs , for example, this is an absolute taboo in natural cosmetics.
Controlled natural cosmetics are not only focused on health and protection of the environment, but also on people: many manufacturers promote new agricultural cooperatives in developing countries and offer help for self-manufacture.
Union rather than exploitation is the basic ethical rule for all sustainable production communities. In cooperation with development and environmental protection organizations, conditions on the ground must be improved in a sustainable way. Fair wages and good working conditions for employees provide the framework for this.
7 Biodegradable containers
Balanced costs and benefits
A huge container and a tiny little product: these containers are repeatedly criticized.
Too often, the cost and benefit of the type of packaging are disproportionate. Natural cosmetics, meanwhile, follow the motto: as much as necessary, as little as possible.
Many products are recyclable and manufactured in such a way that they can be recycled with low levels of harmful substances. In the case of PET packaging, recycled raw materials are used wherever possible.
Manufacturers are also constantly developing new processes to make packaging even thinner and more resource-friendly. The first manufacturers also offer an empty container collection service to feed directly to the recycling department of the company.
The future of the industry is in the system that products must be manufactured in such a way that they no longer generate waste, either one hundred percent compostable or suitable for later use.
Good for the weather
For every kilogram of plastic saved, two kilograms less carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere.
Natural Cosmetics Seal
Provide guidance and safety in the cosmetics jungle: labels of natural cosmetics associations and organic associations.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.