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12/10/2020 | 5 minute read
Here are answers to your every question, plus a glossary of essential beauty terms to help you distinguish between meh! and marvellous.
So, what’s the difference between natural and conventional beauty?
In a natural certified formulation, at least 95% of all ingredients must be of natural origin, while a conventional (also called synthetic) beauty product can be up to 100% synthetic and contain any substance, authorised by legislation. Also, conventional cosmetics often use heavy chemical processing methods (e.g., bleaching, irradiation), which are prohibited in natural certified beauty.
Conventional cosmetics comply with the legal framework (in Europe, it’s the EU Cosmetics Regulation) only, whilst natural/organic cosmetics manufacturers voluntarily narrow these requirements to meet higher quality, safety and sustainability demands.
But if those ingredients and methods are allowed...!
The legal framework alone doesn’t distinguish between conventional/synthetic and natural/organic cosmetics, leaving space for greenwashing. Not all moisturisers on the market are the same – formally, they are still viewed as such.
Natural and clean beauty should be defined based on specific criteria, rather than just marketing claims.
What substances natural/organic certified beauty don’t use?
Natural/organic certified formulas are free from parabens, certain petrochemicals (paraffin waxes, mineral oils, PEGs, phenoxyethanol), silicones, chemical UV filters, GMO, nanoparticles, many synthetic colourants, artificial fragrances, and other ingredients, widely used in conventional beauty.
This is due to multiple concerns – from human health and environmental issues to the welfare of the local communities, involved in ingredient sourcing and product manufacturing.
I’ve heard natural cosmetics don’t work
Of course they do! Natural cosmetics are effective and ensure fast results – from intense hydration and anti-ageing benefits, to daily UVA/UVB protection and instant radiance-boost.
Over time, the advertising industry has made up a myth that synthetic molecules possess some kind of magic properties, and hence, are more potent. But the most important actives that influence skin condition, such as vitamins, antioxidants and proteins, can be derived from natural sources. So, natural/organic beauty, made from natural raw materials, actually deliver the highest concentration of biologically active substances.
What’s the difference between natural and organic?
Simply put, in a natural certified formula at least 95% of total ingredients are natural. In an organic certified formula, at least 95% of total ingredients are natural, at least 10% come from organic farming, and 95% of all plant-based ingredients must be organic, too.
Organic farming offers significant advantages – it does not permit the use of synthetic pesticides, fungicides and herbicides, which have a negative impact on the environment and human health.
Then I want all my formulas to be 100% organic!!!
Well actually, you don’t. Many essential cosmetic ingredients (water, salts, minerals, etc.) cannot be certified as organic simply because they don’t come from agriculture at all. Nevertheless, they are pure and 100% natural – beneficial for your skin and crucial in many cosmetic formulations.
Look, my drugstore shampoo claims to be eco! And this one is enriched with the precious extract of camomile…
This is often called greenwashing and angel dusting, baby. In most cases, claims like eco, bio, natural extracts, herbal shampoo mean nothing, unless you can find a reference to a certification on the label, too.
Ok, fine. But look at this vegan makeup brand – it must be natural, too?
Not necessarily. Vegan in beauty has nothing to do with plants and vegetables. A formula that is completely synthetic can be 100% vegan. And vice versa – a 100% natural formula can contain animal-derived ingredients.
For example, a bright red (and natural!) lipstick can contain carmine – a frequently used natural pigment, made from… cochineal bugs.
Insects! In my lipstick!?
Yes, carmine is a popular natural colourant, used in the beauty and food industry. Not that you can’t be totally ok with that, but if you opt for cruelty-free, vegan products, this might be a concern.
If you’ve decided to switch to (really!) clean, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free beauty, developed in a more ethical and sustainable way, the safest guarantee is choosing certified products that meet certain criteria important to you, personally.
What about MÁDARA?
MÁDARA skincare and makeup is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, natural/organic certified by ECOCERT & Cosmos, whilst delivering scientifically proven results.
With 95% of plant-based ingredients coming from organic farming, MÁDARA promotes organic agriculture and biodiversity, restricting the use of chemicals. We also use sustainable packaging solutions, including post-consumer recycled, ocean waste and plant-based plastics.
So, you can always be sure you are choosing skin-friendly and earth-conscious beauty, responsibly formulated and dermatologically tested, free from questionable ingredients and made-up claims.
Any other questions?
BEAUTY TERM GLOSSARY
Clean // formulated, leaving out certain ingredients and practices. Varies from brand to brand. Always check out the ingredient list and look for independent certification that backs this claim.
Conventional // also known as synthetic. Any cosmetic product, complying with general legislation only.
Natural certified // no less than 95% of all ingredients are natural, leaving out certain ingredients, prohibited by the independent certification body.
Organic certified // no less than 95% of all ingredients are natural, no less than 10% (in rinse-off formulas) and 20% (in leave-on formulas) are organic, and no less than 95% of plant-based ingredients are organic, too – leaving out certain ingredients, prohibited by the independent certification body.
Vegan // formulated and produced without animal-derived ingredients. A beauty product can be vegan, whilst being 100% synthetic.
Cruelty-free // manufactured or developed by methods which do not involve cruelty to animals. Both the ingredients and final formulations haven’t been tested on animals across the whole supply chain.
Biodegradable // capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding environmental pollution and long-term negative effects.
Green chemistry // doing things the natural, eco-conscious way, to minimise and avoid any negative impact on the environment and minimise the use of potentially hazardous substances.
Greenwashing // a deceptive use of green values for marketing purposes, which actually don’t resemble the actual sustainability policies of a company or a brand.
Angel dusting // a misleading marketing practice of adding an active ingredient to a formulation in an insufficient amount to give any benefit at all.