Our aim with this article is to talk about the nuances about and between certified natural, vegan and organic cosmetics. Is the hype behind the certificates a true stamp for effective products or are there any other ways of approaching skincare with a smart consciuous wisdom and criticism?
Vegan Certified Skin Care
Vegan has become a strong word. There are companies who have produced vegan skincare for years and never mentioned it once. And there are companies who have sensibly attached a certified vegan sign to their products to get more attention. Let`s get one thing straight – most of the cosmetics we see on the shelves are vegan or mostly vegan. It is easy and affordable to make vegan skincare and the fuss around non-vegan products is just emotions bubbling over. Vegan means that the product does not contain animal derived ingredients like silk, pearl powder, beeswax or lanolin, etc. Some people tend to think that vegan means more environment friendly - nothing to do with that though. In the food world it is often even vice versa.
Vegan Cruelty Free Beauty Products
Animal testing on cosmetics products is banned in most places – internationally more than 41 countries have banned animal testing and some have limited it to a certain degree. After walking past the The Body Shop store in Tallinn the other day, it really got me thinking that is it really necessary to have all the cosmetic store interior desing screaming out – Help Us End Animal Testing for Good? When in fact, animal testing does not exist in the producing country nor in the EU where the products are sold. Where do we draw the line between smart marketing and ethical marteking? Of course, do we even have to draw the line.. Cruelty Free means that there have been no animals harmed or killed in the process of making a beauty product. Thankfully, the world is moving fast towards a more sensible and kind approach of testing cosmetic products.
Certified Natural Cosmetics vs Natural Cosmetics
„A search of the Wiley Online library of articles from the International Journal of Cosmetic Science (IJCS) shows that from the start in 1979 to 2000, very few articles (around 120) contained the term ‘natural’. This has grown to circa 750 since the start of the Millennium. In the last decade, in particular, related terms like ‘plant’, ‘botanical’, ‘marine’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘renewable’, ‘environment’, and more latterly ‘sustainable’, have shown similarly large increases in the number of publications.“ (exerpt from The Science of Naturals: Evolution of Cosmetics).
The world is moving towards natural beauty combined with an extremely high level of new technology. Natural is prestigious and luxurious again. Natural skin care is more understandable and more transparent – in a world of information, we are trusting things that we can understand.
For example Ecocert Cosmos requires that:
- 95% minimum of the plants that the product contains are organic
- at least 20% of organic ingredients are present in the total formula (10% for rinse-off products)
- the packaging has to be recyclable
- the product has to contain at least 99% of nature derived ingredients.
This is great and certified products can, no doubt, be trusted as far as ingredient origins go.
However, there are pearls that may be overlooked if one is only looking for the organic certificate, because natural resources like water, salt, other minerals and organic therapeutic peat can never be certified as organic. Cosmetic peat, in this case, suffers the most, as it is 100% natural, pure, clean, effective and very much organic. It`s a gift from the wild and therefore can`t be certified as if it was organically grown by someone. So, sometimes even better than certified organic is truly natural, organic and effective, for example Turbliss bog inspired highly effective face masks made from first class, nordic therapeutic peat. Certified organic is wonderful, however, it is not a certification of effectiveness. Knowing the ingredients, some basics of skin chemistry and smart, conscious choices in choosing cosmetics provide the best results.