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guest post: Organic Vs. Natural: Always read the Ingredient list!

March 07, 2011

Am I getting famous or what? *cough cough* My very first guest blogger, from my personal favourite yogini Mara from Art in Practice.

Recently, I was interviewed about natural/organic skin care products for an upcoming episode of CBC’s Marketplace. Being only slightly less obsessed with skin creams and butters than house of stark’s ‘chef’ Jess, I was honoured to discuss the topic. The interview and product analysis, (watch the episode to be aired March 18th to find out which companies are greenwashers!) got me thinking about the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ and what to look for in the ingredient list.

A natural ingredient refers to whether something has been harvested in some way from the earth or synthetically created in a lab. An organic ingredient refers to the manner in which a natural product is grown, being: without synthetic inputs (chemicals), GMOs (genetically modified organisms), and processed without the use of irradiation, industrial solvents or chemical food additives. A natural ingredient therefore can be either organic or non-organic, but anything synthetic or not natural, is by nature non-organic.

So, the verdict? If you are going for organic labels on skin/beauty products you are not protecting yourself against synthetic (read: toxic) chemicals. Chances are your product has a trace amount of an organic ingredient or two, perhaps as a scent, and is mainly comprised of synthetic sludge. If you go first for the natural labels, you will have a greater chance of weeding out many synthetic ingredients. So start by finding the label with the most words that you actually know what they are! Then, if you can, find a product with as many organic natural ingredients as you can.

Start natural, then organic, and ALWAYS READ THE INGREDIENTS!