So how do you go about navigating the pitfalls of marketing strategies and greenwashing? Here’s a simple two-step process you can follow:
Step 1 — Pay attention to the ingredients list.
It takes less than a minute to scan the fine print and know if a product is really what it claims. As a good rule of thumb, it is a wise choice to avoid products that contain phthalates, parabens, and phenoxyethanol. Do some research and find out what toxic ingredients you want to avoid and why. This will help you determine if a product meets your definition of natural.
Every product must have a full list of ingredients listed on the packaging. You shouldn’t have to dig deep to find the information online or elsewhere.
It may also be important to note that Indian cosmetic companies are not regulated by law to expand on the bases used in products. Sometimes organic, or natural products may have only 3-4 key ingredients present on the label while the rest of the ingredients may be depicted as ‘cleansing base’, ‘Base QS’, or ‘Lotion Base.” This could mean anything! If you notice these terms make sure to ask for the full ingredients list. The undisclosed ingredients may not be natural which is why brands feel the need to hide this from consumers.
Another key factor to take into consideration is the order of ingredients on a label. Generally, the ingredients present in high concentrations will top the list. Therefore, if you find that a product claiming to be natural has a natural ingredient way down it could be a possible red flag. When purchasing products that contain active ingredients, also check if the percentage of the active ingredients has been disclosed.
Step 2 — Look for recognized labels/certifications.
Another easy method to decipher if a product is healthy is to look out for natural and organic certification labels. Here are some common certifications that we think are important:
USDA Organic: If you see the ‘USDA Organic’ or ‘Certified Organic’ seal the item’s ingredients list should contain 95% or more organic ingredients. The USDA organic certification verifies that farms are complying with organic regulations in turn allowing producers to sell and represent their products under the organic label.
ECOCERT: Founded in France in 1991, ECOCERT is a benchmark for organic and ecological labeling trusted by consumers globally. ECOCERT generally certifies products that contain 95% of plant-based ingredients with a minimum of 10% of ingredients derived from organic farming.
NPOP: The Indian organic certification mark verifies that an organic product conforms to the National Programme for Organic Production’s standards. It certifies that products are organic and follows standards that are recognized nationally for organic farming.
Non-GMO project verified: This certification verifies that a product was created without genetic engineering and its ingredients are not derived from GMOs. It also means that a product is compliant with the Non-GMO project standard that includes stringent measures for testing, traceability, and segregation.
COSMOS Organic Certification: The COSMOS certification guarantees eco-friendly production, and manufacturing processes respecting human health. It allows only simple manufacturing processes and requires at least 95% of the ingredients to be organic.
NATRUE: The NATRUE label recognizes the need for better regulation of natural and organic products. It provides transparency and reliability to consumers across the world helping them identify true natural and organic products. For the certification, at least 95% of ingredients must come from regulated organic production.
In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, organic, and natural skincare can be a game-changer. They are not just better for your skin, and internal health, but also impart a positive effect on the environment. Therefore, we hope we have managed to shed some light on the grey area prevailing between natural and organic products.
At Clean Beauty Booth, we support brands that are safe, sustainable, and toxin-free without compromising on results. Maybe it’s time you make the switch too.