Skip Nav

The Difference Between Natural, Organic and Certified Organic Beauty Products

The Difference Between Natural, Organic and Certified Organic

In honour of Earth Month, we thought we would clear up a few things first. As we all become more aware of the environment, climate change and all that jazz, there's been a huge surge in green cosmetics. Now, just about anyone has a natural, organic or certified organic collection or product that they want you to know about. But before you buy, it's important to know the rules and regulations around claiming to be natural, organic and certified organic.

Natural: This is the tricky one because, as we stand currently, there are no regulations around the use of the word natural in the Australian beauty market. Saying that, truly natural beauty products should feature at least 90 percent of naturally-derived ingredients and be free from all synthetics, but as there is nobody policing it in Australia, you need to be careful. The Natural Products Association was founded in the US in 1936 and they represent over 10,000 retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including those in the cosmetics industry. In order to gain their seal of approval, a personal care product must: "be made up of only, or at least almost only, natural ingredients manufactured with appropriate processes to maintain ingredient purity," should not be tested on animals and furthermore, should use "biodegradable ingredients and the most environmentally sensitive packaging." If it does all that, it gets the seal so keep your eyes peeled for the logo. And always check the ingredients list.

The lowdown on organic and certified organic . . .Organic: A product is allowed to call itself organic should it be formulated using all natural ingredients, be free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, genetic modification and petroleum derivatives and contain between 70-95 percent of organic ingredients. Then, and only then, should it carry a "Made with organic ingredients" statement, according to Australian Certified Organic (ACO), one of the certifying bodies in Australia that grades organic cosmetics. If there is no endorsement logo, be wary about the validity of the claims.

Certified Organic: In order for a product to receive certified organic accreditation, it must meet strict guidelines from a national or international governing body. It's important to note that, while very stringent rules apply, there is no one overriding accrediting body so all standards differ. According to ACO, in Australia, for a product to be able to call itself certified organic, it must contain at least 95 percent organic content. Again the formula should be free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, genetic modification and petroleum derivatives. If in doubt, always check for the logo from an accredited certifier.

Accredited organic certifiers: ACO (Australia), OFC (Australia), Ecocert (Europe), USDA Organic (US), NASAA (Australia), Demeter (Australia), TOP (Australia) and Soil Association (UK).

More from POPSUGAR
From Our Partners
The Best Kora Organics Products
Latest Beauty