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Diverse Attributes of Natural Cosmetics
Natural cosmetics covers various product types with diverse properties and attributes. The terms used in the world of natural cosmetics can become overwhelming. We're here to help you sift through and understand the meaning behind the most important ones.
Only raw materials are used for the making of natural cosmetics. These are obtained in the most careful way possible. The term "natural cosmetics" is not patented. To find out whether cosmetics can indeed be classified as natural, we advise checking the natural cosmetics certifications.
Natural cosmetics may only use ingredients that are obtained from plants, minerals or are of animal origin. The products undergo strict controls and are distinguished by their certifications.
Substances made on the basis of mineral oils are obtained from petroleum and then filtered to create a clear oil. Mineral oil is cheap, long-lasting and tolerated by most. However, mineral oils also pose problems. Chemical compounds are found in mineral oils that accumulate in the body over time. The negative effects are still not clear. True natural products do not contain mineral oils.
These substances are essential in ensuring that cosmetics do not perish after a short period of time. Preservatives also inhibit fungal, viral and bacterial growth to make certain that cosmetics can be used for a long time. Several preservatives are not beneficial for our skin, and in some cases, may lead to allergic reactions. Natural cosmetic products do contain preserving agents, however, these are usually made up of essential oils or plant extracts that contain alcohol. These preserving agents are generally tolerated by the skin.
Parabens also preserve cosmetics. They are often found in shower gels, shampoos or sunscreens. The skin absorbs parabens. The negative effects of parabens are still not clear, but there are indications that they influence, i.e. mix up the body's hormonal balance. Natural cosmetics prohibits the use of parabens.
Silicone, like mineral oils, are made from petroleum. It can be used in various ways and is cheap making it a popular cosmetics additive. Silicone forms a soft barrier on the surface of the skin that helps give it a pleasant feel. This slows down the natural process of the skin. Shampoos that contain silicone have a similar effect. Hair is given a silky and soft feel as the silicone wraps around the strands. This restricts the hair from breathing which is not good for the health of the hair - or the skin for that matter - in the long run. Health risks only become an issue if one is allergic to silicone. Silicone is prohibited in natural cosmetics.
Synthetic fragrances are cheap to produce and are long-lasting. While natural fragrances dissipate, their synthetic counterparts hold their scent for a very long time. Synthetic fragrances need only be cited when a certain concentration level is used in a product. These fragrances can lead to allergic reactions, head aches or dizziness. Synthetic fragrances are prohibited in natural cosmetics.
Palm oil, a plant oil, is obtained from the fruits of the oil palm. Due to their rapid growth, it is cheap to obtained and thus the oil product can be found in nearly all cosmetic products. The use of palm oil, however, also leads to deforestation of rainforests. Some other negative impacts are the issue of child labour and destruction of habitats for animals native to those regions - only to name a few. To entirely forego the use of palm oil is near to impossible. The upside is that there are now many initiatives that strive to make the cultivation of palm oil more sustainable.
Ingredients that stem from controlled organic farming are cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides or mineral fertilisers, which is less strenuous on the environment. Cosmetics are certified as organic when at least 95% of the ingredients are organically cultivated substances or contain substances of wild collection.
Vegan products do not contain any ingredients that stem from animals e.g. gelatine, honey, beeswax or collagen. But be aware that this term is not regulated and often used for marketing purposes.
This means that the raw materials used for the making of a product are sustainably produced and sourced in order to protect resources. It also refers to producers receiving fair compensation. Unethical business practices are not allowed. Oftentimes Fairtrade products are of organic quality and produced without any chemical additives.
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