Natural cosmetics - The little ABC

Natural cosmetics have experienced a strong increase in demand in recent years and are very much in vogue. This has also resulted in many new brands and products and the selection is getting bigger and bigger. The fact is, however, that the term natural cosmetics or organic cosmetics is not legally protected and the permitted ingredients are not clearly defined. Therefore, theoretically, every cosmetics manufacturer can set its own specifications and call its products natural cosmetics.

We explain to you what is meant by real natural cosmetics, what you have to pay attention to and how you can even easily produce natural cosmetics yourself using our own resources.

Table of Contents

What exactly is meant by natural cosmetics?
What is the difference between natural cosmetics and natural cosmetics?
Does clean beauty also count as natural cosmetics?
Are natural cosmetics always vegan?
How do I recognize "real" natural cosmetics?
Are natural cosmetics also sustainable?
Are natural cosmetics better tolerated than conventional cosmetics?
What's so bad about conventional cosmetics?
Simply make your own natural cosmetics

What exactly is meant by natural cosmetics?

"Natural", "Organic", "Natural", "Green", "Pure" or "Clean Beauty" - these labels can be found more and more often on cosmetic products. But what exactly does that mean and are these actually natural cosmetics?

According to the definition, natural cosmetics consist of ingredients "of plant, inorganic-mineral or animal origin as well as mixtures thereof" and therefore completely dispense with artificial fragrances and additives, parabens, mineral oils, silicones and microplastics. During production, a particularly gentle manufacturing process based on natural processes is used. Animal testing and genetic engineering processes are completely avoided. Depending on the certification label, a certain minimum percentage must also come from organic farming.

Organic cosmetics can call themselves accordingly if they comply with the above criteria and the ingredients also come from at least 95% organically controlled production.

What is the difference between natural cosmetics and natural cosmetics?

Natural cosmetics is not a clearly defined term. The manufacturers of conventional cosmetics usually advertise that they contain natural, plant-based ingredients such as almond milk, olive oil or aloe vera, although the proportion of these in addition to the chemical ingredients is only minimal. This is definitely not real natural cosmetics.

Natural cosmetics refer to products that contain pure natural substances and do without certain synthetic ingredients. The packaging usually contains information such as "free from parabens, silicones, artificial additives", but they cannot be certified according to any renowned natural cosmetics standard and are therefore not to be understood as natural cosmetics.

Substances close to nature are obtained from natural raw materials through simple manufacturing steps, with the exception of mineral oil, which is completely forbidden in natural cosmetics. These substances are permitted in certified natural cosmetics.

Nature- identical raw materials can be pigments or minerals such as baking soda or soda or preservatives. They can occur in nature in the same composition, but are reproduced synthetically using chemical reactions because they are not available in the required quantity or quality. All quality seals except demeter allow such preservatives.

Does clean beauty also count as natural cosmetics?

Clean beauty is the latest trend in cosmetics and many equate the term with natural cosmetics, but this is not the case. Clean Beauty dispenses with ingredients that are harmful to health and are criticized for being hormone-altering, carcinogenic or damaging to the skin. These are, for example, silicones, parabens, chemical filters or synthetic substances.

Are natural cosmetics always vegan?

No, not necessarily, because according to the directive, animal end products such as milk and honey may also be included. But you can be sure that they are vegan natural cosmetic products if they also carry the vegan seal.

How do I recognize "real" natural cosmetics?

Even if the product advertises natural ingredients, this does not mean that it has to be actual natural cosmetics.

Fortunately, however, there are organizations and associations that have introduced certified natural cosmetics seals to guarantee the highest quality standards in terms of ingredients and also provide information about manufacturing processes.

The guidelines vary in severity, but all of the following seals can be assumed to be genuine, certified natural cosmetics.

The most important natural cosmetics seals of approval:

The internationally recognized NaTrue seal is developed by the NATRUE Scientific Committee Criteria and Label. The criteria are divided into three certification levels: natural cosmetics, natural cosmetics with organic content (at least 70% from controlled organic production) and organic cosmetics (at least 95% from controlled organic production).

In addition, aspects of sustainable development must be taken into account along the entire value chain, with the best possible conservation of biodiversity.

BDIH stands for the Federal Association of Industrial and Trading Companies for Drugs, Health Products, Dietary Supplements and Cosmetics eV and is a non-profit association of manufacturers and distributors. The BDIH founded the International Organic and Natural Cosmetics Corporation (IONC GmbH) to organize the worldwide control of cosmetic products according to the BDIH standard. It is based on the international standard of COSMOS, an association based in Belgium.

Certified natural cosmetics products receive the "Cosmos Natural" seal and are awarded the "Controlled Natural Cosmetics" test mark.

A product receives the organic seal "Cosmos Organic" if at least 95% of the ingredients come from controlled organic cultivation. 15 Vegetable raw materials, such as olive oil, but also palm and coconut oil, must always come from certified organic raw materials.

ecocert Ecocert Cosmos Organic Logo
ECOCERT is a French-based control and certification association for organic products and awards its Ecocert certificate when at least 95% of the ingredients are of natural origin, distinguishing between vegetable, mineral, marine and animal substances.

For the natural cosmetics certificate (Natural Cosmetic) , 50% of the plant-based ingredients and 5% of the total ingredients must come from organically controlled products.

The Biokosmetik seal (Organic Cosmetic) is issued if, as with the BDIH seal, at least 95% of the plant-based ingredients and 10% of the total ingredients come from organic farming.

In addition, only recyclable or biodegradable packaging may be used.

demeter demeter logo
demeter's guidelines are considered to be the strictest for high-quality organic products in the world. Products that bear the Demeter seal must always contain at least 90% Demeter raw material content of vegetable components.

Other seals of approval:

Vegan Flower -
Vegan -

Are natural cosmetics also sustainable?

Natural cosmetics rely on natural raw materials and do without harmful additives such as mineral oil and microplastics, but unfortunately the product packaging is still mostly made of plastic. This is a big problem because on the one hand it pollutes the environment and on the other hand the plasticizers it contains can harm us. Some plasticizers are on the list of "substances of very high concern (SVHC)" because they can damage the endocrine system and fertility. The manufacturers are not obliged to identify the plasticizers they contain, but they are obliged to provide information. This is possible via the “Scan4Chem” app from the Federal Environment Agency.

There is still a lot of catching up to do here, but fortunately there are more and more alternatives that are plastic-free and environmentally friendly.

Are natural cosmetics better tolerated than conventional cosmetics?

Natural cosmetics are certainly better for the skin due to the absence of harmful substances, but allergies can also be caused by natural ingredients and essential oils. It is therefore advisable to pay attention to the exact fragrances for sensitive skin and to test the product on a less sensitive area of ​​skin first.

What's so bad about conventional cosmetics?

In addition to the synthetic ingredients that damage us and our skin, the biggest problem with conventional cosmetics is the microplastics they contain, which are particularly harmful to the environment because they get directly into the water via the wastewater. Microplastics can be found in products such as shampoos, shower gels, scrubs and make-up. A single shower can flush up to 100,000 microplastic particles into the sea! The catastrophic effects can already be seen everywhere - for us humans and for the entire ecosystem. And long-term consequences have not yet been researched.

With its guide to microplastics, the Beat the Microbead initiative creates transparency as to which products contain questionable microplastic components

Simply make your own natural cosmetics

A conversion does not have to be immediate and not 100%. Step by step you can test new products and switch to natural cosmetics. A cheap and very environmentally friendly option is to simply make the products yourself. There are now many instructions on the Internet on how to produce natural cosmetics yourself with simple means. You can find the basic ingredients in your fridge or you can get them in health food stores or health food stores.

For example, this simple recipe for a radiant, fresh complexion:

40 g orange fillet (or another fruit)
1 tbsp organic yoghurt
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white clay

Blend all the ingredients except the coconut oil in a blender. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan and add to the mixture. Add 2-3 drops of essential oils such as thyme, rosemary, or lavender, if desired. Mix well until smooth and chill in the freezer for a few minutes.

Apply the mask to cleansed skin for about 10-15 minutes (not in the eyes!) and then remove with a warm washcloth.

By the way: With toxfox or codecheck you can easily check products for their ingredients.

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