Conventional cosmetics often contain synthetic substances and chemicals that can harm our skin. It’s no wonder that more and more people are looking to buy natural cosmetic solutions and are reaching for BIO label products in the drugstore. But before you throw BIO cosmetics into your basket, learn about how you can recognize if your cosmetic ingredients are truly natural in origin.
1. Pay attention to INCI.
INCI, or International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, is an EU legislation that mandates that every cosmetic manufacturer must include the product composition on the packaging. Thanks to it, you will find out what ingredients are inside the product. The substance listed first is the most abundant in the formula. Substances that are represented by only 1 or less than a percent of the product can be listed arbitrarily. Unfortunately, manufacturers often abuse this rule and list ingredients in such an order that it looks like there are more of one ingredient in the product and less of others. Therefore, it may happen that plant ingredients are at the top of the list and in the bottom you will find preservatives, although their ratio is the opposite. Also, marking INCI does not mean that the product does not contain chemicals. It’s difficult for the average user to find out what each component represents, therefore, we recommend studying what harmful chemicals may be in cosmetics.
2. Know your certificates.
Every natural cosmetic should have a corresponding certificate. It’s usually visibly located, so you should have no problem finding it. Here are some of the most common certificates that indicate the ecological origin of the product.
- BDIH – The most used certificate. It declares that by purchasing the product you will not support the oil industry. It also does not contain synthetic preservatives or fragrances. In addition, it has not been tested on animals and does not contain raw materials from dead animals. The plant components come from organic farming or controlled harvesting.
- EcoCert – Indicates organic cosmetic products. You will also find out the percentage of ingredients from organic farming on the packaging. Cosmetics with this certificate have not been tested on animals and packaging is always recyclable or biodegradable.
- BIO cosmetics – This mark is awarded by the French Trade Association for Ecologically Controlled Cosmetics (Cosmebio). The marking is based on EcoCert standards.
- USDA Organic – An American national form of certification that is awarded according to the criteria laid down for organic farming. It supports trade, organic production, and rural communities. The product must contain at least 95 components of organic farming.
- ICEA – Products marked ICEA have used exclusively natural, non-genetically manipulated raw materials, which to a greater extent come from organic farming or controlled harvesting in the wild.
- NaTrue – The international non-profit organization NaTrue (True Friends of Natural and Organic Cosmetics) identifies products that are more than 75% natural. They do not contain petroleum substances, synthetic dyes, perfumes or preservatives.
- Demeter – Labeling of biodynamic agricultural products. It’s awarded in addition to organic farming, such as a new method of fertilizing and revitalizing the soil, which uses special biodynamic preparations. Products marked in this way have a content of at least 95 organic ingredients.
- CPK – Czech quality mark awarded by a non-profit organization.
- Control of organic farming. A product with such a certificate contains only natural ingredients.
- CPK BIO indicates that the product may only contain raw materials from organic farming.
3. Beware of controversial certificates.
Vegan certificates don’t always certify that the product doesn’t contain harmful substances. While products with the Vegan logo do not contain, for example, honey or beeswax – which is not harmful to human skin – they may contain PEG (polyethylene glycol), which causes skin irritation. Another controversial certificate is Leaping Bunny. This is an American cosmetics certification, which certifies that a product is not tested on animals. But since 2013, in the European Union there has been a ban on cosmetics tested on animals. The Leaping Bunny label is important for cosmetics imported from the USA, but as a result you pay more for an unnecessary certificate.
4. Try applications that check the ingredients for you.
As a regular consumer, you usually don’t have a chance to understand the complex chemical composition of cosmetics. That's why mobile applications can help you determine which substances are dangerous. Simply install the application on your phone and then scan the product’s barcode. The application recognizes toxic substances and some will even offer you the purchase of a better alternative. Here are a few to choose from:
- Skin Deep
5. Check the ingredients in the dictionary.
Not all products can be found in mobile applications. When this happens, use smart helpers, like the Internet. Learn more about INCI so that you know more the next time you buy.
Your health should always come first. Therefore, choose natural cosmetics and pay close attention to what individual products contain. Your body will thank you.