Organic vs. Natural vs. Plant-Based Skin Care

There is so much terminology out there when it comes to ingredients.  It is easier to understand once you know what these terms really mean.  Let’s start with the term “organic.”
Organic products can be classified with three distinctions.

  1. 100% Organic means that the product contains only organically-produced ingredients. They are produced without synthetic preservatives, radiation, pesticides or petrochemicals. The USDA seal may appear on the package.
  2. Organic products must contain a minimum of 95 percent organically-produced ingredients. The USDA seal may appear on this type of product.
  3. Made with Organic Ingredients means that the product contains at least 70 percent organically-produced ingredients. The USDA seal cannot be used on these products.

The term “Natural” is not a regulated labeling term.
Often this term is used for marketing purposes.  If you examine the list of ingredients, you will often find some unacceptable ingredients.  The federal law does not mandate that companies list the dozens of ingredients found in “Fragrance.”  You will often see this listed at the end of the list of ingredients on various products.
Fragrances often contain Phthalates. What are Phthalates? Google it and here’s the description you get: “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.”
I’m guessing you’re not really excited about putting anything with Phthalates on your skin after reading that.
Phthalates have been associated with numerous health problems.  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a valuable resource to rate the ingredients found in beauty products.  The hazard scores are listed on a scale from 0 to 10 based on toxicity.
Plant-based is also not a regulated term. However, I believe it is the term that is most accurate.   
Plant-based is a term frequently used to describe a food diet based on plants including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits.  A similar definition can be extended to plant-based products since they will contain elements generated from vegetables, plants and fruits.
By understanding the classifications, the consumer is better educated to make decisions based on ingredients and price points.  For some consumers, the price point of USDA organic products may be cost prohibitive.  However, plant-based products may be a suitable alternative for those who do not want to place hazardous chemical on their skin and available at a more reasonable price point.
Looking for plant-based skin care products? Check out my Avanti Rx line.