Natural Vs Organic; What It Means

Natural vs organic; what it means

The difference between organic products and natural is often so blurred.

While organic products are natural; natural products are not necessarily organic. They are composed of plant-based material lightly modified and produced with the maximum respect for the environment. “There is a difference between going natural or organic. Natural products may contain natural ingredients but the natural ingredients may or may not be extracted from organic sources. Organic means that it will be free of artificial fragrances, synthetic additives, pesticides and seeds are not genetically modified,” informs Dr. Blossom Kochhar, founder of Aroma Magic.

So going 100% natural is different from going 100 percent organic. A 100% natural substance is derived from a plant, mineral or even animal source, without having undergone a synthetic process. Organic cosmetics include only natural vegetable origin raw materials, which were grown without chemical interference such as fertilization or pest control. The active ingredients in organic products are produced using natural and environmental-friendly procedures. The packages are also non-contaminating and recyclable.

Dr. Kochhar says that to understand the true organic nature of a product it is very important to check the origin of ingredients other than botanicals. The difference between a Certified Natural product and Certified Organic product in terms of cosmetics would be very small because certified natural cosmetics also contain mostly organic botanicals. “The difference would essentially refer to whether all the botanicals used are certified organic or not. For example a certified natural product may have 3 out of 4 botanicals as organic because the fourth ingredient is not available as organic in India whereas a certified organic product may choose to drop the 4th ingredient or import it from abroad and thus would have all its botanicals as organic,” explains Anand Srinivasan of Kama Ayurveda, a beauty brand that puts organically grown ingredients in its products

Identifying organic products

There are four levels of organic labelling based on certain conditions. The products must always mention the certifying agency on the label. Look for these in the product label to know whether they are truly organic or only natural.

100% Organic: A product can be 100 percent organic if all ingredients used have been certified organic, the processing aids and methods are organic; packaging is environment-friendly and made from recycled and biodegradable materials. Product Label must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel. The product has Certified Organic on its label.

Organic:  The product must contain at least 95 percent organically produced in
ingredients excluding water and salt. Remaining product ingredients must consist of nonagricultural substances approved on the list provided and are not commercially available on an agricultural farm. Product Label must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel. The product has Certified Organic on its label.

Made with Organic Ingredients: The product must have at least 70 percent of the ingredients certified organic. Remaining agricultural products are not required to be organically produced but must be produced without genetic engineering, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. Non-agricultural products need to be mentioned on the label, and must be from the approved list of the certifying agency.  The product cannot display ‘Certified Organic’ logo on the packaging.

Natural or Herbal: When the product has less than 70 percent of organic ingredients, then it can be termed natural or herbal product. While the label can specify organic certified ingredients, but the principal display label cannot put the term Organic on it.