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What is natural cosmetics? And when is a product natural?

Natural cosmetics, natural ingredients, 100% natural ... These are terms that have become buzzwords in recent years. But are we actually aware of what that means "a natural product"? To this day, there is no single definition and the term 'natural' has still not been legally defined. By the way, even terms like 'organic' and 'ecological' are not protected by law and can be used by anyone.

In the world of natural cosmetics, people do distinguish between different types of natural. We like to go into this in a little more detail.

Natural ingredients

When ingredients come directly from nature and do not undergo any further chemical processes, we speak of natural ingredients. In this way, the structure is preserved because you do not change the chemical properties of your ingredient. Physical modifications are possible: for example, you can take a fruit from nature, cold-press it and obtain a natural oil that way. Examples of ingredients that are often natural: (essential) oils, distillates, clays, waxes, vegetable butters, etc.

Natural derivatives

Naturally derived ingredients have their origin in nature and are hereafter subjected to a chemical reaction. Chemical processing is necessary to achieve the right properties, e.g. by adding water. The best-known example here are emulsifiers, but also preservatives often belong to naturally derived ingredients.

Nature-identical ingredients

The last category is also immediately the most controversial. With naturally-identical ingredients, the natural characteristics are recreated synthetically in a lab. So you are no longer working with products that are purely natural but have the same molecular structure. The question here is whether you can consider these ingredients truly natural. On the other hand, this can provide a sustainable solution. If you know that citric acid, for example, is in high demand, isn't it more sustainable to work with naturally-identical citric acid?

Beware of greenwashing

Companies large and small are only too happy to put words like "natural," "environmentally friendly," and "sustainable" on their packaging. Often, however, this is a marketing ploy to boost sales. Countless companies engage in greenwashing, or greenwashing: they pretend to be more socially responsible than they actually are. This is often done by emphasizing the minimum amount of natural ingredients in a product. So this is definitely not about natural cosmetics.

So if you want to work only with real natural cosmetics, there are some things you can look out for. For example, there are some labels that can be used such as COSMOS and NaTrue. However, these certifications are quite pricey and thus not for every (small) entrepreneur. You can also use a mobile app to check products. The Yuka app tells you how healthy a product is and the INCI app allows you to check the composition of cosmetic products. We should mention here that the results of such apps are not 100% accurate and are best taken with a grain of salt. In my book De natuur op je huid I elaborate on this as well.

In addition, you can also check the ingredient list of a product. Some red flags are words like kerosene, microplastics, polyethylene glycol, parabens, aluminum chloride, phthalates, triclosan, phenoxyethanol and methyl(chloro)isothaizolinone. Again, in my book I go De natuur op je huid in more detail.

Of course at Marion Maakt

At Marion Maakt , we try to use pure natural ingredients as often as possible. For example, our vegetable and essential oils fall into this category. When this is not possible, we revert to natural derivatives. Our Sensicare (preservative) and PolyAquol 2W (emulsifier) are examples of this: two indispensable raw materials for making quality cosmetics that have a long shelf life and can therefore be used safely for longer.

We try to avoid nature-identical ingredients as much as possible. Still, sometimes we can't avoid them. Our color pigments, for example, are recreated naturally-identical in a lab. The fact is that these pure nature often get (too) contaminated when they are extracted. Moreover, at Marion Maakt we do not agree with the way these ingredients are often mined from nature (poor working conditions and even child labor). Of course, the pigments are compliant with natural cosmetics regulations and can therefore be used in your natural cosmetics with confidence. You don't have to worry about controversial ingredients either. Marion Maakt is resolutely against the use and offering of such ingredients in its range.

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