Natural vs. Organic vs. Vegan vs. Everything Else July 18 2015, 0 Comments

This morning, I came across a product for sale online that claimed to be an “All Natural” pain relief rub.  I looked at the ingredients, and sure enough, there were a number of not at all natural ingredients in the product.

The person who makes this product is a small crafter who I know from a few online conversations, and I am pretty certain that she does not intend to mislead her customers.  But all too often, I see claims of “Organic” or “All Natural” when in fact it is clear from the ingredients that the claim is untrue.   And it isn’t just online - a certain well known grocery store nearby often sells bath products with artificial fragrances, but claims they are all natural.

Very often, people assume that our products are “all natural” or “organic”, even though we only sell a few products that fit this category.

I think the confusion stems from two places. The buying public assumes that artisan products are better than store bought, and equates “better” with “organic” or “all natural”.  Added confusion results when buyers and creators don’t fully understand the nature of the ingredients in certain products.

I have hesitated to write this article because it is easy to draw ire in both camps - those who insist on natural or organic products, and those who don’t see why it matters.  But I want to be sure our customers understand what they are getting when they buy our products, and so … here goes!

First, a bit of background is in order.  For purposes of cosmetics, there is no legal definition of “natural” or “organic” or” vegan”.  This means that the term “organic” on a label may mean something totally different to the manufacturer than it does to the consumer.  

Despite the lack of a legal definition, each of these terms has a generally accepted meaning.   To most people, the term “organic” means that the product was grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or GMOs.  “Natural” means that the product does not contain anything artificial or synthetic.  “Vegan” means the product is not produced from an animal by-product and is not tested on animals.

It is very possible for a product to be natural but not organic, although all organic products are by definition natural.   Vegan products can be natural and/or organic, but they are not necessarily either.   Confused yet?

Why aren’t our products considered “all natural”?  Many of our products are not labeled as “all natural” because they contain synthetic colorants or fragrances.  My mission, when founding this company, was to deliver products that are not only good for your skin, but that smell incredible.   We simply could not do this without the variety of incredible fragrances we make available.  Almost all of them have synthetic components, however small. 

We also make use of preservatives to ensure the integrity of our products.   We have eliminated the use of parabens in all our preservatives.

We do carry a few all natural products - you can find them on our website here.  When we say something is “All Natural” - we mean it.  Nothing artificial is used in making the product.

Our only 100% organic product is one for the puppies - Charlie’s CoCo Paws Balm.   I feel confident in labeling this product as organic because we obtain it from a supplier who certifies it as such, under the FDA’s guidelines for organic agricultural products.

Some of our products, such as our Tea Tree + Vinegar Facial Toner, have mostly organic content.  Our Tea Tree + Vinegar Facial Toner actually has an organic content of 92%, well above the requirement needed to label it organic if it were a food product.

Keep in mind that you can always inquire whether a particular product is available without scent or color.  In many cases, we can accommodate your request.

We realize that these issues are important to our customers. In the coming weeks, you will notice that our product pages will contain new disclosures about whether a product may be considered natural or organic (and by what percentage) or vegan.   This is a time consuming process, but one we are committed to.  In the interim, if you have questions, please email us -  we love to hear from you!

-Barbara