Looking beyond natural product labels
As a parent, you want the best for your baby – including what you put on their skin. But do you know the difference between products labeled ‘natural’, ‘organic’ and ‘certified organic’? Here, we help you tell them apart so you can make the right choice for your little one.
Not all natural products are created equal
When you’re looking for natural baby skincare, it’s easy to be bamboozled by labels on products on store shelves. And just because a product says it’s ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ doesn’t necessarily mean it is.
To protect consumers, there are a number of government-authorised certifying agencies around the world, which regulate the production of natural and organic products. But even their criteria can vary from country to country.
So to clear things up, let’s look at the 3 main natural skincare categories and what they really mean.
This is a broad label. It may only indicate to some ingredients used in products, but doesn't always mean that the products are natural. When there is no certifier's logo accompanied on label with percentage of natural ingredients, you have no guarantee the end products are free from added harmful synthetic ingredients (and the percentage of those ingredients) that may cause irritation to your baby’s skin. Natural ingredients don’t always mean they’ve been grown or processed according to certified organic standards. There is no minimum of certified organic contents for this category of certification.
Most products labeled ‘organic’ or ‘made with certified organic ingredients’ do contain organic ingredients, however, the product itself may or may not be certified. The organic contents are usually between 70% to 95%. Be aware though, that some brands use the word ‘organic’ purely for marketing too, so as with products labeled ‘natural’, if you don’t see a legitimate certifier’s logo at the back of the packaging (usually with the percentage of organic ingredients), you have no guarantee of the product’s concentration of organic contents, or whether those ingredients are actually certified organic.
Organic farming and processing is a wholistic, chemical free, sustainable practice, driven by a wider goal to improve the health of people, the planet and all its inhabitants.
Because there is no laws and regulations govern organic skincare products yet in many countries, so the word 'organic' does not guarantee that the finished product is free from contaminants during its production and packaging - nor guarantee the percentage of certified organic ingredients of finished products.
Products labeled ‘certified organic’ not only contain certain level of organic contents to meet standard of each certifier, the ingredients in products also need approval to ensure that there are no contamination and free from GMO and irradiation. Production and packaging processes also need to meet standard and ensure that they have minimal impacts to the environment we live in. Ingredients are listed in the order of concentration in the end product. The percentage of certified organic contents needs to display on the label. You also need to be aware that each certifying body’s standard uses different calculations for minimum levels of organic content.
In principal, farmers and manufacturers adhere to strict standards and are regularly audited to ensure they’re complying. Each step of the process, from growing a crop to harvesting the raw ingredients to product manufacture and packaging, must be documented for traceability and quality control.
Remember, if it doesn’t have a legitimate certifier’s logo at the front of packaging, it’s not certified organic.
Why is certified organic more expensive?
Just as organic food costs more than conventional food, certified organic baby skincare can cost a little more. So, what exactly are you paying for?
Unlike most modern commercial farming and manufacturing, which favours large scale mass production to keep costs down, organic agriculture and processing is often a smaller operation.
Conventional farming and production uses synthetic chemicals in fertilisers, pesticides and processing to speed up the time to market, which also keeps costs down. By not using synthetic chemicals in the production of organic ingredients, more labour and time are needed to care for their produce, which costs more. Processing and manufacturing of organic products must have minimal impact to environment. There are also costs involved in gaining organic certification itself.
So just as an organic brand pays more for the credentials that say their product was created with sustainable, pure – and traceable – processes, you are paying for higher quality, safety, environmental responsibility and peace of mind when you buy a certified organic product.
So, why choose certified organic?
We live in a world full of harmful chemicals, but as consumers we can choose to minimise our exposure by the products we use. Because you can trace each step of an organic product’s creation, you really DO know where it comes from!
Using certified organic baby skincare is one way you can ensure a healthy start in life for your baby, and at the same time, contribute to a healthier environment for your child to grow up in.
Baby Bean Organics certified organic baby skincare was created by a mother who, like you, is concerned about her baby’s health. It offers a safe, gentle, environmentally-friendly choice.
Do you look for certified organic ingredients in the baby skincare products you buy? Why is organic important to you?
Feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!