Natural, ecological, vegan. What is the difference between them?
Natural, ecological, vegan, is it the same thing? Absolutely! When it comes to cosmetic products, so much similar terminology can confuse us. To make matters worse, brands sometimes don't help much to undo the knot.
So we take out the whiteboard and open our hearts to try to shed a little light on all these issues.
What does natural mean?
To start (and start well) there is no rule that defines exactly what is and what is not natural cosmetics. In 2016, the international standard ISO 16128 'Guide to technical definitions for natural ingredients and products' was published, but in the end they are a set of good practices and guidelines . Useful for laboratory technicians and formulators, but that's where it stops.
If we had to jump into the pool and give a global definition of natural cosmetics, we would say that it is one that tries to include the maximum possible amount of ingredients of natural origin in its formula. Additionally, try to avoid lab-synthesized ingredients as much as possible. Finally, natural cosmetics should always have sustainability as their flag.
We are clear about it. At Vera & the birds we believe and create natural cosmetics for a simple and powerful reason: we believe that nature has a lot to offer us . We use the power of plants, seeds and fruits to purify, hydrate and repair the skin through innovative, sustainable and highly effective formulas.
It is essential that our products are packed with powerful, natural active ingredients, and that they are as sustainable as possible. We do not use certain substances such as parabens or silicones not because they are the devil but because we believe that in nature there are very effective and perfectly valid alternatives .
You are full of chemicals
'But does this have chemicals?' Ah, the dreaded chemicals. Let me tell you, darling, what chemistry it all is . Life is chemistry, water is chemistry, your shampoo is chemistry, you are a series of chemical compounds. Almost always when we talk about chemicals we actually mean to talk about synthetic substances , that is, manufactured artificially in the laboratory. Conventional cosmetics use natural ingredients and synthetic compounds in different proportions. The natural one, although as we have mentioned there is no exact standard, must contain the highest possible % of natural ingredients .
This is the case of Vera & the birds. We always look for the greatest naturalness possible, which is why our formulas contain a percentage of natural ingredients between 98.7 and 100% . We are very proud of this! This high percentage gives us cosmetics full of vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients that provide real and significant value to our skin.
But what about that small unnatural percentage? The tiny non-natural % that you see in some products responds to our commitment to offering you a sensorial, effective and - above all - safe product: they are there to provide stability to the formula and preserve it. There are some products that can be 100% natural without the need to introduce synthetic preservatives, this is the case, for example, of oils. Emulsions, on the other hand, are more complicated to formulate 100% natural since, as they contain water, it can be contaminated more easily if it is not properly preserved. Another fairly clear example is makeup: it is very difficult to make it completely natural because its most notable characteristics (pigment and result) are usually achieved using synthetic ingredients.
Neither synthetic is toxic nor natural is harmless
Having said all this, we make a short stop along the way. We think it is important to remember, if you didn't know, that synthetic is not necessarily unhealthy nor is natural synonymous with harmless. A clear example: if we drink 10 liters of water in one day, we will die. No matter how natural and fresh it is. What determines the toxicity of a substance is the dose. And no cosmetic marketed in the European Union can be marketed if it contains ingredients classified as toxic. In fact, ours is one of the strictest regulations in the world regarding the permissibility of suspicious substances.
'Then why don't your products include synthetic ingredients such as parabens, silicones or petrochemical derivatives?' The reason is simple. We love nature. We believe that we are nature and we must return to it , it is part of the DNA of Vera & the birds . That's why we always try to include ingredients of natural origin. If there is a valid alternative that fulfills its function well and comes from a plant, we put it before the use of its synthetic namesake . Always. That is the reason why we do not use substances such as silicones, mineral oils or parabens.
And natural is not vegan?
Not at all! Vegan means that it does not use ingredients of animal origin . A product can be natural but have honey (not vegan) or, on the contrary, be totally vegan but full of synthetic ingredients (remember: and that does not mean it is bad).
Many consumers demand vegan cosmetics because they are in line with their values focused on ensuring animal welfare above all . In this way they have the guarantee that no chickens have been disturbed to make their cream (the albumen from the egg is used in cosmetics) or that their precious lipstick has not required crushing cochineals for its manufacture (the red of many lipsticks comes from of carminic acid).
Our cosmetics are natural and will soon be 100% vegan . Currently, practically the entire catalog is vegan, except for the night cream that contains pollen (a byproduct of bees). In this regard, we are working to launch a fully vegan formula shortly and we are almost-almost there! At Vera & the birds we will always prioritize animal welfare , maintaining the highest possible percentage of natural ingredients in our formulas.
Eco, organic and bio
Did you know that ecological, organic and 'bio' mean the same thing? They are terms that are used in different geographical parts to refer to the ingredients or products from organic farming, which is that which produces food respecting the environment and conserving the fertility of the land through the proper use of natural resources. This includes avoiding the use of pesticides , not producing GMOs, promoting biodiversity or not using intensive exploitation methods.
Natural cosmetics may or may not be ecological. This will depend on the percentage of organic ingredients it contains and whether it is certified or not. Vera & the birds cosmetics are not organic but they do contain a high percentage of organic ingredients .
Tell us what you thought of this post? Did you know these terms and did you know their differences? We read you!