What on earth does ‘natural’ actually mean? Do we have to have plucked the ingredients from our own back gardens? The green grocers? The local allotment? Formula Botanica, a natural skincare school, have expertly categorised NATURAL into 4 different shades, ranging from purist to pragmatic. Just bear in mind that using a product that falls into any of these categories would still be considered far more natural than a lot of the products you find on the chemists’ shelf.
Shade 1: Purist. The ingredient comes from natural sources, such as plants, and retains its chemical structure when being used in a product. For instance, an oil that has been cold-pressed from a seed such as Cocoa Butter. Although you are changing the physical form you are not altering the chemical structure. At Puremess, we use A LOT of these ingredients.
Shade 2: Naturally derived ingredients. The ingredient that has come from a natural source, such as a nut or plant, undergoes some kind of chemical reaction ie. fermentation, to create the final ingredient. Essential oils fall under this category as they have to be steam distilled or extracted through a solvent. And let’s face it, essential oils are AMAZING!!!
Shade 3: Ingredient is nature identical. This ingredient is not derived from nature but its chemical make-up is identical to that same ingredient found in nature. Why would you use these? Often because of the sustainability issues surrounding the purely natural ingredient. Formulators and even suppliers may never know whether their ingredients are derived from nature or have been synthetically derived. Some essential oils may fall into this category as the ‘pure’ ingredient is so price inhibitive. Citric acid, used in bath bombs also comes under this category as we couldn’t produce enough oranges to meet demand!
Shade 4: Ingredient is obtained from natural sources but it mimics a synthetic molecule. They can be sourced either from animals, plants or in a lab. Just because an ingredient is synthetic does not make it bad for you, it merely means that it has been created to mirror the original benefit.
Let me give you an example. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin which is responsible for tissue repair and something we definitely need to combat the signs of aging. If you were to get it from a completely natural source it would have to come from an animal, which most people wouldn’t like. So mimicking it synthetically delivers maximum results without having to harm animals.
In my eyes there is nothing wrong with sitting at either end of the scale but there are definitely reasons why you should be using skincare products that fall into any one of the above categories, and those reasons are to avoid using certain harmful, or potentially harmful ingredients.
At Puremess, we use a combination of amazing, effective ingredients that fall into all of the above categories, without using any harmful chemicals.