We open the doors of this great debate to summarize the main concepts to consider and help you draw your own conclusions.
We begin by making the effort to describe both types of cosmetics since there are no true institutional definitions.
The legislation of the European Union does not contemplate a definition for natural cosmetics and includes it within general cosmetics. For this reason, different private organizations have proposed their own definition, establishing their regulations and guidelines.
After a work of consolidation and unification, several European organizations have reached an agreement to define certain common standards and requirements summarized in the international certification COSMOS.
What is natural cosmetics?
By natural cosmetics, we mean those that are made from 100% natural ingredients (plant-based, mineral-based, or animal-based) or of natural origin. Genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are completely excluded, while synthetic preservatives, artificial colors, and chemical fragrances, among others, are used very sparingly or under strict authorization.
Natural cosmetics certify sustainable production processes that are respectful of the environment and biodiversity at all stages of the production cycle. They also take into consideration distribution, the sources of energy used, the types of packaging employed, and recycling.
In 2019, natural cosmetics took a step further with the approval of ISO-16128 regulations, which establish new regulations defining the characteristics that a natural product must have. This has contributed to gradually reducing confusion among consumers.
What does vegan natural cosmetics mean?
Vegan cosmetics refer to natural cosmetics that do not use any animal products or their derivatives. For example, cochineal is an insect used to produce a certain type of colorant (E-120) used in food, but it can also be found in cosmetics like some lipsticks to give them a red color. Vegan cosmetics prohibit the use of such ingredients.
However, it's important to note that conventional cosmetics can also be vegan.
The term "vegan" specifically refers to the absence of animal ingredients or derivatives, while natural cosmetics focus on the use of natural ingredients. So, a conventional cosmetic product can be both vegan and made with synthetic or non-natural ingredients.
UMOA is vegan natural cosmetics with approximately 99% of its ingredients of natural origin. No UMOA formula contains ingredients of animal origin.
What does organic cosmetics mean?
Ecological, organic, or bio cosmetics are a type of natural cosmetics with higher traceability standards. It is certified that most of its ingredients come from organic farming. This means that no fertilizers or agrochemicals such as herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides that can affect the fertility of the land and ecosystem have been used.
Organic cosmetics usually involve more sustainable and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.
However, we should seek a broader perspective of the context. Some organic ingredients may require a significant amount of a depletable resource, such as water, perhaps much more than another "non-eco" ingredient with similar properties. In this case, formulating with that "eco" ingredient could be less sustainable than using the "non-eco" one.
At UMOA, we combine natural ingredients of both organic and non-organic origins, aiming for effectiveness while trying to minimize environmental impact as much as possible.
According to the independent certifying label COSMOS, for a cosmetic product to be considered organic, at least 95% of all the natural ingredients it contains must be of organic origin, and 20% of the ingredients in the formula (10% if the product requires rinsing) must be organic.
Water and minerals are not considered organic since they do not come from agriculture. Thus, when analyzing a formula where water represents more than a third of the total, the percentage of organic ingredients will be quite low. This does not happen in the case of oils where, since there is no water, 100% organic ingredients can be achieved.
What is conventional or synthetic cosmetics?
This is a cosmetic based on ingredients and active substances that do not exist as such in nature but are the result of a synthesis process in the laboratory.
Despite its continuous development, this type of cosmetics may still contain ingredients that are less compatible with sensitive skin, including aggressive or potentially irritating components such as parabens, phthalates, or sulfates found in soaps and foams, as well as substances that could be harmful to the environment. Although companies are increasingly responsible in this regard, the ingredients and processes associated with this type of cosmetics can have an impact on our environment.
Additionally, this type of cosmetics incorporates a large number of non-active ingredients with the intention of increasing the product's shelf life or providing superior cosmetic elegance (textures, fragrances, etc.) that truly do not contribute anything to our skin or have an impact on its health. However, it is true that there are a series of highly effective molecules that can only be obtained through synthesis. This makes many people still prefer this type of cosmetics.
Conventional or natural cosmetics. Which one is more effective?
To be transparent and clear, when it comes to effectiveness, once you find the product that meets the needs of your skin, there should be no difference in results between natural and conventional cosmetics. The promise of a product, as expressed on its packaging, must be legally fulfilled. If this does not happen, something is wrong.
At UMOA, we believe in natural cosmetics because we not only seek ingredients that are well assimilated by our bodies, but also because we believe that more sustainable agriculture and the use of materials with low environmental impact are better for our planet.
But be careful! At UMOA, we agree that the choice of a cosmetic should be based on its results and effectiveness, without sacrificing the enjoyment of application and sensory experience.
Aside from all of this, we believe that there can and should be another PURPOSE (yes, in capital letters) that goes beyond ourselves, the purpose of contributing to creating a more tolerant and inclusive society and helping someone more vulnerable.
That's why UMOA is Care to Care, because with the purchase of our products, we are not only taking care of ourselves but also caring for someone more vulnerable.
If you want to know more about how we do it, where we come from, or how our project was born, we tell you here.
Thank you for reading! We hope we have clarified some of your doubts about the differences between conventional and natural cosmetics. If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to let us know in the comments below.
In the meantime, we invite you to discover UMOA's skincare routines.