“When products are 95% – 98% certified organic – what happens to the other 2-5%?”
Producing skincare with over 95% certified organic ingredients is very challenging and not many companies in the world have managed to reach that high a percentage. If a product is just oil or just a hydrosol, it can be 100% certified organic, but the moment a formula becomes more sophisticated, functional ingredients are needed to make the botanicals combine and to preserve them from decay.
To make skincare we need to combine our 100% certified organic botancials with minerals (such as clay, water, salt, vitamin c) and ‘functional’ ingredients. e.g. to get oil and water to combine into a cream we need to add ’emulsifiers’, to make a mask we add to get essential oils to dissolve into water (or aloe juice in the case of Synthesis products) we need ‘solubilizers’ and to ensure our products are microbe-free we need to add ‘preservatives’ etc.
Minerals such as salt, clay, vitamin c, e, hyaluronic acid etc are 100% pure and natural, but their very structure means they don’t count as certified organic ingredients. They simply are not carbon-based and don’t fall into that classification.
Therefore the 2-5% of Synthesis products that are not ‘certified organic’ are still 100% natural and more than that, have to be processed in a way that doesn’t involve any chemical solvents, animal products or derivatives.
The monitoring of these functional ingredients is one of the key aspects of the certification. Most functional ingredients in commercial skincare are petroleum derived, synthetic chemicals for these functional ingredients e.g. parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, PEG’s etc. These kind of ingredients are not allowed in certified organic products, or products marked with a bona fide third part certification and the words ‘made with certified organic ingredients’.
To be ‘allowable’ in an organic formula, these functional ingredients have to be natural and have to be processed in a way that doesn’t include the use of chemicals. Thus our ‘emulsifiers’ are derived from Olive Oil and processed completely naturally with no chemical solvents. Our preservatives are 100% natural minerals and vitamins (and certified organic essential oils). Each functional ingredient has to go through a rigorous process with full disclosure of how they are processed, where and from what, to be ‘allowable.’ They have to be individually analysed by the third party organic certifier to make sure they are ‘allowable’ in an organic formula according to the Australian National Organic Standard. This ensures there are no hidden nasties in certified organic products.
What is the difference between ‘100% natural’ and Certified Organic in relation to skincare?
The best way to describe this difference is to take the example of a 100% natural non-organic apple and a Certified Organic apple. Both are 100% natural, however the non-organic apple has most likely been grown exposed to an array of chemical, fertilisers and pesticides, perhaps from a genetically modified seed. This exposure and origin means when you consume that 100% natural apple, you are also consuming a myriad of possibly carcinogenic toxins. By choosing a certified organic apple, you avoid exposing your body and your health to all those artificial chemicals. You also receive the benefits of the full array of natural vitamins, minerals and photo-nutrients nature intended that apple to carry, fully developed through the strength of its organic growth on a tree rooted in nutrient rich toxin free soil.
So which would you prefer – 100% natural or Certified Organic?
Exactly the same principle applies to skincare, which is absorbed into your body just as food you eat is.