Natural vs organic: what’s the difference

Natural vs organic: what's the differenceThese days it seems you can’t visit a beauty aisle that doesn’t have products practically screaming ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ on its packaging. But what’s the difference really? BeautySA spoke to Kate Townshend, founder of Harmless House, and she broke it down for us…

Natural products

Natural products supposedly contain natural ingredients, but there is no guarantee that those ingredients were not grown or preserved using chemicals – from chemical fertilizers and pesticides, to chemical preservatives – once the ingredient is harvested. In addition to this, there is no law defining what may or may not be included in a ‘natural’ product (chemical or naturally derived), nor what percentage needs to be natural in order to be labeled ‘natural’.

Organic products

Organic products on the other hand, are made with organic ingredients which have been grown, harvested and manufactured using absolutely no chemicals. However, the term ‘organic’ may only be used to describe products which contain over 95% organic ingredients. Products made using between 70% and 95% organic ingredients are described as ‘containing certified organic ingredients’. A product with under 70% organic ingredients is described as non-organic, and these products are then strictly only ‘natural’.

‘What you ideally want to look out for are products which are made using 100% naturally derived ingredients, you will need to double check on the ingredients list, and that the brand is organic certified,’ Kate says. ‘That way you can be sure that the ingredients are truly natural, and on top of that, a significant percent is organic too.’

Toby Scheckter, the creator of Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy drinks, agrees: ‘Natural has very little meaning and no regulation body. Unlike the natural claim, organic certified products are guaranteed to have been grown without chemical herbicides and pesticides and there are never synthetic preservatives or additives.’


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22 Responses

  1. Organic Monitor conducted a survey on products, giving them a rating from 1 to 10. Very interesting to see how many products actually made it onto the natural list.

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