‘Natura!’ is a difficult term to quantify, and everyone has their own idea of what constitutes a natura! ingredierıt or product. According to the dictionary, natura( means “existing in or produced by nature” and “not synthetic”. Unfortunately there is no legal definition of this word as it pertains to cosınetics/toiletries, which is why we find that the most heinously chemical-filled cos-metics can carry the term, and why even the most self-proclaimed wholesome-seeming potion can also contain a vvhole host of unnatural irritants.
Using the dictionary definition, a natura( ingredient would have to exist directly in the natura! world, which would rule out ali of the semi-synthetic ingredients that are ‘derived from … .’ as these would not occur in nature. This definition would make ali detergerıts non-natural for example. By the same definition, ali natura( products would have to be blended entirely froın naturally occurring ingredients to be able to be labelled a ‘natura(‘ skincare potion.
- Vegetable ingredients: plant-based
items such as cocoa butter, almorıd oil, herbs, flowers, essential oils, nuts and seeds ete.
- Animal ingredients: things like lanolin, beeswax, milk, honey and animal fats
- Mineral ingredients: things like
various clays and muds and possibly certain pigments.
A case in point: soap
Is soap natura!, therı? Well, admittedly there is a huge difference between commer-cially manufactured perfumed soap and that which is handcrafted using natura! fats and essential oils. However, it would not be quite correct to Jabel soap as ‘natura!’, as it does not actually occur in nature by itself. Soap is the chemical compound resulting from a reaction between fatty acids and a powerful alkali (usually sodium hydrox-ide). Cheınically speaking, soap is a salt. (A salt being the compound formed by an acid reacting with an alkali). This particular chemical reaction is called saponification.
sodium hydroxide + ol ive oil =
sodium hydroxide + palm kernel oil = sodium palm kernelate
As you can see, the resulting cotTıpound (the soap) is a totally synthetic man-made chemical; nowhere in nature does sodium hydroxide suddenly pounce onto some fat and turn it into soap! This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t use soap, just that the term ‘natura! soap’ is very misleading as no soap is natura!. Perhaps soap-crafters should really label their soap as beirıg
manufactured from only natura[ ingredi-erıts as opposed to the soap itself being a natura! product.
There are also other issues to consider, as well as the naturalness of an ingredient or product, such as whether it has been organically grown or sustainably harvested, and other envirorırnental considerations.