For centuries humans have sought to understand the natural world and its complex wonders. Natural cosmetics and skin-care products, however, should not be so puzzling.
Many of us prefer natural ingredients to care for our skin and better serve our planet. Today, more products than ever before are trumpeted as natural or even organic. But how do we know when a lipstick, lotion or shampoo is truly natural and not simply a conventional cosmetic with a few token botanicals tossed in?
We might look to labels to guide us toward environmentally friendly and synthetic-free products, but the lack of any legal definition for the terms “natural” and even “organic” in skin care has long caused confusion among consumers and manufacturers alike. While natural certifiers and labels are popping up with increasing frequency, there’s no clear criteria or consistency from one label to the next.
With this in mind, in 2007 Weleda joined forces with five other pioneers of the natural beauty movement in Europe to develop NaTrue, a natural and organic certifier with transparent standards. According to Julie Tyrrell, NaTrue’s Brussels-based secretary general, NaTrue exists to provide consumers with an international label they can trust. “NaTrue gives real, universal meaning to the term ‘natural,’” she says. “You will know you have found a quality product as soon as you see the NaTrue label.”
NaTrue goes a step beyond typical certifiers by clearly spelling out its criteria on its website, and its nonprofit status allows NaTrue to focus on a single goal: to provide reassurance and understandable guidance for consumers, whether they reside in Paris, France, or Paris, Texas.
Behind the Label
The NaTrue Scientific Committee devised stringent criteria based on three classifications of what it determined to be permissible ingredients. All of a product’s ingredients must fall into one of these classifications in order to even be considered for NaTrue certification:
Natural: Substances found in nature and not chemically modified in the least.
Nearly Natural: Ingredients derived through chemical reactions using only natural ingredients (such as fats or waxes). The committee has determined the permitted chemical reactions.
Nature-identical: Ingredients that exist in nature but are derived through chemical reaction. Only a few nature-identical preservatives are permitted, including salicylic acid and benzyl alcohol, and their use must be indicated on the product packaging.
Following these criteria, a product receives one of three NaTrue labels based on its entire composition and percentage of organic ingredients (see above for an explanation of each label).
A Natural Mission
NaTrue’s founding members aim to spread awareness of the benefits of nat-ural ingredients and organic cosmetics for the health of ourselves and the environment. As a NaTrue member, Weleda shares these priorities and believes our bodies need products close to nature to be truly healthy. cr