How do I recognise genuine natural and organic skin care?

 

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Natural is the current buzzword.

Everywhere we go we see products advertised as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. There has also been a constant increase in the number of skin products using these descriptions. But actually very few are genuinely natural products, especially in their entirety. Learn how to distinguish between genuinely natural and conventional, ‘pseudo-natural’ products. The term ‘natural and/or organic skin care and make-up’ is not legally protected.

Ingredients matter—and quality ingredients matter most.

Every ingredient that goes into a Dr. Hauschka preparation has an important job to do.
Whether delivering essential moisture, encouraging resilience, improving efficacy or providing natural, nurturing fragrance, each ingredient is painstakingly selected for its particular effects and interaction with the others. Each ingredient is there for your skin, not for the sake of the formulation.

Dr. Hauschka manufacturer WALA has been working with nurturing plant and mineral extracts since the 1930’s. Their pharmaceutical and medicinal expertise joins over 45 years of pioneering work in holistic esthetics to create the purest, most effective natural skin care preparations available.

WALA Heilmittel GmbH

The source of each ingredient is almost equally as important.

  • The vast majority of ingredients in Dr. Hauschka products are grown biodynamically and organically, or ethically wild-harvested.
  • We only use natural botanical preservatives (without chemical additives) coupled with appropriate packaging to keep products fresh.
  • Not a single ingredient in any of our products comes from an organisation involved in animal testing.
  • In this way, we’re able to maintain the vitality of our biodynamic and organic plant ingredients, delivering their nurturing, supportive qualities directly to your skin.

Dr. Hauschka has been natural, organic, biodynamic (Demeter Certified) for over 45 years.

Body Oils and Bath Essences
Body Oils and Bath Essences

NATRUE certification ensures that a product has met the strongest criteria available for natural ingredients in skin care and make-up, as verified by an independent certifier.

NATRUE is a non-profit, international association founded by the pioneers of natural and organic cosmetics. Dr. Hauschka Skin Care manufacturer WALA is proud to recognise the NATRUE seal as a major advancement in establishing a natural and organic cosmetic certification that is internationally recognised, transparent and whose criteria is readily available to consumers worldwide. www.natrue.org

On this site you, as the customer, may look up any Dr. Hauschka product and have complete transparency. Each and every product undergoes a strict auditing process of the formulation every two years!

Natrue Video

In addition, Dr.Hauschka preparations are certified natural by the BDIH, an association of German product manufacturers whose “Guidelines for Natural Cosmetics” are amongst the most selective available. Following comprehensive independent testing and verification, BDIH certification is awarded exclusively to products that are free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colours, dyes and petroleum derived synthetics. http://www.kontrollierte-naturkosmetik.de.

Body Oils
Body Oils

Why be a natural beauty?

Conventional skin products and make-up are full of synthetic ingredients: petrochemicals, silicones, compounds that do not exist in nature.

Is it necessary? Certainly not. Is there an alternative? Yes!

We believe in natural beauty because plants are truly amazing. We have all heard about their powers…

Flowers like roses and lavender are long famed for their beautifying and healing properties. The same is true for exotic plants like aloe vera but also everyday flowers like the calendula.
Natural ingredients interact with our skin. They protect it from free radical damage. They support its metabolism, cell renewal, capillary circulation. Nature has all the ingredients to hydrate, purify, detoxify and rejuvenate our skin.

Natural and organic skin care build on these powers. They are carefully balanced blends from plant extracts, essences, herbs and juices. And these ingredients are not drowned in a sea of chemicals. They are processed as little as possible to keep them pure and effective.

It is only logical. So why are most products not natural?

Because it takes a real effort to develop and produce them. It takes time, love, care and know-how.

It also takes huge planning efforts because one depends on the seasons and rhythms of nature: in winter you cannot buy a flower that only blooms in summer. You need to harvest the right amount at the right time.

Trust and respect

Because of it, you also need a reliable partnership with the people that cultivate the plants. Natural skin care companies pay a fair price. It´s a long term relationship. A partnership built on trust and respect.

In balance with nature

And producers of natural skin care share a deep respect for nature. They join forces with it, using its resources and maintaining them – not depleting them.

So, when using a natural product, you enhance your own beauty, you help maintain the beauty of our earth and you support people who work in harmony with nature.

Isn’t that beautiful?

Hand harvesting one of our key ingredients, Anthyllis, to support the skin in becoming balanced and healthy.
Hand harvesting one of our key ingredients, Anthyllis, to support the skin in becoming balanced and healthy.

A beginner’s guide to INCI

The law requires that the ingredients of a cosmetic product must be declared on the packaging or on a package insert using the INCI system. INCI stands for “International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients” and refers to the list of mandatory names to be used for cosmetics ingredients. Like food ingredients, the ingredients on the INCI list must be shown in descending order of the amounts present in the product – i.e. for each product the substance present in the largest quantity is named first and the smallest last.

The INCI will usually enable you to see whether a product really is natural or whether “natural” is just what it says on the box. While Dr.Hauschka Skin Care products usually also list the ingredients in the local language, with other brands it is not always so easy to decipher the INCI unless you are a chemist… But now you can use our checklist!

Oils

Conventional skin products … as a rule use mineral oil products such as paraffin oil (INCI: Paraffinum liquidum, ozokerite microcrystalline wax) or synthetic silicone oils (e.g. cyclomethicone, siloxane). In comparison with plant oils, paraffin and silicone oils are inexpensive, have a neutral fragrance and are not prone to oxidation. In higher concentrations, however, they form an occlusive coating on the skin and negatively affect natural skin processes.

Natural skin care … uses high-quality plant oils and oily extracts. These are readily absorbed by the skin and their caring properties are undisputed. Every oil comes with a multitude of ingredients such as unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins or flavonoids in a natural combination. These stabilise and nurture the skin – natural skin functions are given maximum support.

Emulsifiers

In brief: emulsifiers are necessary in the manufacture of creams and lotions to bind the aqueous (water) and fatty (oil) ingredients.

Conventional skin products … use mainly polyethylene glycols (INCI: abbreviated to “PEG”) as emulsifiers. These are inexpensive and easy to process. However, they are suspected of making the skin more porous to harmful substances.

Natural skin care … often use plant lecithin (INCI: lecithin). Glycerol fatty acid compounds (INCI: e.g. glyceryl stearate, glyceryl laurate) obtained from coconut oil are often used.

Fragrances & Colours

Conventional skin products … usually use synthetic chemical colourants (e.g. azo dyes) and synthetic fragrances which may have a very strong smell. In the list of ingredients, however, natural essential oils as well as synthetic chemical fragrances must be declared as “perfume”. The case is similar for colours: all colourants must be shown as a CI (Colour Index) number. The consumer cannot know from the abbreviations given in the declaration whether the colourant used is a mineral iron oxide (e.g. INCI: CI77491), for example, or a synthetic azo dye.

Natural skin care … use especially pure mineral pigments as colourants and use exclusively natural essential oils as fragrances. Obtaining the oils is a complicated and expensive business. Over 3,000 kg of rose petals are required to produce one litre of rose essential oil. Essential oils have many different qualities. The best known are those such as the relaxing effect of lavender oil and the invigorating effect of essential oil of rosemary, for example.

Rosa Damascena, Damask Rose for essential oil.  We have organic or biodynamic Projects for quality and quantity of this key ingredient in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and most recently Ethiopia.
Rosa Damascena, Damask Rose for essential oil. We have organic or biodynamic Projects for quality and quantity of this key ingredient in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and most recently Ethiopia.

Surfactants

Conventional skin products … often use the tenside sodium lauryl sulfate (INCI) not only for shampoos and shower gels, but also for toothpaste. This substance is now regarded critically because of its potential for causing irritation.

Natural skin care… use mild, well-tolerated tensides whose manufacture is based on sustainable raw materials. Shampoos and shower gels contain usually contain sugar tensides (e.g. INCI: coco-glucoside). These do not lather quite as well as conventional tensides, however, remember surfactants do the cleaning, not bubbles!

Preservatives

Conventional skin products … use preservatives above all in water-based products. The best-known of these are the parabens (e.g. INCI: ethylparaben, but also much more aggressive preservatives such as chlorhexidine compounds or formaldehyde releasers such as diazolidinyl urea). Another common synthetic preservative is Phenoxyethanol.

Natural skin care … are allowed by the guidelines of the German industrial association BDIH for certified natural cosmetics to use certain nature-identical preservatives. In this case products must be labelled “preserved with … [name of preservative]”, however. Some cosmetics brands – including Dr.Hauschka Skin Care – avoid the use of preservatives entirely.

Active Ingredients

Conventional skin products … often use relatively neutral mineral oils and silicones as product bases, as well as primarily synthetic ‘designer ingredients’ which are supposed to serve a particular purpose such as skin firming, for example. But these raw materials may obstruct the natural processes of skin functions.

Natural skin care … use complex compositions of natural caring oils and waxes and – as further important components – plant extracts which are obtained with the aid of water, alcohol or oils. These are also used and advertised in many conventional products, but are often present in only small quantities. The INCI list of ingredients on the packaging usually shows the Latin name of the plant (e.g. Calendula Officinalis Extract, Rosa Damascena Extract etc.). Their many positive effects on the skin – for instance wound-healing properties – have long been known.

WALA (Dr. Hauschka) biodynamic medicinal plant gardens
WALA (Dr. Hauschka) biodynamic medicinal plant gardens

THREE QUESTIONS FOR HANS-JÖRG RÖSCH
As Safety Assessor for Dr.Hauschka products Hans-Jörg Rösch and his colleagues test every new formula for safety and tolerability. This includes consideration not only of regulatory requirements but also of scientific knowledge on the composition and actions of the ingredients used.

Are natural skin care products better tolerated than conventional cosmetics?
Intolerance of skin care and make-up products is strongly dependent on the individual predisposition of the user and can never be ruled out completely. Conventional cosmetics contain many synthetic chemical substances such as preservatives to which users often react with intolerance or sensitisation. Dr.Hauschka products do not contain such substances. The German cosmetics association IKW collects data on intolerances triggered by cosmetic products and subjects them to annual statistical evaluation. This has shown that Dr.Hauschka cosmetics cause considerably fewer intolerances than the German national average.

How do natural cosmetics manage without synthetic chemical preservatives?
We guarantee the stability of Dr.Hauschka cosmetics in various different ways, in the first instance the standard of hygiene during production is important. Ours is as high as that required for the manufacture of medicines. Furthermore raw materials undergo antimicrobial procedures – for example heat treatment. The type of packaging is also important, we pack many of our products in aluminium tubes or special packaging that offers better protection from air and microbial contamination. Our longstanding experience in developing skin care products also plays a large part. Our knowledge of the raw materials used and the ideal composition of the preparations is of crucial importance here. Of course the stability of our products has to meet the same criteria as conventional skin products.

How can consumers recognise genuinely natural skin care products?
Up to now there is no legal definition at the national or European levels and therefore there are no mandatory requirements relating to the composition of natural skin care and make-up. However, various associations do offer quality seals which make it possible for consumers to recognise certified natural skin care and make-up. In addition to the BDIH seal already established in Germany our products are also certified internationally by the International Natural & Organic Cosmetics Association NaTrue. Use of certified organic raw materials plays an important role for certification under NaTrue guidelines. Taking into account the percentage of the raw material used that is organically sourced emphasises the ecological responsibility of the manufacturing companies. WALA’s international cultivation projects (e.g. in Iran, Burkina Faso and Bulgaria) are models of environmentally friendly and socially responsible business practice.

Thanks for reading our blog. x

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