By Patricia DiGasbaro, Founder of Shoosha
Lets have an honest conversation about the difference between"natural" and "organic"….
The confusion is understandable but for most of us want to know what the truth is, right?
So here’s the reality on the matter~
Any product manufacturer can put a “Botanical”, “Plant Based”, “All Natural” and even “Organic” on their products and nobody is going to stop them from selling their products in Canada. Nobody meaning stores and the government. We see baby and adult products labeled as “organic” or “botanical” and a lot of the time, actually almost always, it's a few plant based ingredients mixed with a lot of synthetic chemical ingredients.
Even in the USA, most stores will allow products to put whatever symbol or natural claim they want on products. You can’t assume that if you’re buying products in a health food store, that they are going to carry safer products. Great products are mixed with everything else on the shelf and since most of us are not chemists, how are we going to figure out what is safe for our babies?
Which leads us into the big question. How do you choose something safe?
Well, here’s some help:
- Look for Latin plant based ingredients. Most of the botanical ingredients have a Latin name. We have to use these Latin names by law. However, the true name is often in a bracket. Like CocosNucifera (Coconut) Seed Oil. We know what that is.
- Did you find some synthetic ingredient that sounds like somebody put the alphabet into the dryer? If you need to be a Chemist to understand what an ingredient is, generally speaking, put it back on the shelf. You shouldn’t have to be a scientist to understand what you are feeding your body either through your mouth or on your skin. If you do, it's not a good sign.
- Substantiated Claims. If the term Organic is used on the front panel, it should carry an USDA Seal on the front panel label. If the label has a claim of "100% natural" or "99% organic", it should be verified with an USDA seal.
Companies can use any kind of creative math to put a % claim on a product and there are no standards or monitoring for organic, natural, botanical, plant based claims on packaging.
Why USDA? Because that’s a food grade organic government regulated certification. Your skin is an organ that absorbs products to keep it healthy which is no different than regular feeding. USDA has the same equivalency as Canada Organic. You’re essentially purchasing pure organic food to feed your child’s skin. Still, look at the ingredients nevertheless-just because it's organic, it doesn’t mean its appropriate for a child or gentle enough for a child’s sensitive skin.
Also, there are so many new certifications that are popping up because USDA standards are rigid and very difficult to meet. As a result, there are now dozens of new organic standards that sound good but don’t compare to USDA certification.
- ‘Fragrance/Perfume’ If you see this in the ingredient list, put it down and walk away. Even it is states ‘from essential oils’, or ‘from natural sources’. If the manufacturer won’t tell you specifically what’s in there, don’t support them. There’s no way of qualifying whether this ‘fragrance’ really is gentle and not a harsh, irritating and damaging ingredient.
On this note, Lavender is an essential oil that calms baby’s skin, and the scent is also calming for bedtime. That’s why we use it and it smells like Heaven.
Philosophy. When it comes to baby skin care products, fewer ingredients in a product is generally better and organic ingredients are always best!