Natural vs. Organic: What Product Labels Mean

Natural vs. Organic: What Product Labels Mean

Let's have an honest conversation about the difference between “natural" and "organic"…

The confusion is understandable, but for most of us we want to know what the truth is, right?

So here is 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 is some help:

  1. Look for Latin plant based ingredients. Most of the botanical ingredients have a Latin name. We must use these Latin names by law. However, the true name is often in a bracket. For example, CocosNucifera (Coconut) Seed Oil, we know what that is.
  2. 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 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.
  3. Substantiated Claims. If the term Organic is used on the front panel, it should carry a USDA Seal on the front panel label. If the label has a claim of "100% natural" or "99% organic", it should be verified with a USDA seal.
  4. 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, do not support them. There is no way of qualifying whether this ‘fragrance’ really is gentle and not a harsh irritating damaging ingredient.  If it is natural, why not list it?  On this note, Lavender is an essential oil that not only calms baby’s skin, but it is also calming for bedtime. That is why we use it and not to mention it smells like Heaven! 

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 it is a food grade organic government regulated certification. Your skin is an organ that absorbs products to keep it healthy which has no difference than regular feeding. USDA has the same equivalency as Canada Organic. You are essentially purchasing pure organic food to feed your child’s skin. Still look at the ingredients though-just because it says organic it does not mean it is 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 is so hard to do.  The standard is rigid and very difficult to meet. Thus, there are now dozens of new organic standards. We have a comparison chart but frankly, there is no comparison.

Our Philosophy: When it comes to baby skin care products, fewer ingredients in a product is generally better, and organic ingredients are always best!






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