After a few days of no reaction, she pointed out how difficult it was for her to offer advice on creating natural products if no one was willing to answer one simple question.
But it isn't a simple question, is it?
Following the Standard
Susan touched on a key issue that not many people seem to be willing to address. The fact of the matter is, there is no industry standard for what qualifies as natural, and even us 'greenies' can't seem to agree on what it takes to be accepted under 'the natural banner'.
Years ago, I was happy to place the job of defining natural (almost) entirely in the hands of my chosen suppliers. I trusted they had gone through the arduous job of studying the necessary documentation before selecting 'acceptably green' ingredients. And let's be honest here: it is a nonstop job that requires vigilant research into growth, harvesting and production methods – for every ingredient. Most of my suppliers carry hundreds of ingredients. No need to do the math – it takes more than a bit of manpower.
I research ingredients all the time, but I also trust my suppliers to continue doing the excellent job they do. And they continue to be happy to supply documentation and answer my every question. They (all) carry such items as floral waters, hydrosols, organic vegetable and essential oils. And even though some would deny mineral powders and pigments, parabens and scent oils membership to 'the natural club', my suppliers (all) carry these ingredients as well.
I've come across all degrees of what people accept as 'natural' over the years, and it's a pretty wide scope. Some absolutely refuse to accept anything that has been processed in any way at all (read: it's not natural unless you pluck it directly from a tree and mash it onto your face). At the other end of the scale are the folks that will accept 'pretty much anything as long as it's safe' as natural.
Where does this leave us? Can anyone answer this question? When does an ingredient qualify as natural?
- When it hasn't been processed?
- When it has been only slightly processed?
- When there are no petro-chemicals in contact with the ingredient during processing?
- When the ingredient is not refined?
- When the ingredient is organic?
- When the ingredient is plant-based?
- What if it is mineral-based?
- Is mineral make-up natural?
- Which preservatives are acceptable as natural?
I could go on... but I'd rather hear what you have to say.
You Tell Me
What do you define as natural? I'm all ears!
PS: Find Susans excellent blog here.