We love natural, we love reading this word anywhere and everywhere. However , what was natural 100 years ago is different from what natural now. Earlier we did everything by hand, walked more, lived simpler. Back then, natural meant - from nature.
Thanks to technology, the meaning has now evolved and is much more complex. As consumers, we are often confused between natural and nature derived.
How to know if its completely natural:
- The origin - must be present in nature (renewable source, and not be obtained from fossil, eg. patrolatum)
- The chemical structure - it should be retain its original molecular structure (as found in nature)
- Obtained via physical processes like distillation, solvent extraction, infusion and pressure.
- Generally have well known common names - like almond oil, oat flour etc
However, there are limited ways in which you can use a natural ingredients. With knowledge of green chemistry, these natural substances are chemically modified to create high performance ingredients. These are naturally derived.
- Natural ingredients with chemical modification
- Obtained via chemical process like esterification, fermentation, condensation
- Used to make preservatives, emulsifiers, sensorial agents, hydrosols, green surfactants like glucosides etc.
- Their names are according to scientific nomenclature, and hence are confused to be synthetic.
- They are biodegradable, with low carbon footprint
Sometimes, A naturally found substance, ingredient, grown or harvested on large scale, can be unsustainable. Here, comes Nature-identical in play.
- Created in the laboratory to identically match a product found in nature
- For eg, Salicylic acid (originally found in willow bark tree), hyluronic acid (naturally found in our skin - now we cant extract HA from our skin, can we?)
- They are synthetic in nature
All above are accepted in Natural formulations, and it basically comes down to what ingredient is safe, because, we know Water is a chemical too.
Plants and naturally found ingredients are the building blocks, and most of the 'natural' formulations are actually 'plant based' and 'naturally derived'.