clear & concise.


definition | noun

an exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something: our definition of what constitutes conscious beauty.

— English Dictionary



Uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds that stimulate the brain to improve psychological or physical well-being. Essential oils are also used to preserve a product naturally.

Aromatherapy is often used in natural or organic beauty brands;  people with sensitive skin may need to be careful as some essential oils may trigger a skin reaction.

Anyone pregnant please be aware certain essential oils are advised against during pregnancy. 




Is one of the most ethical and sustainable forms of agriculture, developed by scientist Rudolf Steiner in the 1920's, with Demeter as the quality mark.

Biodynamics takes the approach that agriculture can be a cooperation between human beings and nature. Each farmer is responsible for the well-being of the environment (both wild and domestic), the fertility, and the people that are part of the farm, with the aim of harmonising all living elements into an integrated whole.

Biodyamic ingredients will be harvested at peak vitality of the plant, to ensure it has the highest concentration of plant nutrients.




As there is no legal definition for natural and organic cosmetics, certifications are voluntary ‘seals’ that brands can apply for (and once accepted, have to pay membership for) to an independent, third-party organisation apply to. Thereby providing customers an assurance that they are adhering to the values, principles and practices associated to the certification in question.




Products or brands that are certified by an independent third-party organisation. Depending on the certifying body, there will be explicit rules as to what percentage of the ingredients need to be natural, naturally, derived or nature identical.

Also see: Natural, Naturally Derived, Nature Identical




An independent third party organisation checks the supply chain is genuinely organic and has created guidelines to regulate which manufacturing methods are allowed.

Organic content can vary from 10% - especially in make up - to 95% and more, which is easier to do in skincare. For certified organic products, the remaining ingredients will be from made up of other natural ingredients like water and minerals - from rocks, and potentially, some approved safe synthetics (mostly used as preservatives) which are not grown with organic practices and therefore do are not considered “organic” under this definition. 




Any substance used in or resulting from a reaction involving changes to atoms or molecules, esp one derived artificially for practical use (Collins Dictionary)

Everything is a chemical, including water, some are harmful, some are beneficial and others benign. Chemicals can be Natural or Synthetic (see Synthetic Chemicals). Some chemicals need a small quantity to be harmful and others need a large quantity to be harmful.




Products that are created and manufactured without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients. Ingredients must ethically sourced and are made with the health of our bodies and the environment in mind.




A preparation applied to the body, especially the face, to improve its appearance. Makeup, Skincare, Haircare, Body care are all forms of cosmetics.




Excludes animal testing. The question is if this means on the finished product or individual ingredients used as well. A larger parent company that owns a smaller ethical company may still test on animals though.

If a product is sold in China animal testing is required by law, but this is changing, albiet slowly.  The EU has banned animal testing since 2013, read more here.  The USA still allows animal testing with the exception of states California, New York and New Jersey.




Aimed at people with sensitive skin or allergens. A brand usually mentions which common toxins/irritant it has excluded from the formulation, such as parabens or sulphates. The question is what else is in the product? It is possible to contain lesser known toxins or irritants.




When appearing on a product’s ingredients list the term ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ refers not only to one ingredient but a myriad (from 7 to over 5000 possibilities) of natural and synthetics substances or preservatives that are used to mask or perfume a product.  Historically, this has been done to protect perfume companies’ ‘trade-secret’ scents, but many problematic and harmful ingredients such as phthalates, parabens and carcinogenic substances lurk in that one-word ‘fragrance’. These chemicals can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruptions, cancer and DNA damage among other things.  Look out for certified natural or organic brands, or labels that use ‘natural fragrance’ only or list all their fragrance ingredients.




This is a practice of chemistry and chemical engineering that aims to minimise the use and generation of harmful or hazardous chemicals in the environment, it can also be referred to as sustainable chemistry.  Green chemists have to invent or practice ways of formulating products that use renewable resources and don’t impact negatively on the earth or its inhabitants.




The term is used to denote companies that market or promote their products using popular or keywords that will help make their product sound ethical, words such as “organic; sustainable; clean; vegan; natural; fragrance free; pure” etc. without their actual ingredients or practices adhering to the strict principles upheld within clean beauty certifications.




INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients – it is a system for names of waxes, oils, chemicals and other ingredients in cosmetics based on scientific and Latin names. This includes all ingredients contained in any product listed from highest content to lowest content.




A chemical manufactured to be mimic a natural chemical, identically. These can include, but are not limited too: flavourants, fragrances, colourants, and preservatives. While synthetic nature-identical fragrances may not be used in natural cosmetics, there are certain exceptions for preservatives and nature-identical inorganic pigments and minerals.




Means ingredients or chemicals found in nature. These can be from minerals,  plant or animal origin. The question to ask is how has it been processed? Is it raw, virgin and cold pressed? 

If the ingredient has been heat treated, bleached and deodorised beneficial plant enzymes will not have survived, meaning its nutrient value is equal to a synthetic ingredient.




Refers to ingredients that come from a natural source, but have undergone some kind of processing or synthesis that produces a new, but non-toxic chemical. You will find many ingredients in your clean beauty products that contain naturally derived ingredients.

In natural and organic cosmetics, naturally derived ingredients are only allowed if their function cannot be achieved using natural ingredients, for example: Squalene from olives and Coco-Glucoside. Only a defined list of chemical reactions are allowed in the extraction or combination of these ingredients.

Also see: Green Chemistry




Means an ingredient grown without the use of artificial chemicals. Studies have shown organic produce is high in antioxidants - compared to conventional farming - and lower in toxic metals and pesticides, meaning it is better for health. 

An organic product can have other non-organic or toxic ingredients added in the formulation, or be processed in a way that reduces its nutrient content.

Also see: Certified Organic




A class of complex molecules characterised by their inclusion of the element carbon. All living organisms are made up of these compounds and every biological process depends the reaction of these molecules. Organic compounds are used to create polymers and other synthetic chemicals through the complex combination of molecules. They can however, also be found in nature in an almost pure state; rubber is one such example.




Causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time. The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance. (Cambridge Dictionary +




Synthetic chemicals are made by humans using methods different than those nature uses, and these chemical structures may or may not be found in nature. This definition means a synthetic chemical can be made from a natural product (i.e. naturally derived). Note that in the food industry, “artificial” is used instead of “synthetic” (Scientific American)

Synthetic does not necessarily mean more harmful - Read this article




This means without any animal-derived ingredients, like beeswax, carmine and milk or whey.  A product can be vegan if the ingredients are plant-based, mineral-based or synthetic. If animal welfare is your concern, read chapter 10 to understand which other factors are at play.




This includes plants that have grown wild in nature, without human intervention. They are ideally harvested following wild crafting guidelines to ensure a high quality and sustainability.