Article by: Dandizette Beaute

What do “we” and “they” mean by “NATURAL”? Is it just me, or does it have an obscure aura about it? According to the Natural Product Association, the natural standard is anything coming from flora, fauna or the earth, except petroleum derived products. This statement in itself is a walking contradiction, as petroleum derived products are the essence of flora and fauna coming together that has naturally produced crude oil in and from the earth… Puzzling isn’t it?! So, in this clear as crude oil definition, we must clarify.

Natural as Fauna

I am not going to lie. I had to look up fauna since the only real reference I had was one of Sleeping Beauty’s Fairy God-mothers — Flora, Fauna and Merry Weather. Fauna is anything coming from an animal, therefore animal derived…again, puzzling! With all the hopping around of pink (non-Playboy) bunnies on cosmetic packages as a declaration of “we do not conduct animal testing,” who would realistically want to use an ingredient sourced from an animal. Yes at times shark cartilage, cock combs, emu oil and such have made their way into cosmetic products, but with no success, from my knowledge in the past 5 years. Let’s agree that fauna does not make the cut for “they’s” definition of Natural.

Natural as Flora

Natural to consumers and marketers truly means PLANT derived ingredients, vegetal sourced. Hopefully you can narrow down your list and have a straight forward conversation with your Customer, Product Development, Marketing, etc. when it comes to the topic of your natural ingredients, to plant based. Even though petroleum and fauna derived products make sense from a natural stand point, save face and be prepared to offer your best formula with vegetal alternatives.

Natural as Everything In Between

There is a caveat to my statement of plant derived — the in betweens of fauna and flora — invertebrates, crustacean marine life and fungus. Ingredients derived from animal life devoid of a spinal cord tend to skip the conscience of most, like the recent snail extract phenomenon in South Korea. Also materials like chitosan from crustacean exoskeletons pass as well. Then we have the fungus that is neither plant nor animal, which have a very firm place in the market from thickening to whitening. I think overall this section of biology has room to gain comfort in the minds and hearts of our consumer without feeling a grave injustice has occurred.

Vegetal Options

In preparation of our Plant derived products I have found silicones to be the most difficult to replace. Silicones give products the touch that every consumer loves — the feeling of luxury. Silicones, specifically D5 has a bad reputation due to its cyclic molecular structure that evaporates into the air and bio-accumulates. This day in age, biodegradability matters. Even though D5 has been the main focus, dimethicones (linear, non-cyclic silicones) have started their walk to the door as well. I understand the choices for synthetic replacements have their limits, but here are my best finds.

Vegelight from Bio as a D5 (cyclopentasilioxane) Replacement. It is a biodegradable, volatile ester from coconuts. This was the only D5 replacement I found that had a great INCI name and volatility.
L’Sens from AAK — use at 1% for a luxurious dimethicone like drag. Derived from soy and shea.
South Pacific Monoi Oil from BioOrganic Concepts — has a nice dry, silky feel, with a bit of shine making it perfect for lip wear and hair shine. It is a little on the expensive side, but you cannot go wrong with its

INCI name — Plumeria Flower Extract!

I hope this short article has helped clarify what NATURAL truly means in our industry and to our consumer. I am always open to finding out new things and ingredients, so if you have an ingredient that has served you well in the world of natural product formulations, please share it with the rest of the readers!

~Beakers up! ~ Dandizette` Beaute`



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    Which Silicon is this an alternative for?

    South Pacific Monoi Oil from BioOrganic Concepts

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    Mike Keaton

    Thank you for highlighting the NPA Natural Seal. The first and only natural certification in the U.S., the Natural Seal certifies both products and ingredients that meet NPA’s high standard of natural as verified by an independent third party auditor. Among other requirements, personal care and home care products with the Natural Seal are at least 95 percent natural–excluding water. NPA-certified products use natural ingredients from a source found in nature, avoid ingredients with health risks, don’t use animal testing, and include a majority of biodegradable or recycled material in the packaging. In addition, products with the Natural Seal must list all ingredients on the package label. NPA also requires 100-percent natural fragrances and colorants. Nearly 800 products and ingredients have been certified natural. Learn more at

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    Nancy Liedel

    Sorry, it’s still clear as mud. Oxides are from the decay of rocks. Natural!!! Um, but we don’t peel it off rusting cars and decorate our faces with it. Most people who know me have heard my rant-tas-tic feeling about, “all natural.” It goes like this, “Hemlock is ALL NATURAL!! LET’S HAVE A SANDWICH!!” Um, no thank you, anyway.

    All those oxides are cleaned in a lab. Talk is probably the safest all natural ingredient and the most vetted. Tell someone to use it. Silica? Watch the freak. I spent every summer covered with silica and water. Swimming in Lake Michigan. I’ve watched the dunes behind our property be destroyed as the silica was mined. I drank from a well that was filtered with silica, err sand.

    Natural is the most sucktastic word in the history of bad words when it comes to creating natural products. There is now a strong movement against TiO2. I now manufacture a mineral makeup without it. I have no choice.

    Bad breath is natural. I still don’t want it. Sometimes the purity of a lab and cleanliness are lost on people who cannot think outside the natural box and are *SURE* cosmetics formulators are secretly out to murder them. I’d have no customers if that were the case. I want safety first and to me, that means tested and proven incis that do as they are supposed to with the least harm to the environment as possible. Safe products trump all. Safe, healthy faces trump all fear. If my customers don’t get that, then I’m floating towards a waterfall, with no paddle and my hands tied behind my back.

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    OMG I love your posts and always save them, such lovely recommendations! I totally get your angle on the ‘natural’ and agree with the contradictions…

    Thank you again for a lovely contribution!

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