Are Toxfree Cosmetics Better than Natural Cosmetics?Unfortunately the answer is not as simple as that. I have however written here a few things and thoughts of why Kolme Cosmetics make specific kinds of products and why I call them Toxfree Cosmetics.
No One is in Control
Did you know that natural cosmetics is a term that has not been standardised, in other words within cosmetics there is no legislation to control how the word is used. Neither is the word “organic” nor is for example “100% natural” in any way regulated nor controlled (for food the term organic is defined). This can be an anxious thought and many certificates have therefore been created in order to convince the consumer of the product being true to nature.
Greenwashing is a common problem also within the cosmetic industry.
The Most Common Certificates
Some of the best known independent certificates are amongst others, the European Ecocert (France), BHID (Germany), Soil Association (Great-Britain) and AIAB (Italy). Each one of these have their own definition on how they are awarded. Some of these can be applied by foreign producers. NaTrue-Stamp aims to be an internationally known label open for all producers. In addition, there are a dozen labels and certificates that differ from each other quite a bit. The percentage of natural ingredients also differs between the producer and certifier for instance by the fact that is water counted as a natural ingredient or not. Some larger producers have even created their own certificates for their products and therefore a stamp or label does not guarantee that a product is true to nature, ethical and as amazing as the packaging may suggest.
In Finland natural cosmetics has been defined by the association Pro Luonnonkosmetiikka ry. According to the association natural cosmetics cannot contain any of the following ingredients:
- Synthetic perfumes, dyes nor fat
- Synthetic preservatives such as parabens, 2-Bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methyldibromo Glutaronitrile
- Petroleum derived raw materials, such as Paraffinum Liquidum, Petrolatum, PEG- and PPG-compounds.
- Animal collagens and raw materials of animal-origin, for which an animal has been killed or an animal has for any other reason caused suffering.
We Are Actually Not Allowed to Call All our Products Natural Cosmetics
We fulfill all above mentioned natural cosmetics criteria except one. To be specific, we use tallow (i.e. animal fat) as raw-material in Facial Soaps and Original Soaps(lisää linkki ENG tuotekuvauksiin). The tallow we use is an excess- and by-product, that would otherwise go to waste. This substance is however quite simply forbidden within natural cosmetics, without examining the method of procurement, its ecology or benefits for skin care. I myself cannot think of a more ethical nor ecological raw material than locally produced tallow that would otherwise end up as waste. Sadly many who refuse to use this raw material are most likely using tallow when traveling (diesel). A general definition of natural cosmetics is that the product is made as true to nature as possible and that its production and lifespan causes as little burden as possible to animals, environment and people. Its packaging material should according to the definition be as ecological as possible, yet a large part of natural cosmetics is packed into conventional plastic containers. Animal and environmental welfare must be taken care of at all stages of production and genetically modified raw materials are banned, but little weight is given to locally produced raw materials or question raw material brought from faraway that threaten the environment and endangered animals, such as palm oil. Lately there has also been a debate on the growing demand and use of coconut oil. All raw material is simply not possible to obtain here in the northern hemisphere, but a vast amount can be substituted by a nearby produced option. Could this also be a mission within natural cosmetics?
What is Toxfree Cosmetics and Why do We Not Hold a Certificate?
As a young, not yet established company we do not have the possibility of paying thousands of euros for different kinds of certificates. On the other hand a suitable label describing the activity or raw-material sieve for Kolme Cosmetics would not be found, because we limit the use of raw-materials even more strictly than any certificate.
Here are a few examples, for which reason toxfree cosmetics is maybe even one step more natural and ecological than natural cosmetics:
- We do not use water. The products are solid and for example one shampoo bar is equivalent to ca. three 250ml plastic bottles of regular fluid shampoo. Also creams and skin care products are without water. In other words the products come in a more concentrated form.
- We do not need to use preservatives, because our products are waterless. Preservatives are needed in order to eliminate harmful bacteria and to prevent products from going bad, but many times they also destroy the skin's own, protective bacterial strain. In many products preservatives are inevitable but many have been sensitized even to preservatives used in natural cosmetics.
- We use as unaltered raw materials as possible and avoid highly processed raw materials. Neither do we use synthetic emulsifiers nor surfactants. We aim to buy all oils and waxes cold pressed and ecological. This is evaluated depending on the case, because many raw materials produced in Finland are higher quality than foreign ecological options (i.e. oats and bee’s wax). Neither do we want to use raw materials in our products that do not have any importance for skin care such as eco glitter, gold powders and mined aggregates.
- We collect or grow all herbs ourselves. This is not a marketing trick, but the differences in quality are huge between bought and self collected/grown. Amongst other things organic calendula lost by far in efficiency when compared to the one grown in our own utility garden.
- We do not use plastic in the packaging and we do not package our products in additional packaging nor with ribbons only for looks. For packaging we use unbleached tissue paper, biodegradable Sulapac packaging, recyclable glass and recyclable aluminum.
- We continually aim to invest even more more in zero-waste packaging, i.e. in such that it can be recycled and used again. Therefore we will also give up the Sulapac packaging.
We constantly aim to improve our activities and to rethink our way of doing things, in case we notice any grievance. The whole business idea of the company once started with the utilization of the by product tallow and would we not be able to obtain it in a sustainable way, we would change our recipes and products.
Do you have any ideas on how we could improve our way of working or thinking, what things are the most important for you when choosing cosmetic products?
Toxfree Regards, Hanna