Green cosmetics - What is behind it?

Green cosmetics and vegan, organic or natural beauty - These are the differences between them and these ingredients are a no-go

Green cosmetics

Vegan, organic, green ... More and more consumers are opting for cosmetic products which do not contain harmful ingredients. With the numerous names, however, they quickly reach the limits of understanding which products they can use with a clear conscience. The term green cosmetics, in particular, has recently played a major role in the beauty sphere and developed into a real trend. It is time to provide some clarification.

What is green cosmetics?

Green cosmetics is not a protected term and therefore rather a question of interpretation. However, if you know what a "green diet" is, you can guess what that means for the beauty industry:

"The absence of toxic and harmful ingredients and the use of high quality and wholesome ingredients that care for and nourish the skin."

Nevertheless, consumers are often misled by greenwashing. The marketing departments of various companies are jumping on the new movement and wrongly attribute properties such as "green", "organic" or "natural" to all possible products.

No-goingredients - Avoid these substances

Since the United States and the EU enacted their law on ingredient regulations in cosmetics in 1938, it has not significantly changed. Now, the green cosmetics movement is establishing its own rules. These are the no-go ingredients for clean beauty products:

  • Artificial colors and fragrances (e.g. perfumes, coumarin, citral, Linalool, farnesol and all types of benzyl and alcohol):
    These convince the customer of the quality of the products as they create beautiful colors and a pleasant smell. Unfortunately, these substances can irritate the skin and trigger allergies.
  • Mineral oils (e.g. petroleum, petrolatum, paraffinum liquidum):
    These are by-products of the petroleum industry and clog pores. They are often used to moisturize lip balms or face creams, but according to the World Health Organization, they are suspected of being carcinogenic. This also concerns petroleum jelly.
  • Parabens (Methyl, ethyl, isobutyl butyl, propyl parabens):
    They are considered controversial preservatives that can have a significant impact on our health. Parabens are used in cosmetic products to prevent the growth of bacteria and thus make the product more durable.
  • Phthalates (DEP, BBzP, DiBP, DBP and DEHP):
    These are emulsifiers in synthetic fragrances, nail polishes and hair sprays. They can be absorbed through the skin and thus get into our organism. They help keep products and materials supple, but like parabens they are also associated with diseases.

In addition to these ingredients, there are a number of chemicals, such as ethoxylated agents, hydroquinone, triclosan, silicon dioxide or talc, which have a negative or harmful effects on the human organism and the environment. Especially aluminum in deodorants. Green cosmetics, on the other hand, dispenses with these ingredients and instead contains substances that are not suspected of causing diseases and polluting the environment.

Green cosmetics - These are the differences to natural, organic and vegan cosmetics

Natural cosmetics

Natural cosmetics is also a term that is not protected by law and therefore causes confusion among consumers. In general, it means that natural and nature-based raw materials are used instead of silicones, parabens, synthetic fragrances and preservatives. However, the term natural cosmetics does not mean purely organic. Many products still have synthetic ingredients that, especially when looking at the label, are not clearly recognizable by laypersons.

Certified natural cosmetics

Certified natural cosmetics provide guidance for using the numerous names for products that actually contain controlled natural cosmetics. The two seals BDIH and EcoCert are widely used and certify natural cosmetics. But natural cosmetics can also cause irritation and allergies. Highly concentrated plant substances and essential oils are extremely effective plant substances that are often used as natural remedies. Therefore, always pay attention to dermatological skin tolerance. When talking about natural cosmetics, organic cosmetics are often included. However, a distinction can also be made here.

Organic cosmetics

The ingredients of organic cosmetics primarily originate from controlled organic cultivation. They are produced without genetic engineering and grown without herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or antibiotics. In addition, the products must be manufactured in an environmentally as well as resource-friendly manner and the packaging must be recyclable. The higher price usually comes from the higher ecological agricultural and processing costs.

Vegan cosmetics

Purely vegan products do not contain animal ingredients such as honey, protein, cholesterol or gelatin. However, they are not necessarily purely natural products. The vegan flower seal indicates that the entire production process is free of animal components.

Green cosmetics

The desire to exclusively use products with ingredients that do not negatively affect the skin or body is behind the trend of green cosmetics. Seals which certify green beauty include Soil Association, Ecocert, USDA, Cosmos NaTrue, EWG and Demeter.

It's all about adding nutrient-rich, high-quality ingredients to your body. You don't necessarily have to use products that are exclusively vegan, organic, or natural. However, the products of this new trend should always meet one condition - namely, they should not significantly harm people or the environment. This is what makes the trend meaningful and sustainable.


Always informed about the latest lifestyle trends, architecture, design & interior, as well as current technologies around sustainability.

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