Botanical Skin Care: What is botanical skin care and how does it differ to herbal, organic or natural skin care?

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Article: Botanicals or Botanical Skin Care

Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products


Botanical skin care, natural and organic skin care are terms we are hearing more and more often, but do we understand what these terms actually mean and whether there is a difference between them?

Botanical Skin Care Explained


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Is Botanical Skin Care Different to Natural, Herbal or Organic Skin Care?

Let's look at the term botanical skin care and analyse just exactly what is meant by this phrase and establish whether or not there is a difference between ‘Botanical skin care’ and other types of skin care.

Botanical refers to plants - as pertaining to the Science of Botany. It infers that the ingredients in a ‘botanical’ skin care product are from plant sources, thus the word botanical is used. One might also use the word ‘herbal’ as this too suggests that ingredients are herbal and therefore botanical in origin. However, herbal also implies therapeutic, as in herbal medicine, while botanical does not have this association with therapy.

Marketers use botanical skin care not necessarily because the product they are marketing is a product based purely on botanical or plant derived ingredients, but because it implies that the product is natural and contains natural ingredients. Something which more and more consumers are beginning to be concerned about.

The word natural, when used in conjunction with skin care or personal care products, implies there is nothing artificial in the product, but does not necessarily mean that the ingredients are of plant origin or that they are therapeutic.

So, botanical skin care suggests that ingredients are from one or several plants; natural skin care implies that the product is natural and does not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients, while herbal skin care infers that the products are therapeutic.

It must be remembered however, that this is not necessarily so. Just because a product has been labelled natural, organic, botanical or herbal, does not mean that ALL the ingredients are of that origin. Rather, it usually refers only to one or two of the constituents in the complex of ingredients that make up the product.

Some of the major brands of cosmetics and skin care products utilise herbal, botanical and/or other natural ingredients and market their products as such. However, a closer look at the ingredients in their products reveals, that most of the ingredients are neither natural nor botanical, but rather are made up of artificial and synthetic preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilisers, synthetic fragrances, etc. Not at all what consumers thought they were buying.

Truly natural skin care products don’t use these artificial and synthetic ingredients, which is why they don’t have a shelf life of several years, and why often some these products may need to be shaken before use. This is because the waxes and oils don’t readily mix with water-based ingredients, which have a tendency to separate and thus make it necessary to stir or shake natural products from time to time. In addition, unlike their synthetic counterparts, natural preservatives such as essential oils and alcohol based herbal extracts loose their effectiveness over time.

One needs to keep in mind how skin care products are distributed and sold. In the first instance there is the manufacturer that could be located anywhere in the world. They make their products and store them in their warehouses until they receive orders from their distributors. Then, they are shipped to which ever country they have been ordered from. This can take days, weeks or months depending on how they are freighted and how far they have to go.

In the next step of the distribution chain, products are received and warehoused by the importers and distributors. They purchase a certain quantity, usually several months worth of supplies, and then distribute portions to wholesalers and other distributors. The products again sit in warehouses for several months if not years before the various sales teams sell the products to the retailers, where they might sit on the shelf for several more months.

What this means is, that products distributed in this manner must not go off for several years and are designed with this in mind, necessitating the use of synthetic preservatives, just to start with.

Manufacturers of truly natural or botanical skin care products, such as Wildcrafted Herbal Products, for example, cannot follow this distribution model unless they use synthetic preservatives in their products. Therefore, they tend to sell directly to the public and produce their product batches in small quantities, thus guaranteeing a quick turnover of products. In turn this means that the essential oils and herbal extracts are sufficient (if used in high enough concentrations) to preserve the products, and that the customers receives fresh and effective, truly natural skin care products.

Being aware of the distribution process of these products, the consumer can reasonably judge as to how natural a so-called natural, herbal or botanical skin or personal care product is.

The name botanical skin care has a sense of science about it. Botanical is after all is a scientific term and is related to the science of botany. Marketers use this to imply science behind a product, making the consumer think that because the word botanical is used, it must have been developed through some sort of scientific process. Of course this is not necessarily so and in fact rarely the case. It is just a marketing ploy to separate one line or brand of skin care products from another, which may use terms such as herbal, organic or natural.

Botanical skin care is therefore no different to any other line of skin care products, other than that it does contain at least one or more ingredients which are of plant origin. Of course there are brands that use the phrase botanical to describe what is essentially a natural skin care range and they may or may not use synthetic or artificial ingredients in their products. You will need to read the label carefully and be able to distinguish between natural ingredients and others.

The long and sort of it is that truly natural skin care manufacturers use botanical (therapeutic or non-therapeutic), herbal (therapeutic) and natural ingredients in their skin care products. The final ‘label’ of herbal, natural or botanical skin care in the end is usually more or less irrelevant.


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