I asked the question is water organic to my natural cosmetics workshop students last November because I was really curious to hear their views on this hot topic. Nearly everybody agreed on the idea of water being counted as natural but not organic. I found that very interesting because the answer to the question depends on who answers the question. If you are a scientist or chemist like myself organic means any molecule that contains the carbon element. Water in chemistry terms is H2O, one oxygen atom linked to 2 hydrogen ones, no carbon at all so not organic. Actually it is inorganic in chemistry terms.

If the answer was answered by a farmer he would probably answer it is natural perhaps even organic if it is not treated with synthetic additives or from a natural spring.

If you asked the question to somebody from an organic cosmetics certification you would get a different answer based on a different meaning of organic, ie from a plant. Their answer to the question is water organic would be a simple no, not even natural because it does not come from a plant. That is why the calculations of organic cosmetics can be quite complicated as water is not counted at all. They also justify this approach so that natural content claims are not misleading to the general public so that a beauty product is not allowed to be called organic or natural on the basis of its high water content.

Everybody has a good reason for their answer: the chemist, the farmer and the organic cosmetic certification body. Different positions and definitions, different answers to one simple question.

I ponder about this and if I forget about the abstract concepts of science and the organic certification bodies, what comes to my mind is that there is a very high water content in the human body, about 70%. In fact Water is essential to life, and without water there would be no plants, either organic, wild or conventional. Skin would age very quickly without proper hydration, you need less than 80% water content in the horny layer to see signs of skin dehydration. The awareness of how water is essential to life and nature and how omnipresent it is in natural landscapes makes me share the position water is natural and as a result of this position I would count water as a natural ingredient in natural and organic cosmetic formulations.

Do you see water as natural or organic?