Is Your Organic Beauty Certified?
Organic Beauty and Wellness Week
May 15-21 marks Organic Beauty and Wellness Week here in the UK. This initiative led by The Soil Association sees the return of their "Look for Th Logo" Campaign to highlight the lack of regulation in Labelling of Beauty Products in the UK. The Soil Association is the Certifying body in the UK for Organic Products.
To Me, Organic Beauty is part of the bigger Green Beauty Movement, which is when individuals and consumers choose to purchase and use products that have been made using high standards of production that are respectful to the environment in which the source materials come from. I believe this is important because we have truly been using our planet in a way that is destructive, and the little choices we make every day can help ensure the future. Organic, Natural and Green Beauty are important because we do absorb a portion ( very little to a lot depending on what it is and who you are talking to) of the products we put on our skin into our bodies, and it simply feels right and feels better to use products which have had great thought, technology, research and mostly love put into them.
Greenwashing in Green Beauty
Currently there is no regulation around the terms 'Organic' and 'Natural' in the Cosmetics Industry, and Companies can have as LITTLE as 1% Organic content to call themselves 'Organic' . 76% of consumers feel mislead by 'Natural' and 'Organic' Claims Beauty Brands use to sell their products. An sell indeed they do: There has been a 30% increase in the sales of Organic Beauty in the past 2 years alone.
Unfortunately, the lack of regulation has led less than scrupulous companies "greenwashing" labels to entice consumers in buying their products, which leads to a general feeling of distrust.
Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice. Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is.
Natural Beauty is Big Business, but it can be a minefield. I believe it is totally possible to have natural and organic businesses thrive in the larger Beauty market, respecting Ethics and Ecology, provided consumers are given the tools necessary to make Conscious Choices.
Some Brands mis-labelled as Natural or Organic even contain Ingredients that are actually deemed Harmful. Here is a List of Toxins to Avoid I made with the help of some experts.
The Soil Association has also teamed up with European Partners to create an International Standard for Organic and Natural Beauty. You can Read more about this Here
Non Certified Organic Beauty (that I still love)
So now for the contraversial bit: Some VERY GOOD, very HIGH QUALITY products do not have certification. These are often smaller boutique brands such as Evolve Beauty. Or Other Brands use Certified Ingredients but not enough for full certification like Ilia Beauty
There are few reasons for this. Some Companies simply do not have the financial means for certification, or they do not want to pass that cost on to their customers by raising the prices. Others simply do not meet the exact requirements, and others again are in the process of certification, but the process takes a long time.
So What do you do?
I do my research! First I look at the brands. Transparent brands will have all the information about ingredients and sourcing easily found on their websites. Look for reviews and recommendations.
I go to Retailers I trust to have done their research based on their standards and that is where I shop from. My Favourite Online and Instore retailers are:
Look for the Label
If you can find certified products, of course you know you arein good hands. Here are the symbols you can look for and a brief introduction to the organization that are behind them.
The Soil Association is a British Organization that offer range of organic and sustainable certification schemes across food, farming, catering, health and beauty, textiles and forestry. "Organic" Certification means 95% Organic Ingredient Use while "Made with Organic..." Certification comes with 70% Organic. Certified Brands Include Green People andPAI Skincare
Ecocert is the European body specializing in the certification of Organic Agricultural Products but has affiliate offices around the globe working in the Certification of Sustainable Development. Their Criteria are that 95% of the product be Natural but on 10%Organic to receive Organic Certification, but has a strict list of Prohibited ingredients ( The usual suspects like Parabens etc) Includes products like Madara, and Avril Beauty
Cosmos is a European regulatory body that works in conjunction with with organizations around Europe like the Soil Association and Ecocert for the regulation of Natural and Organic Cosmetics From their website: Our ultimate objective is to safeguard, in the area of cosmetics, the welfare of the environment and of people. For this we want to stimulate the development of cosmetics that are ever more natural and organic. And we want to ensure consumers have clear and transparent information so that they can themselves be an actor for sustainable development. I could not have said it better
Organic Food Chain Australia + Australian Certified Organic
Natrue is also an Independent European Association whose mission is : NATRUE's mission is to protect and promote natural and organic cosmetics to the benefit of consumers worldwide. (from Their Website) They require 75% Natural Content with Adherence to strictt practices for certification and Include Lavera, Weleda, and Dr. Hauschka
Cosme Bio is a French organization regulating Natural and Organic Cosmetics in France including Couleur Caramel and Zao Makeup. Their Requirments for Organic status are very high and stringent and the work in conjunction with COSMOS