Why buying organic is the best choice you’ll make for your skincare, hair and beauty routines
Organic is booming. Not only in the beauty industry but also elsewhere, from the food we eat and the restaurants we visit, to our toothpaste (and brush!), bathing and shower products and plants. In fact, it’s probably easier to list things we can’t get an organic version of than list things we can!
At Natural Health, we celebrate all things organic and we are welcoming this beauty revolution with open arms, as there are more brands than ever proudly showing off their organic status. Something that was once seen in a handful of brands and products is now almost (dare we say it) utterly mainstream. But are these products all truly organic? Whilst we celebrate this wide-appreciation of organic being picked up by the many brands, we have to ask ourselves, are they truly organic? What should we be checking for?
Charlotte Vohtz, founder of organic brand Green People believes that the differences are key. “It is important to highlight the difference between organic and certified organic products. In fact, a product could contain less than one percent organic ingredients and still be called ‘organic’, but the regulations for certified products are very different. Choosing certified organic cosmetics guarantees you plant-derived ingredients and formulations, which must not include harmful synthetic chemicals, artificial preservatives, irradiation, genetically modified organisms and animal testing. There are different certification bodies, but you can be assured that a certified product comes without harmful ingredients, promotes health and wellbeing, and is good for the environment too.”
Jayn Sterland, managing director of organic brand Weleda, agrees: “For me, to be a truly organic natural beauty brand means going beyond ingredients and encompasses how the business operates. This means looking at the origin of 100 percent of ingredients used – how they are produced, where they are produced, the price paid and how each is processed.”
When choosing to buy organic, you are making a decision to choose a product that has been sustainably sourced and had its ingredients mindfully picked. Charlotte believes buying into organic is a conscious choice we make to explore alternatives. “Today’s consumers are armed with the knowledge to decipher labels and make informed choices about the products they want to use. Making certified organic products available to all is important to us.
“The best way to ensure that products are genuinely organic is to look for those that have been independently certified by an IFOAM accredited body. These include Soil Association, Organic Food Federation (through their ‘Non-Food Certification Company’ standard) and EcoCert. Products certified by any of these bodies have to comply with strict standards, which ensure that the maximum level of organic ingredients is used and that ingredients that do not comply with their guidelines are not present.” The Soil Association define organic beauty on their website as the formulation of cosmetic products using organically-farmed ingredients, and these are grown without the use of genetically modified organisms, herbicides, synthetic fertilisers and more.
“When a product is truly organic and certified, there are no grey areas.” Charlotte continues. “Consumers can trust their buying choices and, at Green People, we are proud to carry badges from three different certification bodies and what this represents. Transparency is a key part of our founding principles.
“When you use truly organic products it means that your skin is not overloaded with toxic and harsh ingredients, which are often the cause of problems such as acne, blackheads and oily skin. Petrochemicals, mineral oils and silicones block pores and prevent the skin from breathing – similar to wrapping the skin in cling film! Many people report an improvement in their skin when switching to organic beauty products. No one really knows the effects these chemicals have on the environment but there have been reports of fish changing gender due to the chemicals and hormones that are entering the water!
Unfortunately, there are downsides. You will notice that a truly organic product does come with a higher price tag than its mainstream, non-organic counterpart. But like with anything, the more people who invest in a better quality product, the more the price is able to lower.
Jayn believes the complicated process leads to higher costs, “Farming organically requires real commitment – it takes a minimum of three years to become certified, so the whole process requires a different mind-set as nature takes time to reboot, re-harmonising to support the plant by keeping at bay pests and disease through a balanced eco-system.
“It’s also tricky as, in general, the rest of the world farms conventionally, which can lead to contamination from crop spray drift and organic crops can suffer from insect infestation. This is the last thing you want when you are processing the raw material – imagine a plant full of bugs being made into your face cream! We also re-test every ingredient that is sourced, checking quality and looking for these contaminants – whilst it isn’t easy, it is worth it.”
“At Weleda we look to source every ingredient as closely to organic protocol as possible. Sometimes sourcing an ingredient of organic quality simply isn’t possible, such as in the case of almond oil where there simply isn’t the supply in the volume required. When this happens, we look to the long-term – setting up new farming initiatives and working with farmers to switch from conventional farming to organic and, eventually, bio-dynamic methods.”
Jayn Sterland, managing director of Weleda, believes these are the three things to look for when assessing exactly how organic a product is…
1. Look for an independent quality seal [such as those mentioned previously] as this means the origin of ingredients has been checked and verified.
2. Look beyond the label – is the brand truly authentic? Are all their products certified natural and organic?
3 Find out their sustainability credentials – do they use synthetic and just a small percentage of organic ingredients?
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