Organic Cosmetics: What you need to know01/05/2015
The benefits of organic cosmetics are endless. The fewer chemicals you’re putting on your skin, the happier it will be, particularly if you have sensitive skin. Not only that, but they’re usually more effective because they have far more nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
But as organic cosmetics become more and more popular, plenty of brands and companies claim to be natural or organic when sometimes that isn’t quite the whole truth.
Trying to figure out what is and isn’t truly organic can be as big a nightmare as the changing seasons are for your skin. To make it all a little bit simpler, we’ve compiled a list of the top five things you should be on the look out for, if you’re looking for the real deal when it comes to organic cosmetics.
1. What does ‘organic’ even mean?
First things first, knowing what ‘organic’ is supposed to mean will help you eliminate some options very quickly. According to the soil association, a product must have a minimum of 70% organic ingredients to be certified
Companies can claim their cosmetics are natural with only 50% of organic ingredients, but unless they meet the 70% mark they shouldn’t claim it’s an organic product.
On top of that, at least 10% of the ingredients (by weight) must come from organic farming. You should be looking out for synthetic chemicals and artificial preservatives and avoiding them at all costs!
2. Most common ‘bad’ ingredients to watch for
There are a few bad guys that crop up in the ingredient lists of supposedly organic cosmetics again and again. These include mercury, dioxane, nitrosamines, DEA, cyclomethicone, ammonium laureth sulfate, alcohol, polyethylene glycol and anything with polyethylene eth- in the name.
Your skin will absorb all of these ingredients pretty easily, but it can’t rid itself of them afterwards, so avoid them from the get go.
Organic ingredients in cosmetics can make a big difference to your cleansing routines. They can, for instance, make exfoliation non-agressive. Our popular Love a Scrub facial cleaner uses bamboo to let your skin breathe without causing damage while you exfoliate.
3. Avoid fragrance
There’s no real rule that says companies must declare what chemicals are in their fragrance mixture. Remember artificial fragrances often contain phthalates, which are used to make the smell last longer, but regularly trigger allergic reactions.
Reports have shown that ‘fragrance’ on an ingredient list on average hides 14 chemicals, so it’s unlikely a list including ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ is truly an organic cosmetic.
4. Watch out for sulfates
You’ve probably heard warnings about sulfates before: there’s quite a bit of controversy over whether the level of certain cancer causing sulfates in shampoos and body washes is high enough to actually do you any damage.
Most of these products do contain some sulfates – they’re what cause it to lather. Sodium laureth sulfate is the one you really need to look out for, as it’s been proven to contain 1,4-Dioxane, the petrochemical linked to the controversy.
Chemicals ending in –eth are the ones you really have to watch out for, so don’t panic if your most trusted organic shampoo brand lists sodium lauryl sulfate as an ingredient – it’s a different chemical despite the similar name. However, if you want to be totally safe, there are plenty of sulfate-free options out there.
5. When in doubt, check!
You can often tell a lot from simply looking at a brand’s values before you start trying to decipher the ingredient lists on their individual products. If you’re trying a new brand, check out their website first and you will usually find information on how they source ingredients and their philosophy behind what goes into their products, if they’re committed to organic cosmetics.
You can further realise the benefits of organic products on your skin by adding one of our Organic Muslin Facial Cloths to your cosmetics kit. This will help boost circulation, dislodge dead skin cells and lift away any impurities or make-up.
Have you any tips on deciphering which products truly are organic cosmetics?
VOYA creates exceptional beauty and skincare treatments with integrity and in full harmony with nature. Based on our wonderful hand-harvested seaweed, certified organic and our knowledge of the local traditions of seaweed baths and seaweed treatments, we strive to bring you the full power of nature in its purest forms throughout our VOYA range.