Organic cosmetics are getting more and more coverage these days, but is what you read fact or fiction? A product labeled “organic” is not necessarily free from harmful ingredients. There are many unknowns and misconceptions in the world of organic cosmetics, it is worthwhile to know how to spot the real thing.
I feel frustrated. I just finished reading yet another article on the benefits of natural/organic cosmetics and skincare products. It is always encouraging to see an article on this subject in a mainstream magazine, that is until you start reading. Most often they turn out to be misleading if not downright wrong.
A popular beauty magazine that I read regularly ran an article for their October issue on natural products and stated that “organic products” are the way to go because they “exclude chemical pesticides and certain synthetics purported to have health risks”. The true story here would be that the manufacturers of organic cosmetic and skincare products exclude harmful chemicals only if they choose to exclude them. The organic ingredients they use may have been grown without the use of pesticides but just because they include organically grown ingredients does not mean that they are automatically free from all harmful ingredients. Organically grown broccoli is good for you but if you cook it in butter and cover it in cheese and salt it detracts from the healthy benefits. So if you are using an “organic product” on your face, hair or body that contains parabens, harmful sulphates or fragrances, the organically-grown ingredients are not really doing you that much good.
The article goes on to recommend several organic product lines, some of which contain the above mentioned synthetic ingredients. They also gave a hit and miss description of terms, stating that “natural” ingredients are those that are derived from a plant source that have not been altered or processed and implied that the US government actually regulates ingredients that go into cosmetics. The reality is that cosmetics manufacturers can use pretty much any ingredient they wish (with a few, albeit flimsy, restrictions) without approval from the FDA. And as for the term “natural”, when applied to cosmetics this simply means that the product contains ingredient(s) which are derived from nature whether they have been produced using chemicals or not. More or less just a marketing tool.
Most often these publications list an array of organic cosmetics lines, most of which are not safe, the majority of which are designer. This may be part of the problem. If a celebrity puts their name on a product people will buy it, trusting its safety and quality.
But there are celebrities out there endorsing their own safe organic line or those of others. Such as Jo Wood of Jo Wood Organics (as in the wife of Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones) and Debra Messing who is the American face for the German brand Lavera.
I have seen many articles like this one in many publications over the past couple of years and while it is exciting that organic cosmetics are getting more attention, it is frustrating that the ultimate goal of using products with organic ingredients is being overlooked. The benefit to our own bodies is the obvious factor here, but what about the health and safety of our earth? While toxic ingredients are being used they are being absorbed by our earth as well as our skin, as they are washed down our drains and into our soil and water supply.
There are many safe, effective, high-quality organic products being made today, you just have to know where to look and what you are looking (or not looking) for. Find an organic cosmetics source you trust, follow their recommendations and you will be healthier and happier because of it.
The bottom line is to always be sure the manufacturer of the cosmetics products you use are dedicated to creating safe organic cosmetics. The word “organic” on the label is not a guarantee of a product’s safety.