Do you buy organic beauty products? You might think that you do, but can you really be certain that what you’re buying is in fact free of harmful and artificial chemicals? According to the Soil Association, the UK’s largest organic certification body, misleading product labels mean that many of us are slathering our faces, bodies and hair with potentially harmful chemicals – and we don’t even know it. There is currently no legislation for organic cosmetics, meaning that any company can describe its products as organic regardless of how the product was made or how much organic material it contains.
A 2017 study has shown that 76 per cent of consumers felt misled by the labelling of beauty products as “organic”, and has launched a Campaign For Clarity to address the issue. But in the meantime, how can you know whether your beauty products are organic or not?
Look for the logos
The best thing to do is to look for the brands that have had their products officially certified as organic. In Europe the Soil Association, BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert and ICEA have teamed up to form an internationally recognised cosmetic organic standard known as COSMOS to ensure that beauty products meet the standards they claim to. Look for the logo of one of these organisations along with the COSMOS Organic logo on all cosmetics claiming to be organic, or for the Soil Association logo on health or wellbeing products.
Know the difference between “organic” and “made with organic”
COSMOS Organic demands that for a products to call itself organic on their watch, 95 per cent of its ingredients must be organic. However they also provide certification for products that state they are “made with organic” ingredients, requiring 20 per cent organic ingredients for leave-on products, 10 per cent for rinse-off. All COSMOS Organic-approved products use only natural colour and fragrance, use traceable and sustainably-sourced ingredients and are never tested on animals.
Know the brands that do it best
If in doubt, stick to brands you can trust. Neal’s Yard Remedies offers the world’s largest collection of Soil Association certified, organic health and beauty products, and use a clear labelling system to detail exactly which products are organic. Other Soil Association-approved organic brands include Pai, Bamford and Nourish. See the Soil Association’s list of approved brands here.