Clarity in beauty

With organic and natural becoming more and more mainstream in today’s beauty industry and no longer considered a niche marker, it has become increasingly harder to determine the difference. Many brands use the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ but what do they actually mean and how can we establish which brands are truly organic?

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and what you put on it can be absorbed in tiny amounts. So it’s no surprise that a growing number of beauty products are now being produced with organic ingredients. Unfortunately, unlike food there are currently no legal standards for organic labeling in beauty. This makes it harder for consumers as some brands jump on the organic bandwagon, marketing them as organic or natural when they are not.

The disadvantage to the consumer is they are often duped into buying a product believing it is better because it is organic or natural when the product in fact contains little or no natural/organic ingredients at all! In addition, organic and natural products generally cost more to produce so are more costly to the consumer, meaning the consumer is charged a premium. At What Skin Needs we try to be as clear as possible about the ingredients we use and we try to educate our customers about natural skincare. All of our products are made with more than 74% of natural ingredients.

The Soil Association is a membership charity campaigning for planet-friendly organic food and farming. They are campaigning for clarity in beauty to ensure products that claim to be organic comply with strict standards just as they would in the food industry.

To be confident you are buying truly organic products look out for an official mark of approval such as the Soil Association certification stamp. Alongside four other European certification bodies, the Soil Association have developed the Cosmetics Organic Standard, or COSMOS-standard. To get Cosmos organic certification, 95% of a product’s agro-ingredients and 20% of the entire product must be organic. The remaining ingredients must meet strict criteria to ensure that they are not damaging to our health or the environment. Products must also meet environmental standards for packaging and manufacturing, and use approved 'green chemistry' processes when modifying ingredients.

If a product uses between 70-95% organic agro-ingredients then Soil Association will certify it, though they will not allow it to claim to be organic. In this case it can state that it is made with ‘xx% organic ingredients’.

For more information on how you can make informed buying decisions when picking your beauty products head over to the Soil Association website