for organic or all-natural products. From the aisles in your grocery store to apparel and
cosmetics, more products are claiming to be organic or natural and it can be difficult to choose
the right one. Beauty products are especially tricky, since there are no official regulations or
industry standards for the labels under which these products are marketed. So, we rounded up
some tips and guidelines to help you choose your next beauty product, confidently and wisely.
And we really mean it-simplify! All you really need is one good cleanser, toner or foundation to
keep your skin in top shape. More importantly, look at the content! Always opt for products
with a simpler list of ingredients and fewer “synthetic” chemicals.
What Does The Label Say And What Does It Mean?
Let’s start with some terms that are continuously being tossed around, and that you should
familiarize yourself with. “Organic” ingredients are plant-sourced components that are
cultivated without irradiation, harmful toxins or pesticides. According to the USDA regulations,
which unfortunately still apply only to food, there are different categories of organic products.
“100% Organic” means that, besides salt and water, the product contains only organic
components. That is the primo stuff! If the product is labeled as “organic” and carries the USDA
organic seal, you can be pretty certain that it is made with at least 95% organic ingredients.
“Made with organic ingredients” means that the cosmetics must contain at least 70% organic
ingredients and can list not more than three of these ingredients. But, how about the remaining
30%? Well, some make up does contain “synthetic” chemicals and some are well known toxins
you should steer clear of. For instance, always choose “fragrance-free” products since these
don’t contain phthalates, a class of chemicals linked to birth defects. A pretty comprehensive list
of problematic chemicals used in cosmetics can be found here. In the same way that some
chemicals can be toxic, be aware that just because an ingredient is natural, it’s not necessarily
healthy or safe. Your rule of thumb should be: if it’s a natural irritant - like menthol or
eucalyptus - it’s still an irritant.
Do Your Own Research
Take the time to do your own research. The Internet is chock-full of useful information and you
should use them. Apart from many on-line beauty magazines, there are plenty of reviews for
any product and it is easy to find out how one product stacks up against the others. Many
retailer websites offer the testimonials of other customers and first-hand experiences. It is
always a good thing to visit the company’s website to learn more about their philosophy and
values, and how committed they are to using natural ingredients. For example, a line of organic
and natural products L’Occitane uses traditional Provencal techniques and local natural
ingredients exclusively. You will also learn that the company is strongly involved with the
community, and doesn’t perform animal testing.
Whether you’re looking for a new blush or organic foundation with sunscreen, resources and
recipes are abound.
The bottom line: many labels, such as “organic” or “all-natural”, don’t necessarily mean that the
product is perfectly safe or chemical-free. Keep in mind that the cosmetic industry is still largely
unregulated. That labels can be a mere marketing ploy so you should always practice caution
and skepticism. Learn about labels and different ingredients. This will come especially handy
when you decide to whip up your own “shimmer-me- avocado-cucumber- moisturizer”.