This Organic Beauty Week, educate yourself about what it all means
How can we clarify when products really are organic? The answer here is that it’s not easy to know, as there are no real legal standards for claims that can be made for organic beauty (unlike food or drink.) We talked to Lauren Bartley, Health and Beauty Manager at Soil Association to find out more…
‘The lack of standards means that a brand wanting to call itself organic can, even if they only use a very small percentage of certified organic ingredients. This year, as we launch our Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week, we’re asking consumers to look for the logo so they know the products they’re buying have been independently verified and are genuinely organic. You’ll find the Soil Association logo on thousands of beauty products from your local supermarket to a high street retailer and online beauty shop. Natural and organic beauty is now one of the fastest growing beauty categories and we couldn’t be more excited to see so many people switching over to a cleaner and greener approach to beauty.’
Love all things beauty? Head to our sister site, Powder, for personalised recommendations. Why not start by finding the best cleanser for your skin type?
What is organic beauty?
Organic products contain ingredients from organic farming, sourced and manufactured using sustainable methods. By looking for the logo, certified organic beauty products say: no to GM, no to toxic chemicals, no to parabens, no to synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances, no to nano particles, no to animal testing and yes to sustainably sourced ingredients, transparent manufacturing processes, biodegradable ingredients, ethical packaging and protecting wildlife.
‘Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and much of what you put on it is likely to be absorbed. Yet unlike with organic food, which must adhere to strict EU standards, there are no legal standards for the use of the term organic on beauty products. This means in practice that any brand or beauty product can be labelled as ‘organic’ even if it contains virtually no organic ingredients. New research conducted this year for Soil Associations Come Clean About Beauty campaign revealed that 72% of people said they would lose trust in a beauty brand that made misleading claims about being organic.’
Logos to look out for
‘If customers really want to be certain the products they are buying really are organic, they need to look out for the recognised and trusted Soil Association logo! We independently certify our products with them as they’re known for their high standards which guarantee a product contains the highest level of certified organic ingredients possible,’ Lou Green, Head of Campaigns at Neal’s Yard Remedies, tells us.
How organic is organic?
‘Unlike food, there’s currently no legislation as such that regulates natural and organic products within the cosmetic industry. As it stands a product can be labelled ‘organic’ yet contain a minimal amount of organic ingredients, and many others which would not be permitted in a certified organic product. This is why looking for certification from an independent body is so important if you want to ensure the products you are using are truly organic. For a beauty product to be labelled with ‘organic’ in the product name, according to the Soil Association’s strict guidelines 95% of its ingredients have to be certified organic, meaning they are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals and harmful pesticides. There is also a strict criteria as to what other ingredients are allowed to be included in the formulation. Certification also means that the product isn’t tested on animals and that the ingredients are not genetically modified.’
What’s the difference between an organic product and one made with organic ingredients?
‘For a product to be called organic under Soil Association Organic standards (COSMOS), 95% of all the ingredients must be organic. Made with organic ingredients’ is a certification that is designed for products that include water, which itself cannot be organic. However, 95% of the physically processed agricultural ingredients must always be organic. The only way to be certain that a product is truly organic is to look for a trusted and recognised third party accreditation. We work with the Soil Association for our certification as their logo is the gold standard for organic beauty – it guarantees that products meet the highest standards of quality, purity and transparency throughout the entire soil to skin chain,’ explains Tanya Hawkes, Founder of Therapi skincare.
Organic beauty is such a hot topic right now because consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the crossover between health and beauty. As our largest organ, our skin absorbs much of what we put on it and switching to organic beauty is a great way to boost our wellbeing. Organic ingredients are free from toxic pesticides, full of antioxidants and are better for the environment – it’s win-win!
Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week is on from the 15th – 21st May
There's a reason this little wonder balm has garnered so much popularity on Instagram; the healing ability of Pawpaw and Calendula is a match made in heaven. It works to soothe all types of skin ailments, from burns and cuts to eczema, in a non-greasy and non-scented formula. It's even gentle enough to use as a lip balm, and its handy 25ml size means you can take it in-flight too. We can't urge you enough to buy this one.
Made in the company's Hackney workshop and containing only three ingredients (Fairtrade shea butter, beeswax and raw coconut oil), these little beauties are one of the best lip balms on the market. The naked flavour is a great one to start with, with a subtle sweetness we guarantee you'll love.
One of Balm Balm's most popular products, this balm is gentle enough to use on babies' skin – so imagine how soft it'll leave yours? A seriously moisturising formula that will repair even the driest of skin.
If you struggle with dry and frizzy hair, this is for you – team with the Harmonic Conditioner and your hair will seriously thank you. You'll find no nasty parabens, sulfates, silicones or synthetic fragrances here.
As well as being a nourishing ingredient for your diet, coconut oil is excellent for nourishing your skin and hair, too. Use only the finest and opt for Kiki Health's Raw Organic option.
A cult-favourite, this best selling beauty balm nurtures all skin types for a glowing, radiant complexion. With vitamin and antioxidant-rich wild rosehip seed oil, this is a true multi-purpose beauty must have.
Vegan, Kosher, Organic, this nutrient and chlorophyll-rich blend of green food powders provides a natural source of vitamins, essential fatty acids, polysaccharides and soluble fibre and ticks the healthy beauty inside and out box perfectly.
Developed with the Bamford yoga masters, the new collection of organic essential oil blends are inspired by yoga poses that enhance the body, mind and spirit so you can feel zen post class!
A deeply moisturising and cleansing balm to hydrate, soften and protect skin. With Marshmallow, Mullein, Jojoba and Shea Butter this balm is a great all rounder but makes for an amazing overnight mask.
Newly launched LA-EVA embodies natural, edgy elegance and presents an inspirational beauty concept that celebrates the senses and treats body & mind as one.
This best-seller was the first shampoo that ever achieved Soil Association approval. Bursting with organic herbal ingredients and coconut oil to nourish the scalp, it is free from all sulfates, fragrance, artificial preservatives and salt
This colour-changing facial wash lifts impuritiesto reveal healthy, radiant skin while ddetoxifying and protecting against pollution, helping to minimise signs of ageing. Watch as the whitecream turns green once cleansing has occurred – the next level in organic beauty coolness.
An all-natural miracle cream made with rejuvenating propolis, rich in antioxidants, moisturising honey and vitamin-rich rosehip oil, which deliver skin a concentrated boost of organic nutrients to promote renewed radiance and vitality.
This organic seaweed face serum is an intense blend of organic oils, designed to give the skin a boost to its natural defenses. Naturally packed with powerful antioxidants, offering nourishment to improve radiance and bring life to dull skin that needs a boost.
This all-natural tube of goodness does it all with the power of castor seed oil and papaya extract. Whether your lips are a little chapped or the change in weather has you a little rashy, all you need to do is slap this puppy on and it’ll soothe (and hydrate) your skin.
Shop now: Paw Paw Ointment for £5.31 from Sukin
Blending together rosehip oil, pomegranate and sea buckthorn to combat dry skin and signs of ageing, this vibrant serum will have your skin glowing and refreshed in no time. Whether you’re incorporating it into your morning skin routine or slapping it on for an extra boost before heading out, it’s a little bottle of magic you’ll be reaching for again and again.
Combining all the goodness of calendula, mangoes, aloe vera, lavender, olives and more, this eye cream by Tata Harper means serious business. The skin around your eyes is particularly delicate and this product keeps you looking bright-eyed and fresh, brightening and eradicating pesky dark circles and lines.