In recent years, most of us have tried to switch to a healthier lifestyle. Some buy organic food, others exercise more or strive to reduce their carbon footprint. Even the beauty industry has joined the eco-friendly efforts (or trends?) of the environmentalist community around the globe by promoting “organic”, “natural”, or “paraben-free” products. Before switching to such organic remedies for your daily personal care, there are a few aspects to throw light on.
Organic Beauty Products vs. Conventional Products
There is no secret that up to 90% of conventional beauty products are based on chemicals and even toxic ingredients. However, in almost all drugstores and cosmetic department stores, “organic” has become a term you can find on everything from body lotion and lipsticks to mascara and shampoo. In this article, we are going to address a few essential questions that mark the battle between organic and regular beauty products:
- What are the advantages of going organic?
- What does “organic” mean when it comes to beauty products and why is it superior to “conventional”?
- How can you verify if organic skin care products are up to the USDA standards?
- When is it better to steer clear of conventional beauty products and snatch up the natural alternative?
- What are the best organic beauty ingredients for 100% natural skin care?
What Are The Advantages Of Going Organic?
There are many brands promising the “best organic” beauty remedies for your skin. While it is difficult to attest the authenticity of such labels, when choosing an organic beauty products the key rule is simple: if you can’t eat it, don’t buy it. Beauty products based on organic ingredients have a series of advantages over conventional cosmetics that cannot be overlooked.
- Organic beauty products are healthier.
- Organic health and beauty products are more affordable than many conventional branded beauty products.
- Natural organic beauty products protect skin from premature aging.
- Organic beauty products, wholesale or home-made, are eco-friendlier than conventional products.
Are Organic Beauty Products Safer than Conventional Ones?
Even if organic personal care products are in many ways more beneficial to our skin and overall well-being, not everything you can find on the market is good for you. If the products holding the organic label are not 100% natural, its ingredient sources are as safe as in any conventional products.
What Does “Organic” Mean for Beauty Products?
When it comes to beauty products, the “natural” and “organic” area is a constant source of debate and quite a hot topic.
To begin with, the term “natural” refers to ingredients that are derived from natural sources. As regards the other label, organic beauty products should contain only plant-sourced ingredients. That means there should be no synthetic compounds, chemicals, or pesticides found in such products.
If for the food industry, the term “organic” is used on product labels only if producers meet the standards set in USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), in the beauty industry, the term is not strictly defined and regulated for cosmetics and personal care products. This makes it difficult for consumers to identify what organic beauty products are 100% natural.
What about strict standards and regulations for personal care products that claim to be organic?
Labeling & regulations: How Can You Verify If a Skin Care Product Is Organic?
Certified organic products should respect the guidelines presented by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). USDA organic beauty products are the ones that display the USDA Organic Seal. However, USDA does not have the authority to check organic claims on other products than food. You can find out more about their initiatives, on the USDA Organic Skin Care page.
How to Read a Label: The Difference Between “100% Organic”, “Organic”, and “Made with Organic Ingredients”
- “100% Organic” is for products that contain 100% organically produced ingredients. No other ingredients are permitted excluding water and salt. Such products can display the USDA Organic Seal mentioned above as well as the certifying agent name and address.
- “Organic” is for products that contain at least 95% organically produced ingredients. The remaining ingredients must consist of substances approved on the NOP National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
- “Made with organic ingredients” is for products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients. These products can list up to three of the organic ingredients on the main display panel. For example, body cream made with at least 70% organic ingredients, and only organic herbs can be labelled as “body cream made with organic rosemary, chamomile, or lavender” or “body cream made with organic herbs.” These products do not display the USDA Organic Seal, but they have to display the certifying agent’s details.
Sadly, organic certifications have little to do with skin care. Fact is that there are natural ingredients that can do more harm for certain types of skin and conditions than conventional compounds used in beauty products. The truth is somewhere in between.
What Ingredients and Contaminants Should You Avoid?
- Irritants: there are a lot of plant extract known as irritants. Although such ingredients have many health benefits, used unknowingly can cause collagen to break down and may affect skin’s ability to recover. These include peppermint, menthol, sage, and rosemary, to name just a few.
- Parabens are widely used preservatives in conventional cosmetics. They are also used as fragrance ingredients, but you may not find that mentioned on the label as manufacturers are not required to disclose fragrance chemicals in the list of ingredients. As a fact, up to 90% of beauty products contain parabens. As they are easily absorbed in our body system, parabens are suspected of interfering with hormone function. They are thus classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Researchers also detected parabens in human breast cancer tissues, raising questions about a possible association between these chemicals and cancer.
- Preservatives can release nitrites when the product is exposed to air. Nitrites can react with DEA and form nitrosamines. These are impurities suspected to cause liver cancer and precancerous changes in skin.
- 1,4-Dioxane is not listed on product ingredient labels. This is a contaminant linked to cancer found in products that create suds, such as shampoo, bubble bath, and liquid soap.
- Acrylates are ingredients found in nail products. Despite adverse skin, eye, and throat reactions, they continue to be used in the cosmetic industry.
- Butylated compounds (BHA) are prohibited preservatives in the European Union as they are believed to cause organ-system toxicity and endocrine disruption.
- Carcinogens are cancer-causing chemicals. Due to limited laws governing personal care products, these are sadly allowed in many chemically-based cosmetics.
- Carbon black is a dark pigment widely used in eyeliners, mascara, and lipstick. The ingredient has been linked to increased incidence of cancer.
- Ethanolamine compounds (including MEA, DEA, and TEA) are used in creamy and foaming products such as shampoo, moisturizers, cleansers, and soap. They can form cancer-causing nitrosamines and also cause irritations. These compounds are harmful to marine life and different forms of wildlife.
When Is It Best to Steer Clear of Conventional Products?
Our skin can absorb certain compounds like the ones listed above. To some degree, our body benefits of a protective barrier able to prevent dangerous ingredients to getting into the bloodstream. However, studies have shown that more than 60% of the ingredients we apply to our skin get absorbed and can damage our overall health.
From this point of view, it is best to swap out all chemically based products and turn to organic solutions as long as we are 100% aware of the products’ ingredient source.
Some consider that current natural or organic beauty products don’t provide any added benefit to consumers. One can observe that there are companies that strive to make ‘organic’ or ‘all-natural’ beauty products but end up producing cosmetics that are functionally inferior to many mainstream, branded products. However, the demand for organic products continues to grow as people realize the health threats raised by chemically-based cosmetics.
On the other hand, there are companies that offer effective and natural products like the renowned brands Eminence Organics and Aubrey Organics. Eminence skin care products, for instance, address different skin types and concerns. However, if you don’t find the product that best suits your needs, why don’t you take a look at what’s behind your kitchen cabinet doors and make yourself a 100% organic beauty treatment?
What Are the Best Organic Beauty Products for 100% Natural Skin Care?
The best beauty products aren’t those that help you look amazing, but those who provide you with a healthy and beautiful appearance at the same time. Most of the times, the best organic beauty products imply turning your breakfast into a treat for your skin and body.
Best Organic Body Oil: Coconut Oil
The lightest and most nourishing formula you can get in a body oil is to be found in coconut. Apart from its renowned health benefits, ranging from improving digestion to speeding up metabolism, this wonder-product helps is ultra-hydrating. When it comes to its magic potential as a beauty product, its uses appear to be endless. Use it as a body oil complemented with divine fragrances. You will love its creamy and delicate texture.
Pro tip: you can use coconut oil as a 100% natural alternative to shampoo, tooth paste, cuticle softener, hydrating lip-balm, hair masks, and make-up remover.
Best Organic Toner: Apple Cider Vinegar
From cleansing and detoxifying effects to other medical remedies, from hygienic uses to garden care and cooking purposes, apple cider vinegar seems to be beneficial for almost anything that comes to our mind. Is your skin breaking out? Do you dream of a radiant complexion? As a beauty weapon, apple cider vinegar acts as an incredible toner. Its antiseptic properties make it the ideal treatment against blemishes and breakouts.
Pro Tip: apply apple cider vinegar to a cotton bad and use it twice a day as a post-cleansing agent.
Best Face Mask Ingredient for Sensitive Skin: Honey
Looking for the best and sweetest remedy for a clear and glowing skin? Thanks to its antibacterial properties, honey is the go-to product for homemade face masks. Not only it is ultra-hydrating, but it also aids with breakouts. Add a handful of oats and get yourself a facial scrub ideal for sensitive skin.
Pro Tip: This product is a great cuticle softener and can also make miracles for those dry, rough elbows.
Best Organic Ingredient for Dull, Dry, or Sun-Damaged Hair: Basil
Basil is lauded both for its flavor and health benefits. Apart from being the perfect addition to tomato sauce and that special something we use to jazz up our salads, this culinary herb prevents hair loss and fights skin conditions.
Pro Tip: mixed with water, a handful of crushed fresh basil makes for a powerful remedy for dull, dry, or sun-damaged hair.
Best Organic Ingredient for Pigmentation Problems: Turmeric
Another wonder spice, turmeric is a powerful anti-aging ingredient. If you are having troubles with acne-related conditions, do not neglect its ability to minimize scars and hyperpigmentation problems.
Pro Tip: use turmeric in moisturizing remedies together with wheat and yogurt. To combat acne, create a scrub using turmeric, a few drops of water, and the juice of a lemon. To reduce scars, mix it with water and apply the paste to the skin. Leave it for about 10 minutes, then rinse it off, and enjoy its magical benefits.
Best Organic Ingredient for a Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner
When it comes to your shampoo and conditioner, we have no better way to put it – organic is the way to go. What better way than picking up an ingredient from the courtyard?
Eggs can be used for many beauty purposes. Apart from contributing to a radiant skin and smaller pores, it acts as an intense hair moisturizer. If your locks have been lacking a little shine lately, it’s time to apply a powerful organic natural hair product based on egg whites.
Pro Tip: Crack 2-3 eggs depending on the length of your hair, whisk them up, and apply to the entire length of your hair. Let it dry and then rinse the egg off with cold water.