A quick check of the beauty or skin care section of any large store will tell you that there are a huge range of products purporting to be ‘natural’ or ‘organic’. This should tell you several things. First, any apparently ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ product that is mass-produced on a huge scale is unlikely to be truly ‘organic’. It may be ‘natural’ but ultimately, mass production on a commercial scale usually necessitates the use of some type of additive that will prolong the shelf life of the product. And that automatically rules out it being organic, or at least able to be certified organic.
If you truly want to stick to organic skin care products, there are several ways to ensure that what you are buying is really the genuine thing.
The first thing to look for of course is an official organic seal. In the US, organic certification is controlled by the US Department Of Agriculture (USDA). Producers and manufacturers who want to display a USDA Organics Seal on their products must comply with a lot of strict regulations around how those products are grown, produced and processed. This includes the forbidden use of artificial pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and any other chemicals that are not organic in nature.
Animals and poultry used in the production of organic products must likewise be reared and maintained organically. This means being fed only organic feeds and only having organic pesticides used in conjunction with their maintenance. They also have to be kept in a natural free-range environment as opposed to a feedlot or chicken shed. As an example – one type of animal based beauty treatment is a milk bath. You would therefore look for certified organic milk to use in this bath and if it carries the USDA Organic Seal, you’re assured the dairy cows that produced it live an organic lifestyle!
Our second recommendation is not to accept the labeling on any of these products at face value. Read the list of ingredients and if there is anything on there you don’t know much about, or haven’t heard of before, do your research. Google is your best friend. Most shoppers don’t leave home these days without their cell phone so you can do your research whilst standing there looking at the product in the store. If any of those ingredients are preservatives or disallowed chemicals for organic certification, then the product is not organic. There are dishonest manufacturers out there who will call their product ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ as a marketing ploy simply because it has one or two organically produced ingredients in it. However, unless it carries the USDA Organic Seal, it can’t be considered truly organic.
The third thing you can do is familiarize yourself with the various types of organic labeling and organic ranks. The USDA not only issues organic seals to products that meet its organic standards. There is also a ranking system that tells you how much of a product is actually organic, and what the non-organic component consists of. A product that is labelled as being 100% organic, assuming it also carries the USDA Organic Seal, is just that. It only contains organic ingredients and has been produced in accordance with organic standards. The only other types of organic products that can carry a USDA Organic Seal are those that are 95% or more organic in content and processing. The remaining 5% in these products must consist of ingredients that are on a special USDA list.
Apart from these two, you can also get products that are labelled ‘made with organic ingredients’. These products contain between 70% and 95% organic ingredients and at least 3 of them must be listed on the label. The non-organic ingredients must not be listed on the USDA’s exclusion list. “Made with organic ingredients’ products are not allowed to carry the USDA Organics Seal. Finally, you’ll come across products that are less than 70% organic but you’ll only know they have organic ingredients by looking at the ingredients list. These products are not allowed to carry any organic labeling but may use the term ‘organic’ in the ingredients list.
Hopefully this will give you an idea of what to look for when shopping for organic skin care products. By knowing what the various types of ‘organic’ products are and their accompanying labeling requirements, it will give you a better understanding of just how organic a product truly is. Moreover, by doing your research on the ingredients in these products, you’ll also reduce your chances of inadvertently being fooled into buying a product that may say it’s ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ but actually isn’t.
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