Why ‘organic’ beauty might not be so saintly

18th May, 2017 /

Why organic beauty might not be so saintly: Discover the sinners and true saints among natural beauty products

The word ‘organic’ on a beauty product suggests it is good for both the consumer and the environment
But the truth could be very different, according to the Soil Association, which has launched a campaign against ‘greenwashing’
European certification bodies (BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert and ICEA) have now developed a new Cosmetic Organic Standard or COSMOS
Discover the true saints and sinners among natural beauty products here

By Claire Coleman for the Daily Mail – see the original article

When shoppers see the word ‘organic’ on a shampoo bottle or pot of skin cream, they tend to believe they are buying a product that will be as good for their skin as the environment.

But the truth could be very different, according to the Soil Association.

It has launched a campaign against ‘greenwashing’ — where consumers are given the impression their beauty favourites are more organic than they are.

The organisation claims major brands including Boots, Dr Organic and Faith In Nature all use this type of marketing.

It is very different story in the food and grocery aisles of the supermarket.
Discover the sinners and true saints among natural beauty products as new standards are set for labelling of ‘organic’ offerings










Discover the sinners and true saints among natural beauty products as new standards are set for labelling of ‘organic’ offerings

Before a lettuce or beef joint can be labelled as organic, it must be approved by an organic certification body, which regularly inspects everything from labelling to production methods to ensure rules about pesticides, antibiotics, animal welfare and additives are followed.

Packaged products, such as tinned beans, can be sold as organic only if at least 95 per cent of ingredients are from organically produced plants or animals.

But there is no legal definition for organic beauty products.

As a result, a product can say it’s organic without having to satisfy any set standards. You can pop 0.01ml of organic lavender oil into a cream and say it’s ‘made with organic lavender’, but that doesn’t mean ingredients derived from petrochemicals aren’t included.

This is why the Come Clean About Beauty campaign for better product labelling is highlighting brands that use the word ‘organic’ for products which also contain ingredients that could damage health or the environment.

Market analysts Mintel found that as standards for organic food are so tough, consumers believe the same is true for organic beauty products. When people see something labelled ‘organic’, 53 per cent expect it to be ‘free from chemicals’.

However, there is some protection for consumers. Misleading claims are illegal and Trading Standards is responsible for enforcing the cosmetics regulation, while the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has the authority to enforce the Codes of Advertising Practice.

But a search of the rulings section of the ASA website shows that in the past five years, only a handful relate to mislabelled organic beauty products.

With the £61.2 million UK organic health and beauty market growing — sales were up 20 per cent in 2016 — some firms may think it’s worth being economical with the truth when risks seem low and gains high.
Even actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop range — which claims to ‘nurture your skin with powerful organic ingredients’ — features some products that contain ingredients which are derived from petrochemicals

Even actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop range — which claims to ‘nurture your skin with powerful organic ingredients’ — features some products that contain ingredients which are derived from petrochemicals.

So, how can we know what we’re getting with organic beauty products? The Soil Association has teamed up with European certification bodies (BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert and ICEA) to develop the Cosmetic Organic Standard or COSMOS.

Since January new products requesting certification must be COSMOS approved.

This means at least 95 per cent of all ingredients must be organic if it says ‘made with organic’ ingredients, or 20 per cent for leave-on products and 10 per cent for rinse-off products.

The production process must also have a minimal impact on the environment, non-organic ingredients must have natural colours and fragrances, and petrochemicals must be restricted. Jen Collins, Soil Association beauty campaign manager, says you should be suspicious of certain products.

‘It’s very hard to make organic haircare because you need detergent ingredients to make an effective shampoo,’ she says.

She also advises scrutinising sun protection claimed to be organic — they often contain ingredients that not only wouldn’t be certified organic, but could also cause allergies, skin irritation and even have an impact on hormone levels.

But on the plus side, Jen says organic make-up is often certified as such.

Can’t be bothered to read the label? See the box above for our list of organic saints and sinners.


SINNER: Boots Beautiful Hair Moisturise & Nourish Shampoo, £2.85

The bottle states ‘added organic argan oil’, but contains only a tiny amount. At the same time it has six ingredients that wouldn’t be permitted in a certified organic shampoo, and some may be bad for the environment.

Boots says: ‘Our labelling complies with European Cosmetics Regulations.’

SAINT: Urtekram Nordic Birch Shampoo for Dry Hair, £4.85, dolphinfitness.co.uk

Made by Scandinavia’s largest organic wholesaler, this shampoo, which uses aloe vera and glycerine to moisturise hair, is certified organic by COSMOS.


SINNER: Faith In Nature Raspberry & Cranberry Shower Gel & Bath Foam, £5.49, Holland & Barrett

The packaging claims ‘Certified Organic Ingredients’, but only three of the total 17 are organic.

A spokesman said: ‘All of our Faith In Nature hair care, shower, bath, hand wash, skincare and Humphrey’s Corner baby range has a minimum of 99 per cent naturally derived ingredients.

‘We make every effort to ensure our packaging is clearly labelled. We take great care in selecting what goes into our products, which are independently safety tested in line with European cosmetics and toiletries regulations.’

SAINT: Bentley Organic Revitalising Body Wash with Cinnamon, Sweet Orange and Clove Bud, £4.15, biggreensmile.com

The organic arm of a soapmaker established in the 1800s makes this body wash, which is part of a range certified by COSMOS and also adheres to company policy that products should be ‘of the Earth, not costing the Earth’.


SINNER: Coola Pina Colada Sun Screen Spray SPF30, £32, Space NK

SAYS it’s made with ‘70%+ certified organic ingredients’, but it contains five that wouldn’t pass muster in a certified organic formulation, including some that could disrupt hormones, cause allergies and affect the neurological development of babies.

A spokesman said: ‘All of COOLA’s organic sunscreens are formulated with over 70 per cent organic ingredients in accordance with the California Organic Products Act (COPA).

‘The ingredients mentioned by the Soil Association are, in fact, sunscreen active ingredients, among the limited number allowed by the FDA for UVA/UVB protection. Knowing this, we work hard to ensure almost every ingredient, other than the sunscreen active ingredients, are organic.’

SAINT: Green People Organic Children’s Sun Lotion SPF30 Scent Free, £16.16, superfooduk.com

A non-irritating, non-greasy, non-scented sun cream that offers broad spectrum sun protection, is suitable for those with sensitive skin and sufferers of prickly heat. COSMOS-certified.


SINNER: Dr Organic Organic Dead Sea Mineral Night Cream, £9.29, Holland & Barrett

CONTAINS two ingredients that would not be permitted in a certified organic or natural product. So suggesting, as the name does, that it’s a wholly organic product is misleading.

Michael Lightowlers, Dr Organic marketing director, said: ‘Sea Mineral Night Cream states on the packaging this product contains a minimum of 70 per cent organic ingredients to help inform a consumer’s buying choices.’

SAINT: Odylique Avocado 24-Hour Replenishing Cream, £22, odylique.co.uk

Certified organic by COSMOS, this rich cream contains cold-pressed avocado and olive oils, plus sea buckthorn and horsetail to aid skin regeneration.


SINNER: Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial Masque, £103, nordstrom.com

While the Goop website claims the beauty products they sell ‘go beyond all natural, beyond non-toxic, beyond greenwashing to be truly good for you’, this product contains two ingredients derived from petrochemicals.

Goop said: ‘Our philosophy is to ensure that ingredients linked to health harm are not found in our products. This is not an exact science.’

SAINT: Intelligent Nutrients Detoxifying Glycolic Gel, £40, naturismo.com

Certified by the Soil Association, this gel contains the same alpha hydroxy acid as the Goop one, but without the petrochemical ingredients.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4516056/Why-organic-beauty-not-saintly.html#ixzz4hPvNk1Jw
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