5 Things You Should Know About Organic Beauty Products

“All natural. Certified organic. Made from natural ingredients. Pure botanicals. Chemical free.”

You might guess I’m standing in the farmers market. Nope. I’m in the health and beauty aisle at Target. The ubiquitous all-things-natural trend has overtaken the cosmetic industry. How do you know what is real and what is marketing hype? Here are 5 things you should know about organic beauty product labels:

1 – Labels that say “natural ingredients” or “botanicals” are not certified organic. These statements are not regulated. Most natural ingredients used in beauty products are actually modified in a lab. Truly botanical ingredients, like you’d pick in your garden, are usually unstable and would spoil like food.

2 – Natural doesn’t always mean better. Would you buy: Poison Ivy Eye-Cream? Stinging Nettles Anti-Itch Gel? The most toxic and allergy-inducing ingredients are naturally occurring substances, not manufactured ones.

3 – There are many standards of “organic.” USDA Certified Organic is the gold standard. Products with this label must be at least 95% organic and must not contain toxic ingredients. Products that are less than 95% but at least 75% can be labelled “made with organic ingredients.” If your product is not certified by the USDA, then inquire who certified it — some businesses will certify a product for a fee, which some people find improper.

4 – Organic products can still contain non-organic ingredients that are harmful. Your shampoo might be mostly organic, but it can still contain preservatives or fragrances that can cause a rash.

5 – All natural and organic beauty products are not necessarily more effective. The most potent skin care ingredients are prescription products, which are not organic.

There is value to choosing beauty products that are labelled organic — they may be better for you, and they’re probably better for the planet. Ultimately, the choice is yours. So now that you know what “organic” means on a label, at least it will be an informed choice.

Which of your products are organic? Do you think they are better? Why?

Photo: Rick Harrison

13 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Know About Organic Beauty Products

  1. I enjoy using organic products because they are often cruelty free. That “label” has problems as well. All new ingredients are tested on animals before they are used for humans. After some companies use them, others that are cruelty free generally adopt them too. But at the end, I suppose I do not directly support testing. :)

  2. I prefer kosher makeup. Because those laws are WAY stricter then FDA. And since kosher laws include rules about no cruelty to animals the makeup is more likely to be cruelty free as well.

  3. Thing is, as I understand it, “cruelty free” is a marketing ploy as well. A company can claim it’s product is not tested on animals, but this actually only refers to the finished product. It does not mean the INGREDIENTS weren’t tested on animals- chances are very strong that they were. While the FDA says they don’t specifically require the use of animal testing, they do require the manufacturers to show proof that their ingredients and finished products are safe. In order to provide substantial proof that a product is safe, according to the FDA “companies may determine that animal testing is necessary to assure the safety of a product or ingredient.” Meaning, it may be difficult to impossible to adequately prove safety and therefore gain FDA approval without animal testing.

    Sad but true. I believe I’ve heard that advancement of computer models and development of tissue via stem cells could help this issue, but as for now, know that just because something says it’s not tested on animals, doesn’t mean it wasn’t somewhere along the road.

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  6. I am against animal testing but what I equally frustrated about are the chemicals that seem to sneak their way into our skincare, our food, our lotions, our makeup, well everything really. I do know that some preservatives are needed in order to keep products fresh and usable. However I don’t think the regulations are strict enough when it comes to the 200 other chemicals found in our daily morning routine products. I switched to organic and local, sometimes I make my own face masks etc…. I have found a signifigant improvement in the way I look and feel. I suffer from Rosacea and even that has improved greatly just by using natural organic products.

  7. Hey, love your site. No, really. Thanks for this article. Sometimes I wonder is it really necessary to get MD degree (like I did) to understand that organic does not equal awesome, best and safe.
    I see so much of this every day that I am just curious — is there still such thing as common sense?

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  9. hello. very interesting site. can you tell which cosmetics is better – organic or peptide? thank you.

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  11. I found this blog to be very intriguing… Especially tip #5… However I’m wondering if you, yourself, have any skin issues?… Like acne, psoriasis, eczema?

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